Palmerston North Bowling Club is the largest Lawn Bowls club in Manawatu. The club is a mix of people young and old, from new to established bowlers. Thanks to members, our club is professionally run providing a variety of events for our bowlers, and our greens and clubrooms host Bowls Manawatu, Bowls NZ and regional events. We have strong club spirit and are an important part of our local community. Our club is successful on the green, winning a number of national titles and providing Manawatu and New Zealand Reps.
Represent Palmerston North Bowling Club at Centre and Open Tournaments around Manawatu, or play for Palmerston North in Interclub or challenges against other clubs. Wear your club shirt, follow our players at centre or national events, and have a drink at the club. Travel and enjoy the hospitality of other bowling clubs or take on the best players from Taranaki to Wellington in National Tournaments. Bowlers from our club can be selected in Manawatu Representative teams.
Lawn Bowls is a friendly sport, where you can play alongside your teammates, get to know your opponent and share a drink after the game. Playing Lawn Bowls is a good way of meeting new people. We organise regular social events for our members, and open our bar to club members every friday night. We also organise events during the week, weekend and in the evening. If you want to try the game, Mates in Bowls is run over summer, and is a good introduction to the sport. Our bowling club is located in the centre of Palmerston North, with a car park and is a short walk from the CBD, motels, restaurants and bars.
We provide an opportunity for young bowlers to play bowls in a friendly and competitive environment at Palmerston North Bowling Club. A ‘colt’ (a first or second year bowler) can compete for their own club championship, while also competing against experienced bowlers in our 10 years (bowler) and under, and Senior Men’s/Women’s Championships. If you want to just have a go, come down and play Mates in Bowls. If you want to learn more we have a number of coaches who can give a helping hand. Young players are picked to play in club challenges against other clubs, and Palmerston North Bowling Club is well represented in Manawatu Youth Teams.
Mates in Bowls is a popular competition run over Summer for casual bowlers and people new to the sport. All you need to join us in having a good time is a sense of fun, some flat soled shoes or jandals, and we will provide the rest for you! We offer you the bowls, a bit of help, a licensed bar, and barbeque. We organise the 6 week long tournament for you. It’s very popular and we often have our competition full! If your after a fun filled evening playing lawn bowls, get in touch with Palmerston North Bowling Club, and play Mates in Bowls
Read what the standard thinks about Mates in Bowls.
The Golden Oldies is a tournament held here at Palmerston North Bowling Club. Restricted to players aged 60 and above, it has featured many of the top names in New Zealand bowls, ever since Taranaki’s Dave Baldwin (Paritutu) won the inaugural event in 1985. The popular four-day event draws club and composite sides from many parts of the North Island with many players regarding it as their highlight of the season. Contact the club for information about this years event.
Read our preview of the 2011 Golden Oldies at Palmerston North Bowling Club
A full field of 80 has entered the 28th annual Palmerston North Bowling Club’s “Golden Oldies” tournament early next month.
Restricted to players aged 60 and above, it has featured many of the top names in New Zealand bowls, ever since Taranaki’s Dave Baldwin (Paritutu) won the inaugural event in 1985.
Baldwin, a Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallist and three-time Dominion champion, has just turned 90 and still plays the occasional game. He won the “Golden Oldies” title on four occasions, as did another former New Zealand rep, Vic Sellars (Northern).
Last year’s champion team, skipped by Ian Mahoney (Central Levin), is returning, as is the 2010 winner, Phil Harris, who also plays out of the same club. Regular attendee, Peter Clark (Tauranga South), who made the last 16 at the recent Taranaki open men’s fours, is also in the field.
Members of the host club have also enjoyed success over the years, with Ray Dunn having won it on three occasions in the early 1990s, along with Brian Grammer (2003), Rex Easton (2004), Lindsay Toms (2007 and 2009) and Eric Watson (2008).
The “Golden Oldies” starts on Tuesday, March 6, and is played on the three greens at PNBC and two greens at Terrace End.
