Lennox bowlers give Southies a scare in pennant race
LENNOX Head, the club once rescued from closure, almost spoilt the party for reigning champion South Lismore as the NRDBA No 1 pennant race nears its end.
Going into the ninth round of the 10-week season, the Southies led arch-rival Ballina by 9.5 points and their match against fourth-placed Lennox Head seemed another step to this year's title. But Lennox Head had other views - it halved the rink wins and went down in the overall tally by a mere two shots.
The overall win, though, gave South Lismore 8.5 points and when Ballina beat East Lismore by 24 shots for nine points, the Southies go into the last round still nine points ahead. A seaside miracle is needed for Ballina to take its seventh No 1 flag since 2009.
Alstonville landed its second win of the season in round nine, beating Casino RSM by 13 shots but now, only four points behind the tied Casino side and Lennox Head, has a chance of avoiding relegation.
Progressive top grade points: South Lismore 79, Ballina 70, East Lismore 47, Lennox Head 26, Casino RSM 26, Alstonville 22iulkNo 1skethe r.
In other grades, Alstonville has won the No 4 pennant convincingly with a 10.5 point margin over Casino RSM. Lennox Head, too, was well clear in the No 7s, and takes the flag 21 points ahead of second-placed South Lismore.
In the other grades, the last round will be the decider. In No 3s, Lismore City leads Evans Head by one point; Ballina RSL is in front of Lismore Heights by the same skinny margin in the No 5s; Nimbin, 9.5 points behind South Lismore in the No 6s, has a near impossible job to do.
Squad's good news
ZONE One's over-60s didn't bring home the spoils from the NSW senior interzone championships at Cabramatta but they made their mark. Their overall result for three rounds contested by the state's 16 zones over two days was a commendable 173-187.
They opened with a resounding 75-42 win over Zone Eight; taking all three rinks 41-22. Then things went wrong. They lost the other two rounds - 45-80 to Zone 18, 53-65 to Zone Seven.
The championship was won for the first time by the other section's Sydney South West (Zone 12) with an unbeaten performance, downing Lower Mid North Coast (Zone 14) by a runaway 67-41in the final.
At the conclusion of the championship, state selectors named 16 bowlers for a state selection trial at Cabramatta on July 18-19. Zone One missed out.
Zone One's newly-appointed vice-president Greg Danvers said the zone squad had received substantial logistical and financial support to compete in the championship. Continued planning would ensure Bowls Far North Coast was represented by the best possible teams.
MY VIEW On bowls tourneys
BACK in the past, every club had regular tournaments. These events kept the cash registers ringing while maintaining a close association with other bowlers. The tournaments were well patronised - fun was the enticement more than the prize of maybe a pair of bowls strides.
Then things changed. Fun became secondary to money; a pair of bowls pants wasn't enough to attract the cup-hunters. Clubs had to offer just about the budget of a Third World country to fill their fields.
Loyal members paid to play, knowing they had little chance of winning against the hot competition that came after the cash. But loyalty isn't enough - over time these stoics have come to resent being used to subsidise prizemoney they have no chance of winning.
In the obsession to fill their pockets, the best of the trundlers gang up into teams, leaving the scraps to the also-rans.
Perhaps a return to the days of tournament trophies rather than money would give the contributors without a hope the chance they deserve.
But don't expect the cup-hunters to turn up.
THE forecast of a warmer winter than usual hasn't stopped advice being handed out on how bowlers can look after themselves in the cold.
Does the weather really affect our muscles, bones and joints? one adviser asks, then goes on to admit it does and that it's all due to barometric pressure, the atmospheric force that drops when a storm system develops.
So while we can do nothing to stop storm cells developing, what can we do at polar bear times? He says we should wear wool (acrylic and cotton just won't do), layer it to capture body heat, increase protein (its digestion raises body temperature). And drink plenty of water (it's just as important to stay hydrated in winter as it is in summer).
I know a lot of fishermen who keep warm liquidly on a bream hunt on a freezing night. And they think water is what's on the other side of the boat.
BOWLS Victoria gives the usual wordy reason for bumping up its affiliation fees by 2.75%. The rise is necessary, the state body says, to allow it "to continue to administer the sport effectively and in the manner which recently led to Bowls Victoria receiving a positive tick of approval from the Australian Sports Commission on our on-going commitment to applicable governance stands and requirements for sport".
It says the fee jump "follows Bowls Australia's previous decision to adjust upwards its charge to state and territory association by 3%".
Mud crab menace
THE mud crabs, those trundlers who walk sideways, invading the next door rink to watch their delivery, might be surprised to know that apart from being as annoying as hell, there's a law against it. It says a player must not go into a neighbouring rink where play is in progress nor must they go into or walk along a neighbouring rink when an opponent is about to deliver a bowl.
We see it all the time. It's something umpires could wipe out.
ONE hundred people - one for every year - provided an apt touch when they packed the little Lismore City clubhouse to celebrate the century it has stood on the site.
A hundred years ago, the club moved from Hospital Hill to build on a cattle saleyard in the main Lismore street. There it has survived flood, tempest and financial constraints to set a shining example in friendliness and the right sporting attitude.
Local bigwigs were at the high tea, their speeches lauding what the club has done for the city.
But was it the century atmosphere or something I've said over the years that made the official NRDBA team I played against try to beat me by 100? Almost did it, too.