The indoor bowls season is usually wrapping up this time of year, but Labour Weekend has something big in store. As a result of COVID-19, Upper Hutt’s plans for an open event in May were put on hold, and the Island Championships in June were cancelled. A proposal was made, and later agreed on, for the two events to be played as one.
Among the 36 triples, 36 fours and 75 pairs entries, there are multiple teams that really stand out. David Archer, Shaun Blackbourn and Joy Archer enter as the defending triples champions, but more impressively, Shaun and Joy will be hunting the three-peat after claiming the 2018 and 2019 pairs titles.
Simon Thomas will make the trip across the strait to defend the fours, this time with Michael Lawson, Daniel French, and Jeremy Markham. Thomas and Lawson each have seven island titles to their credit and French has two. The Mat Blacks trio won the National Triples in 2018. Avon Compton was the two in last year’s winning fours team, but will now skip North Wellington’s Reece Wickenden, Lyn Compton and Josh Andersen.
A combination like no other, Grant L’Ami and Mike Phipps have an extraordinary national record. With their talent and smarts, it would be no surprise to see them feature in one or more events over the weekend. Keep an eye out for their round four game in the pairs section where they come up against two more of New Zealand’s best - Ashley Diamond and Sheree Holmes.
The Badgemakers Island Aggregate Cup will be awarded to the player of the tournament at the conclusion of the pairs on Monday. Last year saw a three-way tie between Daniel French, Shaun Blackbourn and Joy Archer. It was the second year in a row for French, who earned the same award in 2018.
Included in the four-day bowls weekend will also be the Upper Hutt Open Singles which has reached 126 in entries, plus a quiz night on the Saturday. There is plenty to look forward to, so to the many bowlers who are able to attend, good luck and enjoy.
The Matside Team will be livestreaming the Finals of the Island Championships beginning this Friday evening with the Triples, Saturday the Fours, Sunday the Singles and Monday the Pairs. Join James, Shaun, Alex, Joy, Jezza and uncle Dave on the NZ Indoor Bowls Streaming Page for live coverage of the finals.
Check out the ‘Live Scoreboard’ on this website for regular updates of results.
Venues and start times:
Triples - Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club, 11 Logan Street - 1:00 p.m.
Fours - Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club, 11 Logan Street - 9:00 a.m.
Singles - Expressions, 836 Ferguson Drive, Upper Hutt - 9:00 a.m.
Pairs - Expressions, 836 Ferguson Drive, Upper Hutt - 8:30 a.m.