Palmerston North Bowling Club has 3 excellent grass greens, surrounded by our Mens and Womens Clubrooms, the Squash/Gym and PN Cossie Club. We have a variety of facilities on offer, they include a Bar, Kitchen, Clubroom and Dancefloor. Our Main Bar is in the Mens Clubroom and has a full selection of beer, wine and spirits at good prices. We also offer EFTPOS at the bar. Our club members help to make our greens, bar, kitchen and clubroom the best in Palmerston North. We have a good club spirit and new members would be welcome to help out. Our facilities can be used for functions, events and meetings. If you would like to ask about the use of our clubrooms please contact the club.
Palmerston North Bowling Club has a long and rich history. Recently we have had a few people add to the history of the club. Joan Ware won the silver medal at the IIBD World Championships. Coral Wing was President of Bowls New Zealand, and members of our club won a National Title with our Interclub Team. Our history includes people who have contributed a great deal to the sport. Every year we recognise our bowlers who have represented the club for 30 years with Life Membership. We continue to add to our history, come and help us celebrate our 125 years in 2013-2014.
Our club is not only the oldest in the Manawatu, but also has the
distinction of being the only freehold club in Palmerston North and in fact
one of a few in New Zealand. The position it is in today, financially,
facilities and amenities, bears testimony to the astute management and
control of executive and committee over the past 100 years.
It is a club where the pride of members in belonging is readily evident
and one which visitors say has a warmth of feeling and hospitality. This
fellowship is something that all members must do their utmost to foster
Mr. Walkley, publican of the Commercial Hotel, owned a private
bowling green in Lombard St laid in 1888 and undoubtedly he has the
honour of being the founder of bowls in the Manawatu. His efforts,
however, were not to be rewarded for long as he died about October 1892.
The Palmerston North Bowling Club was formed at a meeting held in
the Commercial Hotel on 23 December 1889 with nine persons in
attendance. Mr J. H. Hankins was elected president and held that office for
one year. The Vice Presidents elected were Messrs Cohen and Snelson
although neither of these gentlemen were in attendance at the meeting. Mr
Young was elected Secretary-Treasurer and the remaining seven members
present were elected to the working committee. These were Messrs
Clapperton, Drew, Hanna, Mowlem, Rutherford, W.L. Scott and Walkley.
In 1892 a number of members became guarantors to the Colonial Bank
for a sufficient sum to repay Mr Walkley for the green.
Then in 1894 a company known as the Palmerston North Bowling
Green Co. Ltd was formed and the first Chairman of Directors was Mr G. J.
Scott. This company took over the assets and liabilities of the club and
rented the green to the Bowling Club.
A special committee of the Bowling Green Co. Ltd was set up in
November 1899 to investigate the purchase of a property in Taonui Street
and to rent a strip of land on the North Side of the club in Lombard Street in order to allow for more playing area.
This was to be considered at a special general meeting on 21 December
1899 but lapsed for want of a quorum, as did one on 28 December 1899.
The rental offered for the strip of land was not accepted by the owners
and they in turn placed a price of 50 pounds (100 dollars) on the property.
The company counter-offered with 40 pounds (80 dollars). However, time
passed by and it was to be February 1901 before both parcels of land were
purchased. Work on the Taonui Street site started in April resulting in the
club having two greens.
At a company meeting on December 1 1899 it was proposed to merge
the Bowling Green Company Ltd with the club, but nothing transpired. It
was raised again on April 29 19O7 and was followed by the Bowling Club
passing a resolution at their 1907 Annual General Meeting to merge with
However, action from the company was slow as meetings called for 5
December 1907, 12 December 1907 and 20 September 1908 lapsed for
want of a quorum. Minutes of the club for the period of 1907-1908 are
missing so further club detail on this is not available.
