Shoe on the other foot now
BOWLERS who wear a brand of shoe approved by the National Rules Committee in 2007 but which it now has banned, have until June 30 to buy replacement footwear.
Clubs are authorised to ban these shoes immediately from their greens. But if they do, a Bowls NSW memo says the clubs must advise visiting teams and players of this in writing at least 28 days in advance to avoid what it calls 'any situational sportsmanship'.
Any bowler who arrives at an 'away' club wearing these shoes and has no alternative footwear is to be given a once-off warning that must be recorded with the state association and written notification sent to the offending person's club.
If the banned shoe offence is committed a second time, the bowler will be treated as a 'defaulting player' under the laws of the game.
The memo says a full listing of approved shoes is to be placed on the Bowls Australia website to let bowlers know what they are permitted to wear.
The now-banned shoe joins another brand that has never been approved although it has been sold as a bowls shoe.
MY VIEW . . .
NOW it's shoes, for heaven's sake. Can we find any more ways of chasing people away from our game?
At a time when people are officially allowed, even encouraged, to go on to bowling greens in bare feet, thongs or limited foot protection, Bowls Australia has the hide to ban a couple of brands of proper shoes.
And it does that after it gave the seal of approval to one of the brands five years ago.
So for years some bowlers have been wearing shoes that were officially approved, shoes they paid a motza for, but which now have to be replaced by June 30 or else.
Nobody wants to see greens damaged by inappropriate footwear, but how can a shoe officially approved as suitable by the National Rules Committee in 2007 be a danger to greens in 2012?
Bowls NSW takes the easy way out - it doesn't police its rules, it puts the onus on clubs to do that. Clever move on its part: How do you enforce some rules that defy logic?
As far as the banned shoes are concerned, the state lays down strict instructions to clubs on what they must do to avoid 'situational sportsmanship' … whatever the heck that is … if any visitor is wearing them.
Hey, Bowls NSW, these are the club's greens - owned, maintained and paid for by the club. If the club wants to allow people in football boots on them, that's up to the club, not the state.
It's not so many years back that the rules stipulated bowls shoes must be brown. This colour is rare these days - the virginal white that replaced it is now being almost hidden under stripes, blobs and manufacturers' labels.
No doubt we'll soon have bowlers' shoes in red-and-yellow and those other delicate colour combinations that make rough-and-tough footballers look like they're dressed to play drop-the-hanky at a girls' party.
When these shoes arrive, it will open the way for a rule to have all bowlers wear false red noses. Then, in their shirts with more stars and stripes than the Yank flag, chamber pots hats and rainbow pants, they'll look complete clowns.
Sharing the credit
LAST week I gave credit to South Lismore club for prospering when many others around the country are foundering.
I meant it as a boost for the club but it seems I didn't mention names of those who placed it in this happy position.
If I gave credit to every volunteer who has worked for his club, this column would be as long as War and Peace.
I'm used to criticism, but I don't usually get it when I try to help. Seems my 'unpredictable' tag about Southies was close to the mark.
The club's Greg Stewart sent me an email in which he thanks me for my 'positive news about the club' but thinks mention should have been made of the hard and dedicated work of past directors, management and volunteers.
He continues: "I should declare now that the new secretary-manager Ben McCall is my nephew.
"He does bring with him drive and direction and I believe the ability to continue the club's profitability by modernising the facilities for club members.
"He has had his knockers since commencing in his role late last year, mainly because people don't like change.
"However, if those knockers would give him a chance they will see that in the long run all the changes will be positive.
"Ben is the first person to acknowledge the hard work of people in the past gives him such a good platform to enable him to take the club to the next level."
Times have been changed for the district triples championship at Casino RSM.
Draw for the opening round this Sunday morning (skips): G Williamson v G Burt; G Pitts v K Troy. Sunday 1pm: J Greenhalgh v D Foster; R Latta v K Lehfeldt; P Carey v M Anderson; I Locke v Winner Williamson-Burt; B Dean v R Burgess. Sunday April 22, 9.30am: C Sauer v R Morris; G Stewart v P Sharp. Sunday April 22, 1pm: T Stephen v Winner Pitts-Troy.
Pennants will resume on Saturday after the Easter break.
Top grade points leader Ballina will be up against second-placed Lennox Head; South Lismore will face Evans Head; tail-ender Alstonville will take on third-placed Casino RSM.
Busy tournament period next month:
May 14; Alstonville Three-bowl Triples; May 18: Heights Three-bowl Pairs; May 19: Ballina RSL Mixed Pairs; May 20: South Lismore Versatile Triples; May 26: Casino RSM Beef Week Triples; May 27: Urbenville Mixed Fours.