Kihikihi Bowling Club were finally able to hold their opening day tournament on Wednesday, January 19 after 10 months of waiting to replace their outdoor carpets.
The finishing touches were made on Tuesday evening as the second green was finished, just in time for Wednesday's tournament.
The Portuguese carpet was produced by Pukekohe-based Fieldturf NZ under the supervision of Bowls NZ and was essentially gifted to the Kihikihi community by Kihikihi Bowling Club president Dave Barnett.
"It runs pretty good. We used to have an old grass one that used to die off and have bumps in it," says Dave.
"We're all pretty happy that the day has finally come. The carpet will be there for many a year and we can play on it all year."
Between waiting for consent, Covid-19 lockdowns (carpet experts were in Auckland) and Christmas holidays, it was quite the journey for the club who have spent the last few months playing at Ōtorohanga.
"We thought we'd be bowling in May but we wanted a good job – it's quality that we need out there," says Dave.
The club no longer have to water, mow or fertilise their greens, just vacuum clean the surface every so often.
The opening day tournament saw 27 teams, around 81 people, attend from Arapuni, Kihikihi, Pirongia, Putaruru, Raglan, Te Kūiti and Te Awamutu areas.
The Kihikihi patron Ian Grey put up the first jack and President Dave rolled out the first official bowl on the green.
A new flag was hoisted with an emblem matching that of Kihikihi's green uniforms, then started the triples championships.
The winners were the Ōtorohanga team, skipped by Lance Chapman, runners-up were Wendy Weinberg's team from Piopio and third place went to Dave's Kihikihi team.
Competition seemed to be even as there were no four winners.
"The day went well, we wish to thank the sponsors, Paper Plus Toyworld Te Awamutu and Waikato Cakes,' says Dave.
He says that the club will host 20 tournaments this year instead of the usual 10.
"Congratulations to Kihikihi Bowling Club who celebrated the opening of their new artificial greens this week. A huge amount of time, effort and funding has gone into this fantastic venue, well done to all involved especially the man of the hour Dave Barnett," said Bowls Waikato on Facebook.
February 16 will bring another tournament to Kihikihi, sponsored by LJ Hooker's Gary Derbyshire, but this time for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Other than the prize money for the winners, all the proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish.
At the end of the month, Twilight Bowls will start up at Kihikihi Bowling Club from 5.30pm-7.30pm on Mondays for six weeks.
Any new members are welcome or else pop in when there are people playing on the greens at 17 Lyon St, Kihikihi.