CARDIFF turned on a postcard perfect day to welcome the finest flat greeners from twenty-three nations of the European, African and South American theatre to the Atlantic Championships today.

The beautiful Welsh capital and it’s lush greens at the hosting Barry Athletic, Dinas Powys, Penarth Windsor and Penylan clubs were preened, willing and able for the task of unearthing the region’s qualifiers for next year’s World Championships on Australia’s Gold Coast.

These championships offer gold, silver and bronze medals in women’s singles and fours along with men’s pairs and triples in the first week, while these disciplines are reversed for the second week of competition.

Good judges are predicting the Scottish men – Commonwealth champions Darren Burnett, Ronnie Duncan, Paul Foster, Alex Marshall and Derek Oliver – will dominate proceedings, although the South African, English, Irish and Welsh guys will do their best to withstand the charge.

The women’s competition is wide open, with the British home countries sure to contend, while South Africa’s ladies will give a very good account of themselves and the ever-improving Namibian girls should not be underestimated.

Well-known Welsh identity Alun Hodges, the event manager, and women’s secretary Hazel Wilson have been towers of strength in the organization.

‘The organisers have a lot to be proud of,’ said World Bowls president John Bell. ‘I’m sure the keen competition and quality of play will further enhance the profile of our great sport.

‘And let’s not forget the benefit of these events to the so-called fledgling countries who get to compete with many of the world’s best players.’

Photo: World Bowls chief executive Gary Smith and president John Bell, Welsh women’s secretary Hazel Wilson and event manager Alun Hodges.