EIBA National Finals at Melton: Nine days of action and 13 titles to be won

Rob Paxton won the men's singles title last year, but this year's draw looks wide open EMN-180321-085236002
Rob Paxton won the men's singles title last year, but this year's draw looks wide open EMN-180321-085236002
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The country’s top bowlers will come to town over the next 10 days as Melton Indoor Bowls Club proudly hosts the EIBA National Championship finals once more.

The Leicester Road-based club has hosted the prestigious event for a big chunk of the last three decades and once again is out to prove it is among the best bowls venues in the country.

The event was first held in Melton in 1989 and continued through to 2006 when the four main championship finals transferred to Nottingham.

But Melton duly won back the right to host the event in 2014 ad have remained here since.

Spectators will get an extra day’s action this year, with the men’s and ladies’ two-bowl singles competitions served up as an appetiser tomorrow (Friday) before the main events begin on Saturday.

The best bowlers of both sexes – usually sprinkled with a host of internationals and world champions – will battle it out for their respective titles in four competitions - singles, pairs, triples and fours.

Big followings are expected for the three county finals to find the best ladies’, under 25s and over 60s teams, and there is also a ladies’ inter-club title up for grabs.

The main draw begins with the last 16 of the men’s and ladies fours on Saturday, and the championships will draw to a close with the two singles finals exactly a week later.

There will be no Melton representation this year, Chris Rodgers the last to bow out in the area singles semi-finals.

But there will be a few Leicestershire bowlers to for the home fans to cheer on.

Former England team manager Bill Hobart will skip the Barwell team in the men’s triples, while the club has also qualified in the ladies’ fours.

Lincolnshire are particularly well represented, with Lincoln, Sleaford and the traditionally strong Spalding flying the flag for the East Midlands in several disciplines.

David Brown, chairman of the club’s board of directors, said: “I’m delighted that we are staging the finals of the English Indoor Bowling Association’s National Championship once again.

“This is the EIBA’s major event, and despite there being only 16 finalists in each event this year, down from 32 in previous years, the event should be just as exciting for the spectators, with the country’s best bowlers in action.”

A small army of volunteers has also been enlisted from the club’s membership to help the event run like clockwork, covering the various sessions as stewards to help with any queries and provide general support.

Entry is only £2 per day, and free for Melton IBC members, and doors open to spectators from 8.45am on each day.

The club’s restaurant and bar will be open throughout the duration of the championships.