Pakenham 5000 brings out the stars

Pakenham legends Gary Crowley, Jim Williams and Norm Box at the Paky 5000. 324748 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

PAKY 5000

It was all happening at Pakenham Bowls Club over the weekend as quality bowlers from across the greater Melbourne area and a number of country regions competed in the annual PAKY 5000 tournament.

This premier, blue ribbon event is conducted over two days and offers over $5000 in prizemoney.

In addition, it is listed by Bowls Australia as a National Player Rankings Event, thus adding to its prestige.

The format for the tournament is two bowl triples with four games of 12 ends played on Saturday and a further three on Sunday.

That’s a lot of bowls to roll down and it’s not surprising that some players are dragging their feet by the completion of the last end on the second day.

No tournament of this nature can get off the ground without serious sponsorship and the club was again fortunate to obtain major funding from Greenline, the company which constructed the magnificent Paky Dome over its top green.

Generous contributions were also made by some members and the club to provide the numerous prizes which were raffled over the weekend.

The forecast for Saturday was for extreme heat and strong winds which did not bode well for those teams drawn to play some of their games on the fast, uncovered Crowley Green.

The draw was such that most if not all would spend some of the day out in the sun.

Fortunately however, while it was hot, the temperature did not quite reach the level expected, although the strong northerly played havoc with the bowls and tested the patience of some of the bowlers.

Nevertheless, games were played in good spirit, often with a generous injection of humour.

By the end of the first day, Britt Jago’s team from The Dandenong Club was the only four-game winner – however there were five, three-game winners waiting for them to trip up, including Pakenham’s Terry ‘TMac’ McRedmond and former winner Lucas Protopapas from Heathmont.

As is customary at this tournament, day one was capped off with a free sausage sizzle and a corner-to-corner shoot-out.

Although light hearted and fun, this is usually a hotly contested event with entrants attempting to qualify multiple bowls for the final, usually accompanied by a great deal of sledging from the other competitors and spectators.

For some reason however, comments this year were generally positive and supportive rather than negative and insulting.

Of the hand full of players who eventually qualified, Pakenham’s David Saint had three live bowls and he did not waste the opportunity he had created, taking both first and second prizes.

Fortunately, a cool change came through late on Saturday and after a few showers overnight, Sunday presented us with far more comfortable conditions.

On the playing field however, the heat ramped up – the head of the leaderboard, Britt Jago, lost the first game of the day while three of the five sides immediately below him won and with a couple of others also challenging, it was game on!

However Britt’s crew then steadied the ship, finishing the day with two good wins, making it six out of seven for the tournament and collecting the top prize of $3000.00.

Although it was entered in his name, Britt actually played lead for his team while Scott Guymer skipped and Matt Arnold played at number two.

Taking second prize with five wins was Berwick’s Dennis Griffin (S), Lawrie Edwards (2) and Graeme Manifold who led on day two – Alan Clements led on day one.

Third prize was won by a composite team – also with five wins from seven – skipped by Yarram’s Wayne Lynch with Wayne Barnes at number two and Mick Morgan, lead.

Although the numbers were slightly down on previous years, the PAKY 5000 has again been a great success, thanks to the generosity of the sponsor and to the competitors who turned up to play two incredible days of bowls in wonderful spirit.

Also the organisers who spent countless hours putting it all together and the volunteers on the greens, in the kitchen, behind the bar and elsewhere behind the scenes who worked very hard to make it happen.

And finally a huge vote of thanks goes to Faye Ritchie and her team of ladies and gents who toiled away in the kitchen.

They have set a standard over the years which would be very hard to beat and produced magnificent roast lunches on both days.

The Pakenham Bowls Club looks forward to hosting this tournament for many years into the future and we trust that the players from other clubs who have taken part will continue to come back to support the event and to enjoy our hospitality.

-Des Leigh-