South Lismore streaks away in NRDBA pennant race
A NINE points to one win to South Lismore was no indication of the closeness of round seven in the race for the No 1 Northern Rivers District Bowls Association pennant.
For the previous three rounds of the competition, a skinny half a point separated the Southies from Ballina after tying at their first meeting in round two.
Then on Saturday in the much-anticipated second time they'd faced each other, the score couldn't be closer - it was 45-45 on 51 ends, 51-51 on 57 ends and only two shots were between the two sides when two rinks finished, cancelling each other out with a win apiece, both 26-12.
It was left to the third rink to fight it out. Its slow progress, marred by annoying over-checking the head, meant it was on 18 ends with South Lismore leading 17-14 when the other two finished their 21 ends.
The Southies won all three ends 19-14, 23-14, 23-19 to make the final tally 61-57.
Shooting further ahead
The overall win, plus rink wins, gave South Lismore the nine points that shot it further ahead at the top of the table. With three rounds left, it now is in a commanding position - a 7.5 point lead - to take its second successive No 1 flag.
East Lismore is the only other side with a slim chance of upsetting the apple cart.
In last week's round the Easties cleaned up Alstonville by 28 shots to stand in third place, eight points behind Ballina. It would take a near impossible performance to overhaul the two leaders.
In Saturday's other No 1 game, Casino RSL took nine points off Lennox Head but - like Lennox Head and Alstonville - the main interest is which will get the wooden spoon.
At top level, though, long memories can't recall such a close competition at the top.
Points: South Lismore 61.5, Ballina 53, East Lismore 43, Casino RSM 23, Lennox Head 15.5 and Alstonville 12.
Play this Saturday: Casino RSM v Ballina, Lennox Head v Alstonville and South Lismore v East Lismore.
In lower grade pennants, in which Evans Head has already taken the No 2 flag, Lismore City has a 10-point lead in the No 3s, Alstonville is five points in front in the No 4s, Ballina RSL is eight points ahead in No 5s and South Lismore shows its depth by holding a 9.5 point advantage in No 6s. Lennox Head, 19 points in front, has the No 7s sewn up.
MY VIEW On a showpiece spoilt
BOWLS has become weird mixture of how to dress for the game.
No problem a few years back - everybody wore white - but nowadays players can wear anything out of the ragbag for social play but must dress up in fancy gear for anything else - the main requirement being the wearing the money-making logo on pain of being banned if it's not there.
Club dress once was called a uniform - there's nothing uniform about what is being worn now.
The match of the pennant season - South Lismore's top squad up against can't-be-separated arch-rival Ballina - was a chance for the game to display all that is good about it.
Shirts were okay - they had the mandatory logo - but a lot of the other gear looked like rejects from Saint Vinnies. Trousers, mainly shorts of a variety of colours and form-hugging, could have been hand-me-downs from larger, or smaller, brothers; head coverings did nothing to cover heads - from near brimless bucket hats that could be used as chamber pots to ear-blistering caps in a mixture of colours. Only one bowler wore the old-style broad-brimmed hat that protects against the sun - fashion, it seems, reigns instead of health safety.
But while dress in this all-important round of pennants was off-putting, it was the slow play on one rink that annoyed spectators.
Because a skip followed every one of his deliveries and returned to the mat walking backwards like a meandering mudcrab, the other two rinks had finished their 21 ends while his had played only 18.
There's a suggestion before Bowls NSW that bowlers' movements on the green be restricted. Rectifying this blot on the game can't come soon enough.
THE Zone One side for the New South Wales interzone senior sides singles championship at Cabramatta starting on Tuesday will face Zone 16 (Illawarra) first up. Second match will be against Zone Seven (south-east NSW).
The sections will wind up on Wednesday against Zone Eight (south-west NSW).
The finals will be played on an artificial surface at Cabramatta on Thursday but all of Zone One's sectional and any semi-final matches will be on grass.
Zone One skips are Peter Carey (Evans Head), Keith McWaters and Allan Knox (both Grafton District Services).
SCOTLAND and Australia, the sport's most prominent bowls nations, will hold a test series as a prelude to the world's biggest bowls festival, the $250,000 Australian Open from June 22-24 at 15 Gold Coast clubs.
The Scotland-Australia series, featuring 20 male and female bowlers from each country, will be at Broadbeach from June 5-7.
Scotland will be fronted by one of its greatest ever, Alex Marshall, and his fellow 2014 Commonwealth Games pairs and fours gold medallist Paul Foster, while Australia will have its most capped international bowler Karen Murphy and three-times International Bowler of the Year, Aron Sherriff.
Two of the matches will be shown on The Bowls Show, the sport's new free-to-air TV production which will air for the first time on Sunday.
APPLICATIONS are being called statewide for Bowls NSW's development camp to be held at Warilla club on December 11-13.
It's aimed at players 18 years and older who are being looked at as future team representatives.
The state body says the camp readies them for play. They are expected to be able to make a speech, play a part in the feedback process, be a good and respectful roommate, be punctual, and have personal presentation standards in line with that required of a state representative.
I think they're expected to be able to play bowls, too.
FOUR young local bowlers make up half the North Coast side of eight selected for the combined high schools' championships at Soldiers Point in August.
Named after trials at Alstonville are three Alstonville High students - twins Kit and Indi Conlan and Tait Collier. The fourth, Kurt Forrester, is from Evans River K-12 School.
Students from Tweed Heads to Kempsey took part in the trials which involved a skills session and triples play.