Brilliant Bocce!

Image shows players from the NBC, the layout of Bocce courts and Bocce balls in play.

Hello, my name is Mario De Marco. Welcome to my world of Bocce! As Secretary of the Newmarket Bocce Club (NBC), I would like to introduce you to Bocce.

They say that the game goes back to the Romans so, predominately, Bocce was European and introduced to Australia by immigrants from Europe – especially Italians – in the early 1900’s.

For many years, it was played as a social recreation in backyards, streets, and suburban parks. In the 1950’s, following the post-war inflow of immigrants, it became an organised sport and part of ethnic Australian social culture. When Italian immigrants established large social clubs, Bocce courts were incorporated into them. However, today , recreational Bocce is still played in backyards and parks by all cultures. NBC is multi-cultural.

There is one registered Bocce club left in Brisbane, being the NBC, which has four playing courts, situated at 23 Foster Street Newmarket (behind the ‘International City Church’).The original club on freehold land was the Italo-Australian Centre and this club was established in 1970. Unfortunately, it closed its doors in 2008 and the International City Church now occupies that parcel of land. As the Bocce courts were on council land at the rear of the property we incorporated the new Bocce club (NBC) in 2007, and we have access via the entrance of the church.

It’s a game of skill; it’s challenging, but it’s also fun. The club is open on Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning and evening, and Friday evening. Coaching is available; including by arrangement on Sunday from 1pm. The club also has Sunday social competitions throughout the year including sponsored competitions with the only other club in Redlands City Council being the Redlands Sporting Bocce Club. Contact Tony Giacoboni on 0412 386 617 or Mario De Marco on 0403 257 325 for further details. 

So how does the game work?

A game can be conducted between two players, or two teams of two, three or four. A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw a smaller ball, the jack (called a kitty, pallino, or a boccino in some areas), from one end of the court into a zone about five meters in length, ending two meters from the far end of the court (a court is about 27 meters long). The side that first played the jack is given the opportunity to bowl first. Once the first bowl has taken place, the other side has the opportunity to bowl. From then on, the side which does not have the ball closest to the jack must bowl until that side makes the point (is closer), then the opposing team plays: even if either team bowl all their Bocce in trying to do so. At that point, the other side bowls its remaining Bocce balls. The team with the closest Bocce ball to the jack is the only team that can score points in any end. The scoring team receives one point for each of their balls that is closer to the jack than the closest ball of the other team. The length of a game varies by region, but is typically to 13 points.

Players are permitted to throw the ball in the air using an underarm action. This is generally used to knock either the jack or another ball away to attain a more favorable position. Tactics can get quite complex when players have sufficient control over the bocce ball to throw or roll it accurately.

You probably have heard of Bare Foot Bowls. Well, we have something similar, but you must wear flat soled shoes. You can hire the courts for work or corporate events, birthday parties etc. E.g. we have the Alpha Romeo Club and the Fiat club every year; we have a firm of surveyors as well. WOW, they have fun. For more details contact the above. BYO drinks and food – we can cook it up for you and we also have members on hand to guide you through the game.

As mentioned previously, the Newmarket Bocce Club is the only Bocce club left in Brisbane and so the community should embrace this sport and not let it die out. The club welcomes all cultures to play Bocce, young and old.

There are other disciplines of the sport i.e. Raffa and Beach Bocce, no rules bocce, however at NBC we play Vuolo, a more traditional type game. 

Yours in Bocce

Mario

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