Zone 9 - Sydney Northern District Bowls
A FUTURE ZONE 9 STATE 1's FLAG WIN APPEARS REMOTE
(THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BELOW ARE THOSE OF THE WRITER AND IN NO WAY REFLECT THE ZONE'S REPRESENTATIVES OR POLICIES)
HAVE WE SEE THE LAST OF GRADE 1 PENNANTS
IN ZONE 9?
THE future for current and aspiring no.1 pennant players in zone 9 appear bleak, as the only times since it's inception in 1934, a 1's pennant final hasn't been played in Sydney's northern suburbs has been this year and during world War II, when Norths' won and did so for the ensuing three years.
To add further insult to injury the zone were unrepresentated in this year State pennant play offs, due to the structure of the inaugural metropolitan 1's pennant competition in which Belrose, Harbord and North Sydney competed. Each club were in different sections with Belrose the only one to qualify for the section play offs which determined the clubs to play in the State. Unfortunately they were narrowly beaten and missed the cut off.
While six metropolitan clubs were represented, an increase of one compared to the original five metropolitan zones, only 11 of the State's sixteen zones gained a berth, with three Metropolitan clubs making the semi-finals.
Zone 9 have always been regarded as keen competitors in inter-zone and representative events and it's vital that their top players remain in the zone and play in a local club.
In order to to maintain their competitive edge, it's essential that top bowlers compete against the professional clubs in the current metropolitan 1's.
It would appear that zone 9 clubs have two options, either import players to strengthen their one's or consider the viability of local clubs nominating their top players for selection to play in one combined side, along similar lines to the existing zone side.
While the competition is essentially club orientated, Bowls NSW would have to give this concept serious consideration, particularly if the proposed side was structured under one club exclusively for this competition. They would remain members of their original club and play in all other zone events under the current conditions.
The players who don't make the cut then play grade 2 pennants which effectively raises the playing standard in that competition.
While the vast majority of local pennant bowlers, particularly those in the lower grades accept that country sides dominate the State pennant flag winners, this year it was was well and truly reinforced when they won every grade.
This doesn't appear to have dampened the enthusiasm to play pennants in this zone, as the State pennant play offs is invariably an experience afforded to a minority of bowlers.
If readers missed the State final's results (due to them not being published in Sydney's metropolitan dailies) they are as follows: Grade 1, Warrila 60, Grandviews 35; Grade 2, Merimbula 65, St John's Park 56; Grade 3, Molong 54, Malua Bay 53; Grade 4, Toukley RSL 61, Moree Services 48; Grade 5, Towradgi Park 64, Engadine 60; Grade 6, Merimbula 64, Gulgong 44; Grade 7, Bourke 64, Warilla 60.
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