23 years and still going strong for John Talbot Tournament

by marketing

Bowlers from across the state converged on McLaren Vale earlier this week for the annual John Talbot Tournament.

The two-day event had 168 bowlers competing on each day, with a four, led by Ian Fyfe of Marion, crowned overall winners, with Brenton Speed, of Victor Harbor, and his four finishing second, while Ken Stokes, of Berri, and his four came third.

Club secretary Peter Guerin said this year’s event went “very well”.

“We had 168 players on Monday and again on Tuesday, from all over the state,” he said.

“They came from as far west as Kimba and Cummins, down to the South East from Port MacDonnell, Mount Gambier and Keith, then up to the Riverland with Loxton, Berri, Lyrup and Renmark, then three teams from Kangaroo Island and everywhere in between.

“It was a great two days.

“The weather was very kind to us, and I think everybody enjoyed it.”

Peter said the event’s ongoing success is a credit to John and his character.

“It was the 23rd edition of the event,” he said.

“John is well known all over the state and was a stock and station agent, so he travelled pretty extensively.

“He is a pretty affable sort of bloke, so he got to know a lot of people.

“It has kind of just carried on from there.

“People come to catch up with John on an annual basis, a lot of the time out of respect for him.

“There are some people who have been to every one of the 23 events, which is a special effort.

“Then you have the quality of our greens, which are some of the best in the state and maybe even some of the best in Australia, I think.”

Peter said the club adapted well to the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place.

“COVID made it a little bit more difficult this year in the fact that we couldn’t have everybody in the clubrooms at once because of the one person per two square metres rule,” he said.

“We had half the teams play 15 ends in the morning and then 21 in the afternoon and the other half played 21 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon.

“One half were able to come in and have their meals first, then by the time the others were due to come in, they were done in the clubrooms and we could get them in as well.

“That seemed to work pretty well.

“For morning and afternoon teas we had to set up some tables outside so we didn’t go over the number that we were allowed to have in the clubrooms.”

Peter thanked all volunteers for their efforts in helping make the event a success.

“Over the two days we would have had 30 to 40 volunteers,” he said.

“They helped prepare the greens and the meals, set up things and with cleaning as well.”

The second day of the event also saw those in attendance raise $1000 to put towards the GoFundMe page for Gary Thompson, who was seriously injured in a motorbike accident earlier this month.

John Talbot said this year’s event was another success.

“I was very happy to get there,” he said.

John said the attraction of competitors from across the state and even further has always created a great atmosphere at the event.

“Over the years we have had players from here and interstate, from Victoria and New South Wales,” he said.

“You get a buzz in the club house because everyone knows each other pretty well.”

According to John, the event began in very simple fashion back in the 1990s.

“It was one of our members of yesteryear who suggested we should run this tournament,” he said.

“It took off and it worked and fortunately we have had a full book every year.

“After initially being embarrassed about it, I now get a real thrill from it and I enjoy it.”