2024 Sydney Bowlfest Ranked Recap

By Matt Stevens
May 20, 2024

For the second consecutive year, the Sydney Bowlfest showcased top-tier bowling talent from across Australia and New Zealand, culminating in the crowning of four champions at iPlay Tenpin City in Lidcombe, New South Wales.

Participants had the opportunity to compete in one or both of the nationally ranked events—the Junior Sydney Cup and the Sydney Youth Cup—by completing nine games of qualifying. Notably, the scores from these games could qualify bowlers for both events if they met the eligibility criteria and entered both events. The Junior Sydney Cup, now in its 46th year, continued its long-standing tradition of fierce competition in the junior division. Simultaneously, the Sydney Youth Cup celebrated its 17th anniversary, following a format closely mirroring that of the Junior Sydney Cup, showcasing the skills of young up-and-coming athletes.

A packed iPlay Tenpin City hosts the 2024 Sydney Bowlfest

This year’s Junior Sydney Cup female division was a thrilling display of emerging talent, featuring seven of the top eight bowlers chosen to represent Australia at the upcoming Asian Junior Championship in Malaysia.

Tasmania’s Abby George set the pace early, leading the field as the top qualifier. A league bowler from Launceston Lanes, Abby delivered her best performance at a nationally ranked event yet, amassing a total score of 1,672 from her nine games, which included four games scoring over 200.

As the competition moved into the matchplay stage, the dynamics shifted. South Australia’s Emily Hart demonstrated her competitive edge by winning six matches and drawing her first against Emily Hinspeter. Her formidable performance throughout the matchplay stage secured her the top seed going into the stepladder finals, positioning her just one win away from adding another title to her impressive collection.

However, New South Wales’ Jessica Chi had plans to disrupt the expected narrative. A league bowler from Bowlarama Wetherill Park, Chi entered the finals as the second seed. She clinched a decisive victory over Tasmania’s Jasmine Walker with a score of 172-146 in her first stepladder match to set the stage for a dramatic final showdown against her fellow Australian team member, Emily Hart.

In a finale that captivated the crowd, each delivery was met with anticipation and excitement. Jessica Chi showcased her remarkable tenacity, skill, and nerves, edging out Emily Hart in a tightly contested match, 185-181, to secure her first nationally ranked event title.

This victory was not just a personal triumph but a perfect lead-up to her second consecutive appearance for Australia at the Asian Junior Tenpin Bowling Championship, reinforcing her reputation as a formidable contender on the international stage.

182 (+10)168 (+20)192 (+20)147216 (+20)161191
  • Match 1 – Jessica Chi 172 defeats Jasmine Walker 146
  • Match 2 – Jessica Chi 185 defeats Emily Hart 181
L-R: Emily Hart, Jessica Chi, & Jasmine Walker
grade

HIGH GAME

247 – Emily Hart

Justin Dinham solidified his status as a premier talent in junior tenpin bowling with a commanding performance in the male division at this year’s Junior Sydney Cup. A local favourite from iPlay Tenpin City in Lidcombe, Justin has had an exceptional year, topping the Open division rankings after a victorious run at the Kegel QLD Open and a commendable 6th place finish at the Australian Open.

Competing in his first junior division event of the year, Justin brought the same level of confidence and precision that has marked his performances in the Open division. He topped the qualifying round with an impressive total of 1,907 pins, and he continued to lead the field through the matchplay stage, securing the top seed with four wins out of seven matches and amassing a total of 3,297 pins.

The stepladder finals saw intense competition from other notable bowlers, including Joshua Buttigieg from Bowlarama Wetherill Park, who held his second seed position with four wins. Victoria’s William Zaccaria also made a strong showing, entering as the third and final seed. In a closely fought first stepladder match, Zaccaria edged out Buttigieg 181-172, setting up a final showdown with Dinham.

In the title match, Justin demonstrated why he is considered one of the sport’s rising stars, decisively defeating Zaccaria 228-201. This victory was a fitting finishing touch to his stellar performance throughout the event, highlighting his readiness for the international challenges ahead and his potential to dominate in future competitions.

