WESTLECOT Indoor Bowls Club will hold their annual Open Tournament over the weekend of December 8 and 9.

It will be the third staging of the tournament, which once again will carry a top prize of £1,000 and be sponsored by Dexion who are based in Dorcan and supply efficient warehouse storage solutions.

However, there is a change of date for the open tournament as this time around it will be held in mid-season and not at the end of March as in the two previous stagings.

This is because this season (2012/13) the Westlecot Open Tournament is part of the new planetbowls.com singles circuit and will be event No.3 out of a total of 13 tournaments during the campaign with ranking points allocated at each tournament.

All the tournament results are put into one ranking list, with the top 32 players in the list qualifying to play in the Grand Finale with big cash prizes and also a place in the Super Series for the winner.

The opening tournament on the planetbowls.com tour was held recently at Lincoln, and saw Westlecot’s Neil Smith reach the semi-finals but then miss-out to former world champion Greg Harlow.

Smith was beaten in an epic match on a decisive last end tie breaker, after both players had previously nominated and succeeded in killing the end.

Harlow went on to lose the final to Leicester’s Les Gillett who tops the tour rankings on 32.051 with Harlow on 21.368, but Smith lies third on 15.812 ahead of fellow beaten semi-finallist Matthew Knight (Desborough).

Smith is entered in Event Two next weekend at Tye Green (Harlow) and will be hoping to maintain his fine early season form.

The Westlecot Open already has the required 64 players signed up, but a reserve list is running. Top names confirmed in the field include defending champion Mark Royal, Welsh internationals Rob Chisholm and Ross Owen, England internationals Paul Coleman and Gordon Charlton plus 2010 winner Danny Denison (Torquay) and runner-up Andy Moore (Christie Miller, Melksham).

The format of play will be similar to the television tournaments, with two sets of seven ends and a three end tie-break if required.

Rinks 1-4 will be used for play on both days with extra seating for spectators being provided along the side on rink five.