FOCUS: Plenty of eyes will be on Canadian international Ryan Bester in the Summerland Singles at Ballina
FOCUS: Plenty of eyes will be on Canadian international Ryan Bester in the Summerland Singles at Ballina Nolan Verheij-Full

Showpiece event still a big winner at Ballina

BOWLS' end-of -year showpiece, the Summerland Series at Ballina Cherry Street, has been packing them in since the dual tournament started in 1964. This year, with total prizemoney $25,000, the singles section has grown to the stage it will take four days to decide the finalists.

Four days of qualifying will start on January 2 with the final on January 6. Entries have been limited to 128 bowlers.

Before then, it is the Summerland Pairs turn. Each day on December 27, 28, there will be 32 teams in sections of four vying for a position in the final on December 29.

Section winners and finals of the pairs will be over 15 ends with no dead ends.

The pairs and the singles both will earn points in Tier Three of the Australian ranking system.

Last year's Summerland Pairs winner, Alan Abbott/Alf Boston, have entered again but each with a different partner.

In the singles all eyes will be on Broadbeach-based Canadian Ryan Bester, fresh from the world championships in New Zealand, where he was a close runner-up in the singles gold medal.

Ray Picard, a Sydney regular in the Summerland Series for many years, is back for another tilt at the singles he won two years running, in 2001 and again in 2002.

Legal issues

CLUBS, so desperate to attract patronage that they advertise to let people on their greens in bare feet, should have a yarn with their lawyers.

I sought legal advice at one time. And I was told that if a player, for instance, lost a leg because poison used on the green entered a cut under the foot or a tinea abrasion, the normal club insurance wouldn't cover it. The club would be regarded as negligent for allowing a player on the green without the proper footwear. Similar to a worker being ineligible for workers' compensation if he's hurt on the job without adequate cover for his feet.

Better for clubs to be sure than risk a huge insurance claim for negligence.

Rivals confident

QUEENSLAND has picked a team of 12 men, 12 women that it is confident will bring home the bacon when they take on old rivals, New South Wales, in the annual test series at Sunshine Coast club Kawana on January 16-17.

The Qld men will be looking to defend the title they won this year; the women will be out for revenge after losing their series 3-0.

The women will be skipped by two of Australia's best in Julie Keegan (Broadbeach) and Lynsey Clarke (Helensvale). The men have such stars as Helensvale's Nathan Rice. Missing from the Queensland team is international Mark Casey who has announced his retirement from competition play.

Cabramatta wins

SYDNEY side Cabramatta beat Warilla to take out the men's gold when more than 250 bowlers in seven divisions contested the state finals of the Club Challenge played at Warilla. The event was open to clubs throughout NSW.

Taren Point took the women's gold; Mudgee the mixed gold.

Three men's divisions, two women's and two mixed had sides of six in singles, pairs and triples. To win a match a side had to have the most number of wins in the three disciplines.

Blind championships

"BOWLS is my life now, I can't see enough to do anything else," said June Brittain, of Edmonton near Cairns after competing for the third year in the state blind championships in Brisbane.

She started well this year, winning four of five games to move into the final against defending champ Lynne Seymour. A great effort, but it wasn't enough - Seymour took the title for the second successive year.

Australian Blind Bowlers' Association president Dr John Vance won silver in the open pairs. Dr Vance was a consultant paediatrician at the Mater Children's Hospital until he gave up the job in 1996 because of declining sight. Since 2000 he has represented Queensland 15 times at the Australian Blind Bowls championships.

Still open

JIM Rank advises that Lismore Heights club will continue to provide bowls over Christmas/New Year on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays - names in (6624 3040) between 11am and noon. Both genders and visitors welcome.

My View... on the heat

WITH heatwave warnings upon us it's frightening to see some bowlers in caps, near-brimless bucket hats or, worst of all, nothing covering their heads. It's easy to forget that heatwaves can kill. In 2009 there were almost 1000 deaths in south-east Australia when temperatures reached 43deg in late January.

Most clubs are alert to the danger. Cold water is provided and there's a temperature maximum above which bowls must not be played.

So it's not the clubs, it's the bowlers who need to be reminded what can happen in the heat.

Health services warn that it's important to drink water even if not thirsty and to avoid alcohol and hot or sugary drinks, including tea or coffee, because these can worsen dehydration.

Most at risk are people over 75, those with heart, respiratory or circulatory disease and diabetes, those who are obese or taking certain medicines. But everybody who's foolish enough to go without proper head covering can be included.

The administrators of our game authorise the wearing of unsuitable headgear. It's way before time they showed some understanding of the danger in our summer and demanded that hats be worn.

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