Ultimate Bowls Happening at New Lynn 31-1 August by Lindsay Knight

  Several of North Harbour’s most prominent bowlers will be among 90 of the country’s best in a high profile two-day tournament at New Lynn which might well be an early glimpse at how the game, at top level at least, will evolve in the future.

 This is “Ultimate Bowls,” a high octane event played on July 31-August 1 and involving 30 teams competing in a three bowl pairs format with a series of five-end matches, with the winners earning the right to compete in a big-money finale in Australia.

 The top Harbour bowlers who will be at New Lynn include former Black Jacks Tony Grantham, Kerry Chapman and Wendy Jensen and multiple centre champions in Neil Fisher, Steve Cox, Bart Robertson and Lisa Parlane.

 They will be joined by a cross-section of former national champions and Black Jacks in Jamie Hill, Danny Delaney, Petar Sain and Rob Ashton, plus rising stars from other centres like Southland’s Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, Wellington’s Finbar McGuigan, Auckland’s Aiden Takarua, Counties’ Leanne Poulson, Waikato’s Debbie White, Canterbury’s Richard Hocking and Taranaki’s Dean Elgar.

  Two of Harbour’s best women players, Mairangi Bay’s Sheryl Wellington and Birkenhead’s Trish Croot, both qualified umpires, will be technical officials. And also in the mix are leading para bowlers like Graham Skellern and Mark Noble while most of the other players are centre title-holders.

 The competition is the brain-child of Rangitoto College and Mairangi Bay club product Rebecca Jelley, who has merged her considerable bowling expertise with her a formidable academic background which has earned her a science doctorate.

  In her role as tournament manager she says: “The event is quite different to anything else in the sport of bowls world-wide.”

 The rapid-fire format involves a total of 240 matches and for each team to qualify for the final rounds it must play a minimal six matches with the length of each end set at 26 metres.

 The event might also give an early insight into the technology which might accompany major bowls tournaments in the future. “We will showcase our custom-built software and automated event management platform,” says Dr Jelley. “Players will have access to their team and individual performance stats via a login to our website and these stats update automatically in real time.”

 The scoring system is another innovation and might require the utmost concentration of all players. Ten points will be awarded the winning shot, five points for a second and three points for a third shot. There will also be three points for each toucher.

 Sunday afternoon’s post-section knock-out rounds will culminate in the final, with the winner going onto Australia and a tournament with total prize money of $500,000.