Nothing but ‘world standard’

MORWELL Italian Australian Club’s bocce centre could soon become a hub of international competition after its impressive hosting of the sixth Australian Raffa Bowls Open at the weekend.

Bocce Australia secretary Frank Funari said Morwell’s facilities were worthy of larger scale tournaments, which would see droves of the world’s best bocce players converge at the Latrobe Valley.

“(The bocce centre) is sensational; Frank Fava and his team did a great job in the way they set up the courts; they were world standard,” Funari said.

“We’re keen to hold some more national events there and, down the track if we could, international.

“In that case there’d be (about) 100 players and spectators that participate, and all the states participate so it’s a big event (the national championships).”

The Raffa Bowls Open, a mixed triples competition, was this year taken out by Joseph Migrante, Joe Maraffa and Australian representative Joe Rozzo in a New South Wales one-two finish.

Three Australian players, fresh from the world titles, were on show in the all NSW final in the form of Rozzo, Rocco Mancini and Silvio Bruzzese.

The three Joe’s beat out their compatriots on the big stage, with Morwell triumvirate Frank Finocchiaro, Christina Finocchiaro and Nick Desisto reaching the semi-finals to be the best of the local contingent.

The Finocchiaro-Desisto connection went down 9-5 to NSW, but the scoreline belied the intensity of the battle, according to Funari.

“Although the scores don’t reflect it, they were very close,” Funari said.

“They just couldn’t close off on one end and that’s where they lost the points and it cost them the game.”

Fellow Morwell team, led by Sam Finocchiaro, almost derailed the NSW charge early in the piece, holding the eventual finalists to a draw in the round robin phase.

A total of 12 teams of three contested the two-day open, including sides from Mt Gambier, Adelaide and NSW.

The championships had been penciled in for a five-year stint in Morwell, but the club may allow Mt Gambier to host next year’s competition.