Bowls: Fears for future of Festival Fours

Small entries have raised doubts about the future of the annual Festival Fours bowls tournament.

''Our club is looking at other options and may not hold the tournament next season,'' Kaikorai Bowling Club president Barry Craig told the Otago Daily Times.

The annual Festival Fours event was started in 1953 by the Kaituna club. Kaikorai took charge when the Kaituna club went into recess nine years ago.

Only 24 teams have entered for this year's event that starts today at the Kaikorai and Wakari greens.

''Unless we get more support from Dunedin bowlers, the event could lapse,'' Craig said.

The event has always had solid support from teams outside Dunedin and it is the same this year, with five teams from other centres entered.

One of the strongest visiting teams is Richie Kerr's Kia Toa combination from Timaru.

The team includes Ken Callon and Jim Vevers from the Timaru club and Kaikorai's Dave Callon, who grew up in Timaru and is the son of 82-year-old Ken.

A regular from South Otago is Wynston McLachlan (Clinton), who won the New Zealand pairs title with Les Morrison in 1986.

Marty Kreft, the son of former All Black prop Tony Kreft, skips a strong Alexandra team. Other strong country combinations include teams skipped by Tony Cockerill (Gore) and Adam Wyber (Milton).

Last year's composite winning team of Ross Munro, Mel Carmichael, Barry Craig and John Munro will be defending its title.

It will be the sixth time that Ross Munro (65), a retired freezing worker, has played in the event. The accurate lead has won it twice and was runner-up on one occasion. He has also won the plate event twice.

There are two other composite teams that will put in strong challenges.

A strong contender is the team skipped by Steve Fleming. It includes his brother, Rodney, and Kaikorai players Steve Wilson and Mike Kernaghan.

Kernaghan won a bronze medal in the singles at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has won three New Zealand titles - singles in 2001 and 2002, and pairs with Dave Archer in 2007.

Graeme Allan has a team that includes Dan O'Leary, Peter Wilson and Mike Cranston. Other teams to watch are skipped by Jacko Susilo (Andersons Bay) and Regan Larkin (Kaikorai).

The first two days will consist of round-robin section play, with games restricted to 2hr 15min or 18 ends.

 

Three games of section play will be held today and tomorrow from 8.30am and the final is expected to start at 1.45pm on Sunday at the Kaikorai green.


Festival Fours
Bowls tournament
Dates: January 4-6
Venues: Kaikorai and Wakari clubs
Final: Kaikorai green, Sunday, 1.45pm
Teams: 24
First held: 1953, at Kaituna