FIESTA FUN: Ballina bowler Joy Sully at the Fiesta Fours carnival at Lismore Heights Bowling Club on Monday.
FIESTA FUN: Ballina bowler Joy Sully at the Fiesta Fours carnival at Lismore Heights Bowling Club on Monday. Mitchell Craig

Aussies to take on the world's best

TEAM World has unveiled a powerhouse side to take on Australia in the inaugural World Bowls Challenge, a composite 10-a-side dual gender competition to be decided at Moama in November.

The brilliant Scot, Alex Marshall, six-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist, will have a star-studded side with him, including his countryman, reigning world singles champion Darren Burnett.

They will be backed in the five-man squad by current world champion of champions New Zealander Shannon McIlroy and Northern Ireland's best, Ryan Bester and Gary Kelly.

The women's side includes Kiwi legend Jo Edwards. She's the reigning Commonwealth Games singles gold medallist, world singles champion of champions and six-times World Cup winner.

With her will be Commonwealth Games singles bronze medallist Colleen Piketh of South Africa, Canada's Kelly McKerihen and English pair Ellen Falkner and Katherine Rednall.

Falkner, at age 23, has won the world indoor singles title three times, taken mixed pairs gold with Darren Burnett and scored a Commonwealth Games singles bronze.

Australian coach Steve Glasson is expected to announce the Australian team at the conclusion of the Asia Pacific championships in July.

Plans are for the World Bowls Challenge to take place every two years.

MY VIEW: ON OUR WORLD RECORD

IT'S some indication of Australia's illustrious place in world bowls for it to take on a side bristling with the composite best from every other country.

This new event, the first World Bowls Challenge, is sure to capture the attention of everyone intent on seeing the top exponents of our game.

Team World, selected by Englishman John Bell, the World Bowls president, has names such as the unbeatable Alex Marshall and the women's long-time star Jo Edwards - enough to ensure that if Australia wins it will be a feat worthy of its position in world rankings.

Australia is the in-form nation on the global stage. At the most recent world championships in 2016 it landed four gold, two silver and one bronze medal then followed that up with five gold and two silver at last year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Few other sports can claim such worldwide dominance.

Box seat

WITH one round to go, Ballina is in the box seat to take the No 1 pennant from the reigning holder Casino RSM.

Ballina leads by 5.5 points and will play fourth-placed Kingscliff in the final outing.

Kingscliff met the Casino side in last Saturday's round and handed out a 9-1 hiding.

Ballina had the bye.

This week Kingscliff will play Ballina while Casino RSM will be up against third-placed Ocean Shores.

Current positions: Ballina 56 points, Casino RSM 50.5, Ocean Shores 30.5, Kingscliff 25 and Pottsville 18.

After nine rounds, all the lower grades have been decided. Pennant winners are - No 2: South Lismore. No 3: Evans Head. No 4: Ballina RSL. No 5: Ballina. No 6: Kyogle. No 7: Ballina.

Tight race

THE Northern Conference, the opponent in the top grade for our local Far North Coast Conference, has a congested points table.

Four points separate the top three sides, according to the latest Bowls NSW release. Park Beach on 27 just heads Port City on 26 and Westport on 23.

South West Rocks is on 20 and Tuncurry Beach is trailing with 14.

Points leaders

CANADIAN-turned-Broadbeach star Ryan Bester has been named number one in Bowls Australia's rankings for April.

The top-ranked woman is Kristina Krstic, of Western Australia.

Bester unseated previous leader Lee Schraner, who relocated recently from Tasmania to Victoria and has dropped to third in the rankings. In second place is Corey Wedlock (NSW).

Krstic, winner of her state's singles, takes top position for the first time, moving from third to be ahead of Chloe Stewart and Rebecca van Asch.

Australian reps

A STANDOUT 2018 year in which he won the Australian singles crown has earned Ray Pearse the plum singles role in the national team to contest the Asia Pacific championships on the Gold Coast in June. He also will lead for Nathan Rice in the pairs.

Aaron Teys, hailed as Australia's rising star, will contest the triples with Barrie Lester and Aron Sherriff, and the fours with Lester, Rice and Sherriff.

The women's side is Kelsey Cottrell, Lynsey Clarke, Carla Krizanic, Rebecca van Asch and Natasha Scott.

The Asia Pacific event will have bowlers from 18 countries and will run from June 18-28.

Conference call

BOWLS NSW says it is considering a conference for all NSW bowling clubs which it hopes bowls co-ordinators, secretaries and committees will attend.

The conference would be held in September.

The state is running an online survey to get feedback from clubs on whether they would go to such a conference and topics they would like to be covered.

Indoor focus

THE Australian indoor championships at Tweed Heads on August 26-29 will be the 32nd time this blue ribbon event has been staged there.

NSW has done well in this comp - the last five winners have come from this state.

Northern Irelander Jeremy Henry, representing NSW, won back-to-back titles in 2015-16.

One of the favourites for this year's event is state skip and current Australian rep Ben Twist, who'll be using it to consolidate his spot in the national squad for the world championships.

Pundits are tipping a top performance by Tailor Appleby, one of the younger brigade who has been showing impressive form.

Qualifiers for the indoor titles had to win three or four rounds against top opposition.



Airport 'at risk' without government funding

premium_icon Airport 'at risk' without government funding

Ballina left counting the costs after Labor's loss

What is the future for our region?

premium_icon What is the future for our region?

New campaign assesses the region's future

Forecast: Unsettled weather in store as winter approaches

premium_icon Forecast: Unsettled weather in store as winter approaches

Possible return of something that's been lacking - a thunderstorm