Club Sunbury heading north

Lee Wesley, Marc Bullows (skipper) and Mark Cowan.

Harper Sercombe

Club Sunbury is once again set to showcase its talents to a national audience, with two teams ready to compete in Australia’s premier lawn bowls event later this year.

Under the banner of Melbourne Extreme, Club Sunbury will field a star-studded triples side in the Bowls Premier League and BPL Cup.

The 18th iteration of the BPL will kick off in Pine Rivers, Queensland on November 13th to 17th, with sides from across the country competing.

Unlike regular bowls format, the BPL includes a 30 second shot clock to quicken the pace of the game.

Each side will play each other twice, before a final series including four teams will decide a champion.

Club Sunbury is one of ten teams competing in the BPL, with this year’s team consisting of Matthew Flapper, New Zealand international Ali Forsyth and newest member Jackaroo Kylie Whitehead.

Whitehead hails from the Wodonga Bowls Club and brings Melbourne Extreme back to an all-Victorian based lineup. She is no stranger to the big stage having won the World Champion of Champions Singles in 2019, Multi Nations Gold in 2023, Australian Champion of Champions Gold 2018 and Australian Championship Fours 2021.

“It is an honour and I can’t wait to play for and represent Melbourne Extreme at BPL18, hopefully I do the team proud, and we get some great results,” she said.

“We’re wrapt, one thing we strive on is trying to get all Victorians,” Club Sunbury bowls director Marc Bullows said.

“Ali Forsyth’s a New Zealand international, however, he has lived in Victoria for 10 plus years.

“I think we’re the only franchise along with the Tasmanian Tridents, that houses our own state players, every other franchise shares different state players but we really want to keep it all Victorian based.

“That’s what we love about Kylie joining the team, she’s probably the number one female bowler in Victoria at the moment and we look forward to seeing her go.”

To join the BPL team in Pine Rivers, Club Sunbury will also have a BPL Cup side competing.

The BPL Cup is an amateur competition that marries both the BPL and ‘Jack Attack’. The two products together strengthen the correlation between the bowls that viewers see on television and the format of bowls offered at clubs. The BPL Cup provides an opportunity for club-based teams to progress through various rounds to national finals, to be played in parallel with the November leg of the BPL in Queensland.

Club Sunbury is one of just 12 teams competing in the cup which has been dwindled down from 954 teams that competed in their respective states.

The three players competing in the cup for Club Sunbury are three locals in Bullows, Lee Wesley and Mark Cowan.

“To have Club Sunbury represented at this standard at a national level in 2 formats is a proud achievement for the club,” Bullows said.

“Excited is an understatement, it’s going to be a busy time up there and we’re really looking forward to it.

“Our goal is to win the BPL Cup, win the BPL as well and come home with two trophies.

“That would be a great achievement for Club Sunbury.”