Locals triumph as Summerland Pairs near the end
BALLINA locals Brian Bermingham and Kit Conlan have won through to the finals of the Summerland Series Pairs tournament after beating world champion and Australia's top ranked player Ryan Bester and his partner Sean Ingham, a Queensland representative.
The locals beat the champion pair in their individual game on Sunday on their way to winning Group E, paving the way to compete in the finals being played today.
"It was a great win for the local lads," tournament co-ordinator Kris Lehfeldt said.
Lennox resident Sue Grady and her partner John Long were in a position to win the group until they fell in their last game to Warren McDonald and Don Plummer, who enjoyed their only win of the tournament.
More than $12,000 in prizemoney, including a first prize of $3000 as well as Australian ranking points, have tempted some of the world's best bowls players to Ballina to compete in the Summerland Series bowls tournament.
Other winners from Sunday's round included Josh Farnsworth and Chris Monk, Nathan Wise and Michael Clarke, NSW champions Chris Herdon and Carl Healey, and the Navy pairing of Rob Dixon and Andrew Peasley.
Rohan Wilson and Craig Wilkie won Group F and will also be lining up to play the finals today.
Another full round of sectionals was played yesterday and included more talented players including junior Australian player Jono Davies and NSW state representative Troy Somerville.
A key battle was expected in Group L, where Ann Marie Peart, a Queensland singles player, and Carmen Anderson, a former world champion, played South Lismore duo Ben McCall and Jamie Eichorn.
Jade Groenewege and Scott Chamberlain had a very successful year in the Northern Territory in 2015 and were also a real chance in the tournament,
Mr Lehfeldt said.
Former world champion and current Australian selector Kelvin Kerkow and his partner Scott De Jongh could go all the way, he added.
Noleen Dutton, Australian pairs winner two years running, and her partner Peter Leon were also a threat.
"Bowls is a great equaliser and underdogs can beat champions," said Ballina Bowls Club president Paul Flood.
The final is expected to start at 4.30pm today,
before the Summerland Singles begins on Saturday.