Everything you need to know about #BPL09

by Domenic Favata

Ahead of #BPL09, we give you the rundown on everything you need to know before the action gets underway.

What is the Bowls Premier League (BPL)?

The BPL, formerly the Australian Premier League (APL), is a competition created and run by Bowls Australia (BA) that is now in its seventh year and ninth instalment.

The event is a modified version of traditional bowls, with lightning fast matches and entertaining fanfare delivered by the eight franchises from around Australia and New Zealand making for a ’20/20′ type format of the sport.

When and where is it?

BPL09 will be held from Monday, February 25 to Thursday, February 28 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

The Naenae Bowling Club will host the event for their second time. Entrance to the event is FREE!

Matches during the day will get underway from 9:00 am AEDT (11:00 am NZDT), while the night sessions begin from 4:00 pm AEDT (6:00 pm NZDT).

Can I watch it on TV? 

Yes – the night sessions of BPL09 (including Thursday’s finals) will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports and Sky Sport NZ from 4:00 pm AEDT each night (6:00 pm NZDT).

In addition to Fox Sports & Sky Sport NZ broadcasting the night sessions of BPL09, you’ll also be able to stream live via Kayo Sports.

Get your 14 Day FREE trial now at www.kayosports.com.au

If I don’t have Pay TV, can I still watch it? 

Yes – from Tuesday to Thursday, the day sessions of BPL09 will be broadcast LIVE on BA’s Facebook page via ‘Rinkside Live’.

One match per session will be covered with viewers able to access the coverage from anywhere in the world, for free.

Be sure to LIKE the Bowls Australia Facebook page to ensure you are notified every time we are LIVE!

What is the event format and are there special rules?

Each of the eight BPL franchises will play each other twice over 14 rounds during the competition.

At the end of the 14 qualifying rounds, the top four teams will play off in Friday night’s finals series.

The top four teams are decided by points. If teams are equal on points they will be split on net total shots (shots for minus shots against).

Finals schedule:

5:00pm 3 vs 4

6:15pm 1 vs 2

7:30pm: Loser of semi-final vs winner of elimination final

8:45pm: Winner of semi-final vs winner of preliminary final

Each match consists of two five-end sets, with a one-end tie-break played if required. The game format pairs, with three bowls for each player per end.

BPL matches take just over one hour from start to finish and deciding the winner is simple. The team with that wins both sets or one set and then the tie-break is the winner.

Instead of spending time rolling the jack, as per normal competitions, BPL players place the mat and advise the marker the length of the jack they would like to play to.

To keep games progressing, players will have 30 seconds to deliver their bowl from the time the jack is placed at the start of an end, or once their opposition bowl has come to a rest, ensuring the next suspenseful result is only moments away.

BPL teams will also be able to nominate one Power Play end per set, enabling teams to earn double the shots scored in that end.

Some days players just aren’t on top of their game, maybe its only for a few ends, maybe its for a whole match, in order to get the best players the sport has to offer out on the green, a team coach can replace a player with a substitute during the game, but only immediately preceding the delivery of a bowl by their team player.

If a tie-break is required to decide the winner, all players on both teams will join the fray, with the format changing to two-bowl-triples for that end.

Who are the franchises involved? 

As mentioned, there are eight franchises involved from across Australia and New Zealand.

Brisbane Pirates – Alex Marshall, Michael Breen, Kelsey Cottrell, Dave Edwards (Coach)
Club Helensvale Gold Coast Hawks – Aron Sherriff, Nathan Rice, Georgia White, Matthew Lucas* (Coach)
Asahi Illawarra Gorillas – Jeremy Henry, Aaron Teys, Kay Moran, Wes Falconer (Coach)
Moama Murray Steamers – Ryan Bester, Michael Walker, Ellen Ryan*, Wayne Turley (Coach)
Blundstone Melbourne Roys – Aaron Wilson, Barrie Lester, Carla Krizanic, Ian Ewing (Coach)
New Zealand Blackjacks – Shannon McIlroy*, Seamus Curtin, Jo Edwards, Richard Girvan (Coach)
Blooms The Chemist Perth Suns – John Slavich, Shane Knott, Kristina Krstić, Pieter Harris (Coach)
BCiB Sydney Lions – Ray Pearse, Ben Twist*, Karen Murphy, Steve Glasson (Coach)

(* denotes new playing or coaching member)

Is there prize money?

The BPL competition carries a huge $100,000 prize-pool, with the winning franchise handed a $25,000 cheque.

Who won the event last time? 

The hometown heroes Brisbane Pirates were victorious last time out in BPL08 at Club Pine Rivers, Brisbane (QLD), defeating the Moama Murray Steamers in the final.

Ryan Bester was the tournament MVP.