The Wollongong, NSW Fraternity Club came alive to the sounds of bocce balls smashing, clunking, and clashing as junior bocce players and families from all corners of Australia competed in the Junior Bocce Slam officially known as – the Australian Junior and NextGen Bocce Open Championships, 2022.
This is the first time that the Fraternity Club has played host to a major national Bocce Australia event and credit to the club for their wonderful hospitality and generosity given to the players and the many families that were on hand to support the players.
Bocce Australia and Bocce NSW were welcomed by Iris Soldi Sports President and Life Member of the Fraternity Club. It was thanks to the good work of the NSW Bocce (Joe Rozzo, Carl Pavin and Sandra Samsa) in securing the venue to host the event over two years ago and unfortunately had to be put on hold due to COVID.
Iris Soldi the heart and soul of the club, affectionately also known as the Face of the Frat was very welcoming. At 88 years of age, Iris Soldi is quick as a flash when it comes to organising sporting events for The Fraternity Club. As the club’s much-loved sports president, Iris juggles her days between running many and varied events with winning results. This was again the case as Iris did not miss a beat and was court side every day of the championships. The hospitality was fantastic and thanks to the great staff and volunteers at the club from the court preparations to the food and club facilities it was all excellent and appreciated by all that attended.
As many of the parents stated: “It was a great successful tournament and week end, it felt like a big family reunion”. And this is what Bocce Australia wanted to achieve as it is all about fun, making new friends and meeting up with past friends – it is the bocce fraternity way!
Players from QLD, ACT/Cooma, NSW and VIC were there as part of the try-outs to represent Australia at the World Junior Titles later this year in Monaco and France. The championships welcomed many first timers in the junior under 15, under 18 age categories along with experienced junior players in the under 23, and the NextGen division.
Five bocce disciplines were on show: the traditional Singles, the Doubles, the Bowl Throw and the more spectacular throwing events of Precision Throw, and the exciting Progressive Throw. Unfortunately, time ran out to run the State of Origin battle between VIC, QLD and NSW and this will be held over to another date.
Bocce Australia’s President Frank Funari said:
“It was a successful championship; we were delighted at the excitement by the many young athletes and families that participated.
“The live streaming of the events was very successful with viewers worldwide watching the games. From the stats that we measure from our Facebook page, the reach was over 5,000 people with some events attracting 2,600 views and still growing! This is wonderful to see how the reach is exploding around Australia all of which will help change the image of the sport.
“All the players seemed to have had fun, which for U15 and U18 is so important! Great to see so many first timers having a go and likewise the more experienced back on the courts.
“We need to ensure that state Bocce administrations and clubs implement the Bocce Australia junior programs so as to keep this group going and growing in number. With this current enthusiasm it is important that the momentum is not lost and that the states and clubs implement the Bocce Australia Junior Bocce programs as a regular weekly program.”
This year we saw the return of QLD, thanks to the good work of the Redlands Bocce Club under the guidance of the Club Junior Coach Kerrie Reitano. The state has resurrected a healthy junior squad, many still in the under 15 age group. It’s good to see the return of Carlo Bunin, with newcomers Vinay Singh, Chiara and Ava Tomasi, and Kiara and Kayla Sadlier. Kayla at 11 years of age, did very well having competed in the U15 final and narrowly missing out on gold trophy. Both Chiara and Ava Tomasi did well having won many trophies and for Ava Tomasi picking up the B&F Turco encouragement Award. Likewise, Carlo and first timer Vinay had success with both going home with trophies to remember the event.
From NSW, we had international medallist Daniel Samsa, along with young woman international Nicole Samsa, Andrew Suber made a comeback winning some trophies plus a number of young bocce hot shots including Aaron and Lara O’Callaghan, the Chiandotto sisters, Nina, and Ava and first timers Ava Scalia and Melissa Danelutti all showing great potential. Melissa went on to win the U18 Precision and U18 Singles events while Nina Chiandotto won the U15 Precision and U15 Progressive throw titles.
ACT/Cooma were back with Michael and Daniel Pevere. Michael showed that he had not lost his style and was again very competitive competing above his age group. Michael with Nina Chiandotto won the U18/U15 Doubles title.
Victoria was well represented by up-and-coming star and international representative Max Tricarico, the young and promising Lucas Mikolic, along with the Morwell Bocce juniors Ayden Respondino, Tommy Campbell, and first timer at the nationals Kayla Dukes. All Victorians did well, having won podium positions for many of the events, with a standout performance in the U15’s by Kayla Dukes showing that she has the technique to develop into a good bocce player. Likewise, Lucas who competed above his age group was exceptional winning the U18 Progressive Throw.
Bocce Australia announced the players and coaches selected to represent Australia at this year’s Bocce International events the Denis Ravera Challenge, in Monaco and the World Junior titles in Monbrisson, France.
Denis Ravera Challenge, Monaco: Oct 21,22, and 23, 2022
Players: Nina Chiandotto, Chiara Tomasi
Coach: Kerrie Reitano
Players: Michael Pevere, Ava Tomasi
Coach: Stefano Chiandotto
Players: Ayden Respondino, Tommy Campell
Coach: Stefano Chiandotto
World Junior Championships, Monbrisson, France: Oct 25 – 29, 2022
Players: Michael Pevere, Melissa Danelutti, Lara O’Callaghan
Coach: Stefano Chiandotto
Players: Max Tricarico, Carlo Bunin, Aaron O’Callaghan
Coach: Stefano Chiandotto
Congratulations to all players and especially to those chosen to wear the green and gold at the forth coming international bocce championships.
The championship was only possible thanks to the support from Sport Australia and the sponsorship for the meals and the Trophies from the Fraternity Club – thank you so much for your vision to support community sport.
To the many volunteers who worked tirelessly in the lead up and during the two-day event – thanks! The tournament draw and event management prepared by Frank Funari, with technical assistance by Tony Biancacci.
Thanks to the Mary Massena and Sandra Samsa the Tournament Directors. Catering and logistics thanks Carl Pavin. Likewise, thanks also to Chief Referee Franco Fava and his assistant referees Joe Rozzo, David Pevere and David Samsa. The scorers Sally Fava and Maria Maselli and others that helped.
Special thanks to the coaches Kerrie Reitano, Stefano Chiandotto and Angelo Parisi who trained the players and encouraged the many first-timers.
The live streaming was again a great success and thanks to the initiative shown by Carlo, Max, Daniel, Vinay, and the others that helped to stream the action into the many homes around Australia and the world.
To all the players and the parents, Bocce Australia thanks you all for your support of bocce sport and these championships. We look forward to you all continuing in the sport and having many more years of bocce enjoyment. Bocce Australia sees this group of young bocce athletes as the start of a nucleus group of bocce excellence to grow in number as the sport expands in Australia and in the Asia Oceania region.
Congratulations to all that took part in this memorable bocce Junior Championship – bocce sport is back!