It was a “feast of bowls” when the annual Fulton Hogan Wānaka Men’s Classic Fours Invitational Bowls tournament took place on January 8-9 at the Wānaka Bowling Club according to Peter Wilson from the Wānaka Bowling Club (WBC).
The event is a major tournament on the WBC’s calendar and attracts a lot of interest from South Island bowlers.
There was a full field of 16 teams entered including a number of composite teams that included a number of well performed bowlers from Wellington, Dunedin, Southland, Nelson and Central Otago as well as WBC members.
Wānaka turned on two almost windless, sunny days for the 70 games that were played over the two days in front of an appreciative group of spectators.
After the first day the field was divided, with the top eight teams competing in the Main Event and the bottom eight teams playing in the Plate Event.
The final of the 10 end Plate Event was fought out between Bannockburn (Terry Collins(s), Wilson Moir, Bryan Neill, Dave Stewart) and one of the Wānaka teams (Stu Hurley(s), Murray Finn, Murray Ives, Lowell Croft).
Bannockburn got away to a flying start and led 8-4 after five ends but that was the end of their scoring, with Wānaka piling on the pressure with some excellent draw bowls and winning the remaining five ends to come out the winners of the Plate Event by 17-8.
The final of the Main Event was between another Wānaka team (Don Cameron(s), Ken Allison, Fin McRae, Bob Steel) and a composite team: Eion Willis(s) (St Clair), Bruce Robertson (Fairfield), George Cameron (Wānaka), Ken Muir (Wānaka).
Every end of this 12-end game was fiercely competed, with the lead often changing during an end. Whatever Wānaka did was thwarted by Team Willis that scored a ‘1’ on each of the first six ends to lead 6-0.
The seventh end saw Wānaka at last getting on the scoreboard, winning three ends in a row to trail by 4-6, and looking more likely. Team Willis came back with two on the tenth end to consolidate their lead at 8-4. Despite all their efforts, Wānaka could not reduce the deficit and Team Willis, who were ‘runners up’ in 2019, ran out the winners by 9-5.
The popularity of this tournament is such that almost all the teams that competed have signalled their intention to play again in the 2021 event.