Pairs on greens in the chase for gold
LAWN Bowls might look like a genteel game, but it's war out there on the greens.
When players from all over the country took to the greens at Ballina Bowling Club yesterday in the first of day of the pairs event in the region's most prestigious bowls championships, the Summerland Series, friendship was left on the bench
According to one bowls competitor, it's not a matter of life and death - it's far more important.
Watching the players are they concentrate, intent on placing their bowls as close to the jack as possible they are focussing so strongly you can practically hear them breathe.
And age is no indication of expertise, as the event's singles champion from the 2016 can attest.
Jono Davis, 16, hails from Dubbo, plays for Mt Lewis in Sydney and works as a powder coater and sandblaster so he can devote all his spare time to the game.
"I'd like to win back-to-back titles,” he said.
"I like bowls, it's a fun game and you meet lots of good people and there's no no off-season - you can play all year round.”
The double medallist from the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games said he's keen to taste more international success.
The dangerous Canadian-Scottish combination of Australian Champions, Ryan Bester and Kevin Anderson are also keen to make their mark.
Anna Lovasi and Cheryl Moran from South Tweed comprised the only female pairs team in the competition.
They may have been in the minority but this highly competitive duo were giving as good as they got against some serious competition.
"This is out first time playing together as a team,” Lovasi said.
"It just goes to show what you can achieve if you try,” Moran said.
Summerland Series coordinator Kris Lehfedlt said the event which is in it's 57th year has again attracted some of the best players in the country to enter the pairs and singles events.
Standing on the steps looking out over the three greens in use for the pairs event, Lehfedlt said he's proud of the event which sees players return year after year.
"We have great facilities, strong competition on the greens and real camaraderie here,” he said.
"This year we had more than 30 extra teams trying to get in as the field but we only has room for 64 teams. It's a credit to everyone involved”.
Lehfedlt said Thursday's matches will feature 2016 winners Sean Ingham and Jayden Christie as well as standout players including Scott De Jongh and world champion Kelvin Kerkow, Neil Burgess (Cherry Street) and Sam Lagguza, locals Scott Gibson (Cherry Street) and Josh Greenhalgh (Lismore Heights).