Local organisers will be hoping for an improvement in the weather this weekend for the 35th edition of the ILT Foundation-sponsored Invitation Charity Pairs event.
The Charity Pairs is a showcase event for Southland lawn bowls and not only provides an opportunity for invited bowlers from outside the province to participate with the best Southland has to offer, but more importantly, thanks to the generous support of all the tournament sponsors, to raise funds for selected local charities.
Funds going to this year's recipient charities will take the total contributions by the event to almost $280,000.
The field for the 2012 tournament has attracted 16 invited players from throughout the South Island and includes no fewer than 10 previous winners.
Although the final combinations are as yet unknown, defending champions Bill Clements (Central Otago) and Craig Merrilees (Southland) head the field, which includes Wynette McLachlan (South Otago), winner in 2009, and former New Zealand representatives Mike Kernaghan (Dunedin) and Ken Walker (Dunedin), both of whom have won back-to-back titles in the past.
Peter Wilson (Dunedin), Les Morrison (Dunedin), Dave Archer (Dunedin) and Bob Smith (South Canterbury) are other notables. Last season's Southland pairs champions Lyall Spencer and Sonny Tautari are also expected to be to the fore at the business end of the tournament.
Tautari is another dual winner in this event.
The Charity Pair weekend opens at the Waverley Indoor Complex on Friday at 5pm with a shootout pairs when visiting players are teamed with local development players, and followed by the presentation of proceeds to the recipient charities and the announcement of the pairs combinations for the Invitational.
Riversdale and Mataura greens will host the preliminary rounds on Saturday with play commencing at 8.30am and Sunday's finals scheduled for the Waihopai greens, post-section play continuing at 8.15am leading up to the final, which is planned for 2.30pm.
- The Southland Times