South Tweed bowler Brendan Hoey in an afternoon game at the Summerland Pairs at Ballina.
South Tweed bowler Brendan Hoey in an afternoon game at the Summerland Pairs at Ballina. Mitchell Craig

Big trek for state finals

WHEN pennants start on March 4, the winners after a program of about three months will have to prepare for some hefty travel. Added together, the seven NRDBA grades will have a trek of the best part of 10,000 km to get to and from all the finals.

The one with the least travel is the No 6 grade - it has only 432km to get to Tamworth from Lismore.

The No 2s have the longest journey from Lismore- 1187 km to Wagga; the No 1s, 745km to Cabravale, Sydney; No 7s, 722 km to Engadine; the No 3s, 608 km to Maitland; the No 5s, 599 km to Soldiers Point; the No 4s, 460km to Tuncurry.

To pay for all this travel, struggling clubs will be looking for help from Bowls NSW's Travel Assistance Grant scheme that is accumulated from pennant final hosting fees and is to assist clubs facing financial hardship.

The state body says it is committed to ensuring regional and metropolitan areas are provided with the same opportunities to compete in its finals. "However, with 1440km between the farthest reaching clubs in NSW from north to south and 940km from east to west, there will no doubt be times when some zone winners will be required to travel substantial distances in order to compete.”

Bowls NSW stresses that any grant would be limited to car travel costs ONE WAY (their emphasis). It retains the right to refuse applications for bus hire or air travel. However, if this sort of travel is approved, it would be limited to one-way car travel expenses.

Application forms for assistance are available on the Bowls NSW website.

Rule change

WORLD Bowls has changed its requirement for grooved rings around the non-bias centre of bowls. At a recent meeting of the world council it was decided that as the bias side is identifiable by grooved rings, those on the non-bias side are not necessary.

Says Bowls Australia: "These changes will allow for manufacturers to customise the size of distinguishing marks on the non-bias side of the bowl. It is important to note that these law changes do not have an effect on how the game is played, nor does it affect the bias of the bowl.”

The new arrangement will apply from January 1.

When I learnt of the change at first I gave a hooray - I thought it applied to those identifying rings that are stuck on bowls in play such as pennants. They are primitive and the bugbear of the game. I saw a bowler in a state pennant final tear off the rings from both sides after putting down no fewer than four wrong biases because of misreading the rings.

In these days of technological magic, you'd think we could come up with something more advanced than circles of stick-on plastic.

From Bowls Australia's comment, the change has nothing to do with the stick-ons. Rather it will allow manufacturers more space on the bowl for what they want to do with it.

Wouldn't it be better to consider the bowler more than the manufacturer?

Management issues

HAD a word of appreciation of our bowls coverage from a club official who noted that Lismore Heights, once doomed to extinction as was Lennox Head, is doing significantly better than other clubs in numbers on the green. "Isn't it a poor reflection on the management of major clubs that at both Lismore Heights and Lennox Head where they ran at massive losses, the de-amalgamated successors are going well,” he said.

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