HOT SHOTS: Mullumbimby bowlers Richie Northcott (Skip) and Mark Holten won the Tweed-Byron open pairs championship.
HOT SHOTS: Mullumbimby bowlers Richie Northcott (Skip) and Mark Holten won the Tweed-Byron open pairs championship. contributed

Suggestions to make the lawn bowls game shorter

THE 31-up format for bowls singles could be a thing of the past if suggestions to be considered by Bowls NSW come into effect.

Pairs and fours also could be shortened - to 18 ends.

These are two proposals received by the state body in its call for submissions for next year's conditions of play.

The shortened formats, those wanting the change say, would bring games into line with the way they are played internationally and in other states.

A further suggested change is to restrict the movement of bowlers during play - aimed it seems at those who follow their deliveries up the green.

In its call for submissions 'from all stakeholders', Bowls NSW says suggestions would be considered by its state match committee in its soon-to- be-made review of the current conditions of play.

The closing date for submissions is May 27.

My View: On shorter games

SHORTENING play would get bowlers to the bar earlier. That would benefit thirsts and club coffers but wouldn't do a thing for the game.

The suggestion that seemingly would prevent players from galloping up the green after their delivery is something that has been needed for a long time. If it was implemented, the amount of time-wasting would be greatly reduced and there would be no need for a shorter game.

The removal of this blot on continuity of play also would be welcomed by spectators.

Fours finishing at 18 ends would shorten the game so much the lead and second might as well stay at home. They don't do much now, apart from sitting and watching the skip and third for most of the play.

I don't think anybody would miss fours if this form of the game was to disappear, rather than be shortened.

Is there any reason to shorten pairs? Do we really have to fall in line with other states and international controllers where different circumstances apply?

The argument, of course, will be trotted out that a shorter game is in line with the unholy rush of today's society. But if bowls got back to the relaxing pastime it was meant to be, we'd be looking for longer games, not shorter.

Halfway mark

THE ding dong battle for top spot in No 1 NRDBA pennants continues - for the second week in a row half a point separates South Lismore and Ballina but positions are reversed.

In round four, it was Ballina with the skinny lead; in round five it's the Southies in front by the same margin.

With half the pennant season completed, the tipsters can't pick which side will take the flag.

South Lismore received its fifth round boost with a 40-shot win and the full 10 points over hapless Alstonville, while Ballina was 10 shots in front of Lennox Head for nine points.

In the other top grade game, East Lismore held onto third place with a seven-shot advantage over Casino RSM and eight points.

The No 1 table at the half-way mark is: South Lismore 43.5 points (102 shot margin), Ballina 43 (99), East Lismore 27 (minus nine), Lennox Head 13.5 (minus 29), Casino RSM 13 (minus 54), Alstonville 10 (minus 113).

Leaders in other grades - No 2: Evans Head. No 3: Ballina. No 4: Alstonville. No 5: Ballina RSL. No 6: South Lismore. No 7: Lennox Head.

Ratings race

WITH two months until the Australian Open, the ratings race is hotting up. The reigning singles champ, former Ballina/Evans Head junior whiz Aaron Teys, is rated ninth in Australia, while the bowler he beat for the national title, Canadian Ryan Bester, is listed No 1.

Second place goes to a Tasmanian, former Australian rep Lee Schraner. Third spot is held by four times world champion Jeremy Henry.

Our local hotshot 16-year-old twins Kit and Indi Conlan make an appearance in the Open ratings - Kit at No 40; Indi No 140.

Other Northern Rivers ratings are: Kris Lehfeldt 46, Jamie Eichorn 96, Terry Knudson 106.

Australian rep Natasha Scott, last year's Australian Open winner, is well clear of second-placed Carla Krizanic (nee Odgers) in the women's listings.

Twin magic

THE Conlan twins carried all before them in last week's Zone One junior championships at Ballina RSL. Kit Conlan (Ballina Cherry Street) won the singles title, brother Indi (South Lismore) was runner-up. The two joined to win the pairs championship.

Third place in the singles went to Jamez Percy (Casino RSM).

Percy, with Tait Collier (Lennox Head) was runner-up in the pairs.

Strong side

FOLLOWING a trial match, a strong Over-60 side has been selected to represent Zone One in the senior interzone series at Cabramatta on May 17-19.

It is: Trevor Clarke (Lismore Heights), Ted Butler (Evans Head), Viv Ross (Ballina), Peter Carey (Evans Head); Terry McFadden (Lennox), Graham Meany (Yamba), Rex Foster (Heights), Keith McWaters (Grafton); Rod McCabe (South Lismore), Greg Barrack (Kingscliff), Barry Evans (Lennox), Allan Knox (Grafton).

A match between the Zone One seniors and the newly-formed Zone 11 (Forster Region) in the inaugural Interzone Challenge Shield competition will be held at Maclean this weekend.

Later this year, the Zone One open side, yet to be selected, will travel to Forster to meet Zone 11 in the second instalment of the Challenge Shield.

The NSW open inter-zone championship will be held at Forster on September 10-12.

Date change

DATES for the AeroBowls junior tournament at Ballina RSL have been adjusted to cater for the national junior championships.

The schedule for the local event now is - Singles: Monday-Tuesday, September 26-27. Pairs: September 28-29. Junior/Senior Social Pairs and Coaching clinic: September 30.

Tournament manager Greg Danvers says the change allows players time to get from Ballina to the Australian titles at Adelaide over the October long weekend.

"Our tournament with its ability to cater for any junior bowler - the elite or the aspiring - is enhanced by the schedule adjustment," Danvers says.

COMING UP - May 1: District President's Day. May 9: Alstonville Classic Three-Bowl Triples.

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