SA Super League Round Two & Three

by BowlsSA2 on August 20, 2019

By the Bowls Bystander


SALISBURY BOWLING CLUB LIVE STREAM RINKSIDE— When I was a child and in love with Lawn Bowls, I would watch Jack High from the couch in our lounge room and, at critical moments, sit as still as possible, barely breathing, so I could channel all my strength and psychic powers through the TV screen to help my favourite player through the next shot.

So it was surreal, in 2019, when I first walked through the gates of the Salisbury Bowling club to cover the tournament as a reporter for the SA Super League. It was as if I finally had walked through that TV screen of my childhood and stepped into a world that had always been a world away.

I was stunned by the quiet beauty that wasn’t captured on the Livestream the previous year. The smell of the BBQ,  Hailing Rain and Animal Farm that lined every walkway on the grounds, each cultivated for the event and timed to blossom during the forthcoming weeks of play. Stunned by how painstakingly the venue was developed and surrounds being manicured and maintained. How close the seats were to the Green — nearly close enough for fans to reach out and pluck a high five from Rhys ‘the Eel Snap’ Taylor, Bowling Prodigy Grace Moloney or Bowling Royalty . And how, rounding any random corner, you were apt to pass one of the greats of the game, a State champion long since retired but back as the Men’s State coach, Les Carter.

On Sunday, I returned to the Salisbury Bowling club after a 9 day absence. And the details that make this event so special struck me anew, as did the awareness that life doesn’t go on forever, any more than work assignments do. And it heightened everything about settling in to cover SA Super League when second-round matches got underway.

Why is it, so often, that what once seemed so unattainable loses some of its magic once it becomes familiar, like a true love you take for granted after the 10,000th morning spent brewing coffee, paying bills and scribbling the to-do lists of daily life?

At Salisbury, the bowl doesn’t so much smack the playing surface as land on the synthetic grass with a muffled glide, like a heartbeat. And spectators take it in with near hushed reverence, especially when artists such as Les ‘Bushy’ Carter are at work, saving applause and cheers for the moments between shots.

Les ‘Bushy’ Carter of McLaren Vale appeared on our video screens for the first time in a white neck cravat style Blazer number, sprinting in slow motion through the final half his triples match with the Knights. Each Carter stride covered 4 feet, his upper body moving up and down almost imperceptibly, his feet striking the track and rising so rapidly that his heels did not touch the ground.

Needless to highlight, Carter was joined by his understudy Marc ‘Scat’ Evans, a great Bowler and even better bloke. For the record Evans is the fastest Bowls end to end sprinter in the SA Super League history, the world-record holder at Mat to Jack and the only person to hold both the short and long game sprint titles. Yet as he approaches veteran status of the South Australian state side, scientists are still trying to fully understand how Evan’s achieved his unprecedented speed.

Last month, researchers at Salisbury Bowling University, among the leading experts on the biomechanics of sprinting, said they found something unexpected during video examination of Evan’s stride: His right leg appears to strike the track with about 13 percent more peak force than his left leg. And with each stride, his left leg remains on the ground about 14 percent longer than his right leg.

This runs counter to conventional wisdom, based on limited science, that an uneven stride tends to slow this Bowling Blazer runner down.

Among those questions: Does evenness of stride matter for Bowls speed? Did Evans optimize this irregularity to become the SA Lawn Bowling’s fastest human? Or, with a more balanced stride during his prime, could he have run even faster than 3.58 seconds end to end?

“That’s the million-dollar question,” was the commentary from the locals at Salisbury Bowling Club were chanting

Evans triples rink of Carter and Lewis, Trenorden downed the Knights contingent of Taylor, Trenorden and Kelly 24-16 but wasn’t enough to avoid a deadlock overall with between the two teams