Summerland tournament hits Ballina
BALLINA’S annual Summerland Series bowls tournaments start tomorrow with a record numberof relative youngsters in the field.
Traditionally a haven for retirees, the bowling green will be invaded by the young brigade with one in five entrants aged under 25 and more than half the field on the fresh side of 40.
Tournament co-ordinator Tony Scott is certain the sport is evolving, and with prizemoney of $20,000 up for grabs he is hardly surprised.
“It’s an old man’s game that the young man has stolen,” Scott said.
“Young guys are starting to dominate the sport and it’s not surprising.
“There is really good prizemoney available up and down the east coast now so I expect the crowd to keep getting younger.
“Your best bowlers used to come down to the club and have a beer and a cigarette while they played. Now there are beep tests, pinch tests and drills.
“The times are changing.”
The Summerland Series has drawn some of the nation’s best bowlers to the Northern Rivers in previous years, and the 2009-10 field is as strong as ever.
NSW junior bowler of the year Aaron Teys heads the young brigade and two of his teammates from the NSW junior side will also compete.
Australian bowls legend Ian Schuback – the voice of ABC-TV’s bowls coverage – makes his return to the green, and NSW bowler of the year Michael Anderson will also be fighting for the cash.
Anderson, a Ballina local who doubles as the greenkeeper at the club, is also feeling the pressure to repel the young brigade but joked that his inside knowledge of the greens gave him the edge.
“The young blokes are getting better, I reckon they can smell the prizemoney,” Anderson said.
“But being the greenkeeper, there has to be an advantage there somewhere.”
The Summerland Pairs starts tomorrow with the finals on Tuesday. The Summerland Singles starts on January 2.