Best of Australian bowls honoured in virtual 2020 Awards Night

by Bowls Australia

Bowls Australia’s (BA) virtual 2020 Awards Night has recognised numerous players, officials, volunteers and clubs, from around the nation, for their success over the 2019/20 period, across 11 coveted award categories.

Despite some COVID-19 related challenges and setbacks for the sport, clubs and bowlers more broadly throughout the past seven months, the tenth staging of the sport’s night of nights was a distinctively-2020 version, with all winners accepting their honours via Zoom videos, alongside host Jack Heverin and BA CEO Neil Dalrymple in-studio.

2020 Awards Night Honour Roll:

Blooms The Chemist Community Service Award:
Club Sapphire (Merimbula, NSW)

Aero Bowls Volunteer of the Year:
Gary Costigan (Thuringowa, QLD)

City of Gold Coast Coach of the Year:
Gary Willis (Cabramatta, NSW)

Stockland Retirement Living Club of the Year:
Dandenong Club (VIC) and South Perth Bowling Club (WA)

APIA Bowler with a Disability of the Year:
Jake Fehlberg (Burleigh Heads, QLD)

BCiB Insurance Brokers Under-18 Female Bowler of the Year:
Kira Bourke (Tweed Heads, NSW)

BCiB Insurance Brokers Under-18 Male Bowler of the Year:
Kane Nelson (Belmont Services, Queensland)

Tourism and Events Queensland Male Bowler of the Year:
Peter Taylor (Alstonville, NSW)

Tourism and Events Queensland Female Bowler of the Year:
Genevieve Delves (Raymond Terrace, NSW)

Commonwealth Games Australia International Female Bowler of the Year:
Kelsey Cottrell (St Johns Park, NSW)

Sport Australia International Male Bowler of the Year:
Corey Wedlock (Warilla, NSW)

Blooms The Chemist Community Service Award: Club Sapphire (Merimbula, NSW)
NSW’s Club Sapphire earned this prestigious new award in recognition of their significant involvement and contribution to supporting the south coast region’s community during the summer bushfire season, providing refuge, meals and power for thousands of displaced travellers and holiday makers during the devastating January bushfires.

Aero Bowls Volunteer of the Year: Gary Costigan (Thuringowa, QLD)
Gary received this award in recognition of his tireless dedication to increasing community participation and providing good governance practices, through his invaluable involvement as a volunteer Coach at Thuringowa Bowls Club, as President of the North Queensland District Men’s Bowls Association and as a Bowls Queensland selector.

City of Gold Coast Coach of the Year: Gary Willis (Cabramatta, NSW)
Gary has played a pivotal role in coaching Bowls NSW’s open, junior and over-60 state teams, where he has achieved not only success on the green, but importantly, has developed an improved culture among representative teams and established clearer selection pathways to maximise peak performance.

Gary also works full-time as the National Assistant Coach developing the nation’s elite players, is the Chair of the National Coaching Advisory Group, and delivers coaching clinics for players of all skills at Cabramatta Bowls Club.

Stockland Retirement Living Club of the Year: Dandenong Club (VIC) and South Perth Bowling Club (WA)
From days of dwindling membership, worn-out administrators, and ageing facilities, Dandenong Club has become a shining light for the game of Bowls in Victoria.

Its rejuvenation commenced by considering all bowlers to be equal regardless of their commitment or the level they played, resulting in far more options for how and when to play.

Participation has boomed, the club has become competitive in the national game, and it has established strong working relationships with the state and national associations through active engagement and enthusiastic participation in their development programs.

Despite a list of achievements rivalling most powerhouse clubs, South Perth Bowls Club is but a two synthetic green club with a total membership of 95, but it certainly bats well above its weight both on and off the green.

During a remarkable period, South Perth hosted of the Australian Champion of Champions event, claimed winner and runner-up feats at the National BPL Cup Finals, organised an innovative Bushfire Appeal event, and hosted the Hong Kong Youth team among other various on-green successes.

Understandably, membership is 20% above the metropolitan average, barefoot participation is through the roof, and the future looks very bright for South Perth.

APIA Bowler with a Disability of the Year: Jake Fehlberg (Burleigh Heads, QLD)
Jake enjoyed a scintillating year on the green, with highlights including gold medal success at the Australian Open in both vision-impaired disciplines, in addition to the Queensland Blind Bowlers Association’s singles and pairs titles, and finalist recognition at the Queensland Sport Awards in the Athlete with a Disability of the year category.

BCiB Insurance Brokers Under-18 Female Bowler of the Year: Kira Bourke (Tweed Heads, NSW)
Kira continued 2019 right where she left off in 2018, a year which saw her claim this award for the first time, with success in the junior ranks including gold medals in the singles and pairs at the Australian Under-18 Championships, a Junior Golden Nugget title, and the Australian Schools Super Series singles crown.

Open-age honours include the Queensland Champion of Champions women’s fours gold, Australian Championships women’s triples gold, and national representation in the development series at the Trans Tasman Test Series.

BCiB Insurance Brokers Under-18 Male Bowler of the Year: Kane Nelson (Belmont Services, Queensland)
Kane’s stellar year included claiming the Australian Under-18 Championships boys’ pairs gold medal, which helped Queensland secure the best-performed boys’ state honours, in addition to the pairs gold at the Australian Schools Super Series, a runner-up finish at the Junior Golden Nugget, and two Queensland junior state titles.

Tourism and Events Queensland Male Bowler of the Year: Peter Taylor (Alstonville, NSW)
Peter enjoyed a sublime 2019/20 rankings period, finishing with 324 points, 82 clear of the next best, to be named Australia’s number one male bowler for 2019/20.

Highlights included the NSW Champion of Champion pairs, Ballina Summerland Singles and Park Beach Open Singles titles, and a runner-up finish at the NSW Champion of Champion singles.

Peter was awarded a $3,000 cheque courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland for tonight’s accomplishment.

Tourism and Events Queensland Female Bowler of the Year: Genevieve Delves (Raymond Terrace, NSW)
Gen enjoyed success across all levels of the sport during the 2019/20 rankings period, finishing with 286 ranking points, 127 points ahead of the second-place finisher, to be crowned Australia’s number one female bowler for 2019/20.

Gen’s highlights included the Australian Indoor Championships crown, a treble of NSW State titles, singles, pairs and triples, in addition to Australian Championships singles silver and pairs bronze.

Gen collected a $3,000 cheque, courtesy of Bowls Australia’s valued partner Tourism and Events Queensland for her achievement.

Commonwealth Games Australia International Female Bowler of the Year: Kelsey Cottrell (St Johns Park, NSW)
Long-time Jackaroos stalwart Kelsey enjoyed another stunning year for the green and gold contingent across four international events, with contributions to the Jackaroos’ overall success at the Multi-Nations and World Bowls Challenge, in addition to two Trans Tasman Test Series, where she resumed the coveted blue-ribbon singles position.

This is Kelsey’s first recognition in either of the national or international Female Bowler of the Year awards and has been determined through voting by her peers and the High Performance Coaching staff.

Sport Australia International Male Bowler of the Year: Corey Wedlock (Warilla, NSW)
Corey enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks across the 2019/20 period, becoming one of the Jackaroos’ most consistent and arguably first-selected players, on the back of stellar performances at the four international competitions, the Multi-Nations, World Bowls Challenge and two Trans Tasman Test Series.

This is Corey’s first Male Bowler of the Year award at either national or international level and is awarded courtesy of voting by his peers and the High Performance Coaching staff.

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BA congratulates all award winners, acknowledges the work of the selection committees in determining the winners, and thanks the bowls community for the numerous nominations in each category.