Each year Bowra Central battles it out against 66 other NSW central schools for bragging rights as boss sporting community.
They contest a variety of sports, including seven-a-side rugby league, touch football, netball and lawn bowls, and compete in smaller clusters of regional schools before two teams from each division are ultimately selected to represent their region at the state titles in Dubbo during the last week in August.
Last year, Bowraville fought hard during their Inverell cluster, and an incredible seven (out of a possible ten) teams were chosen to continue on to States.
Not to be outdone, this year’s cohort attained the same achievement, with teams competing in mixed lawn bowls, Open and U16 touch football and netball, and U16 rugby league.
But whereas last year, the Open girls netballers were the only team to bring home the bacon, this year our mighty Bowra Central athletes took the dais on five separate occasions.
Mixed Lawn Bowls
The week of sports was off to a roaring start with the Bowra bowls boys securing wins against Coolah (10-6), Tottenham (10-8) and Warren (17-5). This qualified them for the semis against Trangie, who they trounced 10 to 8.
The Bowra trio went down (9-4) in the finals to a plucky Peak Hill side, which incidentally contained the player of the tournament, and a 10-year-old dynamite.
But a silver medal is nothing to sniff at, and the Bowra Bowls medal was just the start of more shining things to come.
U16 Boys Touch Football
The dawn of the next day marked touch footy time, and our U16 boys were on fire, nailing every match they played. They racked up wins against Coolamon (9-3), Peak Hill (6-2), Mendooran (5-2), Boorowa (7-3), and Guyra (8-4).
“Noone even came close,” sports teacher Richard Clarke said.
Gold to Bowraville, and the school’s first ever medal in touch football with Simon Walker named as Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Open Boys Touch Football
But Bowraville wasn’t done yet, and neither were the champion U16s; the boys were joined the following day by three Opens players including Zane Doolan fresh from his victory with the U18s Macksville Sea Eagles in the Group 2 Rugby League grand finals.
On Wednesday the Opens team chalked up wins against Braidwood (10-3), Peak Hill (6-2), Woodenbong (7-3) and Coolah (10-2).
In a tightly-fought match against Boorowa which showed off the defensive juggernaut of both teams, our boys were just pipped at the post, going down 2-1, and leaving them with a silver lining.
U16 7-a-side Rugby League
Our rugby boys were backing up after the touch tournament, and some were hoping to keep some fuel in the tank for that upcoming weekend’s Group 2 Junior Rugby League grand finals.
“We didn’t even know if we’d get out there this year with so many of our boys playing in the junior rugby finals,” Mr Clarke said.
Nevertheless, they conquered Woodenbong (30-16), Merriwa (38-26), and drew with Molong (16 all).
A loss to Lake Cargellico (32-10) put them on an unprecedented even footing with Molong for the tournament silver both in points and a for and against try countback.
It was decided that the medal would go to the team with the most tries over the day, which just so happened to be Bowraville! Another silver, and four medals overall for the verandah post town.
The netballers have often been the pièce de résistance of the Bowra sports scene, due to the lasting legacy of coach Marion Wood, who often mentored the girls from primary school right through to senior level.
But this year saw the U16 girls just knocked out of the medal contention with wins to Lake Cargellico, Manilla and Baradine, but losses to Tooleybuc and Balranald.
Despite missing out on podium positions, the girls can hold their heads high after placing third in the state.
Like their younger counterparts, the Opens girls fought tooth and perfectly-trimmed nail for their three wins against Lake Cargellico, Dunedoo and Coolamon.
But after two scrapes against Manilla and Balranald, they also had to content themselves with third place – not a bad rap at all!
U14 7-a-side Rugby League
The last day of competition had Bowraville contesting once again in rugby league. The eight players in the U14s team (meaning they had just one reserve player) had a blinder of a day and came away with wins against Baradine, Molong, Coleambally and Walcha – leaving them the undefeated champions of the tournament.
Malcolm Noble, who amazingly ran on both touch teams and the U16 rugby side, was given his dues as Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Astoundingly, Jamaul Tyerman and Clinton West went on to smash it in the U13s Group 2 finals competition for the Bowra Tigers the very next day.
As did Brady Atkins, Simon Walker, Tyrell West and Clay Perkins with the champion U16 Tigers.
Two gold, three silvers and two thirds was the tally for Bowraville at the end of the state finals out of the seven competing teams and a possible ten sports – the best result out of the 67 competing schools in the competition.
Sports and P.E. teacher Richard Clarke chalks Bowraville Central’s success up to the amazing variety of dedicated sports teams that represent our little Valley and who turn ‘punching above their weight’ into a ritual.
And he said we can owe the school’s unprecedented success in the touch football competition to the rise of the Macksville Falcons club.
“A big thanks also goes to the all the parents and teachers who helped make the trip possible with fundraising and meal preparation,” he said.
“And a big thanks to local businesses who contributed funds and prizes, including the Bowraville Ex-Services Club and the Bowraville IGA.”