As the new season rolls closer, Bowls New Zealand have officially announced their action packed “Summer of Bowls” line-up, with a feast of tournaments for bowlers to dine out on and some serious cash on the line.
In a move to free up the calendar, the National Club Championships and National Interclub 7s have been parked, with clubs all over the country jumping on the time slots to host their own competitions.
Big money, bragging rights and a high level of competition all round, a whopping 40 club-based tournaments have been endorsed by Bowls New Zealand as an official “Summer of Bowls” event, featuring all pockets of the country and enabling high performance representatives and national selections to be entered into the mix as part of the endorsement conditions.
Highlights of the calendar include the 20K Stoke Stakes, the Canterbury 5s, Royal Oak Triples and the South Island Fours.
Hosted by Dunedin powerhouse clubs Taieri and North East Valley, the South Island Fours will also be an attractive option to find some form before attending the Summerset National Singles and Pairs in Auckland from January 2 – January 8, 2019 – and many southerners might view the event as an opportunity to declare their dominance closer to home.
For those wanting to chase the dollars and travel further, the Summerset National Fours will be in full swing at the Naenae complex in Wellington in March 2019, while for the women’s bowling fraternity, Naenae are set to host the inaugural Naenae Women’s Classic this side of Christmas with a prize pool of $5K up for grabs.
In addition to these events, Bowls New Zealand will be running the popular National Intercentre competition with the Howick Bowling Club set to host and the Bowls3Five National Interclub playoffs. Making a return this summer will be the National Secondary School Championships, run by Auckland Bowls – among other high profile events as the season gets underway.
Outside of these events, Hawkes Bay will play host to the Aotearoa National Championship Fours, while the firmly established Stewart Buttar Burnside Pairs and Taranaki Fours retain their place for another action-packed season – as does the unrivalled Speights North East Valley 10,000 Invitational Singles over Labour Weekend.
Reflecting on the calendar changes, Bowls New Zealand events manager Helen Stallard is impressed with the tournaments on offer and believes there is “something for everyone”. “There really are some great new events out there, and also some great events that have been around for decades, but possibly haven’t had the exposure.”
Stallard acknowledged the Summer of Bowls calendar would be open to review at the end of the season but envisaged other club tournaments wanting to play a part of it going forward.
“This is by no means the final programme, it’s a trial and if it doesn’t work we will review things, some past events may reappear. I don’t expect that to be the case though, I think this new look calendar has a lot of great opportunity and it’s an exciting prospect.”
The Summer of Bowls officially gets underway with the Paraparaumu Masters Men’s Pairs to be held on September 9, 10 and 11 on the Kapiti Coast.