Outram bowls beckon

Club members prepare for the 25th annual Outram 2000 bowls tournament this weekend. Pictured (from left) are Barbara Milne, Jill Scouler (tournament secretary) and Rob Scouler (president). Photo by Craig Baxter.
Club members prepare for the 25th annual Outram 2000 bowls tournament this weekend. Pictured (from left) are Barbara Milne, Jill Scouler (tournament secretary) and Rob Scouler (president). Photo by Craig Baxter.

Three former All Blacks have played in the annual Outram 2000 and lifted the profile of the event that is organised by the local club.

This is the 25th year of the event that has always attracted the best bowlers in Otago and some big names from other parts of the country.

Former All Blacks Sir Colin Meads and Peter Henderson played in the fours tournament two years ago.

They were joined in a formidable four by Otago rugby stalwarts John Hunter and Jim Johnstone.

Johnstone is the brother of former All Black captain Peter Johnstone, who was a stalwart of the Taieri rugby club and had the club grounds at Peter Johnstone Park named after him.

Henderson toured South Africa in 1949 with Peter Johnstone and played against the British Lions with him in 1950.

Bowling clubs on the Taieri had jointly hosted a tournament in the late 1980s and when this ceased the Outram club decided, from 1990, to continue the end-of-season, two-day, multi-green tournament.

The local business community has always supported the tournament.

Numbers are down this year because it clashes with the Bowls Dunedin triples being played on the same weekend.

There are 36 entries for the tournament being held this Saturday and Sunday, with teams coming from as far as Invercargill and Wanaka.

Greens at Outram, Taieri and Fairfield are being used.

The biggest tournament was in 2005 when 76 teams and 304 players contested the event.

The format for the tournament has always remained the same with four games of 10 ends played each day.

The scoring system differs from most tournaments with 20 points for a win, 10 points for a draw and a point for each end won.

The team that scores the most points is the winner. If required, a differential will be calculated to determine the winner.

The first prize is $2000 - $500 for each player. Green prizes are awarded both days to teams, outside of the major prize winners, that have the most points.

The tournament has been won twice by the St Clair team of Eion Willis, Gary Andrews and Ross Brown.

The fourth member was Tim Ball in 2010 and Ross Stevens in 2012.

In 2006 the popular winners were a team of local bowlers from Mosgiel RSA - Dick Hammer (skip), Neville Bowie, Len Blackie and Noeleen Harris, who won eight games on the trot and had an amazing differential.

The tournament has been won only once by an Outram team, in 2001 when Arthur Free, Ron Flannery, Loretta Flannery and Freda Free won the big prize.

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