South Johnstone Mongrels lawn bowls’ team bring home the Elio Crema Cup

Elio Crema presented the Elio Crema Cup to the winning South Johnstone Mongrels team in the presence of the Mareeba team, Tony McAlary (FNBC match committee), Bernie Wolland, and Mal Mackney (TFNQ executives). Photo: Peter from TFNQDBA

THE South Johnstone Mongrels lawn bowls’ team has taken out the Elio Crema Cup in spectacular fashion, with a thrilling two-point win over Mareeba in Gordonvale on Monday.


Over two days, in hot and humid conditions, teams of fours from Tully, Babinda, South Johnstone, West Cairns, Cairns, Innisfail, Brothers Edmonton, Gordonvale, Edge Hill, and Marlin Coast battled it out at Tully for the Elio Crema Cup.


On Sunday, FNBC South Johnstone (10 + 63) played off against Edge Hill (8 + 38), for a spot in the final against ATBC Mareeba at Gordonvale on Monday afternoon.


The scorecard was even although the team was behind, and nothing seemed to be going right, but it was still possible to make a spirited comeback. 


The South Johnstone Mongrels Team of Shane McInerney, Kevin Foord, Michael Hooker, and Tony Burns pipped Edge Hill by 21 – 20 in a thrilling game, which went right down to the wire.


Both teams played six games in challenging conditions and still managed to make the good shots.


The final of the Elio Crema Cup took place on Monday at Gordonvale between the South Johnstone Mongrels and the Mareeba team of Etore Tiraboschi, Bob Kitson, Wally Edwards, and Elio Crema.


It was a tight game throughout, and the result could have gone either way. However, persistence and skills paid off as South Johnstone claimed a nail-biting 16 – 14 win to earn the right to keep the Cup until next year.


Teams have contested the Elio Crema Cup in the Far North for over 50 years in various forms. 


Originally, it was an inter-district game, with teams for FNQDBA and ATDBA playing off in district knockout competitions, for the right to play off in the inter-district final. 


Crema, aged eighty-six, is a well-known and respected member of Mareeba Bowls Club, and was one of the ‘founding fathers’ of lawn bowls in Dimbulah in 1963 when he and a group of Italian immigrant tobacco farmers decided they needed a sport. 


At the age of 17, Crema migrated to Australia from Treviso, near Venice, and settled in Dimbulah, where he went on to become a pioneer of lawn bowls in Far North Queensland.


Crema achieved his dream of wearing the Queensland colours and represented his State from 1975 – 1985, when he played all positions except skip. He is a Life Member of Dimbulah Bowls Club and Tropical Far North Queensland District. He has been playing the game for 57 years.


Shane McInerney, who has three times been part of the South Johnstone team to win the Elio Crema Cup, had nothing but praise for Elio Crema, a stalwart of the game.


“This man has done more for lawn bowls in the Far North than any of us could ever hope for. It is great to see Elio still playing competitive bowls with us in well into his eighties, and I look forward to playing alongside him in next year’s contest.”

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