MORWELL Latrobe Valley earned the title of Australia’s top women’s team at the National Bocce Championships held in Redlands, Queensland over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
The combined efforts of the Morwell quartet – Christina Finocchiaro, Maria Maselli, Anna Prezioso and Diane Penney – secured the overall crown for regional Victoria with a string of high placings across the four-day program.
Finnochiaro became the first senior Morwell player to claim the best and fairest award at the tournament as a result of her singles bracket triumph.
“We were all very proud we took it out between the two (Victorian) regions, normally we don’t because metros in all states have been in it for a lot longer and they’re strong teams, so we’re very, very happy,” coach Sally Fava said.
“The girls… concentrated on their event, they were focused on what they were doing to the best of their ability and it showed in the results.
“I had tears in my eyes; that was so good.”
Maselli and Prezioso finished runner-up in the doubles category, while the team’s only ‘thrower’, Penney, was second in the precision and bowl throw.
The women’s triples team also turned in a strong showing with a semi-final appearance.
Fava said the women’s efforts were made more impressive by their relative lack of experience at the top level.
“It should be recognised as an achievement considering we haven’t participated in nationals for very long, so it is an achievement in itself,” she said.
“I must admit it takes a lot of strength to keep your cool because you are playing against the best… (the team) came through, I was very proud of them.”
The late withdrawal of 2012 precision throw champion Nick Cooper left the Morwell men’s team decimated and without a dedicated thrower.
Frank Finocchiaro enjoyed mild success in the singles competition but the team did not feature in the overall placings.
The club will now turn to its Latrobe Classic tournament to be held next month with renewed confidence following the outstanding result.
“We know we can do it, it’s just a matter of doing it on the day,” Maselli said.