EIBA National Finals set to open at Melton

Former world number one Greg Harlow won his third indoor men's singles title at Melton 12 months ago EMN-160504-112445002

Former world number one Greg Harlow won his third indoor men's singles title at Melton 12 months ago EMN-160504-112445002

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A host of internationals and world champions will make a beeline for Melton over the next fortnight as the town stages its annual bowls marathon. Melton Indoor Bowls Club once again hosts the English Indoor Bowls Association’s national finals at their Leicester Road base from tomorrow (Friday) until Sunday, April 17.

The event will be officially opened tomorrow afternoon (Friday) at 1.45pm by the Mayor of Melton, Jeanne Douglas, and swiftly followed at 2pm by the first action: the first round of the men’s pairs.

Among the big names on show will be former world champions Greg Harlow and Andy Thompson.

The finals will be particularly special for Melton club member Jenny McConnell who will be there in one of her final acts as national president of the EIBA. Her year-long stint in office comes to an end next month.

It will also be an occasion to remember for David Brown as the first national finals since he became the club’s new chairman.

He said: “Once again we’re delighted to be given the honour of staging the most prestigious finals event of the English Indoor Bowling Association.

“This is the opportunity for local people to watch the country’s finest indoor bowls players.

“They include a number who were part of the England men’s team which recently won the Home International Series.”

As well as singles, pairs, triples and fours competitions for both men and women, there will also be three inter-county finals among 155 matches in total, with 11 national titles to be decided.

The event brings in welcome revenue for the town, particularly for the borough’s hotels and restaurants.

And with the club agreeing the rights to stage the finals event up to and including 2018, subject to final agreement on cost, the town looks set to benefit for two more years.

Entry for spectators is £2 per day, and free for club members, with three sessions of bowling per day except for the opening and closing days.

A new electronic scoreboard has been installed and much of the spectator seating has been improved in time for tomorrow’s curtain-up.

An army of volunteers from the club will also act as stewards to help the event run smoothly.

The club’s restaurant will be open all day with play under way by 10am each day (see schedule).