In 2022, bocce came back big and with a bocce-packed year on the sporting calendar, our athletes did us proud.
Looking back on the year, there were key sporting moments that were, in my opinion, huge and memorable.
Here’s my pick of the ten stand-out moments in a year packed with glory.
10. Redlands Sporting Club – embracing the Bocce One principles
Both Kerrie Reitano, Redlands Sporting Club’s bocce delegate, and Bocce Australia’s National Development Officer Vinay Singh have been instrumental in getting new players and local schools embracing the sport of bocce – from local young juniors to mums, and seniors of the third age.
Using the Bocce One principles, they were instrumental in implementing some fun and friendly events, attracting new players to the sport of bocce, and drawing new members to the club.
9. Barbara Jones, the champion’s champion
With Barbara winning the women’s singles in 2022, she has cemented her title as the best Women’s Australian Singles bocce-volo player for the fifth time.
Barbara has been a great ambassador for women bocce players for more than 25 years and continues to do so with her athleticism, precision throwing, and general all-round good sport attitude. A true sports champion!
8. Enzo Tomasi – Back to the future
After many years of absence from the sport, Enzo came back with lots of determination and won the Australian Singles title. It was fabulous to see his family and friends rally around him with joy as he won.
To top off a great comeback to the game, Enzo went on to represent Australia at the World Titles in Turkey. His two daughters, who were excited and inspired by their dad, were successful in being selected to represent Australia at the World Junior titles in Monaco and France.
7. The Hall of Fame, Team of Half Century
What a memorable gala night, not only for the inductees but for all present and those watching on live stream.
Great stories were told, there was lots of emotion, plenty of passion, and the respect shown for the sport was great to see. All of this confirmed the honour of these athletes being inducted into the Bocce Australia Hall of Fame.
6. Diane Penney, ‘Queen of Bocce’
I call Diane the ‘Queen of Bocce’ as she has mastered both bocce codes of the sport, as a player, a referee, and a coach.
This past year was a special year for Diane, with her winning Australian titles in both Bocce-Volo and Bocce-Raffa, and then capping it off by winning two gold and a silver at the Asia Oceania Continental Bocce-Raffa Championships in Malaysia.
Diane deservedly makes number six on my list and the title ‘Queen of Bocce’.
5. Junior bocce is back
Wollongong, Fraternity Club and NSW Bocce were the hosts for what has been labelled as the start of a new surge in junior bocce.
After a few lean years it was fabulous to see so much enthusiasm, with lots of new junior players surrounded with heaps of support from their parents.
2022 saw the biggest junior contingent from Australia go to compete at world and international junior bocce events in Monaco and France.
With the experience gained by many of these novice players, it is anticipated that this is the start of a resurgence in junior bocce.
4. The Bocce-Volo throw of the century
My number four bocce moment is Max Tricarico’s last throw at the target ‘Jack’ in the precision throw qualification round of the world junior titles in France. It was rare and so brilliant, a million to one!
It had the commentators, referees and spectators mesmerised, as never before had a direct hit on the target jack buried the jack under the mat.
3. Team Challenge
It is fantastic to have John Inglese back with bocce. He brings a lot of experience, energy and ideas to the sport of bocce. His introduction of the all-new bocce Team Challenge and its player pathway is set to rock the sport.
The pilot program, hosted at the Veneto Club in Melbourne, was a huge success and is set to become the benchmark entry for the sport Australia-wide in 2023 and beyond.
2. The Italian Australian Sporting Club, Morwell
The club showed why they are one of the best bocce clubs in Australia. With 2022 being a ‘bounce back’ year for bocce sport in Australia, the club hosted five memorable bocce events plus more, making it my second placed for 2022.
The combined moments for the busy club were hosting:
- The Senior Nationals
- Bocce Australia’s 50th anniversary special
- The Hall of Fame gala night
- The LaTrobe City Classic
- The Bocce-Raffa Open.
On top of this, they have a fabulous volunteer base, a great club culture, and many players that have represented Australia. In 2022, their players travelled to Turkey, France, Monaco, and Malaysia to compete, with many bringing home a swag of medals, all of which makes the club a stand-out bocce club for nurturing players.
1. Santo Pascuzzi defies expectations with historic rapid throw win
My top moment of 2022 was Santo’s win in the final of the Australian Progressive Rapid Throw.
Bocce was back and the rapid throw final was one of the best ever at an Australian National Championship.
It was neck and neck between Santo Pascuzzi and Daniel Samsa, with Santo winning on the last shot with a score 35 hits from 44 throws and Daniel finishing on 34 from 47 throws.
It was Santo’s eighth time of winning the title of Progressive Throw Australian Bocce Champion. Full credit to both athletes for putting on a fabulous showcase of athleticism, stamina, precision, and determination.
Santo’s win demonstrates what can be achieved with these qualities and to be a sports champion! Congratulations Santo Pascuzzi for being my top bocce moment for 2022.
Article written by Frank Funari, president of Bocce Australia.