EASTERN Province will be hoping to use local knowledge to their advantage when the SA Open inter-district bowls tournament kicks off in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
The event will see 40 men's and women's teams from around the country competing for the title of national champions, with the finals to be played at Walmer Bowling Club next Friday afternoon.
With teams comprising eight players, 320 bowlers will be in town for the event, plus officials.
Last year, the Eastern Province men's side played off for the bronze medal and they will be looking to up the ante in familiar conditions.
While a number of teams will be used to coastal conditions, the nature of the bowling greens varies from region to region and EP, skipped by the experienced Geoff Gowar, will be looking to make the most of this home tournament.
Included in the EP team is former South Africa cricket captain Kepler Wessels.
However, the competition is sure to be tough. With national players Gerry Baker and Bobby Donnelly in their team, Johannesburg will be a force, while Gippo Vermeulen's Port Natal side are another outfit to watch.
Closer to home, Billy Radloff's Southern Cape team will be looking to make an impact in conditions which might suit them better than most.
The EP teams are:
Women: Hilary Bannister, Karen Korkie, Dezi Rosenblatt, Sherine Booysen, Barbara Coetzee, Sandy Smart, Annette Herselman, Lourenza vd Merwe.
Men: Geoff Gowar, Curt Fischer, Hennie Slabbert, Peter Hufkie, Willie Kilian, Eric Louw, Kepler Wessels, Dan Thysse.
- EP's fixtures on Monday are: women: v Southern Free State (am) and KZN (pm) at PEBC; men: v Boland (am) and Natal Inland (pm) at Park Drive.