Zone expects downturn in pennant numbers

ZONE 11 bowls zone secretary Bruce Elliott is preparing for a downturn in the number of pennant teams in 2018.

“The way things are looking at the moment I think we’ll get round 40,’’ Mr Elliott said.

A total of 47 sides took part in grades two to seven this year. These are the competitions run by the zone, with grade one under the control of the State match committee.

Mr Elliott said it appears there’s an increasing number of bowlers who aren’t willing to commit to the 12 week pennant season.

“This makes it difficult for clubs,’’ he said.

December 4 will be the deadline for team nominations.

Mr Elliott said the zone has yet to receive confirmation on the date for the start of next year’s pennants, however, he is confident it will be March 3. Some areas won’t get underway until April 28 because of the Commonwealth Games. Mr Elliott said the zone has applied for March 3.

"I’ve been told we can work to that date, but I haven’t received word officially yet,’’ he said.

Meanwhile Tuncurry Beach will be the only Zone 11 club involved in the No 1 grade. This follows the decision by Taree West and Forster to drop to the No 2s. Both clubs believed they didn’t have the depth or the standard of bowlers to be competitive in the blue ribbon competition.

Tuncurry Beach will play Kew, West Port, Port City, Park Beach and South West Rocks in the ones. Winner will get move to the State finals.

This is believed to be the first time a Taree club hasn’t been represented in the number ones. This is a dramatic change from the days when the former Taree City was the dominant club in the number one grade when it was run under the auspices of the Manning District Bowling Association.