Withdrawals a stumbling block on season?s eve

By JIM BRIGGINSHAW

WITH the NRDBA pennant season starting tomorrow, late withdrawals by two clubs have reduced sides in the No 6 grade from six to four.

Ballina RSL and Woodburn, starters in the original published draw, have taken their sides out reportedly because of lack of pennant playing numbers.

Ballina RSL, the third largest club in the district with 176 bowling members last financial year, now has only one side in this season's competition, in the No 4s.

The much smaller Woodburn (40 bowlers) now is not represented this year.

The withdrawals mean the No 6s will play a total of only six rounds compared with 10 for the other grades.

Tomorrow's opener in the top division will have last year's flag winner, Evans Head, up against third-placed Ballina at Ballina.

Evans Head this season will be trying to make it three No 1 pennants in a row.

Casino RSM, runner-up last year, only three points behind Evans Head, took the hat-trick in 2002-03-04, before Evans Head ended its run.

The Casino side will take on East Lismore first-up on East's greens. After a poor start last season, East Lismore finished well but could manage only second last, ahead of wooden-spooner Heights.

Still, East names are appearing prominently in district championships and they could be the season's dark horses.

The only sure winner in the No 1s first round is South Lismore. The Southies have two sides in the top grade after winning promotion by taking the No 2 flag last season and they are drawn to play each other.

In the No 2s, the two Heights sides will play each other, Lismore City will be up against Lennox Head, and Alstonville has the bye.

Bundy on agenda

A PLANNED bowls tour to Bundaberg will be the main topic at the NRDBA Tour Group's annual general meeting following a bowls morning at Alstonville this Sunday at 9am. Past tourists and likely participants are invited. The cost, $16 a person, includes bowls and lunch.



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