(Just What the Sweet Ballyhoo is it, Anyway?)
Club Bullwinkle was founded in 1994 by University of Queensland students Jacob Edwards and Konrad Uebel. Although usually assumed to be a reference to Bullwinkle J. Moose, the name actually is once-removed, deriving in fact from a racehorse (which from memory didn’t fare all that well).
In terms of chess, Club Bullwinkle limits itself to interclub matches, usually over the board but occasionally long-distance (such as the ‘97 telephone match versus Toowoomba). Socially, the club meets sporadically to play transfer.
Club Bullwinkle membership is conferred upon players immediately after their first interclub match, and is permanent. (Although Miguel Alvarado was banned for several years following that unfortunate incident at the Gold Coast’s Tin Corrupt.) Within the ranks there exists an inner circle – the pyramid of fame – for players who have represented Bullwinkle in ten or more long matches (or twenty or more rapid matches).
In the selection of any given team, preference is given to existing members, so the recruitment of new players is often last-minute and very much a test of prospective members’ ‘go to’ capabilities. (The best example of such a debut comes courtesy of Russell Mowles, who was drafted in with only five minutes left on the clock when it belatedly became evident that his predecessor – despite emphatic reassurances to the contrary – wasn’t going to show up. Russell, of course, went on to win the Bullwinkle Player of the Year award in 2002.)
The Bullwinkle recruitment policy being what it is, it seems almost inevitable that family members will fall like dominoes into the club.
Having played against (and lost to) several school teams with which it has an association, Bullwinkle has since found it cathartic to recruit some erstwhile opponents:
• From ACGS – aka Churchie – as coached by Nik Stawski and already represented by Paul Kalokerinos, Andrew Meldrum and David Smerdon: Michael Davidovici; Kieron Olm-Milligan; Ben McPhee; and subsequently Tom and Henry Slater-Jones.
• From Saint Stephen’s College, as coached by Nik Stawski and already represented by Karina Mowles: Michelle Mowles; Christopher Hardy.
• From Bardon Primary, as coached by David Lavercombe: Laurence Bristow.
• From St. Peter’s Lutheran / Rookies, as coached and run by Nik Stawski and Lavinia Poruschi: Jasper Moss; Jared Mares; Michael Gould; Sean McLennan; Keon and Keenan Poon.
While some of these players have limited themselves to moonlighting for Bullwinkle, others have switched their allegiances entirely. In 2006 Craig Stewart became only the second player in Bullwinkle’s history to enter the Pyramids of Fame for both long and short matches.
In a gesture of goodwill (having poached Craig), Bullwinkle stalwart Jacob Edwards turned out for Logan City in two matches against Wacol (2001-2002), and was joined by Regina Grenfell for one versus the Gold Coast (2003).