The Platinum Preview | Rounds 1 & 2

by Billy Johnson

Welcome to the Platinum Preview, a weekly segment dissecting the upcoming matches of our premier bowling competition! 

The Platinum Pennant is finally upon us and, weather permitting, we’ll see 144 elite bowlers taking to the greens to kick-off our inaugural season. All the pre-season training sessions and team get-togethers have been working towards this moment, and all 12 clubs will be entering the competition feeling confident that they can emerge victorious as the Platinum Pennant Champions.  

There’s plenty of matches, twists and turns to come between now and the Grand Final, so for now every team’s focus will be on securing a good start to the season. With that, let’s take a look at the Round 1 and 2 match-ups ahead of us this weekend. 

Round 1 

Engadine v Taren Point @ Warilla | Fri 5th April, 6:30pm  

Local rivals Engadine and Taren Point will face-off in the first-ever Platinum Pennant match this Friday. With the predicted wet weather, the teams have agreed to move the match to the safety of the indoor green at Warilla, meaning the inaugural Platinum Pennant match will inerestingly be played at a neutral venue! 

Despite the change of scenery both teams will still be looking to get one up on their rivals, with a particularly mouth-watering match-up set on our live stream rink when Wayne Ruediger from the Cougars takes on Jay-Bye Norris. It’s hard to pick a winner, with the only certainty that this will be a match you don’t want to miss! 

East Maitland v Belrose @ East Maitland | Sat 6th April, 1pm 

Further north, the East Maitland Griffins will start their season campaign against the Belrose Bulls. The Griffins will welcome young gun marquees Josh Walker-Davis and Jake Rynne to their side, with each skipping a rink with the third rink steered by Haydn Bojkowski. Bojkowski has enjoyed recent success at the Bowls NSW State Championships with a semi-final appearance in the Men’s Singles and a Runner-up finish in the Mixed Pairs, and he will be hoping he can continue his good form in the two-bowl format. 

The Belrose Bulls will field a line-up that features familiar stalwarts Steve Rawlings, Brad Franklin and Matt Blackburn along with returning marquees and Victorian superstars Dylan Fisher and Matt Flapper. With plenty of big game experience under their belts, the Bulls will be hoping they can start their season strong up against the Griffins. 

St Johns Park v Merrylands @ St Johns Park | Sat 6th April, 2pm 

We challenge you to find a rink in this match that isn’t filled with superstars! The St Johns Park Saints line-up features a plethora of stars including Ben Twist, David Ferguson and the recently crowned four-time State Champion Dawn Hayman, who has been near unbeatable over the last few weeks. Throw in marquee players Ryan Bester and Sean Baker, who are both playing on the same rink, and you can see why the Saints are tipped to make an impact this season. 

There’s no lack of firepower in the Merrylands Magic squad, with a brilliant mix of youth and experience present within their side. Recent Men’s State Triples champions Heath Lewis, Tom Rich and Jack McShane will all line-up for the Magic, as too will Shawn Thompson. It will also be a pennant debut for current Australian Jackaroo Cody Packer who recently made a move to the club. Topping off this list are the two marquees in former international and four-time Commonwealth Games medallist Nathan Rice and Aron Sherriff, arguably one of the best to ever throw down a bowl.  

Carlingford v Wenty Leagues @ Carlingford | Sat 6th April, 4pm 

There’s a strong international flavour to the match between he Carlingford and Wenty Leagues, with a range of international stars on display. The Scottish contingency of Darren Burnett, Stewart Anderson, Ryan Burnett and Kevin Anderson will be a force to be reckoned with as they represent the ironically Australian Koalas. With countless titles between them, and the backing of a solid squad that include Zel Trbara and Brendon Edwards, Carlingford will be ready to strike in Round 1. 

Wenty Leagues will welcome Kiwi interantional Selina Goddard to their side, the three-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist a huge boost for the already strong Magpies outfit. Matt Lucas and Barrie Lester are also back in black for another year with Wenty and will no doubt be keen to continue a winning run of form in the event.  

Raymond Terrace v Warilla @ Raymond Terrace | Sat 6th April, 5pm 

2022-23 Open Pennant Grade 1 champions Raymond Terrace will host the mighty Warilla Gorillas in a blockbuster match-up at the Hangar. The Jets can boast a win in their most recent encounter with Warilla, in the Men’s State Fours final, in which the Lee Schraner skipped team overcame Aaron Teys in a tight contest. Schraner will once again line up as skip for the Jets, along with Matt Baus and Peter Taylor. For the Gorillas, the familiar faces of Aaron Teys, Irish international Gary Kelly and two-time world champion Jeremy Henry will skip the three rinks for Warilla. Fellow international Adam McKeown and the ever reliable Luke Jones round out the marquees in the Gorillas’ side. 

