WINNER IN ACTION: Alstonville bowler Amanda Marron won the Northern Rivers section of the women’s state singles at the East Lismore Bowling Club.
WINNER IN ACTION: Alstonville bowler Amanda Marron won the Northern Rivers section of the women’s state singles at the East Lismore Bowling Club. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

This week's bowls roundup

ZONE One pennant winners in seven grades face a trek of 11,154km before they get home from the New South Wales finals on August 1 to 3.

One club will go to Leeton - 2320km there and back. The least road distance to be travelled is Kahiba, 916km for the two-way journey.

Once the pennant chasers get to their destination they'll be up for accommodation for a few days, plus meals, plus out-of-pocket expenses, even lost time from work.

The cost is doubled for Ocean Shores as it the club won two pennants. Its sides will travel a total of 3102km before they get back from their venues - the No 2s, 784km to Cabramatta, and the No 6s, 767km to Northmead.

Kyogle has the longest journey. From Turkey territory to Leeton it's a faraway 1160km - the No 2 winners will be on the road for 2320km before they get back home. They'll need to take a turkey sandwich or two.

South Grafton, No 5 winners, are lucky they're furtherest south - their trip to Dubbo and back is a mere 1234km.

And so it goes on. South Lismore No 1s, a round trip of 1710km to Dapto; Evans Head No 3s, 916km (Kahiba); and Cudgen No 7s, 1872km (Orange).


Rich tournament

INTERNATIONAL Mark Casey promises greens running around 15 to 17 seconds for the world's richest bowls tournament, the $225,000 Australian Open starting on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Thirty-one greens at 12 clubs will be used during the 13-day event.

"The greens on the Gold Coast are renowned to be the best in the world, especially in the winter months," Casey said.

"All 12 venues have been working very diligently to ensure their surfaces are in top condition."

Broadbeach, with four top-class greens, will host most of the finals.

"All four greens run within half a second of each other," says Les Gibbs, the club's head greenkeeper. He tips the greens to get up to 17 seconds when the sun is shining.

The event in which there are 2000 bowlers competing has 207 sections in the singles and 117 sections of pairs. I waded through the hundreds of names looking for locals. Came up with South Lismore's Ben McCall and Ryan Digby, and Ian Taylor (Kingscliff) in the singles, and McCall and Jamie Eichorn in the pairs. But it's easy to miss a name among the hundreds of entries.

It's the first time the Open has been really open - every bowler was eligible to enter without the former qualifying rounds.

The mammoth draw would have to be an organiser's nightmare.


Tied up

KRIS Lehfeldt (Ballina) and Ian Taylor (Kingscliff) are tied at No 7 in the current Australian rankings.

In top spot is Canadian Ryan Bester, the current Queensland singles champion.

Other locals listed are South Lismore's Ben McCall at No 159 and Jamie Eichorn No 222.

In the women's rankings, Australian captain Lynsey Clarke is No 1, with fellow Australian rep Natasha Scott (Raymond Terrace) No 2.

Scott, 24, last week won the $10,000 South Tweed Prestige Singles, beating 19-year-old Victorian Chloe Stewart 25-10. In a semi-final Scott downed Lynsey Clark by an identical score.


Winter carnival

WINTER'S a great time for bowls. The greens are fast; the weather bracing.

Ballina RSL is taking advantage of the cooler days with its two-day Winter Carnival. On Friday, July 3, it's $50 Open Pairs (two rounds, 13 ends, noon start). On the following Tuesday it's $600 Men's Triples (same format and time). Entries will close on July 2 (pairs) and 6 (triples).

Selection snub

BOWLS NSW has named 16 players for selection trials at Cabramatta on July 21-22. Surprise, surprise - nobody north of Port Macquarie has made it.


New academy

NEWCASTLE'S Raymond Terrace has started a junior academy that has 17 aspiring bowlers aged between nine and 17.

They are provided with all bowls gear, from bowls to shoes, and have access to a scholarship fund that can be used only for educational purposes.

The academy is divided into two sections - the Growth Squadron and the Scholarship Group, based on their level of bowls experience.


Masters tournament

WOMEN'S Bowls NSW has announced the City Masters, reintroduced last year, will be held at Cabramatta on September 24-27.

Women bowlers continue to have "masters" events. We can only surmise that, even in these days of gender insistence, this is to avoid calling the events by the female equivalent. Nobody would want a comp called the City Mistresses.

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