The 21st playing of the annual lawn bowling tournament – the East Coast Challenge (ECC) – was held on Saturday and Sunday May 6th & 7th on the new TrueDraw synthetic lawn bowling green in Carrier Park, Asheville, NC. A team of 15 top bowlers from the Southeast Division (SED) of Bowls USA competed against a team of 15 top lawn bowlers from the Northeast Division (NED) of Bowls USA — during the two-day event.  Sandra Kilgore – Vice Mayor Asheville welcomed the participants and delivered the first jack to open the event.

Bowling for the Northeast Division were: Scot Snyder, Clark Mycoff, Patrick Duffy, Larry Stawartz, Melanie Stawartz, Steve Shaw, Veronica Sum, Ryan Hastu, Joe Kelley, Ted Tragard, Jerry Demello, Michelle Arculli, Cory Stawartz, Maz Zankowski, Alan Winson.

The bowlers from the Northeast Division represented Lawn Bowling clubs in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. A bowling club in Williamsburg, Virginia has recently reopened and will be part of the Northeast Division going forward.

Bowling for the Southeast Division were: Bob Fladung, Bud Ricucci, Cassandra Furlong, Dan Delgarn, Hans Momkes, Jane Zulia, Jim Mikus, Jo Ellen Braun, Karen Cooper, Ken Martucci, Martha Nilsen, Rick Fitzgerald, Roger Parkin, Ron Ridley, Rusty Hein, Sandy Wall, Steve Nelson, Todd Wagers.

The Southeast Division represents lawn bowling clubs in North Carolina and Florida.

Both the SED team and the NED team were divided into three squads of 5 players each. The SED and the NED squads competed against each other in four different lawn bowling games – Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours – over the two days.  The Ryder Cup scoring format was used to track the scores.

The Southeast Division won 11 of the 18 matches on Day One of the tournament, accumulating a total score of 22 points. The Northeast Division won the remaining 7 matches, earning 14 points for the day.

Sunday’s first round of matches split between the two Divisions: 3 matches were won by each team.  The score after Sunday’s Round 1 was SED 28, NED 20.

The Southeast Division won 4 matches in the second round on Sunday.  The score at the end of this round was SED 36, NED 24.

It was decided to forgo the 3rd matches on Sunday.  Although the skies had begun to look threatening by the end of the 2nd match – thunderstorms had moved into the area – it was because the score was 36 to 24 in favor of the SED, making it impossible for the NED to win the tournament, that it was decided not to play the third match.  It was agreed by both teams that the SED had won the 2023 ECC tournament and would retain the Motta Cup – the winner’s trophy – for the second year in a row.

For the 20 years prior to 2023, the ECC tournament had been held in Pinehurst, NC.  The Asheville Lawn Bowling Club (ALBC) was proud to be able to bring this event to Asheville this year – the first major tournament to be played on our world class green. The feedback from the players from both divisions was very positive and those who bowled during the tournament are looking forward to returning to our city and our green soon. We are anticipating that Asheville will host the tournament every three years, sharing the hosting duties with the Pinehurst and Williamsburg lawn bowling clubs.

Lawn Bowling is a sport with a deep history in the commonwealth countries. England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand support thousands of lawn bowling surfaces and tens of thousands of lawn bowlers.  Lawn Bowling is actively played in 52 countries on six continents around the world. Although the sport’s presence in the United States is small, its importance is growing in Asheville.  We are currently one of the fastest growing lawn bowling clubs in the USA.

For more information about Lawn Bowling and the local lawn bowling club, visit the ALBC website.

The ALBC was featured on WLOS Carolina Moments recently – here is the link: