Southland Indoor Bowling Centre is well-known for its warm hospitality, great facility, and near-perfect bowls floor, so, it comes as no surprise that over 160 bowlers are flocking to the deep South for the long weekend - some even travelling from as far as Wellington and Hamilton.
Waikato bowlers Shaun Blackbourn, David Archer and Joy Archer first ventured down South for the Island Championships in 2017, and from 2018, have celebrated ample success as a group. In fact, with the addition of Upper Hutt’s James Sullivan, they are in the rare position of gunning for the three-peat in the fours event. Last year’s win in the North Island was particularly special, with Shaun and Joy each earning a Gold Star for 5 titles in the space of four years. They will have their work cut out for them in section play though - skips Michael Lawson, Robert Wilson, Wilf Peard and Una Roulston make it a tough section to qualify in.
Across the 80 pairs entries, there are many strong combinations that jump out. However, it is the ladies pairing of newly named Mat Blacks Reserve, Kylie Gould, and the youthful Nikita Blair who show plenty of promise. Another young pairing who could come out on top are Mathew Bassett and Nicholas Sinclair. Each have represented the South Island Team and appear to be in terrific form this season.
Concluding the weekend is the triples event, where local Southland family Gary, Graham, and Jan Low head the field as hot favourites. After all, their record as a team is unparalleled, and they are current National Open Triples champions. Graham and Jan were also an integral part of the winning NZ Mixed Fours team this year, played only two months ago. Also worth watching is Mat Black Michael Lawson, South Island representative Alanna Moffitt, and three-time island champion Stephen Preddy. Lawson sits on seven island titles, and two of those are in the triples with Preddy.
50 Onslow Street, Invercargill is without a doubt the place to be this weekend!
Wishing all competitors the best of luck and a stellar three days of indoor bowls.