In June, the Veneto Club proposed to hold a marquee bocce tournament to commemorate the first ever World Bocce Championship held outside Europe and North Africa, that was originally hosted by the Veneto Club in November 1979.
1979 was an era when bocce was an extremely popular and prominent sport by many immigrants to Australia, especially by the European Community. As Raymond Cher mentioned in his opening speech “….at that time there were over 5,000 active bocce members and an additional 10,000 social recreational bocce players. The event received extensive corporate sponsorship, support from clubs Australia wide and media coverage” The 40th anniversary tournament was to be in the image of the 1979 world titles – a Doubles event but this time including women, played a round robin format, followed by classification rounds and then finals.
Similar to 1979, an opening was held on Friday night, 22nd November in a marquee decorated with the flags of the then 1979 participating countries along with memorabilia of this historic event. Player registrations, speeches, a presentation by Mr Raymond Cher describing the preparation of the 1979 championships followed by the tournament draw and a fun bocce bowling game to conclude the night. The opening was highly successful with over 80 people attending.
The Veneto Club served Canape’s together with drinks including the generous donation of Prosecco from one of one of the major sponsors, Ale pat Taylor. The Prosecco setting off the evening as the “Veneto Drink of choice”.
As part of the registration players and officials were also presented with a gift from another very generous sponsor Beretta Australia. Players were so surprised and grateful for the gift that many chose to wear it throughout the weekend.
For the tournament the bocce drome was decorated with the flags of the 1979 participating nations.
These were kindly donated by KAPPA, one hanging above each of the bocce courts making the bocce drome very colourful and giving it a real international feel.
The doubles competition for both Ladies and Men started at 8.30am on Saturday 23 November. Ladies and Men teams from many Melbourne clubs as well as teams from country Victoria, ACT, NSW and Tasmania participated. It was noticeable that all those participating were friendly and complementary to each other, a lovely atmosphere for all players. Sunday saw the final rounds of round robin followed by ranking identification and commencement of the elimination games through to the finals.
At the lunch break the semi-finalists were determined with Veneto Club having one team in the men’s (others being two Lazio Marche teams and one Sunshine Italian club team) and the Veneto Club with two teams in the ladies’ (others being Furlan Club and Casa D’Abruzzo).
Lunch on Sunday provided by Veneto Club (VC) was also a celebration event with Lina Cher providing a beautiful cake to commemorate the 40th anniversary, a wonderful gesture by Ray and Lina Cher. Lina and Ray have been staunch supporters of bocce having been the sports administrators in Australia for half a century!
Onwards to the finals in the afternoon. In the men’s semi-finals the VC team of Andrew Pozzer & Dom DiFrederico won against their opponents from Lazio Marche team of Dino Mikolic & Tony Borrelli. While in the other semi the Lazio Marche team of Jim Coviello and Rocco Palladino beat Sunshine duo of Tony Palermo & Angelo Parisi. While in the ladies it was a mixed result with one VC team(Connie & Josie) successful in beating Casa D’Abruzzo while in the other the VC team were not so fortunate losing to the Furlan Club (Vanessa and Angela Allegretto).
Both Finals were exciting as in both the Men’s and Ladies, both Veneto teams shot out to an early lead only to be pegged back by the opposition.
Then it was an arm wrestle for an end or two but in the end it was the Veneto Club home teams that broke through and won the final.
Presentations were held in the Bocce drome with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals presented by Agostino Martini, Raymond Cher and Frank Funari (Bocce Australia) respectively along with prizemoney and a bottle of Prosecco on behalf of our generous sponsors. The tournament was then closed with acknowledgements and a toast to Bocce.
In her closing speech Sonja Velo said:
“The tournament was a great success in all aspects but could not have gone ahead or have been so successful without the generous support of all our sponsors, the Grollo Ruzzene Foundation, CO.AS.IT, Alepat Taylor (including their donation of prosecco enjoyed by participants and awarded to the champions), Beretta Australia, especially for the generous supply of the player gifts. Daniella Seabrook Photography, for the donation of her time to capture the event in splendid pictures, Kappa, for the donation of the flags which really set the scene, Stonemart Memorials and BlueCross Aged Care also for their support“.
“We also must thank the Veneto Club Management for canapés and meals during the weekend, and of course, the Veneto Club Ladies Auxiliary for their delicious snacks that were so eagerly consumed. And last of all we must thank Bocce Australia for their guidance, knowledge and support in the planning of this event. Right from the start when it was a just a tiny idea, they backed us and guided us right through to the end” Sonja told BA.
In closing an emotional Sonja told everyone “Enjoy the pictures of the event, and hope to see you back in 2020 for the next VENETO CLUB BOCCE SLAM!”
Written by SV & FF
Go to the Veneto Club Facebook to view all the photos.