A Triangle of Resting Touchers and Unwanted Sexual Advances on the Green.
The Carlton Classic invariably attracts a motley crew of characters from a wide range of clubs. This year was no different.
We saw the usual pre game posturing and grand standing from the usual suspects as they mingled with friends and foes in Bowls World. Exchanging stories and regurgitating past glories on the green.
I liken some of these blokes exchanging ‘kitty trailing’ tales to teenage boys gathering around to boast about or fabricate tales of the girls they’ve supposedly had sex with.
Posturing aside there were some damn good bowlers with impressive credentials who’d rocked up. We saw some splendid bowling throughout the day, arguably none better than a triangle of three resting touchers.
The umpire John Laidlow ‘declared a dead draw’.
I’d assembled what I believed to be a strong rink, we had all bowled together at St Kilda around 2002- 2004.
It was an old St Kilda Regurgitated rink.
I had a good feeling we’d gel, a healthy balance of ‘ controlled ego ’ and ability would see us right on the day.
Robert Briglia from Brighton our skip has real bowling credentials.
A high profile inner city Melbourne club recently overlooked his application for their coaching position. Only to dismiss their preferred applicant six months later on sexual harassment charges. The new coach having taken a fancy to a well known journeyman larrikin in Bowls World. Ironically the only time I’ve been on the receiving end of an unwanted sexual advance whilst bowling was the last time I played with Robbie at a tournament at Footscray Park 10 years ago.
A bloke from Werribee RSL suggested I come back to his place, ‘for a dip in his pool’.
Dr Chris Mc Auliffe from Harcourt in the Bendigo Region. The Art Historian’s methodical approach and delivery is the epitome of concentration and application. And his strike rate at regularly arriving at the kitty is testament to this.
Kevin ‘H’ Holschier also from Harcourt. His Houdini like shots are legendary in the bowl’s circles he frequents. If anyone can deliver a Get Out of Jail bowl when called on, it’s ‘H’.
I knew I was the weakest link but I had that gut feel that I was going to punch above my weight. Coupled with the auspiciousness of April 5 being my birthday.
It all augured well in my reckoning.
All four of us contributed, bowling consistently well throughout the day. No one was carried. I played one of my best games this season. And we went on to win the tournament.
My ‘unconventional’ acceptance speech on behalf of the rink went down well [ I’d rehearsed it before hand ]. I especially thanked Paul Soldatich for being ‘the catalyst ’ for the win. I told the gathering how I regularly played tournaments with him. And how he and his father were always quick to accept an invite to play tournaments whenever I’d asked them . But it was always one way traffic with them. Whenever they got a tournament invite they’d invariably ask someone else at our club, not me. And the team they entered for this year’s Classic was no different. They’d concocted a Princess Park Dream team- I didn’t make the grade.
Well I thought I’d have to teach them a little lesson and harness together my own motley crew Dream Team for this year’s event.
Yes the pay day was sweet and the prize money was better than expected.
When I divided up the cash Chris facetiously said, ‘I’ll have to forego my amateur status now.’
But for me the real pay was the look on Paul’s face during the acceptance speech.
That was priceless !
Jason Dow and his Richmond Union crew were the defending champions. They didn’t fare as well this year but their consolation prize was giving The Soldatich Dream Team a good spanking in the last game. The Princess Park combination had won their first two but Paul’ s blustering tactics were to no avail against the Richmond Boys who were impervious to his antics .
Paul can be intimidating, but Jason’s Bigger !
I couldn’t get Norman to smile……The Golden Arm’s Albert Park rink won The Classic three years ago. They were three game winners on the day but couldn’t make into the prize money this year.
The Princess Park Dream Team - They won their first two games before Jason’s Richmond crew gave them a spanking.
“ You call that a drive ? I told you to play the other hand Dad. That was absolute rubbish.”
The brown belongs to Blair Perrin - Princess Park. The grey is Robbie Briglia- Brighton and the orange is mine.
As a footnote, we were delighted to have Robbie skipping us on the day. With the benefit of hindsight that prominent inner city bowls club should have given him the gig.