Windang BC have their sights on a State Pennant flag in 2021, while several club championships have been decided with more titles to be completed when bowls returns from lockdown.
Windang beat Bomaderry 67-59 in last month's Zone Grade 2 grand final and will head to Parkes for the State Finals, which are due in mid-September across the state but must be in huge doubt following Wednesday's announcement that lockdown is extended until at least August 28.
Even allowing for the havoc of lockdown, it's been a busy championship season at Windang with established top bowlers again leaving their mark and new champions crowned in 2021.
The season began last January with 13 teams nominating for the Club Fours - with Dave Tyrrell, Chris Bradley, Geoff Walker and Daniel Davies defending their crown in a very strong display.
The champions had a tough path to the final against many bowlers in Windang's top two grades but won their games 28-13, 28-17 and 23-10 to set up a clash against Terry McKay, John Penno, Paul Cable and Rick Malley.
As a virtual newcomer, Terry McKay is mixing it with the best bowlers and won the Minor Singles/Pairs double in 2020.
With seasoned veteran John Penno and Paul Cable reaching last year's Fours final and this year their rink also including State Senior Singles champion Rick Malley as skip, it was a strong combination. But in the final, youngster Davies and partners were a little too strong in a 23-12 win.
Last January also featured almost double the entries in Mixed Pairs from 2020, with 30 teams nominating.
Defending champions Nancye Coltman-Daniel Davies lost in the semi-finals to Marlene Sharp-Mark Larsen 22-13, in a rematch of last year's final.
Sharp and Larsen beat Jan Howe and Wolfram Thiele 24-13 in a competitive final, with Thiele enjoying his first Mixed Pairs final at Windang.
Sharp and Larsen have proved an awesome combination and featured in five Mixed Pairs finals over the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, the Senior Singles championship has proved a popular addition to the calendar since being introduced in 2019, with Mick Dihm chasing a third successive crown.
Mal Pearson overcame John Penno in their semi-final, while Dihm beat Phil Cable 25-20.
Pearson won his first championship at Windang with a 25-12 win in the final.
The prized Club Singles is down to the quarter-final stage with five-time champion Larsen to take on Malley, while leading junior Davies meets 2021 Reserve Singles champion Cable.
In the other half of the draw Paul Fitzpatrick - also into the Major Pairs semi-final - will take on the winner of Gregg Stevens versus Gary Sampson in the Singles semi-finals.
Survey to shape NSW future
Zone 16 is urging its members to complete a Bowls NSW Competition Review survey as part of the first initiatives following the unification of the men's and women's peak bodies.
Bowlers overwhelmingly endorsed the unification of the men's-run Bowls NSW and Women's Bowls NSW at a special vote in May.
The extended lockdown across Sydney, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Central Coast has closed bowling clubs and left greens idle but planning of competitions in NSW for 2022 is under way.
Around 50,000 bowling members in NSW including those in Illawarra Zone 16 have been sent an email to gauge views of state-based competitions and what improvements can be made.
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The survey includes questions over what competitions a member participates in and whether they prefer events - including Pennants - to be for a single gender (male or female) or open gender.
The 2021 NSW State Pennant Finals are due to follow the 2020 Finals held earlier this year and be an Open Gender event, while women retain their own Pennant competition.
Already with more than 3000 responses, the survey wants bowlers' views on Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours events.
Opinions are also sought for a preferred format and scoring system for Pennants.
Redraw for Zone Triples titles
The Zone 16 Triples Championships have undergone a redraw with officials to start the event on the first Saturday afternoon after the eventual lifting of the government lockdown.
All bowls events and activities remain massively disrupted by the ongoing outbreak of COVID, with Wollongong and Shellharbour LGA's to continue under stay-at-home orders until at least August 28.
Thirty seven teams nominated for the revised Zone Open Triples draw completed this week; headlined by the reigning Zone and State Triples champions Brendan Aquilina, Corey Wedlock and Gary Kelly.
Only round-one matches in all three Triples formats have been scheduled for the first Saturday afternoon after lockdown, with round two slated for Sunday.
And while the Zone Triples has once again been hugely impacted by COVID, Albion Park's Brett Pieper, Corey Thompson and Chris McLay are set to take on Dapto Citizens' Chris Green, Jarrod Beckford and Michael Stead in round two.