Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Aussie Open Kicks off in Qld; Former Top Cricketer One of 2000 to Attend

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Aussie Open Kicks off in Qld; Former Top Cricketer One of 2000 to Attend

Article excerpt



THEY bill him as "the world's best underarm bowler since Chappell". Former South African dual international cricketer Kepler Wessels, who represented both his home country and Australia, is among thousands of lawn bowlers to have invaded the Gold Coast for the Australian Open.

The world's biggest and richest event, worth $250,000, started on Monday and will run until June 24. Two thousand bowlers will have played a total of 4335 games at 14 clubs before it finishes.

Wessels, who divides his time as a lawn bowler with cricket commentating and coaching martial arts, says when his cricket career ended he wanted to play a sport that was competitive. Bowls provided it.

He must be handy at it, too. His Australian Open pairs and fours partner is South African bowls legend Neil Burkett.

Shock of the opening day was the section loss of former Ballina star and the event's reigning champion Aaron Teys. With two huge game wins of 21-2 and 21-3, Teys was pinning his hopes of remaining in the comp in one of the 40 next best qualifying spots.

Close call

IT WASN'T only Lennox Head that went within a whisker of stopping South Lismore's seemingly unstoppable run to the line in the top grade pennants.

In the last end of round eight, third-placed East Lismore was dead even on the scoreboard with the red-hot favourites. Skip Robbie Pollack was to play the last bowl of the match two shots down. And he went near as dammit to landing the winner, too.

The skinny two-shot victory gave the Southies nine points. Had the result been reversed, the progressive table would have been South Lismore 62.5 points, Ballina 61. A week later, Lennox Head almost pipped the pennant leaders, going down by just two shots.

Makes the Southies' 8.5 point season's win over the seasiders closer than it looks.

Repeat after repeat

I CAN'T see the much-vaunted Bowls Show recently introduced on television doing much to attract people to our sport. …

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