Bowls: Pennants revamp set to go, bowls in schools

BOWLS NSW's experiment with changes to the way the top grade pennant competition is played will get its first airing on March 12.

The state's 16 zones have been divided into five 'conferences' - Northern, Metropolitan, Southern, Western and Hunter/Newcastle/ Central Coast.

The Northern conference takes in the Northern Rivers and Tweed-Byron districts (Clarence River doesn't play in the No1 division). The winners of the two sections will meet to determine which contests the state final.

The six teams of the Northern Rivers will play a 10-week season; Tweed-Byron's four teams will play six rounds.

Under the new arrangement, Northern Rivers premier South Lismore and red-hot rival six-in-a-row winner Ballina will miss each other in the opening round. They will meet in the second round.

The season's draw is -

Section 2, Round 1: Ballina v Alstonville, Casino RSM v South Lismore, East Lismore v Lennox Head. Rd 2: A/ville v East, Lennox v Casino, South v Ballina. Rd 3: Ballina v Casino, A/ville v Lennox, East v South. Rd 4: East v Ballina, Lennox v South, Casino v A/ville. Rd 5: Ballina v Lennox, South v A/ville, Casino v East; Rd 6: A/ville v Ballina, South v Casino, Lennox v East. Rd 7: East v A/ville, Casino v Lennox, Ballina v South. Rd 8: Casino v Ballina, Lennox v A/ville, South v East. Rd 9: Ballina v East, South v Lennox, A/ville v Casino. Rd 10: Lennox v Ballina, A/ville v South, East v Casino.

Section 1 - Rd 1: Ocean Shores v Condong, Pottsville v Kingscliff. Rd 2: Condong v Pottsville, Ocean Shores v Kingscliff. Rd 3: Pottsville v Ocean Shores, Kingscliff v Condong. Rd 4: Condong v Ocean Shores, Kingscliff v Pottsville Rd 5: Pottsville v Condong, Kingscliff v Ocean Shores. Rd 6: Ocean Shores v Pottsville, Condong v Kingscliff.

Targeting schools

AN initiative that will take bowls into the schools has been started by the game's national body.

Many schools already travel to use club greens for an afternoon's sport but Junior Jack Attack can be played without leaving the school premises.

It is the more age-suited version of Jack Attack, the indoor/outdoor game that has won wide support with all age groups around the country. Using soft-rubber reduced size bowls, a school class can play on any flat surface, eliminating the need for a bowling green.

The Australian Government is providing $100 million for schools to select sports for their students to get them more active.

Launching the scheme at a Victorian school, a Federal MP welcomed the inclusion of bowls as "part of the government's largest participation-based program with more than 4200 schools registered nationally".

Junior Jack Attack is available at schools across the country through the Sporting Schools program.

The Australian Sports Commission has urged schools to register in preparation for the new school year.

Bowls Australia CEO Neil Dalrymple says bowls has appeal to children because "there's no advantage in being tall or short, strong or not so strong, male or female - it provides an opportunity of every child to play and compete".

Aussies dominate

AUSTRALIA emerged as the dominant nation at the 12-day Asia Pacific championships in New Zealand last week.

They brought home four gold, two silver and two bronze medals from eight categories. The gold medals included the men's and women's singles.

Ettalong Memorial's Aron Sherriff had a comprehensive 21-12 win over New Zealander Mike Kernaghan in his singles final, following Karen Murphy's 21-14 success over Carmen Anderson (Norfolk Island) in the women's final the previous day.

Karen Murphy also won the pairs championship with Kelsey Cottrell, beating Malaysia's Emma Saroji/Siti Zalina Ahmad 16-11 in the final.

Ettalong deal

BOWLS NSW has continued an arrangement with Ettalong Memorial for that club to run state championship finals for the next two years. The club hosted the titles in 2014-15.

Venues for other events are - Senior interzone sides: Cabramatta and Ingleburn. State junior: Warilla. Junior interzone seven-a-side: West Dubbo. Interzone Sides: Forster, Tuncurry. State Rookies: Raymond Terrace. Champion of club champions singles and pairs: Wagga Australian Rules.

Coming up ...

DECEMBER 27 to 29: Summerland Pairs at the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club.

Jim's View on bowls in schools

GREAT idea. If the school can't get to bowls, bowls will get to the school. I've played the adult indoor version, Jack Attack - and it can be just as absorbing as greens trundling. The kids will love it.

Bowls Australia says Junior Jack Attack is designed for primary school children between the age of six and fourteen. The big attraction: The schools are able to play it without leaving their premises.

Now comes the rub: Bowls Australia - ever alive to making a quid and running the show - starts talking money and its brand of red tape. It'll cost an estimated $1010. And there's an Activity Coach for the game at $65 a session, insurance, the need for teacher coaches to be registered on the Sporting Schools website and endorsed by Bowls Australia. Even if Federal funding covers the financial costs, the red tape is enough of an off-putter for schools that are no strangers to red tape and money problems.

Get right behind the scheme, Bowls Australia, and forget all the regulatory nonsense.

Make it easy for the schools, something they will want, let the kids enjoy themselves and become wrapped up in a great game.

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