Parkes prodigy? set for Summerland Pairs

By JIM BRIGGINSHAW

LOCALS will get their first sight of boom youngster Mathew Pietersen on the second day of the Summerland Pairs, which will start at the Ballina Bowling Club next Tuesday.

Pietersen, a 16-year-old junior, this year performed a feat never accomplished before.

He won the State's major open event, the NSW singles championship, the youngest player ever to do so.

Since then he was named this week in the NSW Under-25 side to play ACT in Canberra on January 23-24 and Victoria at Moama, Victoria, on January 25-26.

On Wednesday, in a strong Summerland Pairs section that includes former New Zealand international Gary Mounsey and his brilliant Mermaid Beach skip Ray Glasser, the Parkes prodigy will lead for Geoff Matters, of Forbes.

When he took part in this year's State singles championships, Pietersen was too young to drive to the Tuncurry club where the titles were held, but he wasn't too young to knock over 52-year-old Alan Carver, of Coffs Harbour Ex-Services, 31-29 in the final.

The well-experienced Carver has been bowling for 17 years, starting in the game before Pietersen was born.

Holder of 18 district, nine zone and 18 club championships, Carver had made the State singles semi-finals in 2002 and was highly favoured to beat the youngster.

The 16-year-old, though, had shown form right throughout the event.

In a semi-final he ousted New Zealand No1 Russell Meyer by a decisive 31-25.

"That gave me a bit of confidence going into the final," Pietersen said.

Carver was generous in his praise for the youngster.

"Mathew's a credit to the sport the way he presents himself. His manners are impeccable and he's a top talent," he said.

"The thing about these young boys is they have no fear. They don't think about losing."

While Pietersen won't be appearing in the Summerland Pairs until Wednesday, the opening day on Tuesday will have on show players such as Australia's No1 Kelvin Kerkow, former English international Steve Halmai, South Tweed's Ray Hickman (who won the event in 1999 and 2000) and former NSW State singles champion and Bowler of the Year Neil Burgess (Lennox Head), who has won more Summerland Series titles than anyone else.

This year's Northern Rivers Bowler of the Year, John Lang (Evans Head), and plenty of other stars will ensure a day of top-class keen competition.

After sectional play is completed on Tuesday and Wednesday, the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be decided on Thursday.

There is a $9840 total purse in the Summerland Pairs. Of that, $3000 will go to the winning pair.

The Summerland Singles, worth $7520, will run from January 6 to 8.



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