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Family connections . . . Timaru bowler Jack O'Neill (13) will make his competition debut alongside his father, Sean, at the Red O'Neill Trophy competition this weekend. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

It will be a real family affair at the Red O’Neill Trophy bowling competition this weekend.

Timaru teenager Jack O’Neill will join his former Black Jack father, Sean, for the annual pairs trophy, named after Jack’s late grandfather and Sean’s father Red O’Neill.

Jack and his father will be competing against two of Jack’s uncles, Steve and Mick, who are pairing up for the two-day event.

The annual pairs tournament had been held at Kia Toa Bowling Club for about 15 years, Sean said.

This weekend’s event will be Jack’s tournament debut. He began playing bowls about two years ago.

Kia Toa Bowling Club president Russell Maslin said there were about 32 pairs set to play over two days on Saturday and Sunday.

The competition attracted bowlers from “all over” the South Island, Mr Maslin said.

The event has been held since 2005, after the O’Neill family donated the trophy to the club in tribute to the late South Canterbury bowls stalwart.

“[Red was] a fairly well-liked fella.”

The Red O’Neill Trophy will be held at Kia Toa Bowling Club, Hassall St, from 8.45am to about 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.