Rookie event proves popular

ROLLING ON: Home player Gary Simon was among almost 50 players enjoying the versatile men’s pairs contest at Ballina Cherry Street.
ROLLING ON: Home player Gary Simon was among almost 50 players enjoying the versatile men’s pairs contest at Ballina Cherry Street. Stuart Turner

ROOKIES - bowlers who have been playing less than 30 months - get their chance to show their singles and pairs ability in a state-wide comp starting this weekend.

Only bowlers who have been registered as club members since April 1, 2011 are eligible.

The Zone One section of the singles will get under way this Saturday and Sunday at three district venues - Clarence River at South Grafton, Northern Rivers at Alstonville, Tweed-Byron at Pottsville.

Play will start at 9am on both days.

The zone finals will be played at Ballina RSL on August 31-September 1.

Qualifiers for the state finals are held in each of the 16 zones.

The pairs section will be held at the same three venues on Saturday and Sunday week.

The zone finals in singles and pairs will be at Ballina RSL on August 31-September 1.

This is the third year of the men-only Rookies comp and it has proved extremely popular.

Those who have played in a previous event are eligible to take part again.

My view

GRAFTON came away from the state pennant finals with a record outshining any of the other Zone One clubs.

Competing in three different grades, Grafton won the No 4 flag, was No 6 runner-up and No 7 semi-finalist.

That's three grades accounted for, what about the rest? No other Zone One club made it past the two preliminary rounds.

Notice that the best state results were in the lower grades and all were from the bush. Apart from Grafton's successes, Goodooga won the No 5s, Fairy Meadow the No 6s and Lightning Ridge the No 7s.

The powerful Sydney clubs as usual made the top grade finals their own.

Taren Point beat Belrose to take the No 1s, Harbord beat Bulli in the No 2s, Revesby Workers beat Taren Point in the No 3s.

Keen judges ranked Kingcliff, fresh from a long affiliation with Queensland, a strong chance in the No 1s.

Kingscliff beat our strongest, Ballina, to take the Zone One top pennant and earn the right to compete in the finals, and Ballina has won five NRDBA district No 1 pennants in a row which makes it the best this district can produce.

But in the state finals at Merimbula, Kingscliff was massacred 64-39and 80-44.

Surely this must make officials realise that if we must take part in the state finals, we should limit ourselves to the lower grades where we can make a decent showing.

Putting minnows in the pond with the big fish is just a waste of time and money.

Grafton, the pace-setter in this year's state titles, for years hasn't played in the district No 1 pennants and restricts its top grade to No 2s, yet it still plays against No 1s in the interdistrict competitions.

After its performance at the state finals Grafton will have a hard time convincing officials it is not strong enough to play top grade in district pennants.

Club challenge

WHILE Bowls NSW has struck a winner with its Rookies event, it has another attention-grabber with the Club Challenge for which entries close tomorrow.

In this tournament, clubs enter teams of seven who will compete in singles, pairs and fours. Points are based on rinks won and the side that wins two of the three contests moves into the finals.

Sides are arranged in local sections and play up to six round-robin matches to determine the section winners.

Then there's a knock-out regional final leading ultimately to the state finals at Warilla on December 14.

There are seven divisions - three men's, two women's and two mixed.

The divisions are allotted colours to identify them.

Entry into the men's and women's Gold is unrestricted. Silver, Pink, Bronze and Blue are for lower pennant grades.

Opens catch on

THE Open form of bowls - in which men and women compete together - is catching on.

The first NSW Mixed Open Fours is to be held at Merimbula-Imlay, Tathra Beach, Narooma and Tura Beach on October 28 to November 1.

The first three days will feature two games of 18 ends a day with the best performed teams moving to the finals at Merimbula on October 31-November 1.

Teams don't have to be from the same club or district.

Entries will close on August 30.

Organisers say the tournament is an opportunity for bowlers of any grade and ability.

It also is a chance to see the spectacular Far South Coast of NSW.

Help bowlers

CLUBS should set aside an afternoon now and then to instruct young bowlers how to play in different positions and take note of which position they are most suited to.

It's not my suggestion. It comes from Ron Marshall, a brilliant bowler who won just about everything in the 1940-60s. His views were published in an April 1970 magazine.

"A promising young player should be encouraged and tried out in every position in practice games," Marshall says. "Get him to skip with an old skip as third."

Then he goes on to advise beginners not to attempt to drive until they are sure of the draw.

As the drive is an essential part of any skip's armament, it is difficult to see how the tyro's potential as a skip can be assessed if he's warned not to try the hot shot.

Players of my vintage served a 10-year apprenticeship as a lead before we were allowed to move anywhere else. Certainly it was a long time before we even thought of skipping.

Allowing a newcomer to control a rink is like letting someone go sky-diving without a parachute.

Too much too soon has ruined many a potentially good bowler.

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