Beware those treacherous thunderbolts

TO THE uninitiated, bowls is a gentle game in which the worst injury that can happen is some old bloke falling off his walking frame.

Anybody who thinks that way has never seen a thunderbolt driver on the green. After the rest of the team have worked their little arms off drawing close to the jack, the drive merchant winds up like a windmill in a southerly buster and fires at the mass of bowls up the other end with deadly destructive intent.

A bowl weighs in at a kilo or so and to have it scorching at runaway express train speed down a narrow rink packed with players at the end and close by on either side, makes a lot of people candidates for a hospital bed.

If the drive hits the head, bowls shoot everywhere and only those who can manage a Benji Marshall sidestep remain unscathed.

If it's the jack the driver hits, it can take off like an intercontinental missile. I once saw one leave the green and drop a bowler coming out of the clubhouse with a trayful of beer. His busted knee needed an operation, but he didn't spill a drop.

Golfers are required to give a warning shout of, “Fore!” when driving into the danger zone, and golfers are no more susceptible to busted limbs than bowlers are.

I don't care if we shout “Five!” in our game as a warning but for Medicare's sake, if not our own, let's do something to let everyone know a thunderbolt is on its way.

A new level

SELF-promotion of its own bigwigs is a specialty of the Royal's magazine that every NSW bowler is forced to buy. But the current issue takes it to a new level.

The State president, who gets enough pictorial coverage to satisfy a film star, is on the full-colour cover again, this time with a manufacturer's State manager presenting him with a set of a new range of bowls that was about to go onto the market.

Just beyond the cover is a full-page article, written by no less an unbiased authority than the manufacturer's marketing manager, which regards the new bowl as the best thing since sliced bread.

This blatant double-whammy plug must have the other bowls manufacturers feeling left out and wondering how they, too, can get all this valuable free publicity.

Zorzo, Latta pair up

TWO of Ballina's 'Big Seven', David Zorzo and Richard Latta, will get the chance this Saturday to add another scalp to their club's impressive season tally when they contest the district final of the champion-of-champions pairs at Ballina RSL.

Trying to spoil the Ballina party will be Evans Head's Brian Sten (formerly Alstonville) and Rod Greentree.

On the way through, Zorzo/Latta swamped John Hand and Tony Cheli (East Lismore) 22-3 and ousted their former Casino clubmates, Brenden Frame/Gary Burt, 23-16.

Sten/Greentree had even more impressive early rounds, knocking over K O'Rourke/P Corcoran 31-4 and L Cheli/O Dardengo 26-6.

THE minimum requirement these days for the legality of narrow-drawing bowls is way too narrow. They're not my words. They come from the maestro himself, Steve Glasson.

Glasson writes: “It has more or less got to the stage that if you want to be competitive all the time on all surfaces, then you need to kit yourself with two sets of bowls - one set narrow and one set with a greater degree of bias.”

At 600 bucks and more a set, plus all the mandatory paraphernalia that officialdom now requires us to have, who said bowls has remained an inexpensive game?

THIRTEEN-year-old Luke Jones, regarded at Evans Head as the next Aaron Teys, is the club's minor singles runner-up, edged out of the title by Doug Voltz, formerly of Kyogle.

At present, young Jones is in Sydney as a local rep in the high school championships.

Evans Head's big one, the major singles, went to former Casino bowler Peter Carey, from Glen Pobje.

Other Evans Head champions - Senior Singles: K Taylor. Pairs: B Sten/R Greentree. Triples: F Vaughan/R Jarman/G Williamson. Fours: D Brodin/ B Sten/ T Sheen/ P Carey.

FORMER East Lismore stalwart Trevor Clarke is this year's A-grade singles champion at Lismore Workers Heights.

The A-grade pairs went to L Cheli/O Dardengo.

Other championships - Triples: L Cheli/ O Dardengo/J Donadel. Fours: A Watts/N Kerr/P Langby/J Helmood. B-grade yet to be finished.

A GROUP of travelling bowlers will make the long journey from Perth to play on Northern Rivers greens next month.

Precise dates and clubs at which the Sandgropers will roll them down are being determined. Hosted by the NRDBA Touring Bowlers, this is a reciprocal visit for one the locals paid to the West.

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