ON TOP: David Ferguson is currently the top ranked bowler in Australia.
ON TOP: David Ferguson is currently the top ranked bowler in Australia. Alison Paterson

Banning imports is a serious issue for pennants

THE importing of players from other states to boost No 1 pennant sides was addressed pre-season by Bowls NSW as a serious issue.

In a memo to clubs it said the state match committee regarded this as "a deliberate attempt to circumvent the conditions of play and not within the spirit of the competition”.

"The state match committee is aware that some clubs were considering obtaining an interstate clearance for players from other states for the duration of the NSW state Grade One pennants, with the intention of then obtaining a clearance for them to return and continue with their competitions in their home state,” Bowls NSW said.

Any player for whom an interstate clearance was issued to NSW (for them to be claimed as a NSW player for the purpose of the NSW conditions of play) would NOT be issued an interstate clearance from NSW until the completion of the NSW season on December 31.

All states and territory associations had indicated support of this stance by Bowls NSW.

Short story

WAY back in 1969 the then Australian Bowls Council banned playing in shorts.

The Victorian state association complained to the council that this was "out of step with the modern trend in dress” and submitted a notice of motion that would allow bowlers to wear shorts "whether cream or otherwise”.

The Victorian association said a large number of men in Victoria, and Melbourne in particular, wore shorts to business during the warmer months and this was accepted as normal dress.

To prohibit bowlers returning from business dressed this way from having a roll-up on the green was "unjustified and could be construed as an invasion on the rights of the individual and of the club of which he is a member”.

The difficulty, of course, was finding the warmer months in Melbourne.

Misguided rankings

BOWLS Australia each month announces the top-ranked bowlers in the country.

The rankings are as useful as a hip pocket on your underpants in deciding the nation's best bowlers. They depend on bowlers gaining points from nominated competitions. If there aren't enough of the stipulated competitions in any area, classy bowlers who play there are deprived of points and a position in the rankings.

That's why in the just-released monthly list our best was Kris Lehfeldt at No 210. Even Kelvin Kerkow could make only No 52, Jeremy Henry No 28 and Nathan Rice No 30. The top-ranked bowler is David Ferguson.

This rankings system has been in place since 2014 and Bowls Australia says it gives more opportunities and more weight to higher finishing performances at major tournaments around Australia.

I can't think of an alternative system to choose the best male and female bowler in Australia but to say these rankings do that is nothing but misguiding.

Tough decisions

SUBURBAN Perth bowls club Bayswater was struggling for years. Club vice-president Mark Cameron said closing down the club was a real possibility seven years ago.

"If it wasn't for the major uproar from the community in Bayswater, I think it would have been a done deal,” he said.

While the club was looking for ways to survive, roller hockey - a sport that's a form of hockey on roller blades - was searching for somewhere to play.

"We were playing on tennis and basketball courts, often with different levels of approval from council,” said hockey league co-founder Eamonn Lourey. "We got kicked off so many courts that we decided we had to build our own.”

That's how Bayswater bowlo came to covert two of its greens into a roller hockey pitch that also hosts roller derbies, skating for kids and basketball. Another green was turned over to a community garden project.

National selectors

THERESE Hastings, who made 187 playing appearances for Western Australia and won three Australian Opens has been appointed as a national selector. She replaces Beth Quinlan who stood down after more than three years in the position.

Kelvin Kerkow and Dave Stockham were reappointed to the role they have filled as national selectors.

Richie Clutterbuck, Armidale stalwart and NSW selector from 2012-2018, has died.

Finals battle

CORAL Nathan, of Pottsville, will be up against Leanne Kerby (Kotara) in the opening round of the four-day women's state champion of champions singles at Ettalong starting on June 26.

In the women's indoors singles championship at Warilla, Sarah Boddington defeated Dawn Hayman 6-5 and 11-2. Eighty bowlers took part.

Upcoming women's state finals

Singles: September 3-4.

Open pairs, senior pairs: September 5-6.

Open fours, senior fours: September 7-8.

Mixed pairs: September 9.

Triples: September 10-11.

State members

BOWLS Western Australia on its website talks about its 217 affiliated clubs and its 20,000 "capitated” bowlers.

Those who don't pay the state capitation fee are decapitated, I suppose.

MY VIEW: ON CLOSING GREENS

THE "lawn” part of lawn bowls is the game's major drawback. We've been spoilt with turf such as tiftdwarf. Greenkeepers have built it into such an ideal green on which to play that we frown on any other surface.

The expenses attached to turf greens have turned them into a something that many club boards, intent on the balance sheet, would be happy to get rid of. Sometimes they do this without making much effort to attract the bowlers that would make the greens viable.

There's a green far less expensive to maintain than turf - the artificial surface. But even those clubs that can afford its installation find that the majority of bowlers, spoilt by tiftdwarf, shun the artificial alternative. The result has been for some club boards to turn their first-class greens over to other sports or uses.

This is taking the easy way out. They are not saving the club - they have sold out to another sport or to another purpose, sometimes without any real effort on their part to build bowls playing numbers.