By Oliver Lees
Club Sunbury is set to showcase its talents to a national audience, with a team 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 (BPL).
Club co-ordinator Lloyd Iaccarino said it was an exciting opportunity to put Sunbury bowls on the map.
“This is the first time we’ve entered a national league, so we’re super excited to have our name out there,” Iaccarino said.
“BPL is like Twenty20 cricket but for bowls, it’s a quicker format so the game is done in around an hour.
“It’s a massive thing for us and the community.”
Unlike regular bowls format, the BPL includes a 30 second shot clock to quicken the pace of the game.
The 14th iteration of the BPL will kick off in Brisbane in November, with at least eight sides from across the country competing.
Each side will play each other twice, before a final series including four teams will decide a champion.
Iaccarino said the matches are being televised and it’s an opportunity to get more people excited about bowls.
“Bowls is a young man’s sport that old people play,” he said.
“The sport is changing. We need to inject youth, and this is such a strong way of doing that with a television audience.”
“Bowls has come a long way, the key thing is about finding different ways of engaging younger people to play bowls.”
Lining up for Melbourne Extreme will be Sunbury local hero and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Carla Krizanic.
Krizanic has also taken out world championship medals and represented Australia in more than 200 matches.
She moved to Sunbury six years ago and has since assumed the role of ambassador for bowls at Sunbury.
Krizanic said it was exciting to be able to represent Sunbury on a big stage.
“This format is more fast-paced, it’s enjoyable and makes it a bit more engaging for the audience,” she said.
“Our goal will be to make finals and then go on from there.”
Joining her as part of Melbourne Extreme is Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Matt Flapper and former world singles champion Ali Forsyth.
Originally from New Zealand, Forsyth was part of the New Zealand Blackjacks side that won BPL3, but has since settled in Victoria.
As well as national and state titles, Flapper is the coach of the Victorian under-18s side and has lined up with Krizanic for Fitzroy.
Flapper said given that each of them had played with each other in the past, he’s confident they can make a deep run in the tournament.
“The connection’s there, [in bowls] you’ve got to know your players and I think all three of us are versatile and can play any position,” he said.
Club Sunbury will take on the Ultimate Bowls Championship in August.