The country’s top bowlers will return to town this week as Melton and District Indoor Bowls Club once more hosts the EIBA National Championship finals.
It will be a slimmed down schedule which comes to the Leicester Road-based club which has hosted the event for much of the last 28 years and is considered one of the best arenas of its kind in the country.
As well as its sporting prestige, the finals have also proved an economic boost for the town’s hotels and restaurants over the years.
The best women’s and men’s bowlers will battle it for their respective titles in four competitions - singles, pairs, triples and fours - while three national inter-county titles will be decided as well as an inter-club final.
This year the championships has been cut to eight days, from 10, starting on Saturday, with only the last 16 making it through to this stage.
Melton IBC chairman David Brown said: “I’m delighted that our club is staging the finals of the English Indoor Bowling Association’s National Championship once again.
“The event was first held at Melton in 1989 and continued through to 2006, when the four main championship events moved to Nottingham IBC, where they continued until 2013.
“They returned to Melton in 2014 through to the present day.
“This is the EIBA’s major event, and despite there being only 16 finalists in each event this year, the event should be just as exciting for the spectators, with the country’s best bowlers in action.”
The official opening ceremony will be performed by Mayor of Melton David Wright at 9.20am on Saturday before play gets under way with the first round of the men’s fours.
Club president Sue Lemon said: “Our club staff and volunteers will do all they can to ensure everyone is well looked after, whether here as a player, official or spectator.
“I thank everyone involved for working so hard behind the scenes to maintain the excellent reputation of this event for both the EIBA and our club.”
No-one from the Melton club has qualified for the finals this year, but there will be some local interest in the ladies’ singles where Barwell’s Barbara Lewis has qualified, and Barwell are also represented in the men’s pairs.
Nottingham IBC represent the area in the ladies’ pairs, with Spalding involved in both the men’s and ladies’ triples.
Club members have volunteered their time to cover the various sessions as stewards, to keep things running smoothly, help with any queries and provide general support.
Entry is only £2 per day, or free for Melton IBC members, and spectators can gain entry from 8.45am on each day.
Alternatively there is £1 entry after 5pm and eight-day tickets are available at £10.
The restaurant and bar will be open each day of the championship.