Morwell’s national medals

New additions: Frank Fava and Diane Penney with their medals from the Asia Oceania Bocce Championships, held in Malaysia. photograph liam durkin




RECKON these guys have a sore neck?

Italian Australian Club, Morwell, bocce players Diane Penney, Frank Fava and Mary Massena recently returned home from the Asia Oceania Bocce Championships with a swag of medals.

The trio dominated the championships, bringing in an incredible eight medals for the Australian team.

Penney won two gold and a silver, Fava a gold and two bronze, and Massena a silver and bronze.

Taking to Malaysia, the Gippslanders overcame muggy conditions on their way to success.

Somewhat fortuitously, Fava was originally in Malaysia just to run a two-day referee course, but found himself playing after a last minute withdrawal.

He ended up winning gold in men’s singles, and bronze in precision throw and men’s doubles.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Day one of the championships saw Penney combine with Melbourne-based player Antonio Biancacci to win the mixed doubles.

Penney has had a prolific year on and off the bocce court, named in the Bocce Australia Hall of Fame and Team of the Half-Century.

The medals kept coming from there, with Penney and Massena later winning silver in the women’s doubles, while the latter claimed bronze in the singles.

Penney ended with another gold, winning precision thrown.

The week-long tournament was played under the Rafa format.

For the uninitiated, Rafa differs slightly from ‘regular’ bocce, as there are walls lining the side of the court and the balls are not made out of brass.

There was a discernible ‘clicking and clacking’ of medals when Fava spoke to The Express back home in Morwell recently.

Fava said it was a good experience competing in Malaysia, where the people were “very hospitable”.

“Very good competition, lovely people, good players, very happy that we played okay,” he said.

Fava, Penney and Massena have qualified for the World Bocce Rafa Championships, to be held in Algeria in late 2023.

Fava and the rest of the team at Italian Australian Club will now take a well-earned break until February.

‘Well earned’ may not be doing the club justice, as to say 2022 has been a busy year would be quite an understatement.

This year, Italian Australian Club has hosted the national championship, a national Rafa event, the Latrobe City Classic, as well as its regular competition programs.

On top of this, players from the club have travelled to Turkey, Monaco and now Malaysia to compete.

If anyone deserves a break, it is bocce players from Italian Australian Club, Morwell.