A star-studded field of indoor bowlers will be in Rotorua this weekend for the 21st North Island Indoor Bowls Championships.
The inter-island competition, an annual event, is a prelude to the Summerset Nations, being held in Ashburton this year.
Teams of 120 pairs will compete on Saturday, 55 fours on Sunday and 65 triples on Monday.
The only North Island champions defending their title from three years ago in New Plymouth are the Auckland four of Steve Fisher, Linda McCurdy, Warren Freeman and Lee Singer.
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Fisher has earned two other inter-island titles - the North Island fours in 2012 and the South Island fours in 2014. He needs just two more to win an Island Gold Star.
Ashburton's Michael Lawson, who is partnered with Grant Wilson in the pairs, holds six South Island titles, earning the Island Championship Gold Star in 2014. He is deputy president of NZIB and the captain of the South Island team. Wilson was runner-up in the South Island fours last year, won the Henselite Singles in 2013 and is a former South Island representative.
New Zealand representative Daniel French, of Otago, won the South Island triples in 2013 and was the player of the tournament that year. This weekend he partners with Keri Te Tamaki, the New Zealand Junior singles champion in 2007. Te Tamaki and has been named in this year's South Island Academy team.
Auckland's Alex Reed and Colin Williams, who won the Rotorua QB Pairs for the second consecutive year last year, will team up again. The father and son combination of Paul and Nash Smith, from Tauranga, who were runners-up in the national championship pairs in 2016, are also competing.
The strong field, which also includes defending national champs Paul Wright , Richard Caddy, Grant l'Ami, Mike Phipps, Lorraine Phipps and Paul Midgley, signals a competition that will be tightly fought in the qualifying rounds.
Local pairs with a chance of impressing are Lake Taupo's husband and wife combination Robin and Jacque Porter, Owhata's North Island representative Gina Owen combining with Karen Te Tamaki, Bay of Plenty representatives Derek Owen and Paul Gooch, Owhata father and son Sam and Mike Bryant, from the Citizens Club, Gavin Rennie and Christine Kingi, of Owhata, and Alan Gordon and Wayne Hitchens, of Owhata.
The player of the tournament will receive the Badge Makers Island Aggregate Cup.