By Lance Jenkinson
Deer Park Club has become a Melbourne bowls mecca.
The impressive Ballarat Road venue has hosted a suite of elite tournaments to underline its status as the go-to venue in the metro region.
After successfully hosting the Bowls Victoria premier division grand final day and Victorian state team matches, Deer Park Club earned the right to host the Ultimate Bowls Championships (UBC), a franchise-based and fast-paced version of bowls that brought together star players from Australia, New Zealand and Asia in a two-day event last week.
Deer Park Club general manager David Thompson says the event was the biggest in the club’s history.
Deer Park Club has undergone incredible changes when it comes to bowls.
The Parkers have moved into premier division, they have a shiny new facility that makes visiting teams envious and they have ambitions to be the best.
“We’ve come from being a so-so type of club just happy to get by,” Thompson said. “Now we’re trying to be the best in the area.”
The UBC is held over three locations – at Warilla, Deer Park and, later in the year, Moama.
There are 24 franchises taking part, including Deer Park Chargers, boasting top ranked Australian player Lee Schraner, Deer Park club champion Brett Mahoney and England international David Holt.
Thompson believes the UBC is to bowls what Twenty20 is to cricket.
“It’s a fast, dynamic game, so it’s very exciting stuff,” he said.
Deer Park Club has secured hosting rights for the first three years of the UBC.
The UBC events are streamed live on the official website, but will also be replayed on 7Two, Fox Sports and channels in New Zealand and throughout Asia in coming weeks.
Spoiler alert: The Point, a team from Sydney’s south, claimed victory in the Deer Park event on Friday night.