THE North Ayrshire Bowling League returns this weekend with a new and revamped format and scoring system.

2018 will be the most exciting and innovative year for the league with changes made to make it more competitive and progressive.

Bonus points, an overhaul to the scoring system and fewer players in each team means that the league title will be wide open for the new season.

West Kilbride BC are the defending champions with Kilbirnie BC looking to pick up from where they left off after their win in the end of season play-offs between the top four teams in the league.

The first game is the of May 11, and every proceeding Friday (apart from Friday, July 6) until July 27.

The new format will see five rinks for each team instead of six, games will be 17 ends and total shots across all rinks will provide a winner rather than two points per winning rink.

The winning team will get two points but also up for grabs will be a bonus point for the winning team; if they win by a cumulative 30 or more shots and there is a chance of one bonus point for the losing team; if they lose by less than a cumulative 10 shots.

Also being introduced to the league this year is team captains, each club will nominate a captain for the season and they will be their figurehead for the season.

Ayrshire Weekly Press will be highlighting one feature game every week as well as providing updates on the league table, big results and who will be facing off in weeks to come.

The league for season 2018 will be sponsored by local clothing company GPE Team Sports who are excited for the season ahead.

Ewan Sloan, Director for GPE, said: “Bowling is one of the biggest and most competitive sports in North Ayrshire and we are delighted to be involved in the North Ayrshire Bowling League.

“The revamp to the league and the scoring system makes it that bit more exciting and there will be a good few teams going into this year’s contest thinking they have what it takes to lift the silverware.

“We wish each and every team the very best for the season ahead and look forward to seeing everyone during the summer.”

Teams taking part in the league this year are Ardeer, Ardeer Rec, Ardrossan, Dalry/Glengarnock, Fairlie, Kilbirnie, Kilwinning, Largs, Largs Halkshill, Saltcoats, Skelmorlie and West Kilbride.

Any new or prospective bowlers wishing more information on the sport should contact the North Ayrshire Bowling League on Facebook and they can help put you in touch.