The Bidencope Trophy


(Researched & Written by Alan Wickins)

Joseph Zellig Bidencope Senior was a foundation member of the Hobart Bowling Club.

He was a descendant of a family of tailors. His father was born in Poland in 1837 and after spending some time in England emigrated to Tasmania in 1857. Here he recommenced work in his tailoring profession and grew a business which was to be a prominent part of the Hobart shopping scene for many years.

J.Z. worked in the family business and as a tailor he was involved in the outfitting of our first bowling teams. He ordered blazers from England in our distinctive red and blue colours. He became a prominent bowler, club champion and president and was rewarded with life membership.

Our AGM minutes of 1903 show that he made a “handsome donation for a trophy, for which the club undertook to start a match for immediately”. This was before the days of pennant bowls so the competition for the Bidencope Trophy became a fours competition played over the course of the season. It continued in this format for many years before  it was discontinued and the trophy  then allocated to the pennant player/s with the highest percentage of pennant wins.

In 1992 the Committee decided to discontinue the trophy in this format because of the volume of manual accounting required in those pre-computerisation days and decided that the Club Singles Championship should in future be known as the Bidencope Club Championship. Officially it remained so named but it proved to be a cumbersome title and fell into disuse.

In the 2020/21 season it was decided to re-instigate the trophy and award it again to the best performed pennant player/s. Results as per the BTS Pennant Portal pages now make this an easy task to control. Cynthia Bidencope,  a grand daughter of J.Z. , followed up the earlier donation by her grandfather by making another donation which hopefully will ensure that the trophy remains in place for many more years. She also returned to the Club one of the silver trophies won by her grandfather.

The Bidencope family have an outstanding record at our club.

J.Z., and his wife Charlotte were both honoured with Life Membership. Sons J.Z. junior  and Alan were also awarded this honour. When Alan became Club Patron in 1990 it completed a century of service to the Club by this  family. A record hard to beat. Cynthia is the last surviving member of the Tasmanian Bidencope Family.

But the home remains – “Ellerslie” , the home on the corner of Hampden Road, that we all have to pass to reach our club. This was the Bidencope family home from 1917 to 1941. Records show that this was  the venue for trophy presentation evenings and other after match celebrations.

The last trophy winner in the old highest percentage of pennant wins was S.J.Bridges. The first Bidencope Club Singles Championship winner was B.J.Aherne, and the first (joint) winners in the new format B.Cranwell,O.O’Driscoll and D.Long.