Former winners eye Summerland
THE action on the bowling green will resume today when the cream of Australian bowls steps out for the Summerland Singles.
A capacity field of 64 will converge on the Ballina Bowling Club to compete for almost $10,000 in prize money.
The competition has again drawn some of the biggest names in the sport, leaving bowls co-ordinator and tournament director Tony Scott to declare the field as strong as ever.
“The field is really strong, all the sections are tough, and each bowler will have to be on their game to prog-ress,” Scott said.
“There are lots of young enthusiastic bowlers and some of our best and most experienced, so it makes for interesting play.”
Five of the past eight winners of the Summerland Singles will contest the event, which has become one of the most popular on the east coast bowling calendar.
Section B today shapes up as one of the toughest with two former Summerland champions to square off.
Ken Evans (Musgrave Hill) will be keen to replicate his 2000 victory but faces an in-form Neil Burgess (Lennox Head), a former NSW singles champion who won this event in 2006.
Local legend John Lang (Ballina) has also landed in a strong section where he will have to get past Australian indoor semi-finalist Steve Piggott (Pottsville) and NSW reserves representative Brendan Baker (Armidale City) to have a shot at post-sectional play.
Former Australian representative and one of the tournament favourites, Ian Taylor (Kingscliff), will get no favours, having been draw in Section A where last year’s runner-up Shannon Ghittoes (Musgrave Hill) will also look to progress.
Other notable entrants today include two-time Northern Rivers bowler of the year Richard Latta (Ballina), NSW junior singles champ Aaron Teys (Ballina) and former Australian pairs title-holder Clay Parker (Raymond Terrace).
The action continues tomorrow with the second day of sectional play and again there is nowhere to hide.
Singles champion from 2007, Brian Baldwin (Musgrave Hill), is back to challenge for the title but will have to fight just to make it out of his section with local hope Michael Anderson (Ballina) drawn alongside him.
Anderson is the NSW singles champion and will be reeling from his early exit in the pairs.
Young and old will go head-to-head again when Summerland Pairs champ Chris Herdon (South Tweed) and City Masters singles champ Phil Westcott (North Sydney) cross paths in Section J.
Herdon played through illness to take out the pairs with David Ferguson (Engadine) on Tuesday and will be looking to clean sweep the series.
Also in action tomorrow are former world champion Englishman Steve Halmai (Condong) and World Masters pairs champion and two-time Summerland finalist Walter Jacobs (Taren Point).
First bowls will roll at 9am today in what is set to be a fascinating tournament.