Brunswick Heads team Judy Wright (skip), Jenny Meinel and Bev Gawned won the Tweed Byron District Women’s Bowls Association Triples Championship at Cudgen.
Brunswick Heads team Judy Wright (skip), Jenny Meinel and Bev Gawned won the Tweed Byron District Women’s Bowls Association Triples Championship at Cudgen. Judith Tuckey

South Lismore on the verge of claiming pennant flag

REBORN South Lismore, with two rounds of pennants to go, moved further ahead of Ballina in the race for the No 1 flag and is in the box seat to meet Tweed-Byron winner Ocean Shores in the inaugural Northern Conference play-off.

Bowls New South Wales abandoned zone play in the top grade this season, dividing the 15 state zones into "conferences", with Northern Rivers and Tweed-Byron making up the Northern Conference.

The two winners will face each other to decide which goes to the state finals.

Bangalow, place to be

The venue for the local decider on June 4 is Bangalow, the club resurrected five years ago when it was in voluntary receivership on threat of closure.

The No 2 zone final will also be held at Bangalow on that date.

Evans Head has won the Northern Rivers flag, while Cabarita Beach and Pottsville will face off for the Tweed-Byron spoils this Saturday.

In round eight of the Northern Rivers District Bowls Association comp, the Southies picked up nine points from East Lismore but it was near as dammit - only two shots separate them.

Ballina managed eight points from Casino RSM but the win was a convincing 23 shots. In the other top grade match, Alstonville lost by 12 shots to Lennox Head and with just 13 points from eight outings, is destined for No 2s next season

The progressive points table: South Lismore 70.5, Ballina 61, East Lismore 46, Casino RSM 25, Lennox Head 24.5 and Alstonville 13.

In other grades, there are some close tussles. Lismore City leads Kyogle by three points in No 3s, Alstonville is 4.5 points in front in No 4s, and Lismore Heights and Ballina RSL are tied on 48 points in No 5s. South Lismore, 17.5 points in front of Nimbin, has No 6s sewn up - as has Lennox Head, 20.5 ahead in the No 7s. The four-club No 2s was won by Evans Head after five rounds.

My view on the pennant race

IF SOUTH Lismore can grab the NRDBA's No 1 flag for the second successive year, as seems likely, it would seal its position as the most successful side ever in the pennant top grade since the comp started in 1919.

In that time the Southies have done the job 19 times. Current red-hot rival Ballina had a recent mortgage on the No 1 pennant with six successive wins until South Lismore stopped the run last season but it still has taken the flag 12 times.

Twenty or so years ago, South Lismore with players of the calibre of Commonwealth Games rep Arthur Black and state singles champ Terry McGuire, was darn near unbeatable. Then the club hit a slump. Between 1991 and 2015 it managed only two of the top flags.

Ballina was worse. Until 2009 it hadn't got there once since 1984. Then team rebuilding brought a dramatic change - from 2009 until last year Ballina set a record six No 1 pennants in a row - half its overall tally in the comp since 1919.

The 2016 pennant season isn't over yet. Although the main protagonists have met for the second time with South Lismore ending the deadlock between the two, there's enough strength in the also-rans but not enough to cause a major upset.

Rookie achievement

THE rookies' competition is one of the real achievements of Bowls NSW.

Restricted to male bowlers who have never played the game anywhere in the world before April 1, 2014, it gives newcomers a chance to compete against those of similar experience.

Without such an event, when promising players were matched against the accomplished stars they often lost confidence and left the game.

The 2016 Rookies is now open for nominations in singles and pairs - singles is 17-up and pairs over 12 ends is in the three-bowl format (lead plays three, skip plays three).

The initial stage of play is at local venues - Cabarita Beach, Alstonville and Grafton Services - with singles on August 27-28 and pairs on September 17-18.

Zone winners who move on to the state finals at Raymond Terrace on October 8-9 can apply for travel assistance. Entries can be made online and will close on July 30.

Centenary celebration

FOR 100 years Lismore City has maintained greens in the main street - a difficult undertaking in these days of booming real estate prices.

The club has struggled but has set a valuable example to others that volunteer labour can be responsible for survival.

It hasn't always been on the Molesworth St site.

While Lismore City opened there with one green on the northern side of the clubhouse in May 1916, it had existed since 1907 in Hunter St near where the Lismore Base Hospital stands today.

That makes the club 109 years old - the oldest NSW bowls club north of Newcastle.

The 100-year milestone on the one site is to be celebrated with a special day this Sunday.

It will start at 12.30pm with three-bowl triples at 1pm, followed by a high tea with an expected 16 clubs and dignitaries attending.

Rink invasion

IT'S not uncommon to see a team troop up the green while an opposition bowl is still in progress.

This is in violation of the laws of the game - those delivering the bowl have possession of the rink until the bowl has come to rest, allowing time to mark a toucher.

When this rink invasion happens it's disconcerting to players and spectators and shows scant respect for the person whose delivery is being disregarded.

Umpires have the power to control it.

Mixed bag

A PIE and peas lunch preceded the inaugural Aussies versus internationals comp in Brisbane's northern suburbs.

The born-overseas regular lot included bowlers from Ireland, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Netherlands, Scotland, India, Malaysia, Czechoslovakia, US, Bulgaria and Italy. And that's just a social event.

Some sports hold "world" championships when just a few countries take part - it takes ours to show what international really means.