Words by Joe Di Santo of the Murray Bridge RSL, images by myself
Murray Bridge RSL’s oldest surviving member, Bob Channon of Murray Bridge, standing next to Murray Bridge RSL’s ANZAC Sports Carnival Event organiser, Joe Di Santo of Murray Bridge, before proceedings commence at the Balikpapan Perpetual Shield, Murray Bridge RSL Bowls Club, Thursday April 19, 2017.
A historic moment at the RSL Bowling Club last Thursday Night as it was the first time that the Murray Bridge and Murray Bridge RSL Bowling Clubs played against each other under lights at the RSL outside the regular Pennants Lawn Bowls Season. Both clubs where competing for the Balikpapan Perpetual Shield which acknowledges Australia’s last battle of WWII The Battle of Balikpapan, stopped the might of the Japanese forces and helped achieved peace and ended the war.
The Event is known as the Battle of the Bridge, not only for the two clubs’ geographical locations on the western and eastern side of the bridge, but from a historic point of view the traffic and rail bridges were the State’s most critical assets during the Second War and Murray Bridges’ very own “Charlie” company of the 10th Battalion had the responsibility of guarding them.
Both Clubs fielded strong teams, the RSL recruited seasoned and Returned and Services League members David Kempe and Vietnam Veteran Rod Harris of the Jervois Bowling Club into their squad. As this game is not an official game on the Lawn Bowls calendar exceptions are allowed for current/ex-servicing Bowlers from other Clubs with within the Association to play.
On the 12th End scores were locked at 40 – 40 all, RSL looked certain to get their hands on the Shield for the very first time, Murray Bridge came home strong to defeat the RSL 51 – 46 to confirm their back to back win of the Balikpapan Perpetual Shield.
The Murray Bridge RSL would like to thank both the Murray Bridge and Murray Bridge RSL Bowling Clubs for their continual support of their cause and the generosity of everyone who kindly donated towards the student scholarships. For more information go to the RSL’s facebook page MBRSLANZACGAMES2017