AIMING for his hat-trick of Australian indoor singles titles, Warilla's Northern Ireland import Jeremy Henry had his run ended by Engadine's David Ferguson in the final at Tweed Heads.
Facing the near impossible task of dethroning the two-in-a-row titleholder, Ferguson dropped the first set 6-11 but recovered to take the next 8-6. In the tiebreak he landed the opening shot then picked up three on the next to finish 4-2.
Despite Henry's loss, he will join Ferguson at next year's World Cup. Ferguson's indoors win makes him eligible. Henry will be there as defending champion and will be trying for an historic sixth title.
The women's indoor championship went to Rebecca van Asch (Invermay), who became the first Tasmanian to take the event in its 11-year history. In a tense final against Canadian international Kelly McKerihen (Clayton), she took the first set 9-4, lost the second 5-7, and then won the tie-break 4-2.
The titles saw the sensational elimination of the reigning Australian Open singles champion Nathan Pederson, the second seed for the indoors. He was thrashed 10-0, 7-3 by a merciless Tasmanian, Robert McMullen, in what was a game that finished five ends early. Pedersen conceded in both sets - after the fifth end in the first set and the eighth end in the second.
Another in the casualty list was women's defending champ Natasha Scott.
THE Northern Rivers District Bowls Association junior co-ordinator for the past five years, Max Harris, says in his report the district has only eight juniors, most of them under 14 years of age. Three of the more senior youngsters had moved on for various reasons.
The district committee has discontinued the junior co-ordinator position. Harris says that as Zone One was running the junior championships there was no call for the same position at district level.
He has a parting shot at the district's 17 clubs that can manage only eight juniors: "There has been no news of clubs having recruitment days so I assume all clubs are happy with the level of members that they have.”
SOUTH Lismore's Jock Olley is the Zone One Rookies singles champion after downing Ben Leeson (Mullumbimby) 17-11 in the final. Olley also won last year's zone pairs with Scott Gough (South Lismore).
The 2017 Rookies pairs went to Greg Jeffery/Mark Querrell (Ballina) with three wins plus 22.
The zone winners will play in next month's state rookies finals at Raymond Terrace.
BOWLERS leaving the mat end are the bugbear of bowls. Chairman of the NRDBA umpires committee, Bob Adams, quotes the Condition of Play that restricts movement of players: "At the commencement of each end, single players, leads and seconds shall be at the mat end of the green.
In fours, a third may move to the head end of the green before the commencement of the end.”
He says: "I hope that all bowlers take notice of the COP and the Laws of Bowls. In that way the umpires are only going to be needed for a measure.”
THE Zone One reserve triples played at East Lismore was a win for the Yamba team of D. Atkinson, P. Conley and A. Turnbull. They beat K. McIlwain, A. Waldron and D. Gregor (Ballina) 23-12 in the final.
THE teams of Zone One skips Josh Greenhalgh, Kris Lehfeldt and Troy Makin will face Central Coast in the opening round of the interzone championships at Port City this weekend. Second round opponents will be Greater Western Sydney, then our locals will wind up against Newcastle in round three.
KRIS Lehfeldt was re-elected as Zone One president at the AGM at Ballina RSL.
Vice president is Gary Tobin (Cudgen Leagues).
Other positions went to: Secretary/State councillor Tony Hart (Bangalow), financial director Malcolm Story (Lismore City), directors George Newell (Lismore City), Bob Macneil (Iluka), John Rae (Cabarita Beach) and Barry Quail (Lismore Heights), selectors Barry Sheppard (Cabarita Beach), John Wyborn (East Lismore) and Brian Moore (Ballina), bowls co-ordinator John Rae, umpire/coaching director Barry Quail, and patrons Wilf Clark and Vince Schipp.
MY VIEW: ON JUNIORS
IF 17 clubs affiliated with the NRDBA can come up with only eight juniors, it should be a wake-up call.
All sports recognise that juniors are the foundation of their game, the ones who will ensure its progress and very survival in the future.
Bowls has fought off its greybeard image with fancy outfits and splashes of colour aimed at appealing to modern youth.
Juniors have gained wide recognition, with Jono Davis the 15-year-old Dubbo wonder boy who cleaned up all-comers in the Summerland singles and is in the Australian rep squad.
Local junior Aaron Teys, also an Australian rep, was winning three local club major singles before he was out of short trousers and going on to take the Australian Open singles in what many keen judges regard as one of the best bowls games ever.
We've had the Conlan twins wowing fans of the sport from age 13.
And we have Luke Jones, another kid who's gone on to championship greatness, and is still showing the oldies how to play.
That's just a few of the youngsters who have learnt to play on the local greens.
The now retired junior co-ordinator Max Harris's tongue-in-cheek comment that because of the dearth of recruitment days clubs must be satisfied with their membership, could have been more strongly expressed. He could have told the clubs to get off their butts and do more to attract people to our game - junior and senior.