Premier division bowls numbers cuts mooted

PREMIER division would be for only a dozen of the best bowlers at each club under a proposal put forward by Sebastopol Bowling Club.

The Kookaburras have raised the idea of reducing Ballarat Geelong premier division bowls sides from 16 bowlers to just 12 in order to strengthen the region’s top bowling competition.

The proposal has been forwarded to the Ballarat District Bowls Division and the Geelong Bowls Region for further discussion. 

However the move is already attracting opposition from some clubs.

Sebastopol’s secretary of the men’s committee Neil Lloyd-Jones said the club had put forward the idea to be discussed now, while bowls was on players’ minds. 

“The committee feels there are ways and means to improve premier division. Rather than knock premier division as some have, we want to enhance it,” Lloyd-Jones said.

“There is no ulterior motive from Sebastopol. We’ve got nothing to gain from it, which is why we want people to look at it on its merits rather than just shoot the messenger. 

“We feel that for smaller clubs it would really help them be competitive. It would tighten premier division up, which is what has happened in Sydney, which has 12 

players per side in premier. 

“Not everyone is in favour of the idea. Even in our club there are some on either side.”

The proposal has received a mixed reaction on the Ballarat-Geelong premier bowls Facebook page.

Some argue that the change would exclude some players but Lloyd-Jones said it would also create opportunities for some players to specialise in particular positions.

“Your leaders and seconds might become a more specialised group,” he said. “Inside clubs, some people might not want to be a leader or a second but under this system it might be good for those specialist bowlers who might aspire to be a leader in premier division.

“Premier division is already elite. This might just make it more elite but also the players that filter back to division one or division two raise the standard in those grades.” 

“It’s a grey area about whether it could happen before next season. Some people might think it can’t happen before then,” Lloyd-Jones said.

Ballarat clubs contacted by The Courier said they were yet to examine the proposal in detail. However Geelong West chairman of selectors Lance Kelly said a similar proposal was raised about three years ago, which was opposed by the Geelong clubs on the grounds that it would deprive four players the opportunity to play at the top level.

gavin.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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