Aug 20 2010 by Johnathon Menzies, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
SOME of the country’s best bowlers are set to descend on Perthshire this weekend to do battle for the prestigious Caledonia Challenge Cup.
Held across various clubs on both Saturday and Sunday, the tournament is one of the key sporting elements of the year-long celebrations marking Perth’s 800th anniversary.
A total of 60 teams are expected to take part in heats held at clubs in Auchterarder, Methven, Almondbank, Luncarty and Perth on the opening day of the competition.
The overall winners will be decided on final’s day at Bankfoot Bowling Club, the home of the tournament organisers, on Sunday.
Bankfoot member John Kellas, who also serves as a local councillor, said teams from far and wide have applied to enter the increasingly-popular annual contest.
“Last year 44 teams took part, and this year 60 have signed-up – that fact alone shows how the competition is growing,” Cllr Kellas told PA Sport.
He declared: “Players are coming to Perthshire from the likes of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness so it shows that word is spreading further afield.
“We set a target to have 100 teams involved in the competition’s third year, which will be next year, and I think we’re well on course to beat that.
“The competition is over-subscribed this time around, so we’ll be looking to add more greens in time for next year.”
One of the most lucrative prize purses on the sport’s amateur circuit, the overall kitty is £3500.
The Caledonia Challenge Cup is backed by Perth-based firm Easy Heat Systems, who also sponsor St Johnstone and have said they are “delighted” to pledge their support to one of the largest bowling events in Scotland.
And all participants will also be entered into a free draw to win a bathroom suite, courtesy of McDermott Distribution.
Last year – the cup’s inaugural edition – a Fife association select claimed top honours.
Cllr Kellas, who is convener of Perth and Kinross Council’s enterprise and infrastructure committee, was quick to congratulate the efforts of everyone involved.
He concluded: “It’s wonderful to see this event here in Perthshire, especially as it forms part of our Perth 800 celebrations and will bring visitors to the area.”