Next year, in 2020, a new national title will be added to the Summer of Bowls schedule : The New Zealand Open Masters.
Ratified by Bowls New Zealand, the tournament will be run by Bowls North Harbour, on the North Shore in Auckland City from Monday 17th February to Friday 21st February 2020.
Planning is already underway. And North Shore bowls stalwart, Garry Banks, has put up his hand to lead the organising team.
Banks isn’t short on ambition for the tournament. “The Masters provides a great opportunity for everyday bowlers to have a go against their peers,” explains Banks, “It’s the chance for them to enjoy a great run at a tournament where they wont potentially be shut down by the big guns.”
The reason for that is simple. The Pairs and Fours tournament (men, women and mixed) will provide three age brackets : 50-59 year olds; 60-69 year olds; and 70:79 year olds. “With the expectation that there will be more interest in the mixed,” says Banks “we’ve added a fourth any combination range in the : 80+ year olds.”
“Mixed age teams won’t get any advantage,” says Banks. “the team will be required to play in the age bracket of the youngest member.”
But it’s not just the age competition that will make the Masters more attractive. “Like the World Masters, the Golden Oldies, the Invictus Games and others, it’s about the spirit of the tournament,” explains Banks “and in particular like-minded bowlers playing together. Although there are national titles at stake, the primary aim of the games is for participants and their partners to have a great time on and off the green.”
Banks is quietly optimistic that the new New Zealand Open Masters will not only attract many North Shoreites, but from greater Auckland and the North Island. “We’re also expecting people from throughout New Zealand, and Australia … and even the United Kingdom. For overseas visitors, it is a great opportunity to combine their favourite holiday with a visit to New Zealand.”
The organising group of Garry Banks, Graham Doreen, John McCormick, Maureen Taylor and Tony Popplewell from Bowls North Harbour, Martin McKenzie (Bowls New Zealand) Denise Thomson Ryman Healthcare plan to make it as easy as possible for a fabulous visit to New Zealand. “We’re engaging Quay Travel as an Events Manager who will look after airfares and accommodation, as well as a programme for partners who don’t wish to play in the tournament. “Kiwis have been going to the Over 60’s tournament in Queensland,” says Banks, “and we believe that the Masters will be just as attractive to Aussies.”
“The bowls at the World Masters Games in April 2017 in Auckland was a great success,” says Banks, “as was the dress-rehearsal New Zealand Masters tournament in November the previous year. There’s a lot of interest in Masters bowls.”
Formal invitations and details will be sent out to all Clubs soon. As well as publicity in Australia and other bowls-playing nations. “Ryman Healthcare are making their company’s many resources available to help make the Tournament a great success plus putting up $NZ10,000 of prize money at stake,” adds Banks, “But that’s simply icing on the cake for the 6 new national titles holders.”
Meantime, keep this date Free: 17th February to 21st February 2020. And watch the Bowls North Harbour Website for more details.