The line up for the 2023 Interprovincial event has been set after a gruelling weekend of indoor bowls.
Four of the six teams playing in this year's Welch Trophy have successfully defended the Paterson and will compete in Tier 1 next year. Waikato, Hutt Valley and Ashburton stamped an early lead in their respective zones and never faltered, while North Taranaki had to dig deep to overcome their Taranaki neighbours.
It was a tight tussle in Zone 1 between Counties and Auckland, but with a near perfect sweep of the fours every session, Counties were able to stay the course and edge out their opponents. This sees the current Welch champions take on Tier 2.
Despite the fact that Southland won over 90% of their singles games, Otago stormed home with an impressive clean sweep of 20 pairs wins to reverse the result of last year's Paterson.
The second tier will be equally exciting with seasoned Welch competitors Auckland, Upper Hutt, Canterbury and Southland. They will be joined by Taranaki and Poverty Bay who each rose to the challenge, fuelled by motivation to finish top two. An exceptional performance from both teams, and what an opportunity for them next year.
It leaves a quality Tier 3 with Tauranga, Manawatu and North Wellington in the mix, alongside Northland, Nelson and Timaru-South Canterbury. The remaining teams will be spread across a fourth tier.
The Interprovincial event provides all districts with a new set of challenges, opportunities for fresh competition, and the promise of two promotions and two relegations in each tier, meaning plenty of movement across the divisions moving forward.
Good luck to all teams!
Special mention to the top scorers from each zone: Roger Andrew and Rochelle Cameron (CS); Matthew Farquhar (WK); Alistair Wilson (NT); Ashley Diamond (UH); Murray Bassett, Mat Bassett and Russell Ellis (AS); Daniel Sinclair (OT), and Stephen Langley and Brian Hotton (SL).