THE best of the best in the bowling fraternity are making a comeback.
Two hundred and fifty of the sport’s best will converge in Tamworth next month to compete in the State Inter-zone Sides Championship, 15 years since the last event was hosted.
It is the latest in a long list of big sports that have boosted Tamworth’s big name event status in the sporting world and added to its sports tourism value.
Bowls follows the recent national championships for the under-16years basketball titles, a Waratahs-Samoa ruby union trial and the Eastern NSW University Games, into Tamworth sports venues and comes in the same month the city will also host an A-League soccer game and another NBL basketball trial between the Sydney Kings and the Cairns Taipans.
Bowls organiser Kevin Clifton said the event held a special place in the hearts and minds of the Tamworth bowls hierarchy.
“It was one of their own who pioneered this event almost 20 years ago,” Mr Clifton said.
In its hey-day the event was not officially recognised.
“It was started by a number of zone officials, including Noel Skewes from Tamworth,” Mr Clifton said.
The revamped event has the support of Zone 3, North Western NSW.
Mr Clifton said the zone was proud to be not only associated with the event but one of the driving forces behind it.
The championship is now considered by the state body to be the premier event on the annual lawn bowls representative calendar.
Bowlers at the championship event scheduled to start on Friday, September 7 will represent 16 different zones, something Mr Clifton is very proud of.
“Our team was fortunate enough to host the event in 1996, where I was co-ordinator, and I am privileged to hold this position again in 2012,” he said.
“ We have the experience, excellent facilities and the organisational skills to ensure that the event is a success once again.”
A number of local clubs have banded together in order to market the event across the state.
“We’re really trying to get the word out to make it the best it can be,” Mr Clifton said.
The finals will take place at the South Tamworth Bowling Club, which will double as the event’s headquarters.
The championships will run over three full competition days, finishing on Sunday, September 9.
Different championship rounds are expected to be played at greens all around Tamworth.