Ultimate Bowls Back in New Lynn!

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Several of New Zealand’s best bowlers will be among a 90-strong field in a high profile two-day tournament at New Lynn on July 31-August 1 which might well be an early glimpse at how the game, at top level at least, will evolve in the future.

 This is “Ultimate Bowls,” a high octane event played on July 31-August 1 and involving 30 teams competing in a three bowl pairs format with a series of five-end matches. The winners earn the right to compete in a big-money finale in Australia.

 Top Harbour bowlers who will be at New Lynn include former Black Jacks Tony Grantham, Kerry Chapman, Wendy Jensen, Jamie Hill and Danny Delaney, former national champions in Petar Sain and Rob Ashton and and multiple centre champions in Neil Fisher, Steve Cox, Bart Robertson and Lisa Parlane.

 They will be joined by rising stars from other centres like Southland’s Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Wellington’s Finbar McGuigan, Auckland’s Aiden Takarua, Counties Manukau’s Leanne Poulson, Waikato’s Debbie White, Canterbury’s Richard Hocking and Taranaki’s Dean Elgar.

  Two of North Harbour’s best women players, Mairangi Bay’s Sheryl Wellington and Birkenhead’s Trish Croot, both qualified umpires, will be technical officials. And also in the mix are leading para bowlers like Graham Skellern and Mark Noble while most of the other players are centre title-holders.

 The competition is the brain-child of Rebecca Jelley, now with the Blockhouse Bay club, who has merged her considerable bowling expertise with a formidable academic background which has earned her a science doctorate.

  In her role as tournament manager she says: “The event is quite different to anything else in the sport of bowls world-wide.”

 The rapid-fire format involves a total of 240 matches and for each team to qualify for the final rounds it must play a minimum of six matches with the length of each end set at 26 metres.

 The event might also give an early insight into the technology which might accompany major bowls tournaments in the future. “We will showcase our custom-built software and automated event management platform,” says Dr Jelley. “Players will have access to their team and individual performance stats via a login to our website and these stats update automatically in real time.”

 The scoring system is another innovation and might require the utmost concentration of all players. Ten points will be awarded the winning shot, five points for a second and three points for a third shot. There will also be three points for each toucher.

 Sunday afternoon’s post-section knock-out rounds will culminate in the final, with the winner going onto Australia and a tournament with total prize money of $500,000.