In remission; on a mission
RAY Glasser, the man who bested Bester in Ballina's Summerland Singles, has stem cell replacement to thank for putting his cancer in remission.
A 68-year-old retired butcher, Glasser, who plays at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast, spends his spare time speaking to groups about the use of stem cells.
When he beat 30-year-old Canadian international Ryan Bester, the singles silver medallist at the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games, it was the most exciting finish of a final in the competition's 53 years.
And it stopped Bester making it two Summerland Singles titles in a row.
With the Canadian leading 30-24 and needing only one shot to take the prize, Glasser played like a man possessed.
He drew like a poultice to bring the score to 30-29.
Then he looked for all money to have the two shots he needed to reach the magical 31.
It had Glasser and the crowd celebrating a win.
Then Bester called for an umpire's measure. It cut back the result to one shot to Glasser (the umpire told me Glasser's shot was in by 3mm, the other one was out by 3mm). Glasser didn't let the disappointment upset him - with the score tied at 30-30, he coolly drew two shots - more than enough to enable him to celebrate in earnest. The crowd of more than 500 who watched the final played on the Ballina club's back green was added to by tennis players whose clubhouse adjoins the bowls green. The tennis club's veranda was packed with players who put their racquets away to watch the bowls final - an indication of the interest in the absorbing contest.
THE Summerland Series wouldn't run like a well-oiled machine if it didn't have someone like 69-year-old Kevin Wilson.
He is having a slow day if he doesn't have the full results on the electronic scoreboard within five minutes of play ending.
With an ability like that, you'd expect him to be a computer specialist. He's that all right, but his unlikely real job is a semi-trailer driver who has retired but emerges every cane harvest to cart the crop to the mill.
BALLINA president Graeme Gaunson took me to task for my comment last week that clubs are flat out on social days getting enough bowlers to have a game of euchre.
His club, he says, has a constant 80 players on social days. The club works hard to recruit newcomers and spends a lot of money to that end.
My comment referred to clubs much smaller and less affluent than Ballina. Many of them would have trouble buying a pack of cards to play euchre.
Shows how careful you have to be not to generalise.
SOME time back, I mentioned that Bowls Australia had developed a bowls game that's taking kids by storm in the capital cities. It's called Jack Attack, an intriguing contest in which biased rubber bowls are delivered to a target mat.
The whole set - including 32 bowls, eight jacks, eight mats and other equipment - costs $400. It can be played indoors, outdoors, on any level surface.
I don't know of any local club that's tried to woo youngsters - and their parents - with Jack Attack. Don't know why - it beats hell out of closing down greens to install expensive and dangerous playground swings and slippery slides.
OUR area has to be the top tourist spot in NSW. Yet any visitor who brings bowls expecting to spend some time on the green will be disappointed. Ballina Cherry Street is the only NRDBA club to hold a tournament in January (it has three). Many clubs pack up and take a break from even social play for the holiday season. It's hard to understand.