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New Sherriff in town on the Gold Coast

PARTY TIME: Lismore Workers Sports club 45-year celebrations with Jean Daley, Mary Wunsch and Elizabeth McDonnell on Friday.
PARTY TIME: Lismore Workers Sports club 45-year celebrations with Jean Daley, Mary Wunsch and Elizabeth McDonnell on Friday. Mitchell Craig

FOUR times international bowler of the year, Aron Sherriff, is moving from his long-time NSW club Ettalong to Helensvale Hawks on the Gold Coast.

The 32-year-old with 20 years' bowls experience cited his young family as the reason for his move north but the coming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and joining such a strong club surely played a part in the decision.

"Being able to play with three of my great mates in Cas (Mark Casey), Whiz (Brett Wilkie) and Lurch (Nathan Rice) was obviously a massive selling point,” Sherriff said.

With the move north comes a change of state allegiance. He admits it hasn't yet sunk in he will be donning the maroon of arch-rivals Queensland.

"I'm a passionate New South Welshman, born and bred,” Sherriff said. "I've followed the Blues in State of Origin and have played a couple of hundred games for NSW.”

Sherriff has his sights set on next year's Commonwealth Games. He collected bronze in the singles at his last Games outing at Glasgow in 2014.

MY VIEW . . . ON THE SHERRIFF MOVE

QUEENSLAND selectors will be rubbing their hands in glee knowing Gold Coast club Helensvale has snared one of Australia's most decorated international bowlers.

Add Aaron Sherriff to the club's other internationals - the Caseys, Wilkies and Rices - and Helensvale is going to take some beating at any level.

It's an unfortunate part of all sport these days that the rich clubs become strong because they are rich enough to buy the best players. Bowls isn't golf or tennis, there isn't much money for professionals. Maybe that's why unlike the other sports we never hear what the incentive is for big-name bowlers to change clubs. But in Sherriff's case I don't reckon sun and surf were a deciding factor.

I can't remember ever learning the amount a bowler signs for in his contract. Or even if he signs a contract. Anyhow, what use is a contract these days? Seems they're just bits of paper a sportsman can walk away from if he gets a better offer.

New Champion

DAVID Ferguson is the new name in bowls. The Engadine bowler has added the 2017 NSW state champion of champions singles to his Australian Indoor singles win. Playing at Kiama in the final against Dylan Riley of Forster, he scooted to a 6-0 lead after two ends before Riley hit his straps and tied the score at 27-27. Ferguson was good enough to hold his nerve when the score was 29-29 to collect two shots and the title.

Arms length

DOWN in Victoria they're building their Bowling Arm team in a bid to continue on their winning way in the use of this device which has become the fastest growing aspect of our game. Victoria has won the last five national arm titles, beating every other state on the way.

Says state arm co-ordinator Phil Gude: "Positions have been keenly contested right from the start. We have turned over 30 players for the 15 plus two reserve positions in the past several years. We now aim for the sixth national title in 2018.”

Coaching clinic

ARGUABLY the world's best woman bowler, Karen Murphy, held a coaching clinic at Ballina Cherry Street on Friday. Coaches, selectors and those aiming to improve their game took to the green under her tuition.

Murphy, who will turn 43 on Friday, has been playing the game since she was 11 and is a world indoors and outdoors champion and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

At 15 she won her first championship, the Gerringong junior pairs, with another bowler who also went on in adulthood to be a multiple world champion - Leif Selby.

Business end

It's a busy time for the Cherry Street club - nominations in singles and pairs for its Summerland Series will close tomorrow. This Ballina comp that runs from December 27 to January 5, has become recognised as one of Australia's most highly regarded bowls events.

Youth movement

WATCH out, you greybeards, the kids are taking over. Around the country schoolboys not yet out of short pants are making their mark in bowls. From Western Australia comes a report of 11-year-old Mason Gunson who in his first year in the game became the youngest bowler ever to take a championship at his club, Morley. He followed up his win in the club triples by winning the novice singles and reaching the semis of the club fours.

Club selector Craig Hamilton says the boy came home from his first pennant match with all his money intact and a bonus packet of chips. "He was spoilt rotten,” Hamilton says.

Joe who?

I ENJOY browsing through ancient bowls magazines to learn what time has done to our game. Inside the cover of The Australian Bowler of July-August 1961 was a picture of bowler Joe Managhan who the caption said was from Lismore and had been beaten in the Masters by president Jack McBarren.

Who was Joe Managhan? Anybody know?

Incidentally, the magazine with a long line-up of foreign correspondents sold for two shillings and sixpence (twenty five cents). These days clubs wouldn't dirty a glass in the bar for twenty five cents.