TOP BOWLER: Cabramatta's Ray Pearse has become the first bowler in 32 years to take the NSW Champion of Champions singles title and the NSW state singles in the same year.
TOP BOWLER: Cabramatta's Ray Pearse has become the first bowler in 32 years to take the NSW Champion of Champions singles title and the NSW state singles in the same year. Warren Lynam

Ray rolls into the history books

CABRAMATTA'S Ray Pearse created history on Ballina Cherry Street greens last week.

His win there in the NSW Champion of Champions singles made him the first bowler in 32 years to take that title and the NSW state singles in the same year.

Last time the double was achieved was by Barry Robinson of Taree City in 1986. Before that, Bomaderry legend Bob King did it in 1984.

In his Ballina win, Pearse was unbeatable. In the final he downed Michael Cronin (East Cessnock) 31-15. It was a big win, the size of which was no indication of the quality of Cronin's play. But whatever clever work Cronin did, Pearse was able to thwart it.

Pearse claimed his place in the final with a 31-24 win over David Holt (Merrylands) in the semi.

Cronin put in a dominant effort in his semi, streaking away from Kevin Robinson (Tuncurry Beach) to win 31-11.

After the event, Bowls NSW said the Ballina club had proved to be an excellent host. The club was thanked for its contribution to staging what was a magnificent event.

Double celebration

CABRAMATTA showed its strength in the state Champion of Champion pairs at Ballina when its reps, Ben Morthorpe and Aaron Wilson, added to Ray Pearce's singles success by taking out the pairs title.

They had a tight struggle against Kevin Robinson and Matt Sargeant (Tuncurry Beach) in the final before forging ahead with seven consecutive winning ends to take the title 24-10.

NSW success

THE NSW under-18s came home with two gold and three bronze medals from the Australian junior titles at Capalaba, Brisbane. They finished third state overall - second in the boys' competition and third in the girls'.

The girls' triples team took gold by a massive 26-8 over a composite Northern Territory/Western Australia side.

The other gold went to the boys' fours. After WA shot to an early lead in the final, the NSW team not only fought back to get into the match but completely controlled the latter ends,winning 18-8.

The bronze went to Toby Peters in the boys' singles with a 21-17 victory in the final.

New challenge

BOWLS NSW's extended deadline for entry to its Club Challenge closed on Sunday.

This event is designed as a complementary competition to pennants.

"It not only gives pennant bowlers an additional opportunity but opens up club representation to others," the state says.

The event consists of sides comprising a singles player, pairs and triples teams.

Sectional play will start on Saturday, November 17. Sections of four sides will be drawn to play at stated venues where each side will play the other three sides.

The best performed will progress to the knockout regional finals, with winners going on to the state finals.

There are three men's divisions, two women's and two mixed.

One of the divisions has unrestricted pennant gradings; the other four are restricted to various pennant grades.

State finals will be played on December 9.

MY VIEW: ON A COMPETITION CHANGE

LET'S face it. Pennants has lived out its usefulness.

Bowls NSW obviously sees this.

It has toyed with a change by last season introducing a new format for No 1s. Now it has the Club Challenge, a move in the right direction. It is a change from the boring hackneyed fours of pennants and offers a formula of singles, pairs and triples which any bowler will tell you are a far more interesting way of playing our game.

The Club Challenge at this stage requires some participants to be pennant players but it could be the state testing the water to see if it is successful enough to be a replacement competition.

When Queensland clubs were dissatisfied with pennants and started a comp similar to the Club Challenge, the idea spread like a bushfire throughout the state. It now has left pennants behind in popularity.

Interclub rivalry as fostered by pennants is a good thing. But the Club Challenge provides that and at the same time gives a shot in the arm to an ancient competition that has lost its impact.

 

Cultural barriers

CHATSWOOD club is in an area of Sydney regarded as multi-cultural.

Club membership was at an all-time low. So how would it attract migrants, many of whom didn't know what the game of bowls was?

There was the language barrier for a start.

The club approached Willoughby council and sought its help in organising a meeting with the area's Multi-Cultural Services Team leader.

This resulted in the club holding a multi-cultural bowls day that brought in 40 people.

They communicated through an interpreter. Now that the first-timers knew what the game was all about, many became members of the club.

Says the organisers: "With a bit of assistance and thinking outside the square, an open day similar to that of the Chatswood Bowls Club demonstrates that even a club with declining membership can turn things around."

National tournament

TASMANIA will send two sides - Ulverstone and Sandy Bay - to the national BPL (Bowls Premier League) Cup at the Pine Rivers, Brisbane, finals next month.

They will take on 14 other state and territory qualifiers.

The BPL Cup provides an opportunity for club-based teams to progress through qualifying rounds to the national finals.