The Bowling Club at their Annual General Meeting on 27 September
1909 again resolved that the Palmerston North Bowling Club as a separate
entity be abolished and merged into the Palmerston North Bowling Green
Co. Ltd. This merger was confirmed by the company at their meeting on
17 November 1909 and they subsequently adopted the Club rules.
The position remained as such until 24Ih June 1924 when at an Extra
Ordinary General Meeting the Palmerston North Bowling Green Co. Ltd
passed a motion that they
“transfer to the Palmerston North Bowling Club or to the trustees for
the said club, its freehold lands with frontage to Lombard and Taonui
Streets, Palmerston North upon which are situated the company’s
bowling greens in consideration to the said club assuming all liability
of the company under the mortgage to Mrs Beck or that alternatively
Mrs Beck be authorised to transfer or sell the said club the lands
comprised in the mortgage given to her by the company for the amount
due under the mortgage”.
The transaction was completed in August 1924.
The Lombard Street property was approved for sale at a special general
meeting on 24 October 1924 for the sum of $1800 and in the
following year a new pavilion was erected on the Taonui Street site for
$780 with further extensions being approved in July 1928.
In 1954 the City council advised the club of its intention to widen
Taonui Street and enquiries were made to find another property. A
special general meeting held on the 26 October 1954 passed the purchase
of part of the Palmerston North Tennis Club property in Linton Street for
$2550 pending the need to relocate from Taonui Street.
In 1957 a tender for the erection of a pavilion at Linton Street was
accepted at a price of $13084, the finance for this being arranged
by bank mortgage and free of interest debentures from club members.
However, the land purchased was insufficient to accommodate two full
size greens plus the desired pavilion so a rear portion of the Newbold
Estate property which fronted Ferguson Street was bought, thus enabling
the pavilion to be set back from the original boundary line.
On 18 October 1958 the Linton Street complex comprising the new club
rooms and two greens was opened by His Worship the Mayor Blair
Tennant. The club had at this time a playing membership of 208.
The Taonui Street property was turned into a car park and used as such
until a decision to sell ala price of $20,000 to K. H. Symes & Co.
Ltd was made at a meeting on 15 May 1960. Following this the bank
mortgage and debenture holders were repaid.
Extensions and alterations to the pavilion were approved at meetings
held on 11 March 1964 and 26 August 1968, with further alterations to
extend the front wall over the porch being approved on 6 August 1972.
Additions were made in 1976 at a cost of $20,213.00 to accommodate the
newly approved women’s section and the club remained as such until the
relocation of the bar and secretary’s office was made this past winter.
Land was leased from the Y.W.C.A. in 1970 and a third green laid.
Approval for the purchase of this land was passed at a special general
meeting on 6 December 1975, resulting in our total facility being freehold.
The price paid for the land was $8,000.00.
Approval was given at a meeting dated 27 October 1974 to purchase at
the negotiated price of $24,298.00 the property 23 Pitt Street, for the
purpose of providing possible future access to the club. The house was
rented until a decision to sell was made in September 1983 in order to
provide finance for the purchase of part of the Labour Party property_ in
Ferguson Street which was then converted into car parks. This also
provided us with a back entrance to the club pavilion. The sale of the
house realised $44,275.00 whilst the purchase price of the land was
$15,000.00. Ground preparation and the sealing cost $10,950.00.
It is interesting to note that the following present day members came
from Taonui Street or joined the year Linton Street opened:
C. R. Anderson
F. B. Hopwood
W. J. Broughton
J. P. Trainor
It would appear that the Club had its first major success on the greens in
1893 when it won the Champion Fours playing in the Northern Bowling
Association tournament at Wellington.
This was followed in 1898 when the Club won the Association
Champion Banner and Shield at Napier, this being only the second year
for which they had been played. In the 1902 tournament a team
compromising messers Buick, McPhee, Nash and Mowlem (Skip) won the
trophy presented by the Wellington Commercial Travellers’ Club whilst
the Club tied for the Champion Banner and Shield with Victoria of
Wellington, but lost on a play off.
