Bowls: Pairs set to kick off Summerland Series

A CHANGE to an open draw for the Ballina Summerland Series, starting this Sunday with the pairs, will add a new touch to a carnival that's been successful since its inception 51 years ago.

Bowlers, 32 pairs in each of two sections, will learn their opponents only when the draw is made on the day of play.

The 64 sets of pairs include a smattering of women, juniors and international names such as Canadian Ryan Bester (Summerland Singles winner), Kelvin Kerkow and Robbie Dobbins, with the usual local strength.

Dobbins, a former national coach of Australia and Malaysia, is partnered by Sam White; household name Kerkow, a regular entrant in the Summerland Series, won the singles in 1999 but has never taken out the pairs - he'll play this year with Scott De Jonh.

Aiming for a third Summerland Pairs title is Terry Knudson, who will lead for South Lismore star Ryan Digby.

The Summerland Series' most prolific winner (six singles, two pairs), Neil Burgess is not a pairs entrant this year.

There will be a lot of interest to see how our area's boom kids, twins Indi and Kit Conlan, fare if they come up against Jono Davis, the boy the country is talking about.

Indi Conlan will play with Rod McCabe; his brother is teamed with Brian Bermingham. Jono Davis has as his skip Troy Somerville.

One of two all-women teams, Amanda Marron and Judy Scotcher, will match it with the men. Marron is the Northern Rivers District women's singles champ.

The Summerland Singles is the follow-up, starting on Saturday, January 2. The finals will be played the following Wednesday.

Aaron on the mark

AARON Teys, 21, the Ballina kid who made the nation sit up when he won this year's Australian Open, is one of four of the game's brightest young prospects named to represent Australia at the sport's only international Under-25 event, the World Junior Championships, on the Gold Coast next year.

The others selected are Corey Wedlock, 19, Kristina Krstic, 21, and Chloe Stewart, 20.

In addition to the singles, Teys will line up with West Australian Krstic to make a formidable mixed pairs team.

Victoria's Chloe Stewart and Krystic already are fully-fledged members of Australia's top-tier high performance squad.

Corey Wedlock made his mark on the big canvas in the recent Hong Kong International Pairs, taking gold in a final against a team of Welsh internationals.

Great record

THREE NSW state singles titles in five years. That's 31-year-old Ray Pearse's record.

The Cabramatta bowler did it in 2010, 2012 and this year. No wonder he's now in the Australian squad.

To take the 2015 title he beat Dubbo's Nathan Wise in the final.

Wise is no pushover, either. He beat our home-grown Australian Open singles champ Aaron Teys (Warilla) 31-11 in a semi-final.

Conferences?

A LOT of bowlers have wondered why Bowls NSW called the newly revamped groups of zones in the No 1 pennant comp 'conferences'.

I admit I thought a conference was a talkfest, not a sporting event, though it seemed to be an Americanism that like many other Americanisms was creeping into our games.

I went to my trusty word bible and found out a conference could be many things - from an annual church assembly to an association in commerce or sport.

So in this case the term is used correctly. Could be a bit misleading to churchgoers, though.

Drinking responsibly

BOWLS Australia is promoting a Good Sports program to its 1927 affiliated bowls clubs around the nation.

The Good Sports program, developed by the Australian Drug Foundation, aims to make the clubs healthier, safer and more family-orientated by introducing a set of practices and policies that create a culture of responsible drinking within the club and reducing alcohol related problems in the community.

Says Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple: "Alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of preventable illness and death in Australia.

"Bowls clubs are of the lifeblood of communities, particularly in regional area, so it is vitally important that our clubs adopt best practices on responsible alcohol management."

Coming up ...

JANUARY 2-6: Ballina Summerland Singles.

January 9: Broadwater Open Triples.

Jim's View

SHINING at the top of our current crop of local juniors, the 16-year-old Conlan twins have the ability to reach the heights. But at Dubbo there's another kid who's leaving even the Conlans behind in achievement.

Aged just 14, Jono Davis will give locals their first look at him on Monday when he plays on the second day of the Summerland Pairs.

He's played bowls for nearly half his

14 years and has won the Dubbo club's major singles two years in a row. At 12, he was selected in the NSW Under-18s and was the Australian junior singles champ; at 13 he took out the gold medal in the Australian junior pairs, he's the current NSW junior singles champ and was named the 2014 NSW Junior Bowler of the Year.

And what does this kid do for relaxation when he's not bowling? He goes pig chasing in the Dubbo bush with his older brother.

Davis will be 17 when the 2018 Commonwealth Games are held on the Gold Coast. Plenty of keen judges can see him in Australian senior colours.

With the Summerland Series having an open draw, it won't be known until playing day whether he'll come up against a Conlan - who are playing in different teams.

If young Davis does, the encounter could be a pointer for national selectors.



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