INDOOR bowls’ world championships are building towards a thrilling conclusion this week in Norfolk and excitement is buiding for the sport’s next big international tournament ... in Blackpool.
Thirty two of the world’s top indoor bowlers will contest the Co-Operative Funeral Care International Open at the Newton Hall Bowling Centre in Staining, starting on Sunday week.
The top 16 in the world rankings and 16 qualifiers will compete for one of the World Bowls Tour’s most prestigious events over six days from February 3-8.
Scot David Gourlay, who is ranked third in the world, will defend the title at the star-studded event.
Gourlay said: “I’m really looking forward to defending my title at Blackpool.
“It will be good to meet new people there and perhaps catch up with some who will remember my mum playing at the club in the days when they used to host their ladies’ classic.”
World no.1 Greg Harlow, from Ely in Cambridgeshire, will be looking to make amends for his early exit in the world championship.
Jonathan Goodall, manager of the Newton Hall complex, said: “We are delighted to be able to host such a huge event. It will be good for the club and the area to get the opportunity to see the stars in our very own back yard.”
Newton Hall is a seven-rink indoor bowls complex converted from Blackpool’s Tower Circus animal houses.
World Bowls Tour chief executive officer Richard Maddieson said: “We always get a warm reception in the North-West and are all looking forward to a new venue in Blackpool.’
The event will be televised on the Premier Sports channel, and will launch a weekly bowls slot on the channel.
Tickets for Monday to Friday are available. For tickets and further information contact the venue on (01253) 301447.
The sessions starts at 9am on the first two days, then 10am from Wednesday to Friday. The admission price is £3, £2 for the two evening sessions (6pm Wednesday and Thursday) and £5 for the Friday, which includes the two semis and the final.
Sunday 3: Simon Skelton v Jerry Ng, Robert Paxton v Ross Owen
Monday 4: David Gourlay v Jason Carpenter, Nick Brett v Stephen Coleman Snr, Stewart Anderson v Jamie Chestney, Mark Royal v Scott Kennedy, Jonathan Ross v Wildcard 1, aul Foster v Robert Chisholm, Jason Greensladev Wildcard 2, John Price v Jesse Bradford
Tuesday 5: Darren Burnett v Mike Bester, Andy Thomson v Aiden Lusby, Mervyn King v Morne Moritz, Alex Marshall v David Kontente, Robert Weale v Pat Briscoe, Greg Harlow v Ben Twist