Rankings points on offer for club tournaments worth $3000

CLUB tournaments offering $3000 or more prizemoney are eligible to be official events that earn bowlers points towards national rankings.

Bowls Australia is calling for more clubs to register.

Currently 16 events are listed. One of them is Ballina's Summerland Series carrying three points in Tier Three which includes state championships, state champion of champions and approved club events of $12,000 and over.

Tier One is the rich Australian Open, Tier Two is the Australian Indoor and Australian Champion of Champions.

There's a fourth tier carrying points for approved club events with prizemoney of $3000 to $11,999.

Last year Ryan Bester (Broadbeach) and Natasha Scott (Raymond Terrace) picked up $3000 each for topping the national rankings.

COTTRELL THE KIWI

KELSEY Cottrell, who has represented Australia 284 times since she made her debut in 2005 as a 15-year-old, has taken out the New Zealand singles title but it still goes to a Kiwi.

The world pairs champion revealed she was born in Auckland.

In the final she had a 21-15 win over 20-year-old Tayla Bruce who was bidding to become the youngest-ever New Zealand champion.

The national singles over the ditch has been a happy hunting ground for overseas bowlers.

It was taken out previously by Malaysia's Nor Fidrah Noh in 2007 and her compatriot Siti Zalina the following year.

GRADUATES SUCCEED

AUSTRALIAN Open singles champ Aaron Teys (Warilla) and Cabramatta's Ellen Ryan are held by officials as an example of where being selected in the NSW-ACT squad can lead.

Both have graduated beyond the squad to become Australian team members.

The just-announced new squad for this year is largely unchanged. New members are David Ferguson, 31, of Wagga.

Former South Australian Nathan Pederson, 21, and former Queenslander Joel Andersen, 19.

National assistant coach Gary Willis described the squad as "an extremely talented group of bowlers who have been earmarked as potential national representatives".

POPULAR EVENT

QUEENSLAND has a Women's Team Challenge on Saturdays.

It has been running since 2010 and caters for the oft-forgotten women who work and can't play during the week.

Two pairs play as a team. Winners this year were the Power Puffs, a name that originated when someone at Coolum pressed the wrong key when filling in the entry form - it was supposed to be Powder Puffs.

The challenge has become a major comp up north - 300 South Queensland women played in it in 2015.

YOUTH MOVEMENT

BOWLS Victoria is doing its best to boost the young player image.

It says this summer it has 850 registered members under the age of 20 and a further 1200 aged 20 to 30.

But, it says, rather down-heartedly, those figures represent only 5% of the total membership.

In a place like Victoria where summers can come and go pretty quickly, the winter figures might be different.

Promotional material says that with its relaxed pace and light physical demands, the sport - dating back 7000 years - has been played largely by retirees since Australia's first bowls club was established in 1846.

"But you have only to look at the Australian Jackaroos squad to see the face of the game is fast changing," says a Bowls Victoria official.

"There are no grey hairs in sight. The average age is 29, with the oldest member 41 and the youngest just 18."

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS

THE Australian Bowler journal of July 1961 was trumpeting a new record.

The Sydney Metropolitan Singles that year had 1448 entries - 200 more than the previous year's record.

Officials were saying it was the greatest number of players ever to take part in a sectional individual sport in this country.

Where did they all go?

PRESTIGE TOURNAMENTS

THE quality of players who nominate in their events is evidence that South Lismore, like Ballina Cherry Street, runs tournaments of prestige.

The Southies' latest is its one-day Aussie Fours Carnival, worth a total $5000, this Sunday with entries closing on Friday.

It's four rounds of 12 ends, starting at 9am.

The prize list is $2000 for first, $1000 for second, with good money down to fifth and $160 for each of four best round winners.

JETT ROARS

JETT Simmons was six years old when he signed up last year to play pennants for his club Fitzroy in Victoria.

That made him Australia's youngest-ever registered bowler.

Now seven, he competed in last year's Australian Open and each Saturday takes on opponents old enough to be his great-grandparents.

"He's been around bowls clubs since he was born," says mum Holly.

"He had a roll-up when he was about two, and it just took off from there."

With the advantage of a name like Jett, this kid is ready to take off in our game.

COMING UP

> South Lismore's Open Fours this Sunday

> Ballina's Major-Minor Pairs on Tuesday



GALLERY: Burnt out fire truck

premium_icon GALLERY: Burnt out fire truck

The RFS truck will probably be written off.

"Someone could have been injured or killed"

premium_icon "Someone could have been injured or killed"

An RFS crew sheltered in their truck as the grass fire overcame them

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