Cabramatta v Mt Lewis @ Cabramatta | Sat 6th April, 5pm 

The final match of the round will see Cabramatta up against Mt Lewis. Jackaroo and young gun Nick Cahill will skip one rink for the Bullants, with the experienced Aaron Wilson and Carl Healey skipping the other two. All four of the Women’s State Fours champions in Jessie Cottell, Jamie-Lee Worsnop, Ellen Fife and bowling legend Karen Murphy are in the side, showing the incredible depth that Cabramatta have on display. 

There’s no shortage of firepower in the Mt Lewis outfit either, with recent Men’s State Pairs Champion Brett Spurr lining up again for the Lions. Joining him in his rink is Tyson WIlson and Thor Shannon, with Nathan Wise and bowls legend Steve Glasson combining as skip and third respectively in another rink, and South Australian Scott Thulborn skipping the third rink with another Australian legend in Wayne Turley playing third.  

Round 2

Mt Lewis v Carlingford @ Mt Lewis | Sun 7th April, 10am 

Ben Winther slots into the Lions’ side for their Sunday clash with Carlingford, linking up with fellow NSW Men’s State Pairs champion Brett Spurr. The Koalas will field an unchanged side from Round 1 as they enter the Lions’ den.

With the likes of Nathan Wise, Scott Thulborn, Ryan Burnett and Zel Trbara all taking part in this match, there’ll be no shortage of entertainment and attacking play!

East Maitland v Warilla @ East Maitland | Sun 7th April, 10am 

The second leg of Warilla’s journey north takes them to East Maitland and a match-up with the Griffins. The Gorillas will be hoping to travel home with at least one win to their name, but it’s no easy feat coming up against the Jets and the Griffins in quick succession.

Particularly noteworthy is the rink match-up between Haydn Bojkowski and Aaron Teys, both products of the NSW junior system who would have played each other countless times over the years.

Belrose v Cabramatta @ Belrose | Sun 7th April, 10am 

Cabramatta will make the journey to Belrose and take on the Bulls for their Round 2 clash. The Bullants have had plenty of success in the top grade over the past few years so will be full of confidence, but will be wary knowing that it’s never an easy task picking up points against Belrose in the bullpen.

Another mouth-watering line-up in this match is Dylan ‘Snapper’ Fisher and his rink up against Aaron ‘Disco’ Wilson. Both originating from Victoria, these two have gone toe-to-toe many times over the years and will no doubt be keen to add another notch to their win tally when they take to the greens.

Merrylands v Taren Point @ Merrylands | Sun 7th April, 10am

Merrylands’ first home game of the season will be against Taren Point, and the Magic will be looking to secure a win as they field the same side of 12 as Round 1. Taren Point will be well rested coming off their Friday night match against the Cougars and no doubt will be ready to play when they take on the Magic.

Wenty Leagues v St Johns Park @ Wenty Leagues | Sun 7th April, 10:30am 

Wenty Leagues host St Johns Park, and time will tell whether it takes place on their grass or undercover green. Either way, it’ll be an exciting match between the Magpies and the Saints with Lester v Baker, Whittingham v Ferguson and Lucas v Twist all going head-to-head.

Raymond Terrace v Engadine @ Raymond Terrace | Sun 7th April, 11am 

The final round of the match sees Raymond Terrace take on Engadine at the Hangar. Teams know all too well that beating Raymond Terrace at Raymond Terrace is a difficult prospect, but the Cougars will feel up for the challenge.

The Jets will be aiming for a perfect 2 from 2 to start their season, and will be boosted by having their faithful supporters cheering them on from the side-lines. With quality sides picked across both teams, it’s tough enough picking a notable rink when all match-ups look to be great battles.

Wet weather will no doubt be a factor this weekend, with match times and venues subject to change. For those that get on the greens, all teams will be hoping to secure a solid start to their season in the Platinum Pennant. Be sure to tune in to the Bowls NSW Facebook page and YouTube channel tonight from 6:30pm to watch the Engadine Cougars take on Taren Point in the season opener and first-ever Platinum Pennant match!

Click here to visit the Platinum Pennant webpage