The 2022 Bocce-Raffa Open, hosted at the Morwell Italian and Australian Sporting Club in Victoria, was a great success. It’s good to have the Australian Bocce-Raffa Open back!
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Morwell Raffa boccedrome was alive with lots of colour on the courts as bocce players, including men and women from Sydney, Melbourne and regional Victoria, competed for prize money and to qualify to represent Australia at the Asia Oceania Championships in Kota Bharu Kelantan, Malaysia in early December.
The 2022 Bocce-Raffa Open, sponsored by the Latrobe City Council, Sport Australia, Morwell Club and Bocce Australia, had a good mix of experienced and new players. Chief referee was Franco Fava, supported by Tony Biancacci, Sonia Fava, Joe Maselli, and Dianne Penney. It was good to have Silvio Bruzzese and Dianne Penney competing, having just returned from the World Titles in Mersin, Turkey only a few days prior to this event.
The Marconi and Liverpool club players, who travelled by train from Sydney all the way to Morwell, were in good form and dominated the men’s section, with the final being an all-Sydney affair with both teams from Sydney.
Silvio Bruzzese teamed with Leo Deleo from Marconi club and were in top form in the final, winning 10 points to 5 points against the team of Dias/Salvo from Liverpool Club. Silvio’s international experience stood out as his on-court game strategy was too good for the team of Tony Diaz and Nelson Salvo.
While in the women’s final, the Morwell team of Dianne Penney and Mary Messena narrowly defeated the women’s team from Liverpool of Robyn Burton and Santa Bruzzese, at 7 points to 6 points. The game was a tight as the lead changed every end with Morwell narrowly taking the last end and the prize.
The welcome cocktails on Saturday night were well supported, with Latrobe Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan, Club VP Tony Paolini and Club Manager Franco D’Urbano present to welcome the teams and officials.
Bocce Australia President Frank Funari and newly elected General Secretary to the World Bocce-Raffa Board CBI Tony Biancacci mentioned that the club courts were world-class. They said there were plans underway to host a major International Raffa Championship in Morwell, either in 2024 or 2026, in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games, which Morwell will be host to four games events. Cr O’Callaghan welcomed the opportunity for Bocce to host a major international Bocce event in Morwell and mentioned that it would be great to have it as a lead up to the Commonwealth Games.
Both winning men’s and the women’s doubles team have qualified to compete at Kota Bharu Kelantan in Malaysia from December 4, 2022 to December 8, 2022. The International Asia Oceania Continental Championship will be played in five disciplines: Single Men, Single Women, Double Men, Double Women and Mixed Double, with the top two ranked for each discipline to qualify for the World Championship 2023.
Bocce Australia thanks Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan and Latrobe City Council for their continued support of the sport and the club. Likewise, thanks to the Italian and Australian Sporting Club in Morwell, Club President Sam Carbone, VP Tony Paolini and Club Manager Franco D’Urbano, Sally Fava and her volunteers, Franco Fava for preparations and officiating the championship, and the players.
A big shout out to little Alex Penney for her assistance and her special comments during the live streaming plus Luisa Kennedy, Tony Biancacci, Sonia Fava and the many volunteers for making this event a great success for bocce sport.