Kiwi Bowlers heading to Singapore for a new tournament series

All bowling roads lead to Singapore in July for one of the first events to be staged as part of the newly announced World Bowls Series (WBS) ranking tournaments.

The recently announced initiative will bring together a series of new and existing tournaments held throughout the year around the world, which will attract World Ranking Points for the bowlers who participate.  The Lion City Cup in July will be a WBS sanctioned tournament.

“Like many other sports,” says World Bowls Regional Director of Oceania, Brett O’Riley, “Bowls will now be able to rank the top 50 women and the top 50 men players.  We have created an algorithm to calculate the interim rankings based on historical tournament performances, but eventually the rankings will be based on their results in this tournament series.”

“The Lion City Cup kicks off in Singapore on 21st July.  It’s a pairs-only tournament showcasing four disciplines: Open Women; Open Men; Under 25 Women and Under 25 Men. There’s Kiwi players participating in three of the disciplines: Robyne Walker and Leeane Poulson, Sheldon Bagrie-Howley and Keanu Darby, and Olivia Mancer and Briar Atkinson.”

It’s a first-rate buy-in from Kiwis for the start of the series.

“Their participation is not only great for their ongoing development .. and for New Zealand bowls generally,” says Brett.  “But their support of the tournament is also great for bowls in Singapore.  The game is really taking off in that country.”

The host venue for the week-long tournament will be Kallang Lawn Bowls Green by the National Stadium, supported by another green at the Tanglin Club.

“It’ll be a bit unusual for our team,” says Brett, who is also acting as Team Manager in Singapore with support from Olivia’s parents, Fiona and Warren.  “Both greens are artificials, with the Tanglin green on the upper floors of the club building.  We’re arriving in Singapore on the 19th of July, and we’ve earmarked the following day for a practice to get used to the set-up, before the tournament proper begins.”

The players have put their hands in their own pockets for travel and accommodation, alongside some generous personal sponsors and fundraising.  Brett O’Riley’s consulting company OCGL has been able to come to the party with sponsorship covering the cost of the entry fees for the players.

Brett is also assisting the organisers with commentary on the live stream.

“Although the team is ‘unofficial’,” explains Brett, “it will play under a ‘New Zealand’ banner … as will other entrants who will play under their country of identification. That helps increase the prestige of the tournament and the opportunity for local sponsorship and recognition.”

There will be prize money for those who finish on the podium.

“It’s an exciting time for bowls.  We’re trying something which is radically new.  New for bowls anyway.  And early indications are that there are other emerging bowls countries who will be wanting to run new sanctioned tournaments. These will add to existing sanctioned events including those hosted by Bowls New Zealand”.

Watch this space for further details.