The first series in what will be a bonanza year of prestigious events for the Bendigo Bowls Club will be staged next week.
Four central Victorians – Bendigo’s Andrew Brown, Aaron Wilson, his brother Matthew and Kyneton’s Chloe Stewart – will feature when Victoria clashes with South Australia on the BBC’s Barnard Street greens.
Senior men’s, women’s, under-25 and 18s teams will play alongside each other in the Interstate Test Series from January 8 to 10.
“This is one that’s been allocated to Bendigo obviously because of the good greens and the great wraps that everybody has,” BBC bowls co-ordinator Geoff Briggs said.
“And for the first time, the men’s and women’s senior teams, the under-25 teams and the under-18 teams are all competing at the same time.”
Three men’s and women’s teams will play fours matches, while the under-age teams will rotate between triples, pairs and singles.
Aaron Wilson, originally from Bendigo, and Chloe Stewart will represent Victoria’s senior men’s and women’s teams respectively.
“Aaron is a professional bowler down at Brighton club, he’s in the top half-a-dozen ranked players in the country now – he’s a superstar,” Briggs said.
Matthew Wilson, representing Essendon, will feature in the men’s under-25s, along with BBC greenkeeper Andrew Brown.
“He’s going to have a huge week. There’ll be him, myself and another bloke cutting a green each morning at 6.30am and then he’ll be getting himself ready to play,” Briggs said.
“It’s a big thing for him and real recognition, I think, of how good Bendigo’s greens are and, in particular, the Bendigo club itself.”
Following the Interstate Test Series is Bendigo Country Week from March 18 before the Australian Sides Championships and Super 6s.
“This year we’ve got the biggest event on the national bowls calendar – the Australian Sides Championship,” Briggs said.
“You’re going to get the absolute cream of Australian bowlers here for that eight or nine days.”
The Sides Championships will be held from April 29 to May 2, following the two-day Super 6s event – featuring a triple, pairs and single teams from each state – beginning on April 26.