Having been selected for both the Asian Junior Championship and the World Youth Championship, the 15-year-old has a busy and exciting year ahead. His exceptional skill and consistency across multiple divisions in 2024 suggest that Justin Dinham is not just a national standout but a junior bowler ready to make his mark on the world stage.

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213 (+20)174197 (+20)180 (+20)183184179 (+20)
  • Match 1 – William Zaccaria 181 defeats Joshua Buttigieg 172
  • Match 2 – Justin Dinham 228 defeats William Zaccaria 201
L-R: William Zaccaria, Justin Dinham, & Joshua Buttigieg
grade

HIGH GAME

270 – Sean Lam

The Youth Cup’s female division showcased a stellar performance by Emily Hinspeter, who brought her exceptional form from the Junior Cup into this tournament. Her nine-game total of 1,648 not only placed her second in the junior event but secured her the top spot in the youth division. Instead of a Matchplay stage, the youth competitors faced six additional games, setting the stage for the top five bowlers to advance to an exhilarating stepladder final.

Among those in the finals, three were talented junior bowlers, including Emily Hinspeter. The other two contenders, Samantha Clifton, and Hannah Clark are recognised as key figures in Australia’s youth team and are preparing for the upcoming World Youth Championships.

Emily Hinspeter, hailing from Townsville Tenpin in North Queensland, entered the decisive stepladder final as the top seed. She completed her 15-game campaign with an impressive total of 2,865, maintaining an average of 191. Her consistency and poise under pressure were on full display throughout the tournament.

Tasmania’s Jasmine Walker, the fifth seed, delivered the performance of her career at this event. She triumphed over seasoned competitors Hannah Clark (231-191) and Samantha Clifton (202-191) in successive matches, showcasing her emerging prowess before being narrowly defeated by the second seed, Emily Hart, in a close match (183-175).

Ultimately, it was Emily Hinspeter who stood out in the final round of the stepladder. She faced off against Emily Hart and secured her first national title with a commanding win, 196-169. This victory not only marks her as a national champion but also highlights her readiness for the international challenges ahead.

As a key player in North Queensland’s historic President’s Shield victory and now a national title holder, Emily Hinspeter’s outstanding year continues to build momentum as she prepares for the Asian Junior Championships in Malaysia. This strong performance indicates that the Australian squad is well-prepared and formidable as they gear up for international competition.

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  • Match 1 – Jasmine Walker 231 defeats Hannah Clark 191
  • Match 2 – Jasmine Walker 202 defeates Samantha  Clifton 191
  • Match 3 – Emily Hart 183 defeats Jasmine Walker 175
  • Match 4 – Emily Hinspeter 196 defeats Emily Hart 169
L-R: Jasmine Walker, Emily Hinspeter, Emily Hart, Samantha Clifton, & Hannah Clark
grade

HIGH GAME

243- Jessica Chi

Blake Walsh’s domination in the Youth male division at the Sydney Youth Cup was a masterclass in tenpin bowling. Leading from the qualifiers, Walsh displayed his power creating a significant gap between himself and his competitors. With a total of 2,023 pins over nine games, he entered the second stage with a commanding 116-pin lead over the nearest challenger.

In the second stage, Walsh not only maintained his advantage but extended it, finishing with a 15-game total of 3,277 and an impressive average of 218.5. This performance solidly positioned him as the top seed for the stepladder finals, where the competition intensified.

Sean Lam, a local from Tenpin City, also made a strong showing, qualifying for the stepladder finals and winning his initial match against fellow Australian junior Nicholas Rajkovic with a score of 233-212. However, Lam’s journey ended when he faced New Zealand’s Seth Taylor, who delivered a stunning 246-171 victory.

Taylor, the sole New Zealander in the finals, continued his exceptional run by defeating Justin Dinham 177-166, setting up a Trans-Tasman showdown with Walsh in the final. In a high-scoring and tightly contested match, Walsh prevailed 234-225 over Taylor, securing his second consecutive Youth division title for 2024.

