THE wet weather didn’t deter the hundreds of bowlers who took to the greens for the first day of the Bendigo Bank Country Week Bowls on Monday.
Now in its 44th year, Bendigo Country Week has attracted more than 800 bowlers from across Victoria.
Players have even traveled from as far as Port Macquarie in New South Wales to compete.
The week-long event will see bowlers compete on 28 greens across 12 different clubs.
With all finals matches to be played at the Bendigo Bowls Club.
Event organiser Geoff Briggs said Country Week Bowls was one of the biggest events on Bendigo’s sporting calendar each year.
“It is the biggest event of its type in Victoria,” he said.
“About 70 individual clubs are taking part.”
Briggs said the reason why so many bowlers continued to compete in Bendigo each year was because of the state of the greens.
“Bendigo consistently has some of the best greens in Victoria,” he said.
“State finals are always held in Bendigo, all the big events are held here.
"This year our youngest player is 14 and the oldest is 92."
Briggs also said there was more to Country Week than just the prize money, it was about the camaraderie between the teams and playing good, competitive bowls. “For most of the players coming to Bendigo is an annual trip,” he said.
“It is a chance to catch up with mates and be social with people from other parts of the state.”
The event program sees pairs teams compete across the first two days of play before knockout games begin on Tuesday afternoon.
Sixty-seven teams will be cut down to just four with players expected to compete will into the night.
The semi-final and grand final of the pairs will be held on Wednesday night at 7pm.
Briggs said the fours division will also begin on Wednesday before their final will be held on Thursday night.
“We will be playing under lights,” he said.
To conclude the event the Bendigo Motels Association is also sponsoring an event on Friday.
Local Bendigo and visiting teams are expected to take to take part in the triples competition.
Briggs said it would be a great week for Bendigo.
He estimated more than a million dollars would be put into the local economy.
“It is a fantastic week,” Briggs said.
“It is a unique event.”
He encouraged community members to watch some of the finals action at Bendigo Bowls Club on Tuesday and Thursday.