Bowling On

No figure in sport is maligned more than a Bowls greenkeeper so it was great to see the doyen of Manawatu greenkeepers Ray Hazelwood receive National recognition by being runner-up at the recent Bowls New Zealand awards.

Ray has been looking after the Bulls greens since forever and long time member Bruce Robertson tells me Ray calls the shots and his word is gospel. If Ray says “no play today” only the brave and the foolish argue.

A greenkeepers day might go something like this:
– First there and a quiet walk over the entire surface to see what gremlin may have presented overnight.
– A decision follows “shall I mow, roll or perhaps tend those ditches they were all growling about”
-And the club cat needs feeding!

A handy bowler in his own right Ray is now over 80 but not ready for retirement yet. When it’s all over of course the “leaner mob” will help Ray out by telling him what he’s done wrong. Greenkeepers can never win but in this case runner-up is a top result for one of the gentlemen of the game.

While on the awards I noted there were four finalists for Player of the Year and remarkably all were women. Seems extraordinary that with two men to one woman playing the game they can’t get one in the first four. That is not to take anything away from Jo Edwards (ultimate winner), Mandy Boyd, Sandra Keith and Val Smith all topliners and deserved nominees. In every decade we have had a male bowler who strode the greens like a colossus but that character seems lacking at present. Names like our own Phil Skoglund, Peter Belliss, Rowan Brassey and Gary Lawson have filled the role over the last 40 years but there seems to be a void currently.

• Next Sunday Palmerston North Bowling Club will hold the first of what they hope will be annual fundraising tournament in support of the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter. Paul Rowe is the instigator of the tournament and he has his own life thanks to the very service. When he had a heart attack in 2008 it was the Helicopter that got him to Wellington Hospital. The tournament is Any Gender fours (mufti) so make sure you get a team togerher and enter.

With this fundraiser in the early season and Northern’s Hospice tournament in March they bookend the season well and should both be occasions where club allegiances are discarded.

Speaking of the Hospice tournament, long time organiser Barry Gush is to be recognised by the City with a Civic Award on 11 November at the Convention Centre. In his time he has raised (with a lot of help) $100000 for the Hospice. A most deserved honour.

• Don’t forget entries close for the Centre 2-4-2 Mixed Pairs on 8 October 2012 so get your entry away. I’ll see you all at Palmerston North on Sunday.

Tony Jensen