Young bowls finalist left in the lurch after comp called off

IN WHAT can only be described kindly as a serious administrative lapse, the Rookies' Zone One singles final on Sunday was called off late without telling one of the contestants.

Indi Conlan, 14 years old, didn't find out about it until he arrived at the club to play.

The gallery at Ballina RSL was angry - many of them had travelled from Alstonville to support young Conlan, who in the district round had beaten opponents many times his age.

Ballina RSL officials were just as angry - they'd made preparations for the final but weren't notified it had been called off.

NO GO: Indi Conlan was supposed to play in the Rookies’ Zone One singles final on Sunday but it was called off late without telling him.
NO GO: Indi Conlan was supposed to play in the Rookies’ Zone One singles final on Sunday but it was called off late without telling him. The Northern Star

(Later an email sent at 5pm the previous evening was found, but it hadn't been seen - club volunteers don't open emails every day.)

The word bandied around the bewildered spectators was that the clubs, not the individuals, had been notified by email.

Alstonville official Bob Thompson, who the previous day had organised the Rookies' pairs at his club, said he had received no email from the zone about the cancellation.

Indi Conlan, a disappointed youngster, said he had no email or other notification.

Somehow, though, word had got through to the finalists from the other two districts. They didn't come to the club.

Everybody waited for Zone One bowls co-ordinator John Rae to arrive to explain how such a lapse could occur.

I was first to approach him when he came into the club. In answer to my questions about the reason for what had happened, Mr Rae told me it had nothing to do with me and walked off.

His cavalier attitude was witnessed by many spectators.

The final now has been rescheduled for Ballina RSL this Saturday - that's if everything goes according to current arrangements.

JIM SAYS: Glaring errors like this have a lot to do with me, Mr Rae. They also have a lot to do with everybody associated with the sport of bowls. There was absolutely no logical reason to call off the final. But if there was, the finalists - and the club where the event was to be held - had to be told personally, not through a last-minute club email that might not be opened for days. There is such a thing as a telephone, Mr Rae.

Runaway winners

THE district Rookies pairs final at Alstonville on Saturday was a runaway victory on the home green for twins Indi and Kit Conlan with six points plus 51.

In one game they finished in front by a shattering 30-1. Runners-up were Russell Matthews/Frank Trott (Ballina Cherry Street) with four points plus one.

The zone pairs final is set down for Ballina RSL this Sunday (9am start).

Pairs title

SOUTH Grafton's Bruce Ashbrooke/Ian Dickenson won the Zone One Champion of Champion pairs title convincingly at Ballina RSL on Sunday.

After downing Phil Clarke/Troy Makin (Ocean Shores) 23-13 in the first round, they took the final against Gavin Speers/Glen Pitts (South Lismore) 28-11.

Big effort

ZONE One knocked over a basketful of tall poppies to become runner-up in the State interzone sides championships at Dubbo.

It was easily the best result the North Coast locals have ever had in this event.

Their campaign started in a big way against a Zone 15 side fronted by international Aron Sherriff. Zone One led all the way to win by a mammoth 93-54. Second round, against a Zone 12 side loaded with current international and State players, was a 100-69 loss, though rinks were shared.

When Zone 15 beat Zone Six, all sides were equal with one game each.

To win the section, Zone One had to beat Zone Six, a side that had current Australian Open champ Brendan Baker and Australia's most capped international, Rex Johnston.

Zone One, down early by 20 shots, came back to take the game 85-79 and win the section on a countback.

In the semi, Zone One, up against Zone 14, again started slowly but again finished strongly to win 83-74.

In the other semi, Zone Four beat Zone 16 after conceding when the score was 82-51.

Scores in the final were level past the halfway mark but then the home crowd and home ground influence told. Zone Four took the title 86-64.

Brigginshaw dines on humble pie

TIME for me to nibble a slice of humble pie. I'm the bloke who's called it Mission Impossible whenever we sent bowlers to state level to take on the southern professionals.

I'm the bloke who said it was a waste of time, money and effort with no hope of bringing home the bacon.

Dish up the plate and let me eat my words. The Zone One side didn't bring home the bacon but near as dammit did.

Our locals were runners-up after shaking the daylights out of teams that included the likes of Commonwealth Games rep Aron Sherriff, our country's most-capped international Rex Johnston, current Australian Open champ Brian Baker and overseas internationals David Holt (Britain) and Rowan Brassey (New Zealand), just to name a few.

This is no minor competition. It is competed for by 16 zones from all parts of New South Wales. And history was made in this one.

The metropolitan big names must have chewed on their bowls cloths when four country zones - Far North Coast, Mid North Coast, Mid Western and Illawarra - made it through to the

finals. It was the first time ever that the metropolis wasn't represented in the last four.

The decider, between our Far North Coast and Mid Western, could have gone either way. Scores were level well past the halfway mark, but Mid Western kicked away in the closing stages.

This major state event gains new importance now that our locals have shown they can hold their own in top competition.

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