Australian Premier League launched
The history of the egalitarian sport of lawn bowls can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians who are believed to have played with stones. The English refined the game with spherical bowls, to what is commonly seen today, but the evolution of the game’s format has been somewhat stagnant since.
That is until today, when Bowls Australia announced the introduction of a revolutionary new fast-paced, dynamic format of competition, which is set to catapult the sport into the 21st century.
The new action-packed format incorporates the best traditional elements of the sport and mixes them into an adrenaline-fuelled, action-packed format of the game in a national city versus city competition, known as the Australian Premier League (APL).
The nation’s newest competition, launched today at the nation’s oldest bowling club, Melbourne Bowling Club in Windsor, featured tournament ambassador Mick Molloy, returning to the home of Crackerjack, along with APL players from each of the six inaugural teams.
The APL competition, which aims to emulate the success of cricket’s T20 Big Bash League by modernising the game to broaden its appeal, is set to be staged from November 19 to 22, under lights at Brisbane’s premier bowls facility, Club Pine Rivers.
In a first for the sport nationally, the competition will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports and SKY NZ from 5pm-9.30pm during the four days of competition, providing unprecedented exposure.
It will be a thrilling start to the league, with the four-day tournament promising rivalry and competitiveness, as teams from five states across Australia, and New Zealand, battle it out for a six-figure total prize purse of $100,000, second only to the sport’s $130,000 Australian Open.
The six inaugural teams include Messenger Press Adelaide Endurance (license holder: Bowls SA), XXXX Brisbane Gold (Club Pine Rivers), Blundstone Melbourne Roys (Fitzroy Victoria Bowls and Sports Club), Solargain Perth Suns (Bowls WA), BCiB Sydney Lions (Club Mount Lewis) and the Tower New Zealand Blackjacks (Bowls NZ).
Bowls Australia Chief Executive Officer Neil Dalrymple said he was confident the APL would become the world’s most popular format of the game.
“The APL will transform the way lawn bowls is played, viewed and perceived,” Mr Dalrymple said.
“The format has been developed to attract new participants to the sport, provide current fans with an innovative version of competition, and leverage the sport’s exposure with a live television product.”
The new two sets-play of five ends each format will be made available to clubs across Australia from 2014, with the shortened version of the game the perfect activity for people with busy work and family schedules.
APL ambassador Mick Molloy said it was great to be returning to the home of Crackerjack to launch this exciting new league.
“Bowls is no longer seen as a sport for the oldies and this league will continue to grow interest in the sport for the younger generation, who want a fast and action packed version of the game. This is a very exciting development and it might just inspire me to make a sequel – Crackerjack 2: Fast and Furious,” Molloy said.
Molloy will also lend his support to the Fox Sports coverage in commentary of the APL in November, providing his own spin on the game’s newest format.
The evolution of the game aims to broaden the appeal of the sport by developing commercial opportunities through television broadcast and providing an alternative format of bowls, to drive an increase in participation at clubs.
APL KEY FACTS:
– Six teams, 18 players, from five major capital cities and New Zealand
– Messenger Press Adelaide Endurance, XXXX Brisbane Gold, Blundstone Melbourne Roys, Tower New Zealand Black Jacks, Solargain Perth Suns, BCiB Sydney Lions
– Each team will include three players, with two players from each team nominated to compete in each game as the lead and skip
– The third player will be the ‘super sub’ for that team and may be called upon at any time
– Each game is played over 2 sets, with 5 ends per set, and a one end tie-break if required, for a one hour match duration
– The APL will be played as a sectional based competition in the preliminary rounds and convert to a ‘knock out’ format for all finals play.
– Top four teams make it through to a knock-out style finals round
– APL is owned and administered by Bowls Australia