The Perils of Manning the Bar

The bias is all wrong in Manawatu bowls just now.

For yonks, an informant has warned me that bowlers are a breed of their own.

And after the apathetic snub of a special meeting called by Bowls Manawatu last Sunday, who can argue?

It seems the ever-ageing bowlers go into winter hibernation.

In the past year or so, a fairly progressive regime under president Tony Jensen has been in power.

The future in almost every sport is to install independent executive members who are not there solely in their clubs’ interests. For instance, should Northern have the five best people, or others have specialist qualities, then bring them on.

But when half the Manawatu clubs didn’t bother to send a soul to the Sunday meeting, then we don’t even know if they care, or if their secretaries are asleep. What else do bowlers do on off-season Sundays?

By my count, of the 14 delegates who did front, eight were already members of the executive.

The executive had drafted the remit to restructure themselves, so should they have been voting on it?

Anyway, the meeting was aborted and bowls will be stuck with its antiquated system of electing its executive. With the liberals marching out the door, get set for another enlightened gerontocracy.

At an annual meeting a few years ago, two codgers arrived to man the bar, only to find themselves press-ganged on to the executive.

In the cool light of the next day, they resigned when they realised what they’d done.

Anyway, an independent executive could have done…”

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‘Apathy’ prompts Jensen to quit

Bowls Manawatu’s executive is on the verge of disintegration with president Tony Jensen signalling he has had enough.

Jensen said he will be pulling the plug come the annual meeting in July and at least three others are expected to follow him.

Everything boiled over at the Palmerston North Bowling Club on Sunday when eight of the centre’s 16 clubs failed to turn up to a Bowls Manawatu special general meeting.

Jensen said he felt “personally insulted” because the clubs had had plenty of notice about the meeting and had been emailed reminders on Friday. He interpreted it as a vote of no-confidence from the clubs.

“They can do it without me,” Jensen said. “Apathy is the only word to describe it.”

He had taken over as president in November after the death of Maggie May and by the annual meeting will have served two years on the executive.

The special meeting was convened to make a change so members of the executive could be appointed or elected on merit rather than having to be club delegates, effectively to remove roadblocks.

“This was the first of the changes we needed to take the game forward, and it drew a blank,” Jensen said.

“It all revolved around one thing. It was precluding us from getting the best people involved.

“You try to do good for the game but if the game doesn’t want to go with you, you can’t do anything.”

Vice-president Brian Looker..”

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Roadshow looks at decline

“It is not an easy job being Bowls New Zealand chief executive Kerry Clarke, a man who is trying to protect the future of the game.

Clark is leading a partnership and participation roadshow around the country to try to address some of the sport’s problems with declining numbers in player memberships, volunteers and revenues, a trend in most areas.

Clark was in Palmerston North for the Manawatu leg of the tour yesterday, and said there were a number of people in the bowls community “hoping like hell” for a return to the good old days, but it was not going to happen.

He wanted to arrest the decline in the number of traditional bowlers bowling, which had been going on for a while now.

“This is not a process that’s going…”

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Wanganui 5yr Under Mens Lawn Bowls Hexagonal Results

Taranaki came out winners in the Mens Lawn Bowls 5yr Under Hexagonal Tournament at Wanganui over the weekend. After the overnight matches were completed Manawatu were leading going into round 4, however Taranaki won 7 of their last 8 games to come home winners. This was the first time Taranaki had played for a few seasons, and the pre-tournament favorites proved to be too good.

Taranaki 29 pts
Hawkes Bay 28 pts
Manawatu 24 pts
Wellington 20 pts

Warring clubs head for court

The chances of a happy ending in the long-running Club Palmerston saga have been dealt a blow as the increasingly messy dispute heads toward court.

The Palmerston North Cosmopolitan, Squash and Bowls clubs were supposed to merge as far back as 2006 and operate from the same Linton St complex. However, the merger didn’t happen and a deep rift has developed between the Cosmopolitan Club and the sports clubs, which now say the chances of a happy union are slim.

“The [sports] clubs have, in a joint committee meeting, accepted the position that there is little likelihood of a merger going ahead,” said David Petterson, who acts as spokesman for the sports clubs.

A Cosmopolitan Club spokesman declined to comment because of uncertainty surrounding the situation.

The Linton St land is owned by the sports clubs, but the Cosmopolitan Club owns its building. The three organisations have a combined membership of more than 2000 people.

Last year, the Cosmopolitan Club lodged a civil suit against the sports clubs, while the sports clubs lodged a counter claim.

The numbers are difficult to quantify, but both sides have indicated their claims could exceed $1 million.

On June 15, a hearing to debate security of costs will be heard at the High Court in Palmerston North.

The sports clubs were working on inviting other organisations to join Club Palmerston, an idea the sports clubs were still committed to, Mr Petterson said. “The reality is for the last two years squash and bowls have been trying to get this merger through for the benefit of the three lots of club members.”

Mr Petterson said the Cosmopolitan Club management committee had put a brake on merger plans, and the sports clubs would not merge while that committee remained in place.

Tensions blew up in late 2010, when the bowls club issued a demand to the Cosmopolitan Club for a $260,000 loan.

The Cosmopolitan Club repaid it, but was later locked out of its clubrooms in an effort by the sports clubs to get the parties to mediation.

Talks broke down and correspondence obtained by the Manawatu Standard indicates deep divisions between the two sides.

One issue causing problems is the status of a Bank of New Zealand loan to the Cosmopolitan Club and guaranteed by the sports clubs.

In a report to Cosmopolitan Club members, manager Desiree Garrigan said the BNZ this year called in $140,000. However, it had not been paid as the club was disputing whether the loan was legally allowed to be made to a friendly society such as itself.

An affidavit lodged with the court from Mr Petterson said the sports clubs would repay the money if required, but would then seek to cancel the Cosmopolitan Club’s lease at Linton St on the basis it was insolvent if it couldn’t pay the bank.

Ms Garrigan said this would be “essentially kicking the Cosmopolitan Club out of its premises” and had forced the club to ask the courts to stop this.

That issue would also be debated on June 15, her report said. “[The sports clubs] have thrown an awful lot at us this past year but we are still here and we are not insolvent.”

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