$16k bowls tourney set to soar

SET: Jim Gersbach (director) and Davis Ellis (chairman) with the Golden Eagle and (from left) Finn Wilkinson, Matt Halloway, Ian Berryman, Jaime Wenban. Photo: Jude Keogh.

SET: Jim Gersbach (director) and Davis Ellis (chairman) with the Golden Eagle and (from left) Finn Wilkinson, Matt Halloway, Ian Berryman, Jaime Wenban. Photo: Jude Keogh.

Bowlers from all over are heading to Orange with one goal in mind: to wrap their hands around one of the biggest trophies in country bowls, the prestigious Golden Eagle Classic Pairs.

The annual event is set to be contested from February 20-23 at the Orange City Bowling Club.

This year sees the prize money and trophies value up to more than $16,000 with $4000 for the winning pair.

And that’s helped organisers attract most of the recent winners who are returning hoping to add their names to the winners’ roll that stretches back to 1968.

Club organising committee member Neil Southcombe said it was the 49th running of the event that has high-profile former winners including Rob Parella.

Southcombe said pairs from all over the Central West, Blue Mountains, Sydney and the Central Coast would face teams from Victoria and Queensland.

He said reigning champions father Warren and son Jared Hamilton from the Illawarra were back, as well as 2015 champions Mathew McIntyre from Dubbo and Jay Porter of Cabramatta.

And there are a few unknowns in the field, who are regular competitors in regional tournaments.

“There’s a couple of newcomers we don’t know much about.”

A physically and mentally draining tournament, Southcombe said the event was a true test of fitness.

“It is quite taxing on the bowlers. They have to bowl 21 ends by two games each day. It’s not just about throwing down a bowl, there is a lot of walking.”

The final is at 1.30pm on Thursday February 23.

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