The Tumut Pub 9s will be without the Bowlie Bears in 2021, after the club made the hard decision to sit the season out.
A lack of players was cited as the main reason for the surprise decision, with up to nine of their regulars either leaving town, or joining other teams for the upcoming competition.
“I’ve tried to rally a few of the troops but no one has taken the bull by the horns,” Bears representative Jarrad Rossiter said.
“Mitchell Smith was our key organiser the last few years but he had a knee reconstruction and no one else stood up.”
The Oriental Hotel and Commercial Sharks, who both struggled for numbers at times in 2020, look to have benefited most out of the Bears not playing.
“We have lost a couple of players who have left town and we have lost five players to the Oriental, who want to have one season there for Chubb Webb, and Josh Webb has gone to the Commercial and taken young Ethan Gilchrist with him,” Rossiter said.
“After last year, nothing was said and we haven’t got jerseys yet, and if we did get a team, we would have to chase up last year’s jumpers and I just don’t see it happening.”
Rossiter was critical of the running of the Tumut Pub 9s, suggesting the inclusion of extra teams in recent seasons, and subsequent double headers, meant something had to give, which was essentially the Bowlie Bears.
“It has a lot to do with the system and I think it has got too big and I think playing the two games on one night doesn’t suit players,” Rossiter said.
“Once we had the introduction of that extra team, Commercial and Oriental struggled for numbers last year and we had good numbers but because we played two games, sometimes we might only have 10 blokes and this year, we just don’t have the numbers at all.”
Rossiter hopes to see the 2018 Roddy Shield premiers back in 2022, but admitted that running with an odd number of teams wasn’t necessarily best for the competition.
“Unfortunately, the Bears are out this year but we want to be back next year, but at who’s expense?” Rossiter asked.
“You can’t run with the odd team and where will the extra players come from?”
The Tumut Old Boys and Supporters Club were left shocked by the decision and hoped fringe Bowlie Bears players found new homes with other teams in the popular 9s competition.
“There is disappointment from the Old Boys that we have lost the Bowling Club that were past premiers of this particular Tumut Pub 9s comp,” Tumut Old Boys and Supporters Club president, Barry Madigan, said.
“It would perhaps mean that some of their young player will miss out on Tumut Pub 9s, but let us hope that the players concerned would find gaps in the other team that are currently involved.”
Madigan said the Bears would be welcomed back with open arms in 2022, while he explained the competition organisers would meet on Thursday night (yesterday) to discuss changes to the draw.
“They are always very welcome back,” Madigan said.
“However, it does mean things will change, we have a meeting tomorrow night and I would imagine there would be some changes that need to be made.”