Honour rather than cash lure for McCabe
ROD McCabe knows more than most how cruel the Summerland Pairs can be - but try keeping him away.
Alstonville Bowling Club representative McCabe is teaming up with South Lismore's Delio Santarossa at this year's event, which gets started today at Ballina's Cherry St club.
The experienced pair has won their section on their last two visits to the event, before departing in the knockout stages.
With an $11,000 total jackpot up for grabs again at the three-day event, McCabe is expecting another tough battle.
"There are no weak teams at an event like this," he said.
"If you have a couple of bad ends against these guys, it can be good night for your chances.
"Hopefully everyone will have drunk too much over Christmas and Delio and I can nip in and win it."
Wollongbar's McCabe has been playing bowls on and off for about 30 years.
He has been a member at Alstonville for about eight years since moving up from Wagga Wagga and has become one of the region's toughest players.
The 65-year-old said he enjoyed the social side of the sport.
"I think it's just the companionship," he said.
"There's not too many bad people involved in bowls around here.
"We have three or four decent juniors at our club. I like coaching them and helping them out."
McCabe said he and Santarossa were "optimistic" for another decent run at this year's tournament.
The pair was knocked out of the 2013 event by eventual winners Kris Lehfeldt and Brett Wilkie.
"Brett didn't overawe me last year or give me a flogging," he said. "Kris did the damage - he played a really good match.
"I'm a reasonably good draw shooter and Delio lets fly when we get into trouble."
McCabe said he was hoping to create a slice of personal history at this year's tournament.
"I think they have a board at Ballina and if you win the Classic Pairs or the Summerland Singles, you get your name on there.
"Some people play bowls tournaments for money, but I like seeing my name on those winners' boards. That's why I play these events.
"I'm optimistic we can do well."