Bowling On: October 7

Thanks, to Tony Jensen for his latest news from around the Centre.

Manawatu Bowls will swing into full gear for the season with the playing of the Centre Open Singles for both genders this coming weekend.

The only disappointment for me is completing the tournament on Monday rather than a later weekend thus precluding some working people from playing. It is easy to suggest taking leave but many jobs are such today that one off leave days are not easy. There is enough thought that bowls is an old man’s game without going out of the way to make workers unwelcome.

Nevertheless there is a good field lining up and the top half of the Women’s B section at Feilding has the look of the draw from hell about it. Included in the eight players are Noeleen Elston, Sheryn Blake, Feona Sayles, Mere Fryer, Anna Davis all top Manawatu representative bowlers of recent vintage as well as Taradale’s Colleen Ferrick who has been prominent at National level. The bottom half is only marginally less fierce including Georgie Kahui-Rogers, Janeen Noble, Joan Ware, Sue Meyer and Sharon Groves. Many of these women will be in the one-life draw after one round so that won’t be an easy path. Selector Viv Lozell will be delighted to see so many good match-ups to look at as she looks to find her teams for the season.

The men’s sections do not have the same spread of talent but there are some good first round match-ups all the same. At Shannon Brian Schischka who won the open singles when it was last played two years ago meets Current Representative Barry Wynks and with both bowlers sporting reputations as slowish players I can see markers hiding in the locker room to avoid that game.

At Woodville Philip Skoglund jnr plays Darryl Johnson (who has joined the exodus from Foxton & Beach to Himatangi Beach) who is a formidable singles exponent. Another top match there will be Terrace End clubmates Brian Looker and Shane Rogers. The pick of first round games at Palmerston North will be Mark Noble playing Clayton Simpson.

After two rounds a quarter of the field will exit and the numbers will reduce quickly from then. I am a proponent of the two-life system and some good bowlers will be marking come the third round. The most prominent bowlers missing are Scotty McGavin, Stephen Love and Chris Barrett.

. Bowls administration hit a new low last weekend when the running of the annual hexagonal event in Wanganui turned into a shambles. The Manawatu Centre President Phil Skoglund is guarded about commenting but it would appear that after Centres agreeing some time back that the event would now be open to eight year and under bowlers the agreement was overturned during the tournament. All of us in bowls know that conditions of play can only be altered by the Controlling Body but a decision was taken by a group comprising the Managers of the women’s teams.

That being allowed to happen is incredulous enough but that it only applied to the women’s event and not the men’s adds to the suggestion that someone who couldn’t run a bath was running things. The upshot was that Manawatu won the women’s event on the green but were penalised two points for each game they fielded a player that was not a five year and under bowler. I understand the Manawatu women reacted with admirable dignity when informed of the assinine decision but I can’t understand the Centre having no comment. In this day and age social media means the information is spread around the bowling fraternity rapidly so staying “mum” is no response. I awoke to a text before 6-00am on Monday alerting me something was up. It is said the Lord moves in mysterious ways but he has nothing on Bowls

• It is probably bittersweet now but I thought it a fantastic achievement from Kylie Yates of the Ashhurst Club to make the “eight year” and under Manawatu team. The club has but three women bowlers so to excel at centre level has been a special effort.