Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Good times to bowl in Shepparton

The Victorian Open will be held in Shepparton for the fourth straight year in November with a new one-year deal being struck.

MATTHEW GALEA May 16, 2014 3:05am

Bowls Victoria chief executive Graeme Bridge, Greater Shepparton City Council deputy mayor Dennis Patterson and Bowls Victoria president Rosemary Varty are delighted to see the Victorian Open return to Shepparton.

Shepparton will be the home of Bowls Victoria’s Victorian Open for the fourth straight year when the event returns in November.

The previous three-year deal ended at the finish of last year’s Victorian Open, but a new one-year deal has been struck to keep the event in Shepparton and its surrounds.

Bowls Victoria president Rosemary Varty, chief executive Graeme Bridge and Greater Shepparton City Council deputy mayor Dennis Patterson were yesterday on hand to announce the new deal.

The event will no longer run as an Australian Open qualifier — after Bowls Australia decided to make the event an open one — and for the first time finals will be on their own day on Saturday.

Varty said Bowls Victoria was proud to continue the Victorian Open’s successful stint in Shepparton.

‘‘Bowls Victoria is delighted to reach agreement to come back here to Shepparton,’’ Varty said.

‘‘The events we’ve run here have always been very well organised and attracted a lot of entries, so this is now a great opportunity for country bowlers — who make up two thirds of our members — to be part of the Vic Open.’’

Varty said the quality of greens in Shepparton and surrounds made the choice an easy one.

‘‘The quality of having good outdoor greens and a covered green and the volunteers who are absolutely superb is great,’’ Varty said.

The event is based out of Shepparton Park, but could reach up to 20 other local clubs depending on entries.

Varty said no longer using the tournament as an Australian Open qualifier would also attract a wider range of Victorian players, with the event unlikely to attract as many elite bowlers from interstate.

‘‘We believe it gives everyone now the opportunity to take part because we know some people weren’t taking part because of the number of other interstate and top-level bowlers who were playing,’’ Varty said.

Patterson said securing the Victorian Open was another coup for the region.

‘‘We’ve got several events on that month... and it’s been a sensational first three years, so we’re glad we’re carrying it on,’’ Patterson said.

‘‘It’s a vote of confidence in the region and it brings real benefit to the area.

‘‘They’ll be playing in Tallygaroopna and Merrigum and right around Tatura and Mooroopna.

‘‘If there’s a bowling green within 50km, they’ll be playing on it.’’

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