Perth rolled away the clouds and welcomed over 70 top bocce competitors from all corners of Australia with bright sunshine!
The warm welcome continued at the Tuscany Association Club with generous hospitality and fantastic bocce facilities.
The competition finals proved to be a tussle between the three Victorian teams and team New South Wales. Between the four teams, they took home 10 of the 12 titles on offer! The other two titles were won by the Under 35 superstar Tony Borrelli from Shepparton, Victoria. The coveted Perpetual Champion State trophy for men and women was won by Victoria.
In the men’s section of the competition, the powerhouse Victorian Metro team took out three titles - Doubles, Triples and Bowl/Throw - against a tenacious New South Wales team. The spectators who packed the bocce stadium at all events witnessed formidable performances from both these teams. Victoria saw the return of skilled bowler, Tony Palermo, teaming up with Vic. Metro heavyweights Angelo Parisi, Jim Coviello and all-rounder international great, Dino Mikolic. Team New South Wales was similarly well-equipped with rising star, Daniel Samsa, taking out the fast and furious progressive throw title against the defending Under 35 champion, Santo Pascuzzi. All-rounder George Milic and NSW bocce icon, Stefano Chiandotto, were the strategists of the team.Their combined brilliance on the courts left the spectators spellbound! Talented Tony Borrelli representing the Under 35’s team was also a winner against the New South Wales giants, winning the singles against George Milic and the precision against Daniel Samsa in grand style.
Superb performances from the skilled Australian masters of the sport of bocce, including the tactics of Bundaberg’s Lou Masotti, the dead accurate pointing of SA’s Schievenin, and the throwing of Rodolfo Mancini, not to mention the doggedness of the whole of the WA team, determined to salvage some pride for their home state, kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Also putting on a compelling show were young guns from regional Victoria (Morwell), Nick Penney (who was awarded the male best and fairest trophy based on points from the referees) and Joe Maselli, along with teammates Nick Albanese and Felice Prezioso and newcomers from Queensland Metro!
In the women’s championship, the Vic. Metro team of experienced national competition, Vanessa Allegretto (female best and fairest winner) and Attilia Mezzalira, joined by Angela Allegretto, made it through to the semi-finals in all events, only to be beaten in the singles by NSW’s Antonietta Ruscio, and in the doubles by SA’s Onorina Bersan and Maria Ferraro. Vic. Metro took their revenge in the triples semi-finals, beating SA 13-6. In the bowl/throw semi-final, Diane Penney (Vic. Regional - Morwell) proved too strong for Vanessa. Vanessa, however, was the jubilant winner of the precision throw final against NSW’s emerging star athlete, Nicole Samsa! Vanessa and her team went on to set up a battle in the triples final against their regional counterparts from Morwell, Anna Prezioso, Maria Maselli and sharp shooter, Diane Penney, in a nail biter final. Morwell triumphed 9-8! The doubles final was the match of the super pointers from regional Victoria (NEBA) and South Australia. The NEBA pair of Angiolina Borrelli and Rosa Russo took out the match in an exciting finish. The singles final between local champion, Rosetta Kuscevic and NSW’s Antonietta Ruscio was a challenge of skill and tactics down to the last point. WA were denied a win on home soil and the NSW team were triumphant. Another great win for NSW came in the bowl/throw final contest between Nicole Samsa and Diane Penney with an ecstatic Nicole taking out the title 20-15. Nicole thrilled the opening night’s spectators in the presence of distinguished guests, including Councillor Stephanie Proud, JP, and representatives of the Department of Sport WA, with an exhibition match of the progressive throw - the first time this event was included in the Australian championship program in many years - ushering in great expectations for the future!
Bocce Australia with the endorsement of the State bocce delegates made the following special awards:
Hall of Fame:
Gino Cencigh - for his service to bocce in New South Wales, especially in the formative years of that State’s Federation.
Franco Capriotti - (Mt. Gambier, SA) for his tireless promotion of "raffa" bocce in Australia which led to the formal formation and regular competition of "raffa" bocce in Australia.
Mafalda Zambon - (WA) for her leadership and tireless work with and promote women’s bocce in that state over two decades.
National Volunteer Awards:
Sally Fava - was the recipient of a National Volunteer Award for her ongoing support and promotion of the sport of bocce and organisation of the Australian Raffa Open Championship over many years in Morwell, Victoria.
Michael Migliaccio - (Victoria) was bestowed the award for his advocacy and organisation of programs for athletes with disability especially in the area of Special Olympics in Victoria.
Congratulations on the outstanding success must go to the President and Secretary of the Federation Sport Bocce of WA, Jason and Nicola Tutt, for their exceptional organisation in conjunction with the President of the Tuscany Association Fernando Pagani, his great team of volunteers and participating sponsors. As the national body charged with the responsibility of staging the National Championships, Bocce Australia acknowledges the work of the State Federations and the national volunteers associated with the conduct of the tournament, especially chief referee Franco Fava, and state referees Ottorino Beccegato and Mario Ottaviano, Tournament Director Mary Massena, Technical and Disciplinary Chairperson Anthony Biancacci, and Technical Draw Director Frank Funari.
The 2018 Australian Bocce Championships will be held at the Redlands Club in Queensland.
At the 2017 Annual General Meeting of Bocce Australia, Raymond Cher announced that he would not be standing for re-election as President of Bocce Australia. His decision not to stand for re-election was made in the interest of the sport as it enters what is hoped to be a new phase for the sport internationally, having been accepted as an Olympic sport for the 2024 Olympics. Raymond Cher has been involved in the promotion of Bocce Australia for more than 50 years and was responsible for its formation along with the late Virgilio Turco. He counts amongst his achievements the staging of three world championships in Australia, leading a delegation to promote the sport in China in 1983 and again in 1995 (Australia now hosts the annual Asia/Oceania Junior and Under 23 Invitational Championship with the participation of China and Japan), and having the sport of bocce recognised by the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Olympic Committee. The introduction of a Women’s Sector and National Women’s Championship is another achievement he is proud of. Raymond, who is Vice-President of World Body of Raffa Bocce (Confederazione Boccistica Internazionale) will remain involved in the sport, and one of his ongoing ambitions is to see the history of the modern bocce sport in Australia which he helped establish, be written. Raymond wishes to thank all of those who have contributed to the development and evolution of the sport and who have assisted him personally over the years. He wishes to particularly thank Ubaldo Larobina and the staff at Il Globo, who have supported him and the sport over the years by giving a voice and space to the activities of bocce in Australia.
Raymond congratulates the President-elect, Frank Funari, a man who has shown outstanding leadership as President of Bocce Victoria, for accepting to take on the presidency. Frank and Treasurer Anthony Biancacci, are equally as passionate advocates for the sport of bocce, as is he.