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locals step up at bowls

Ballina pair Ashley Blewer and Des Robinson after their surprising run through to the quarter-finals.
Ballina pair Ashley Blewer and Des Robinson after their surprising run through to the quarter-finals. DOUG EATON

WHEN Ashley Blewer and Des Robinson went to the BallinaBowling Club on Sunday, they were hoping to get a good spot to watch the action.

By the time they went home they had earned a spot in the Summerland Pairs quarter-finals.

Blewer and Robinson, both 60, are part of the club committee.

They had turned up to carry out their duties on one of the club’s busiest days, but when two pairs failed to show up and one of the reserve teams was uncontactable, there was a hole in the draw that needed to be filled.

“We just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and we had bowls,” Robinson said.

Ballina had four teams in the pairs; then suddenly there was a fifth.

The plucky pair went on to win their section, take out their post-sectional play-off and earn a spot in the quarter-finals; they had gone from spectators to being in the final eight and, what’s more, they were the last local team standing.

“All our top teams went by the wayside, and here we were playing for a spot in the semis,” Blewer said.

The pair met eventual winners Chris Herdon and David Ferguson in the quarter-finals where their run finally came to an end in the teeming rain with more than 300 locals cheering them on.

But neither the weather nor the result could dampen their spirits after a stunning run which ended with a few cold ones in the clubhouse as they watched their conquerors charge towards the main prize.

“We took on the young blokes and got done, but hey, we had a pretty good run,” Blewer said.

“If it was fine I reckon we would have beaten them; they adjusted and we didn’t,” Robinson joked.

“No, those boys played great. We didn’t really know what we were up against until we saw them play later.”

Both men were chuffed with their effort and keen to get among the action again, possibly with a more conventional route.

“It was totally unexpected, quite bizarre,” Blewer said. “Maybe next year we should get automatic entry to the tournament.”