Kit Conlan has been named in the NSW Gold Squad.
Kit Conlan has been named in the NSW Gold Squad. The Northern Star

NSW dithers over smoking ban

WHILE Bowls NSW dithers about banning smoking on the green during play and leaves it to the clubs, Bowls Australia has a definite policy with penalties at national level.

Bowls Australia says its policy is binding on all members and has the same effect as a provision of the national constitution.

The national body lists smoke-free areas 'at all times' as the green, the bank, all indoor areas, all covered and enclosed outdoor areas, all outdoor dining areas, all alfresco dining areas and within seven metres of any building entrance.

Bowls Australia says 'for the avoidance of doubt', its ruling on the green as a smoke-free area shall apply to any player, umpire, measurer, law umpire, member, visitor, spectator or any other person.

Breaches of the no-smoking ban are to be reported to the club which is required to handle the complaint in accordance with the national policy.

For the first offence, the person is to be advised of the policy and the requirement to adhere to it. For any subsequent offence an official warning is to be given. Repeated or flagrant breaches may be referred to Bowls Australia whose penalty is final and not subject to appeal.

"Legislation and the legal duty of care provide clear reasons to have a smoke-free organisation," Bowls Australia states.

The policy is independent of the on-the-spot fines that government inspectors are authorised to impose.

My view

BOWLS NSW, with the sidestep of a Reg Gasnier in his prime, has avoided the issue of bowlers smoking on the green. Its wishy-washy stand is limited to leaving it to the clubs to enforce state legislation that bans it. Clubs, frightened of losing members, bury their heads in the ditch sand to avoid seeing the pall of cigarette smoke on their greens. They feel secure when the legislative watchdogs, Government Health, given the responsibility of stopping the practice with on-the-spot fines, do nothing.

Strangely, Bowls NSW is only too eager to enforce a Bowls Australia logo that provides it with an income to increase its administrative army yet isn't prepared to make a definite stand to enforce the national body's policy that protects bowlers' health. While Bowls NSW continues to avoid a stand on the issue, clubs will continue to circumvent the law that says there is to be no smoking in sport.

Bowls Australia says it recognises that exposure of non-smokers to tobacco smoke is irritating and hazardous to health. If Bowls NSW has similar views, let it show a bit of strength and leadership and tell the clubs what they must do.

Bronze battle

AUSTRALIA was confined to bronze in both men's and women's singles at last week's 24-nation World Champion of Champions on the Gold Coast.

In scorching conditions on Helensvale's 15-second greens, Australia's Scott Thulborn went down 9-5, 3-8, 3-2 in his semi-final to ultimate title winner Neil Mulholland, of Ireland.

In the final, Mulholland beat Fairul Muin (Malaysia) 10-10, 8-3. It was Mulholland's seventh tie-break win in the tournament. He lost one tie-break to the United States.

In women's singles, Australia's Katrina Wright finished third to another Malaysian, Emma Saroji, who beat Nici Neal (South Africa) in the final.


In NSW squad

TWIN 16-year-old Conlan brothers Indi (South Lismore) and Kit (Ballina) have been included in the NSW Gold Squad training camp to be held at Taren Point in the summer school vacation. Together with Kurt Forrester (Evans Head) the twins also have been named in the state's Silver Squad.

All local juniors will have a training day at Ballina RSL on Sunday, December 13. Coaching is from 10am to 1.30pm, with lunch provided.

Junior bowls co-ordinator Greg Danvers has received written support and an offer of assistance from national coach Steve Glasson for the formation of a Far North Coast Youth Academy.

Mixed results

NSW had its first mixed pairs state championship this year. Queensland had what could be their last - travel from far-flung regions to Brisbane has become too costly.

Bowls Queensland is toying with a change of timing, though it's difficult to see how timing could help with expenses.

In the past the banana state's mixed pairs championship has thrown up some interesting results. None more so than the age difference in the 2013 final in which Jacob Nelson, 14, of Cleveland, partnered Mary Ross, 84, to take the title.

At this year's championship, Alison Ogle - age concealed but known as 'Mum' to the other state finalists - showed her wild side by having a tattoo of the Bowls Queensland kookaburra emblem on her arm and promising more ink if she won the title. She managed to avoid both.

Wise words

MANY years ago I worked in Brisbane with press photographer Bill Sneyd, a top bowler and bowls writer. He had a theory that has since been widely accepted - it's your head not your hands that wins bowls games.

"Keep pegging away, conjuring up positive mental pictures of the shot you want to play, do exactly what you have set out to do, always confident, cool and collected." That was Bill's advice. And it has stood the test of time.

Two-time world blind bowls champ Tasmanian Peter Alexander was more concerned with feet. He often told me how important it was to have the correct placement of feet on the mat. And the sightless Pete proved it with near-miraculous consistency.

COMING UP - This Saturday: Woodburn Sugar and Spice Day. Saturday week: South Lismore's Jax Tyres Pairs.

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