The Northern Bowling Association at that time consisted of 31 affiliated
clubs from Auckland, Gisborne, Napier, Hastings, Dannevirke, Pahiatua,
Masterton, Carterton, Petone, New Plymouth, Stratford, Hawera, Patea,
Waverley, Wanganui, Feilding, Palmerston North, Wellington, Blenheim,
and Nelson comprising in excess of 2000 players.
In addition to the honours listed above he has won 32 club titles, been runner up twice in the National Singles and once in the National Fours. it will be a long time before such a record is
A special general meeting of the Club held on 13 February 1924
those ladies wishing to play be allowed use of one rink on
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays free gratis for balance of
season and that the subscription for lady members next year be fixed at
the Annual General Meeting”.
No mention was made of this subject at the 1924 Annual General
Meeting and it would appear to have just lapsed. This, however, was not the first time the question of women members was raised. It was as far back as the Annual General meeting on 27
September 1900 that a vote was taken “on the feeling of the meeting-in
regard to ladies playing on the greens”. On a show of hands it was lost by
one vote. The club continued as “men only” until 1975 when at a special general
meeting on 21, September the admittance of a women’s section was
approved – ‘the wheels of change turn slowly’.
the inaugural meeting chaired by Mr Keith Garner was held on 9 May
1976when officers and committee women were elected and play started
in the 1976/1977 season. Further detail on the women’s section appears at
the end of the men’s history.
G. T. Griggs, who had the longest club membership, was admitted on
the 2G October 1940 and until his recent death was considered the father
of the present day club. He was elected to the committee in 1944 and
became Secretary in 1945. This was followed by Vice President in 1951,
President in 1953, first term as Club Captain in 1963, Patron in 1982, Life
Member in 1984 as well as serving on the committee in intervening
periods. The only office he did not occupy was Treasurer. In recognition
but his contribution Geoff was elected President of the Centennial
celebrations, but regrettably he was to be denied the honour he so richly
deserved. Just on 48 years of continuous full membership must surely be
close to a record. The position of Centennial Celebrations President was
then entrusted to Mr F. B. Hopwood, a Life Member, Past President,
Secretary, Treasurer and Green Superintendent, a most worthy successor.
The Club Captain was originally elected by the committee from within
their own ranks and the first so appointed was T. L. Seator on 27th June
1939, he being the father and grandfather of the present members Jim and
A separate indoor bowling club was formed in 1959 and this flourished
until the carpeting of the lounge in 1976/77 season caused-the club to go
into recess. Their contribution to the club during this period is most
worthy of mention.
The original club colours, decided upon at a meeting held 29 February
1892, were Grey and White striped coat and White hat with Grey band.
These colours were re-affirmed at the Annual General Meeting 1900.
The colours were changed by the General Committee in 1911, but there
is no reference to the alteration. At a special meeting on 30 September
1914 the colours became Navy Blue with Gold facings. Any other changes
are not recorded until mention of the present colours of Dark Blue and
Gold coming into effect on 12 October 1946.
Even with the advantage of daylight saving and cotula greens we see little
interest in twilight bowls, but in 1900 with longer working hours bowling
time was precious so that the club saw fit to install “incandescent”
lighting at the green and one can only assume full use was made of this
At the AGM of 1901 it was resolved to install a telephone at the club
and whether this was for the wives to check up or to check up on the
wives is not known. However, it is further evidence of the progressive
thinking that has been part of the club since its inception. Bear in mind
too that this was only 25 years after Alexander Graham Bell first made his
One was attached a “library” and for the repeated reference in the early minutes the need to ensure its sound operation. It turned out the members were not a lot of book-worms as further reading brought to light this was the minute reference to the bar cupboard. So much for noble thoughts.
The club ran the Easter Tournament up to 1917 at which time they
handed it over to the centre.
In 1934 players requested the banning of Henselite Bowls as they
claimed their woods were being damaged.
