Thanks to Tony for all the news from around Manawatu…
“The crippling cost of modern sport has been starkly illustrated with the plight of the Otago Rugby Union and Bowls has to be careful not to land the sport with costs that cannot be sustained.
It was a fantastic effort when our Manawatu men’s and women’s representative sides won through to the national intercentre finals at the weekend but with a trip to Auckland to the national finals in store the Centre’s and individual players financial resources will be tested. The same applies to the Northern women’s division one interclub team which won through to the national finals at the same venue in a lustrous weekend for our players.
My point is not the cost of these events as such but the number of separate national events and venues that have proliferated. In the halcyon days of the sport (sixties to eighties) there was one National event and it attracted players from all over the country with varied playing ability.
We now have added a New Zealand Open, national intercentre, national interclub and national club championships as well as national secondary schools. The national club championship regional tournament is being played in Masterton this week and anyone unlucky enough to win will have to fund themselves to the New Zealand finals in the most inaccessible city of Invercargill. Don’t get me wrong I love Southland and Southlanders but realistically no player from the Manawatu will be able to fund themselves a trip there under $1000 even with the accommodation subsidy. I expect that may result in non appearance of some winners. I further suspect not too many Clubs are in a position to assist their players even if they would like to provide a level of help.
Further pressurising the situation is the fact that by the very nature of their ability many players will be involved in multiple events. But back to the performance of our local elite bowlers who performed so well to qualify for Auckland. The interclub regional finals at Palmerston North were more a tribute to perseverance than anything else. With over 30 mils of rain having fallen an army of volunteers pushed the water from the greens and play was possible in conditions few would have been familiar with. Wairarapa won the mens division one and our Northern women were totally dominant.
It was the women again dominant on the Sunday not losing a game in the first two rounds thus making the third round a dead rubber. The men were not far behind winning five of the first six games and only having to maintain composure in the last round to obtain the necessary one win to head off Hawkes Bay.
Two years ago our men won the national final with the women runners-up and I am sure the confidence born of form will see them able to lift a further notch.
• Palmerston North tell me they are running a tournament on 25 March for the benefit of their Mates in Bowls players. They will mix bowlers and non-bowlers and are also opening it up to other non bowlers who would like to try the game or former bowlers who would like another look at the game. Any enquiry to Ian Lewis email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sounds a good concept.
• Champion of champion events continue this weekend with mens fours at Terrace End and the women at Takaro. I’ll be representing my club but not before a day at the Northern Hospice tournament on Saturday. There is pretty well a full field and it will be great to have over 150 bowlers at the one venue supporting such a great cause. Bowlers who are not playing will still be welcome to spend a few dollars.
• A brief mention of my good clubmate Terry Puklowski who is celebrating his 50th season in the game. In his first season he won the Colts singles at Takaro and this year has added our club open and over 65 titles and made the semi-final of the senior champion of champions. He is still a great servant of the game and has done everything administratively as well as a player.