Chris Herden, of South Tamworth, bowling in the Summerland Series at Ballina.
Chris Herden, of South Tamworth, bowling in the Summerland Series at Ballina. Marc Stapelberg

Live scoreboard bound to score bowls tourney more fans

BALLINA’S Summerland Series, renowned in recent years for the excellence of its in-house electronic scoring system, had a valuable innovation this time around.

It was a “live scoreboard” on the internet. Throughout the five-day singles event the link www.lawnbowlsnews.com gave regular updates on section winners but for today’s finals it promised scores live in the gold and silver sections.

When other tournaments in the past had someone in the clubhouse with a felt-tipped pen laboriously totting up players’ scores, Ballina’s big screen was doing the job electronically.

Complete tallies were listed only minutes after a game ended.

The live scoreboard on the world wide web can only add to a wider following of the tournament.

JOB OPENING

BOWLS Queensland is looking for a new chief executive officer. In its job description under the heading Skills and Experience, it says an interest in bowls would be “highly regarded”.

Highly regarded? Surely an interest in the game should be a requirement that takes precedence over all else.

This is the person who’ll be responsible for running the game in the whole state. Heaven help it if the successful one’s interest is in one of the opposition sports.

Incidentally, the Queensland chairman says in the state’s official journal his vision is to transform his organisation into one about which bowlers no longer have to ask, “what does Bowls Queensland do for me?”

They’re asking that up north, too?

NEW MUSCLE 

IF ANY enforcing is needed on the green, Tom Irwin’s the man. The 23-year-old newcomer to the game works in security at lively musical events at Byron Bay where a strong arm is an advantage.

A man mountain who played his first game at Alstonville at the weekend, he shows he can chuck ‘em down as well as he can chuck ‘em out. I can’t see many skips ever telling him he’s short.  

MORAL VICTORY

AN ANCIENT mate and I once beat the official ban on those who refuse to wear the money-grabbing logo. Pullovers were placed in the logo-not-required category when wives began jumping up and down because they couldn’t include it in what they knitted.

I wore a pullover in a club pairs championship – my similarly logo-less partner, 93-year-old Bobby Hudson, did, too.

And we refused to strip when the president wanted to see if we had a logo on our shirts. He had to let us play.

The day was in the middle of a heatwave and we sweated. I took the pullover off after a few ends but Bobby refused to, said he was “tough as an old boot”.

We copped a thrashing in the game, but won a victory over the ban. That pleased us. So much that Bobby insisted on us having a rum or two to celebrate.

MY VIEW . . .

I USED the hackneyed old term “if it ain’t broke why fix it” last week when discussing this year’s changes to the Summerland Series. It started me thinking the same could apply to the whole sport of bowls.

Not so many years back greens were always full of bowlers.

Names had to be in a week ahead to be sure of getting a game. Officialdom wasn’t satisfied, though. First the rules were tinkered with regularly – to the stage it appeared it was being done just to assure someone of a job.

Then they abandoned the regular testing of bowls that had been done for years to see that everyone had the same bias.

Manufacturers were given the go-ahead to produce bowls willy-nilly – the skinnier the bias, the better, and to sell more they kept coming up with weird colour combinations with ever less bias.

That meant new sets, costing a motza, had to be bought regularly to keep up with the changes.

Then whites – healthy dress for hot climates – were replaced by overdone colour with childish designs that made mature men look ridiculous and was out of date after a year, requiring the buying of new gear. And to pick up more cash for officialdom the logo added to expenses by having to be on every bit of bowls gear, stopping just short of the underpants.

We keep being told how little it costs to play bowls. Bulldust! It might have been once but no longer. People who want to play the game are being turned away when they find out they’ll be up for more than a thousand dollars to get into it.

At one time the newcomer had most of the white clothing in his wardrobe. All that was needed was a set of bowls that lasted a lifetime. It was cheap and simple.

Everything today is hinged towards the game providing someone with a lot of money. It’s too late now to get back to what was. But there’s no doubt that if the money hungry powers-that-be hadn’t tried to fix something that wasn’t broken, the game would be in a much healthier position. 

COMING UP: Toohey’s Open Fours at South Lismore, January 23-24.



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