Some columns are easy to write and virtually write themselves but it is with a heavy heart I pen this report.
The reason for such angst is the sudden and untimely passing of a good friend and bowls stalwart Bob Williams. Bob loved his sport having been a better than average cricketer and took to the game of bowls like the proverbial duck to water when he took it up about 25 years ago. Bob achieved his fifth Manawatu Centre title to achieve the coveted gold star when he won the champion of champion pairs leading for Chris Barrett last season.
A regular rep player through the years Bob never gave an inch on the green and was never beaten till it was all over. He was a versatile player, one of the few who could comfortably fill any of the positions in a team game. It was not only as a player that Bob excelled, he was a most able administrator and served as president of his Palmerston North Club.
He had a vision for the future of the sport and we often discussed his frustration that the Club Palmerston amalgamation had not properly come to fruition as originally envisioned. Bob often forwarded me news snippets for this column and as a professional news hound was always on the lookout for a story. In recent years Bob had shared employment between the Rugby Museum and publicity responsibilities for the Manawatu District Council. On learning of his passing workmates at the Council decorated his workstation with a lawn bowl and the colours of his beloved Taranaki. Let us not forget that Bob was first and foremost a family man and it was while he was mowing lawns for daughter Megan that Bob suffered the turn that took him from us. Our thoughts are with wife Kay and children Megan and Matt. We will all miss him dearly.
• I played the inaugural Rescue Helicopter tournament at Palmerston North last Sunday and it was a top day of competitive bowls but the real joy was watching approximately $4000 being raised for such a worthy cause. For the record the winning team was Lindsay Toms, Paul Rowe, Alan Morley and Dean Gilshnan. It was very appropriate Paul was part of it as he was the architect of the tournament and worked tirelessly on sponsorship. Other four winners were Kevin Suisted’s teamof Mere Fryer, Julie-anne Mills and Derek McKee in second place followed by Terry Rossiter, Terry Curtis, John Osborne and Laurie Gordon.
• Labour Weekend sees the commencement of the Centre’s season with the Spec Savers 2-4-2 mixed pairs being contested at Northern. A very pleasing 42 teams have entered, up from 26 last season. Leading the field are two ex World champions in Peter Belliss from Aramaho and Sharon Sims. Sharon won the title last season and will again partner Mark Noble. Belliss plays with uncommonly promising junior Sophie Fisher and they don’t look to have a daunting draw. The same is true for Sims and Noble but the Rogers husband and wife combination of Shane and Georgie face top combinations right through. They will meet both Phil and Phillip Skoglund and Feona Sayles. Only eight teams will qualify for post section and in theory a team could win all six games and not qualify. I don’t expect that will happen but there could well be disappointed 5 winners. The advantage is it will be cut throat till the end.
• After Saturday’s qualifying Peter Belliss will give an address on life in bowls and all are welcome. Play is expected to finish about 4-45pm and a gold coin donation bar-b-que will precede Peter’s address which should commence by 5-30pm. I will be sorry to miss his address, he remains a great sportsman.
• I ask clubs to email me their Division One Interclub teams during this week so I can preview the event. Email news to