WINNERS: Yvonne Vaughan and Jack Kingman won the Evans Head mixed pairs competition.
WINNERS: Yvonne Vaughan and Jack Kingman won the Evans Head mixed pairs competition. Contributed

Bowls: Roaring success for Sydney Lions

SYDNEY Lions, kept caged by the other teams for the previous three years of the Bowls Premier League, were roaring in the final of the four-day event at Brisbane's Pine Rivers.

The team - internationals Aron Sherriff, Karen Murphy with Ben Twist - upset previous winners, Victoria's Murray Steamers in straight sets 6-4, 10-6 to land their first overall win.

It wasn't a feeding frenzy for the Lions. They came up against Canadian Commonwealth Games star and Australian Open holder Ryan Bester with top-draw Michael Walker and Ellen Ryan, a team hungry to repeat their previous success in the comp.

The final ends kept the noisy crowd on the edge of their seats. The score was tied 4-4 in the second set with two of the five ends to go when Sherriff and Twist with incredible draw shots packed bowls around the jack like apples in a supermarket to score five shots. And this was a power play so the tally was doubled to 10.

Down one set and 10-4 the Steamers were still on the boil and hot to trot- they landed the shot on the last end of their power play to double it to two and reduce the margin.

Bester, who has had a remarkable year of successes and is playing at the top of his form, had to be content with second prize money and being named the most valuable player of the series.

Last year's winners, the New Zealand Blackjacks, finished in fifth place.

The rich Bowls Premier League, in which all Australian states and New Zealand have a team, has been expanded overseas to include the first in Auckland in February. The international flavour has brought about the change of title from Australian Premier League.

Open book

BOWLS Queensland's council meetings are an open book. To inform its bowlers of what is going on at state administrative level, the official magazine devotes a double-page spread to giving informative details of what the delegates are saying. We, south of the border, are left in the dark by our powers-that-be. Even when we had a magazine, there was barely a glimmer of light.

The report of Queensland's recent budget meeting told of a discussion on the logo merchandising scheme. "Where does the money go?” the article asks.

It says Bowls Australia retains all the profits from the logo and uses the money to fund bowls development through regional development managers. Until this year Queensland was "effectively paying twice for development”, the article claims.

Says Bowls Queensland director of finance Greg Flynn, "We used to pay around $230,000 a year for our development officers, now we pay Bowls Australia $38,000 to have three regional bowls managers on the road, a big saving but we don't get any Logo Merchandising Scheme money back.”

Bowls Olympics

THIRTY-FOUR of the 52 member countries from six continents will compete in this year's world championships at Christchurch, New Zealand from November 29 to December 11.

The event, dubbed "the Olympics of Bowls”, was last held in Yarmouth, England, where Alex Marshall extended his record of world singles titles to six, a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten.

Victoria has a strong representation in this year's dual-gender Australian teams of five in the four disciplines of the game. Barrie Lester, Aaron Wilson and Carla Krizanic have been selected, with Lester saying, "To have three Victorians in the team is an achievement in itself.”

Joint promotion

ADELAIDE'S No 1 radio station for more than 40 years, FIVEaa, has joined forces with Bowls South Australia to promote bowls in that state. It has secured the right to be naming sponsor of Night Owls in written, digital and social media.

Night Owls is a popular social event that anyone can play and is all about enjoying the game in a relaxed and fun environment.

The radio station and Bowls South Australia will jointly explore means to promote the social game.

Seems radio isn't prepared to let television have a virtual monopoly.

MY VIEW: ON comic commentary

BY letting the Bowls Premier League become a circus, Bowls Australia is losing its best opportunity to win a television following.

Dyed-in-the-wool bowlers and those who turn on their sets to the 20-hour live coverage to find out more about the game would turn them off again when they hear the verbal idiocy that goes on. And they'd miss some brilliant bowls.

Ever since this series began four years ago, it seems a comedian is mandatory. While he tries desperately to be non-stop funny, he gets encouragement from the other members of the commentary team with obligatory gales of laughter. He goes on with a load of rubbish that has nothing to do with bowls while fine play that is at the very least deserving of a mention, is ignored.

What a refreshing change it was in the thrilling final to have Kelvin Kerkow do the commentary. He gave viewers an expert call that centred on the bowls and was not hampered by infantile humour.

Although the overall quality of play was down this year with the absence of overseas stars, this is a worthwhile event with more than enough brilliance to deserve better commentary.

A feature was the performance of teenage girls - each team was required to have one female. The youngsters - the youngest was 18 - were the stars, often making the established big names look as if they were trundling in the turkey triples.

Bowls Premier League is too good a concept to be spoilt. When it expands to New Zealand in February, let's hope the comedians stay at home.

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