Now tell us what you really think

AT LAST - the State body is asking bowlers what they want. It has put out a survey that seeks their views on unification of men and women bowlers.

While allowing bowlers a say on anything to do with the game is something out of the ordinary, many will regard this particular survey as further time-wasting on an issue that should have been well and truly settled by now.

NSW has been dithering over the inevitable unification for so long it seemed to have been swept under the carpet. Queensland has had gender amalgamation for at least three years and up there it appears to be working without any complications. The Banana-benders even have elected a woman as State president.

The wordy NSW survey asks questions complex enough to discourage many bowlers from taking the time to respond. A simple, Are you in favour, Yes or No, would have drawn more replies - the Frequently Asked Questions section provides answers that bowlers want.

Feedback from the survey will go to a joint workshop 'before the end of 2009', there will be a joint association briefing in February, another in June, and the amalgamation should be completed by the end of September.

NEXT YEAR that is!

And we once thought Queensland was slow.

My view . . .

SOMEWHERE along the path to the present, clubs have lost their way. From humble beginnings - greens planted tuft by tuft by dedicated volunteers; clubhouse often a disused church hall shifted on site - they've become obsessed with opulence.

The game that is the reason for their existence takes second place to turning the clubhouse into a glitzy beer-and-betting palace. I've seen bowls clubs spend a mint on the clubhouse while their greens are so bad they should be planted with potatoes.

Of course we know profits are necessary to cope with the hefty expense of maintaining natural turf, but the balance sheet has become the only thing of importance to some clubs. Many directors have one thing in mind - making themselves look good by beating last year's profits. That means giving preference to where the profits are made, the clubhouse, and all but ignoring the profit-draining sport of bowls.

When the flashing lights, bells-and-whistles Las Vegas look is achieved at great expense, bowlers are allocated a remote corner of the clubhouse where they won't interfere with trading. The friendly homely atmosphere has gone, lost in the drive to be modern and prosperous. As a bowler, walk into any of the glamour clubhouses and you feel almost an intruder, taking up space that could be used more profitably. Is it any wonder playing numbers are dwindling?

There's a belief that bowlers get their game on the cheap and don't spend enough, that clubs have to provide for people who are prepared to pour their pay packets into the pokies.

If the bowls pioneers who bent their backs to build the club could hear that, they'd have to doubt whether all their work was worthwhile.

Size not important

WITH a group of locals I played at two mid-North Coast clubs at the weekend. One had spent $6 million on the clubhouse; the other was humble by comparison.

At which club do you reckon we had the better time?

There's an adage among travelling bowlers - if you want to be made welcome, you go to a small club.

LINDSAY ADAMSON, who took out NRDBA titles in pairs, triples and fours while shining at Lennox Head in 1994-96, is still making his mark a decade later.

Playing with Ettalong, Adamson and lead Alan Rogers made the final of the recent NSW senior pairs championship, only to go down 25-10 in a rain-marred match.

SOCIAL bowls suffers from format boredom - the same pairs or triples day after day. Singles would be popular but organising markers is a problem. So clubs play singles once a year, when the club championship comes around. Here's a way around it. A singles game of Skins, it requires no marker:

Three players to a rink, each using four bowls over 18 ends.

Jack is centred first end by the player last on the card. On subsequent ends, the winner of the end (the one with most points) delivers the jack which is centred by the player last on the end's points.

If the end is tied (five points each), the player who won the previous end has the mat. Any jack rolled short, out of bounds or into the ditch, is re-delivered by the next player.

Points are scored: Four, three, two, one in order of closeness to the jack - a total of 10 points an end.

If the jack is knocked into the ditch, it remains there and play is to it. With no touchers, any bowl that finishes in the ditch is dead and is removed.

If an end is killed, the two opposition players get five points each. The jack then is re-delivered by the player who delivered it on the previous end.

At the finish of 18 ends, rink winners play off over three ends, using a marker.

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