Burnside Bowling Club will once again play host to an international showpiece this month as they welcome competitors for the 2019 International Deaf Bowls Championships to Christchurch.
International powerhouses Northern Ireland, Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Wales will all compete against trans-tasman hopefuls Australia and host nation New Zealand, with players vying for world glory at the highest level in its eighth installment.
Teams will consist of six men and six women, plus a nominated manager for each side. Throughout the event, all disciplines will be contested with medals up for grabs in the singles, pairs, triples and fours respectively.
Leading the charge for the New Zealand set-up is the vastly experienced trio of John Lavell, Barry Goenhoefer and Roy Williams, bringing to the table more than 70 years combined-playing experience, while Barbara Herrick and Joan Richards return to the side after strong performances in the 2015 event held in Belmont, Northern Ireland.
Heading in to the event, all eyes will be on Te Awamutu’s Warwick Flintoff as he makes his international debut, with promising performances and consistent results triggering his selection amongst the Kiwi hopefuls, alongside Darfield’s Hazel Littlejohn, who will be hoping to continue her sizzling form after claiming two national titles earlier in the domestic season.
Littlejohn, who remarkably is only in her third year of bowls, will team up with her fellow Selwyn District representatives Herrick and Maggie Bailey in the triples, with Herrick tasked with steering the direction and calling on more than 25 years experience at the helm.
Held every four years, players will be looking to impress and will be on the hunt for silverware at every opportunity – and with home advantage, the New Zealand side will appreciate the support as they mix it with more than 100 elite deaf bowlers travelling from far and wide to participate.
While the event is circled on the calendar from January 4 to January 15, the event itself will only take place over five playing days. The remainder of the time will involve practice sessions, administration meetings and rest days.
Play will officially get underway on Monday, January 7 with the first rounds of the Men’s and Women’s Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours all taking place on day one
The event will conclude with the Federation’s Annual General Meeting on the final day, with a farewell dinner and presentation scheduled for 6pm prior to the teams’ departures.
Click here for draws and results on the Burnside Bowling Club website