Ben Morthorpe and Brent Norman at the NSW Greenkeepers championships at the Ballina RSL Bowling Club.
Ben Morthorpe and Brent Norman at the NSW Greenkeepers championships at the Ballina RSL Bowling Club. Greg Danvers

Arvo tea on the chopping block for bowlers

BOWLS South Australia has dispensed with the mid-game break for refreshments for its next pennant season. And it's run into threats to quit the competition because of the move.

Older bowlers say they will lose important social time together and the chance to "take a breather".

One club said it was likely to have to withdraw from pennants because several of its players were considering giving it up.

Bowls South Australia operations manager Rhys Taylor said that at the state's annual pennant review the majority of clubs from three of the four metropolitan regions, along with 50 out of 85 club delegates, supported abolishing afternoon tea.



THERE was nothing worse. Your team could be having a great day at pennants when a bell rang and everyone scooted into the clubhouse for tea and bikkies (some of those with their tongue hanging out regarded it as a chance to improve the bar takings).

A quarter of an hour later you returned to the green, usually to a vastly different game. The tea and bikkies break played merry hell with concentration. Every opponent of this hangover from the past will tell you how often scores changed dramatically after the break. Still, there are some greybeards who'd like to see it come back.

Thankfully, the mid-game hiatus didn't become a state issue around here and most clubs have long disposed of it.

It's not surprising though that the official South Australian move to get rid of the break for mid-game sustenance should meet with resistance from the oldies.

Why? Our game doesn't require the fitness of a front-row forward. If bowlers need 'a breather' to get through a couple of hours of less than vigorous play, we should turn the whole shebang over to the kids.


Casino dominates

AFTER three rounds of pennants, Casino RSM is showing its depth of talent. In the four grades it has entered, the defending No 1 champion again has a big lead in that grade and in No 2s, is second in No 4 and second (joint side with Bonalbo) and third in No 7s.

The position of the grade leaders is - No 1 Section Two: Casino RSM 28 points, East Lismore 12. No 2: Casino RSM 26, Lennox Head 12. No 3: South Lismore 19.5, Ballina 18.5. No 4: Evans Head 27, Casino RSM 20. No 5: Lismore Workers Sports 28.5, Alstonville 17.5. No 6: Nimbin 28.5, Kyogle 19. No 7a: Lismore Heights 20, Ballina 19. No 7b: Lismore City 19, Bonalbo/Casino RSM 19, Casino RSM 12.

In top grade play in Round Three, Section Two, the Casino side picked up nine points from East Lismore; while South Lismore lost all 10 to East Lismore.

Ballina landed nine points to one from its clash with Evans Head in Section One of the No 1s.


Points lost

THE inclusion of ineligible players continues in NRDBA pennants. The competition conmmittee's close scrutiny of player lists of the first two rounds has taken all points from South Lismore (Round One, No7s), Ballina (Round One, No 5s), Ballina (Round Two, No 5s).


Double celebration

BEN Morthorpe, a 28-year-old from Cabramatta, won both championships - singles and pairs - at last week's greenkeepers' state championships at Ballina RSL.

After a tense struggle to take the singles title, he teamed with Cabravale Diggers' Brent Norman to win the pairs crown 22-21 in another thriller.

In the singles he came up against retired greenkeeper from Coonabarabran, Barry Wilkinson.

The 70-year-old Wilkinson had taken the singles title twice before, in 1982 and 1988, and had been runner-up in 1983 and 2004.

After 24 ends this time he was tied with Morthorpe 18-18. From there Morthorpe eased away to take the championship 31-24.

Lismore Heights' greenkeeper Josh Greenhalgh was beaten by Morthorpe 31-25 in a singles semi-final. He also was beaten 10-9 into runner-up with Nigel Perry (Port City) in the Plate (non-championship) final.


Pipe dream

A BOWLS club in a dirt-poor area of the Philippines is the goal of Alan "Doggy" McFarlane, a 75-year-old from Sydney club St Johns Park.

A bowler himself for 25 years, for the past eight years he has been visiting the disadvantaged in the islands and although on a modest pension has been spending about $1000 annually providing groceries and clothing.

Now his own club has joined with him in shipping all its old bowls uniforms over to the tiny district of Cagayan de Oro, on a southern island of the Philippines.

McFarlane says that over there they face major obstacles in establishing a bowls club. There's the price of land, even in an area that is prone to flooding , the cost of building and the difficulty the poor population would have paying for club membership and expenses.

But he sees a great need for a sporting facility in an area that is starved of any major infrastructure.

"The only thing they've got is a concrete basketball court," McFarlane says. "They had a big celebration there last week because the council put a roof over it."


Questions answered

QUERIES on eligibility for the state president's reserve singles and pairs are answered by a Bowls NSW circular earlier this year.

The previous condition of the ineligibility of a player who becomes graded higher than No 5s in the current season has been amended.

The Condition of Play now states the player is eligible.

Reason given was that a player who is successful in the reserve championships would likely be elevated above No 5s.


Big show

THE Bowls Show made a return to SBS television on Sunday.

It is screened weekly at 3pm nationwide.

This third season of the show will run for 22 continuous weeks, with only a break of two episodes on July 8 and 14 for Tour de France cycling coverage.