After more than three decades, the iconic North East Valley Speight’s 10,000 Invitational Singles will no longer feature on the calendar, instead making way for a premier mixed pairs event with a lucrative prize pool of $20,000.
First held in 1990, the invitational singles event, based in Dunedin, has been an annual drawcard for some of the best bowlers throughout New Zealand and Australia, with the honours’ board reading a who’s who of bowls.
However, in recent years, the organising committee has seen an evident drop in the overall quality of the field – with many Australian-based internationals and overseas competitors struggling to commit to the four-day premier showpiece, or running up against scheduling clashes. The same has also been true when it comes to New Zealand’s best performers, with many now balancing family life, back-to-back high profile events and time away from home proving to have too much of an impact on the sustainability of the tournament.
Alongside the singles event, the Valley has also played host to the Invitational Ladies Pairs since 2012, with many of the country’s best female performers joining together for their shot at the coveted silverware. Though with the running of both tournaments comes the added pressure to club volunteers, committee members and all involved – prompting a major rethink to future proof the club’s status.
Therefore, the decision has been made to shelve both events, and instead put energy, resource and volunteer spirit into hosting a premier Invitational 2x4x2 Mixed Pairs over Labour Weekend. This event will see 24 invited pairs contest a prize pool of $20,000, with play commencing on Saturday 21 October and Finals Day concluding on Monday 23 October.
Speaking to the significant change, North East Valley club manager Terry Scott says while it was an extremely difficult decision to make, the club committee were in positive spirits about the future of attracting the country’s best to the Valley.
“I have been on the organising committee for both of these tournaments since their inception, and while it’s certainly sad to see them go after such a long history, if our club wishes to maintain its standing in presenting a quality New Zealand event, we must move on,” Scott said.
“It’s the end of an era, but the start of a new one.”
Scott pointed to the recent success and interest in the Bowls New Zealand National Mixed Pairs (previously held in Central Otago in 2023 and 2021), with the number of entries…