FORMER Inverell local Mark Berghofer was pleased to be back in the north west for the start of the NSW Inter-Zone Sides Championship in Tamworth yesterday but his Zone 12 team had a day to forget.
The reigning champions will need a lot to go their way if they are any hope of defending the title after copping a hiding at South Tamworth in the first sectional game against Zone 10.
The side from Sydney’s North West won the replay of last year’s state final 96-58.
Berghofer said his side was a “bit flat”.
“We’ve played one game and we’re relying on other results already,” he said.
“But we’re not too fussed.
“We’ll just enjoy the weekend.
“It’s not all about winning.”
Berghofer has been playing for one of Sydney’s biggest and best clubs, St John’s Park, since 2006.
Before that the 27-year-old was a member at Inverell East and represented Zone 3 before moving to Sydney and becoming a regular for the Sydney South West side.
“I played for Zone 3 for two or three years,” Berghofer said.
“There’s also a couple of former clubmates here, which is nice.”
Conditions were difficult yesterday as the windy weather tested the bowlers.
Not that it was used as an excuse for losing.
“It’s not too bad because the greens are quick,” Berghofer said.
“It does make it tricky but it’s the same for everybody.”
After just one game and without seeing any of the teams in the other three sections it takes a bit of guts to predict a winner.
But Berghofer said there were two or three teams that would be among the favourites.
“The way Zone 10 played they’ll be hard to beat,” he said.
“If the conditions stay the same Zone 13 might be a chance.
“They’re from the southern part of Sydney – Cronulla area.
“And Zone 13 from Illawarra has a good side as well and will be more used to playing on quick greens and in windy conditions.
“I think even the locals will perform in Tamworth.
“They’ll be pretty pumped up.”
By chance the local Zone 3 side is also in section three at South and took on Hunter Manning (Zone 6) in its first match yesterday.
It was a much closer affair, with only one shot between them going into the last end of the last rink.
But Zone 6 picked up two on that last end and won it 81-78 and Zone 3 will now have to win its last two matches and hope it sneaks into the semis.
The other three sections are at Tamworth City, West Tamworth and Kootingal.
Sectional play continues today with the semi-finals and final held at South tomorrow.