Tasmania secures team in national competition

by Aidan Davis

The Apple Isle will take part in bowls’ showpiece television event, the Bowls Premier League, with the Tasmania Tridents joining an expanded competition for BPL14.

The Bowls Tasmania-owned Tridents have secured the ninth licence in the $125,000 prize-money biannual competition, through funding contributed by the Tasmanian Government as part of a recent election promise and have filled their roster with an all-Tasmanian line-up headlined by the state’s preeminent player.

Dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world champion Rebecca Van Asch will guide the Tridents’ maiden journey, alongside the experienced hand of former Australian Indoor Championships runner-up Mark Nitz and reigning Tasmanian Champion of Champion winner Taelyn Male, with one-time Australian Jackaroo Mark Strochnetter assuming the coaching duties.

The three-pronged Tridents moniker was chosen to represent the three regions of Tasmania and the three Tasmanian players that will carry the state’s hopes on the national stage.

BPL Chair & BA CEO Neil Dalrymple announces the Tasmania Tridents team

Bowls Australia CEO and BPL Chair Neil Dalrymple said the announcement was an historic coup for the bowls-loving region.

“It’s exciting to see the proud and passionate bowls state of Tasmania given the opportunity to compete and showcase their talent on the sport’s biggest stage,” Dalrymple said.

“This announcement also underlines the evolution of the coveted competition, with more teams, more matches, more prize-money and more broadcast hours for each future BPL staging to help keep the sport and its players in the spotlight.”

Bowls Tasmania President Graham Hay said that Tasmania had long wanted to be part of the BPL competition to promote themselves on the sport’s biggest stage and was appreciative of the Tasmanian Government’s assistance.

“With considerable assistance from the State Government, Bowls Tasmania has been able to work with Bowls Australia to ensure the establishment of a Tasmanian Team in Bowls Australia’s top-level event, the Bowls Premier League,” Hay said.

“The provision of a pathway for bowlers in the state to progress their bowls and aspire for greater rewards has been limited in the past; the Bowls Premier League now provides that vehicle for which we can now showcase the tremendous talent that we have in our state.

“Success of the program will not be measured in prize-money won, but players drafted to National Squads and the greater community awareness and participation rates in the sport here in Tasmania.”

The BPL competition commenced in 2013 with six teams, before expanding to eight in the second edition a year later and moved to a biannual staging in 2017.

The Tasmania Tridents fill the ninth place in a now-expanded ten-team competition, with the final team to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

As a result of the expansion, each event’s prize-money has increased by $25,000 to $125,000 and the television broadcast coverage will increase by four hours to 24-hours across the four days of competition.

The next edition of the coveted event, BPL14, will be the third event held this calendar year and is scheduled to be staged from November 9-12 at Queensland’s Club Pine Rivers.

The event will be shown live on Fox Sports, Kayo and Sky Sport NZ from 4pm-10pm AEST each night, with additional Rinkside Live live-streaming through Facebook during the daytime rounds.