READY TO ROLL: Byron Bay bowler Judy Wallace at the Northern Rivers District Bowling Association women's gala day at Cherry Street Sports Club, Ballina, on Monday.
READY TO ROLL: Byron Bay bowler Judy Wallace at the Northern Rivers District Bowling Association women's gala day at Cherry Street Sports Club, Ballina, on Monday. Mitchell Craig

Bowling club saves tennis tournament

HOW about this for inter-sport co-operation?

When the Australian women's Federation Cup tennis team was to play Ukraine in Canberra this week, they needed a grass court for practice. And grass courts there are as scarce as a politician who'll knock back a free feed.

To the rescue came the Yowana bowls club. It converted its green into a high-quality grass tennis court.

Bowls Australia says this shows the multi-purpose nature of bowling greens and could inspire other clubs around Australia to make varied use of theirs.

Bias call

IN THE anything-goes world of today's bowls bias I never thought I'd see a manufacturer criticising the narrow line of another manufacturer's product.

But in a two-page advertisement in an official state bowls magazine the manufacturer says of the champions using his product: "None wanted a bowl with a 'narrower line' as other brands currently advertise because it is the MOST wind-affected of all trajectories. Narrower line bowls are NOT recommended by the world's best for consistent results.”

Could this mean a not-before-time return to the bowl with a draw that everyone has?

MY VIEW: ON THE BOWLS FIDDLE

NOTHING has changed since my contention that official fiddling with the rules, clothing and bowls themselves is responsible for our game's decline.

Only in recent years did the changes happen.

Take a look at the length of time our game has survived without this messing about.

What looked like bowls were found in a grave in Egypt, leading to estimates the game was being played as far back as 3200BC. It certainly was around in the 13th century. And Sir Francis Drake had his famous "finish the end then knock off the Spanish Armada” game in 1588.

That's a fair length of time for a sport to survive. Somebody should tell our powers-that-be that if it ain't broke, you don't fix it.

The main change has been in the bias of a bowl. In years past, bowls were tested to make sure they complied with what was the official bias. Everybody used the same bias and it was a game of skill, not a contest for those with a deep enough pocket to afford the never-ending latest skinny bias.

For some reason or other, the hierarchy has allowed manufacturers to produce whatever bias they liked. There was a race to see who could bring out the skinniest bowl. To keep up with the Jones's, bowlers had to change their expensive sets of bowls almost as often as they changed their logoed shirts.

Now we have a manufacturer criticising the narrow bias of the opposition.

An instance of the kettle calling the pot black?

Big numbers

THE magazine Bowls in NSW, April 1970 vintage, reported a 10-year upsurge in women bowlers from 1968.

In that time, registrations increased nationwide from 51,000 to 109,731.

This was mainly due to the growth in New South Wales, where the number of women's clubs rose from 326 to 610 and the number of players from 17,000 to 45,902. There were 1778 women's clubs in Australia in 1968.

The oldest women's bowls club in the world was formed in 1899 and was attached to the South Melbourne Cricket Club.

New members

MAKES you wonder how genuine clubs are in seeking new members.

Up in Queensland a well-publicised Come and Try Day was held at 41 clubs. But 314 clubs are affiliated with the state body.

And was the Come and Try Day any value? Seventy per cent of the clubs that took part gained new social and fully-paid members.

Home needed

THE Bowls Premier League Cup, an adjunct to the highly popular televised live Premier League, is looking for a home.

Bowls Australia has called for expressions of interest from clubs around the nation.

The Cup had its first appearance last year after three years of Jack Attack, played now by 180 clubs around Australia.

Clubs interested in staging this year's event should apply before the end of the month.

Overseas hopefuls

A 45-YEAR-OLD woman bowler, Colleen Piketh, is South Africa's hope for gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

At the last Games in Glasgow she won gold in the pairs and bronze in the singles. She has represented her country for the past 15 years.

Top male bowler for South Africa will be Gerry Baker, a 57-year-old who holds three medals - one gold, two bronze - from the Kuala Lumpur and Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Prestigious event

SOUTH Australia, where bowls is booming, has been allocated the 2019 and 2020 world champion of champions event.

This is the most prestigious of world titles, contested by male and female bowlers who have won the national championship in their country.

Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple said Adelaide being allotted the event was "a coup for the club, the state and the nation”.

Eight Australians have taken world titles over the years. They include our local product and reigning world singles champ Aaron Teys, Adelaide's own Scott Thulborn (2016), Natasha Scott (2016), Karen Murphy (2013), Aron Sherriff (2010), Brett Wilkie, Kelsey Cottrell (2009) and Leif Selby (2008).

Clean sweep

"QUEENSLANDERS Rule the Roost at National Titles”. That's how the Bananabenders reported their success in the pairs and triples and fours.

And if you count Aron Sherriff as a Queenslander now that he has shifted to Helensvale on the Gold Coast, it was a titles clean sweep.

Sherriff won the singles final 25-22 from Victoria's Australian rep Barrie Lester. It was a game spectators praised as among the best they'd seen.

The national titles, last held at Harbord, Sydney, 12 years ago, were making a comeback on Merimbula greens.



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