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There is much at stake for Dunedin bowlers Doug Thomas, Ross Stevens and Paul King at this weekend’s regional PBA singles and pairs.
They are on the cusp of breaking into the five-strong New Zealand PBA team for next year’s Trans Tasman Challenge. Bradley Down (Hawke’s Bay) is fifth on the national ranking list with 208 points but his position is not safe because the three Dunedin bowlers are on his heels.
Thomas is just 10 points behind on 198, Stevens 14 points behind on 194 and King 19 points back on 189.
Points can be gained in the three events at the Dunedin Bowls Stadium. The ranking singles will be completed this morning, the regional finals of the world pairs tonight and the world singles tomorrow night.
The top five at the moment are Murray Glassey (Hawke’s Bay) 243, Bart Robertson (North Harbour) 234, Craig Merrrilees (Invercargill) 234, Andrew Kelly (Dunedin) 222 and Bradley Down (Hawke’s Bay) 208.
Five Dunedin bowlers are in the top 10. The other one is Russell Dawe in ninth-equal spot, with 186 points. The winners of each event qualify for the national finals at the new $6million bowls complex at the Naenae green on August 11.
The pair of Andrew Kelly and Andy McLean won the national final last year and competed at the world event at Potters Leisure Resort in January.
They will be challenged this weekend by Ken Walker and Ross Stevens, Duane White and Paul King, Ray Webster and Doug Thomas, Elliott Mason and Coryn Huddy.
Kelly will make his Trans Tasman debut in Melbourne next month.
The Australian team for event is Barrie Lester, David Hot, Dylan Fisher, Lee Schraner and and Carla Krizanic. Krizanic won gold medals in the triples and fours at World Bowls in Christchurch last December and Lester silver in the triples and fours.