Bowls event a major hit

Do not be surprised if the country’s top bowlers are back in Central Otago in two years’ time.

The national bowls fours and mixed pairs championships concluded in the region on Wednesday, and have drawn much praise from the national body.

Bowls New Zealand CEO Mark Cameron said the event, which was hosted at various clubs around the region, had been fantastic.

"Everyone was really positive, so much so that there’s a real desire, energy and enthusiasm to get it back to Central Otago as soon as possible," Cameron said.

"The numbers have been tremendous.

"These nationals down in Central Otago, we were nervous about it.

"We’ve never had a nationals in Central Otago before.

"We were worried about whether people would travel, but the numbers have been the biggest they’ve been in 15 years."

About 800 bowlers had played at the event and 30% of those had travelled from the North Island.

Cameron said for some it had been their first time to Central Otago, and they had enjoyed the region.

He added it had been good to bring those people to the region to help its economy, which had been hurt by the lack of tourism following Covid-19.

The tournament alternated between North and South Island each year.

That meant next year’s would not be in the South, although there was a good chance it would be back in Central Otago in two years’ time.

Cameron admitted there had been some nerves as to how smoothly things would run with having the tournament spread out.

Sometimes players were having to drive an hour across the region to get to their game for the day.

But it turned out to be no problem, as the clubs stepped up.

"Honestly the feedback has just been so positive.

"What happened was the clubs just jumped behind the event.

"The teams would turn up to, say, Waipiata for example, there would have been 15-20 members there doing everything from making the cups of tea, to the scones, to the bar or just generally supporting the play.

"So really positive. No-one has had a negative word about the travel times, primarily because of the hospitality.

"And the quality of the greens as well, that’s been fantastic."

The mixed pairs event had been held for the first time.

Cameron said they were successful and were something they would look to continue.


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