Build it, it has been said, and they'll come in droves — well, you can add rebuilding it to that dictum.

A $500,000 revamp of the Super Strike Bowling Centre in Hastings last year is already beginning to lend credence to that edict in Hastings.

The centre, along Omahu Rd, is beckoning 125 tenpin bowlers from around the country to compete in the four-day New Zealand 55-plus tournament from today.

"The facilities in Hastings are now as good as any in Australasia," says Preston Epplett, the chairman of Tenpin Bowling Hawke's Bay Foundation.


The parent body, Tenpin Bowling New Zealand, of which Epplett is president, has sanctioned the new lanes "to a thousandth of an inch".

He says synthetic lanes have replaced the wooden ones.

"The wooden lanes are bits of wood that have been glued together so, over time, they develop gaps," he says, revealing oil was applied on them for better ball traction but wear and tear means they have had to be replaced.

"Artificial lanes, of course, don't have that problem and you don't have to oil them much. They tend to have a much truer surface."

Among the field of competitors are reigning 55-plus men's champion Ron Morgan, of Rotorua, and the women's equivalent, Pat Smith, of Kapiti, not to mention several other former champions.

Hawke's Bay will have a strong contingent of 13 bowlers, including Ian Baldwin, Ken Lyon and Marie Whitaker, according to Epplett.

He is anticipating high scores after the refurbished lanes yielded impressive scores recently.

"A record 17 200-plus scores were compiled in leagues last Wednesday night [February 14]," says Epplett.


It's free entry for members of the public to watch the competition, starting each day at 8.30am and finishing about 5pm.

Later this year, the centre will host the New Zealand Junior/Youth Championship from October 1-3 and the New Zealand Junior/Youth Teams' Championship will follow on October 4-6.

"It's a massive thing to bring all these bowlers to the Bay," he says, adding the region has some promising talent as well.