Blake Walsh’s remarkable year continues to build momentum. The Ballina Boy has not only dominated the youth division but has also achieved podium finishes in all Open division events this year, including a notable second-place finish at the Malaysian International Open Youth Division event. His success comes at an opportune moment as he prepares for his debut at the World Championships in Korea in July. Walsh’s achievements in 2024 emphasise his readiness for the global stage and affirm his status as one of Australia’s top young bowlers.

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  • Match 1 – Sean Lam 233 defeats Nicholas Rajkovic 212
  • Match 2 – Seth Taylor 246 defeats Seam Lam 171
  • Match 3 – Seth Taylor 177 defeats Justin Dinham 166
  • Match 4 – Blake Walsh 234 defeats Seth Taylor 225
L-R: Blake Walsh, Justin Dinham, Seth Taylor, Nicholas Rajkovic, Sean Lam
grade

HIGH GAME

279 – Blake Walsh

In addition to the excitement of the nationally ranked events, the Sydney Bowlfest also celebrated the achievements in the under-13 and under-15 divisions, spotlighting the future stars of tenpin bowling.

In the under-13 division, young talents showcased their emerging skills, with spirited performances from each participant. The title was clinched by Logan City Tenpins Deakin Buckingham who finished 92 pins ahead of his nearest challenger.

The under-15 division was equally competitive, featuring some of the best young bowlers who are on the cusp of stepping into more senior levels of competition. The champion of this division, Zavier Trajanovski exhibited remarkable consistency throughout the tournament. Averaging 197.4 the young rising star from Terrace Strikezone further highlights the potential of the young bowler after capturing the u14 Australian Masters title this year.

Both the under-13 and under-15 champions at this year’s Sydney Bowlfest have shown that the future of Australian tenpin bowling is in capable hands, with young talents ready to rise to the challenge and make their mark on the sport.

U13 Champion – Deakin Buckingham
U15 Champion – Zavier Trajanovski

During the first oil break on the opening day of play at this year’s Sydney Bowlfest, a special ceremony took place.

Peter Tate, Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Games NSW, was present to honour two outstanding athletes. Samantha Clifton and Blake Walsh were once again named recipients of the CGNSW Athlete Grant Program, marking the second consecutive year these rising stars have been recognised at Bowlfest for their outstanding achievements on the lanes in 2023.

Each recipient was awarded $1,000 in acknowledgment of their achievements. A total of 40 athletes from 22 different sports were honoured in this sixth edition of the CGNSW Athlete Grants that began in 2016.

Tenpin Bowling Australia (TBA) extends heartfelt congratulations to Samantha and Blake for their remarkable accomplishments. TBA also thanks Peter Tate for taking the time to attend and present these awards in front of the bowlers peers and to Commonwealth Games NSW for once again including Tenpin Bowling in their Athlete Grant program.

L-R: Masood Malik (iPlay NSW State Manager), Samantha Clifton, Blake Walsh, & Peter Tate (CEO of Commonwealth Games NSW).

The thrilling action at this year’s Sydney Bowlfest has brilliantly set the stage for the upcoming events on the junior and youth bowling calendar. The Queensland Junior Cup, scheduled for late June, and the TBA21 Masters in October, are already generating excitement. These events promise to deliver more of the high-stakes competition and showcase the remarkable talents of young athletes eager to demonstrate their skill and further their promising careers.

This year’s Sydney Bowlfest was not just a tournament; it was a vibrant celebration of talent, resilience, and the intense competition that epitomizes top-tier junior and youth bowling. The event saw standout performances and heartfelt victories, making it another resounding success that has left fans, supporters, and participants all looking forward to the next challenge.

For those looking to be part of the upcoming excitement, entries are now open for the Queensland Junior Cup. Details about the highly anticipated TBA21 Master’s will be released shortly, offering another platform for these young athletes to shine and compete at the highest levels.

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