Heavy rains force cancellation of Summerland Singles
By ADAM HICKS
LAWN bowler Brian Baldwin's quest for three successive tournament wins at the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club has been snuffed out by heavy rains.
Organisers were yesterday forced to abandon the 43rd Summerland Singles, due to start today, after storms continued to lash the Cherry Street greens.
Baldwin, the 2007 Summerland Singles and Wintersun champion, had issued an ominous warning to this year's field with a second-place finish in the Maroochydore Beach New Year Prestige Singles on Wednesday night.
"I've definitely had a good preparation," he said.
"I'm happy with my form.
"I have three good days of singles play under my belt. I've really got no excuses now."
But it was the dark skies that decided the tournament, with 52mm of rain falling on Ballina in a little over a day, prompting organisers to call off the tournament for only the second time in memory.
"We cannot get the greens prepared. We can't cut them or roll them," said the club's bowling president, Alan Brown.
"If it keeps up overnight, they wouldn't even get down their first bowls.
"I've heard it was cancelled once before, but this is the first time any of us can remember it."
"It is a shame. This is the biggest highlight of the year for the club."
Tournament bowls co-ordinator Dac Cameron said the rains had washed away a lot of preparation work.
"All that work for Summerland has all gone down the plug," he said.
"Many, many hours have gone into this. Even just calling it off ... we had to make 64 phone calls and there was a lot of disappointment from the players who wanted to come down."
Cameron said the wash-out was also disappointing the club's greenkeepers.
"Even if it stopped raining now we couldn't get on the greens tomorrow," he said.
"The greenkeepers each year aim at putting on the best possible greens for Summerland.
"It's their showcase. All of their plan for the year virtually culminates for this tournament."
Baldwin said the players, too, had considered Summerland a highlight.
"It is a particularly good competition," he said. "You are practically guaranteed good competition and you'll have a couple of tough games to get through.
"It would be against the odds to win three in a row. My main objective is the get through to the second day.
"Once you've played someone and beaten them you know you can beat them. I believe that psychologically that that's how it works.
"If you know you can beat somebody or you've won a tournament in the past then it is achievable again."
Organisers are now considering scheduling a one-day event to make up for the loss.
"We will try to hold a day to make up on what we're missing out on this weekend," Brown said. "That will be decided at a later date, when it won't interfere with any other club date's in the district.
"There probably won't be as much money but there will still be a good purse."