The club’s first life member Mr K. Wilson was elected at the meeting
held 10 November 1898 in recognition “of the many valuable services
rendered”. The next was not until 1913 and in 100 years there has been a
total of 23, of which only 10 have been honoured in the last 30 years. This
shows how highly the office is held.
The subscription in 1895 was 2 pounds.
We became a member as far back as 1925.
Today members are justifiably proud of their club, its fellowship,
amenities, greens and grounds. It is recognised as being among the top
strata of Clubs in New Zealand with an overall playing strength equal to
most and for quite a number of years has consistently produced up to one
third of the entries for Manawatu Centre events. In addition, up until this
past season we had for many years the longest single club entry outside
Taranaki for their open fours. Being part of our club is being part of the
history of Palmerston North, but let us not lose sight of the fact that all this
is the culmination of 100 years of time and effort willingly given by many
workers over this period.
P.N. Bowling Club Women’s Section
The formation of our Club followed the holding of a Special General
Meeting in September, 1975 by the Palmerston North Bowling Club when
the admittance of a Women’s Section was approved. This was followed by
the calling of a meeting, the notice for which read:
Palmerston North Bowling club (Inc.) women’s Bowling section
A meeting of the Wives of the members will be held in the Club Pavilion
on Sunday, 2nd November, 1975 at 1 p.m.
The Principles of the proposed Women’s Section will be outlined and
any questions answered.
J. D. Welsh
This meeting was chaired by Keith Garner who said that for 86 years,
membership of the Palmerston North Bowling Club had been restricted to
men only. However, 1976 being International Women’s Year and because
so many women had taken up the game of Bowls, it was decided by the
Committee to open the doors to women members. This was to assist the
existing member who would like to play at the same Club as his wife but
had either been forced to join another Club to do this or give the game up
It was only natural that the wives of present Club members be given first
preference as it had already been established how many were interested
One of the first to apply for man and wife membership when the doors
were opened to women was Eric Toye and his wife Elizabeth. Eric is a
paraplegic, and the P.N. Bowling Club was one of the first Clubs in P.N. to
build a ramp and cater for paraplegics.
Four committee members’ wives were to be appointed to liaise with the
President Keith Garner, Frank Hopwood and Jack- Welsh. Mesdames Olive
Cooley, Noreen McMurtrie, Noeline Reed and Evelyn welsh agreed, and
this Committee was formed to start the planning of the Ladies’ Club
Rooms and the Constitution of the P.N. Women’s Bowling Club based on
the P.N. Bowling Club rules and acceptable to the N.Z. Women’s Bowling
In view of the ladies joining the Club it was decided extensions would
have to be made to the pavilion. A games room, locker room and women’s
Iounge were then added to the existing building by voluntary work
carried out by members of the men’s Club.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Palmerston North Bowling Club Women’s
Section was then held at the Club Rooms of the P.N. Bowling Club in
Linton Street on Sunday the 8th May, I976.
Daisy Griggs conducted the Inaugural Meeting. 1979 was a special year for the Women’s Section
when Daisy received an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and was
made a Member of the British Empire for services given to women’s
bowls, a great honour to Daisy and the P.N. Women’s Club. Daisy is
a Life Member of the Manawatu Women’s Centre, and is a Past
President of the N.Z. Women’s Bowling Association.
Coral Wing and Brenda Papesch with Nan Gibb were successfully selected as umpires at the Women’s World Bowls which were held in Auckland in November 1988.
Daisy Griggs also achieved a great honour in being invited to carry the
International Women’s Bowling Board Flag at the opening ceremony of
the World Bowls, an honour richly deserved.
The lady members have been very happy to be part of the Palmerston North Bowling Club, and if future members carry on in the tradition set by past members we are sure the P.N. Bowling Club will go from success to success.
*This history was taken from our centeneray booklet in 1989, if any members wish to add from 1989 to present day, please contact the website.
Comment from Dave Scott
I was surfing through your Club’s website, as a result of a medallion that I have inherited which bears the name of PN Bowling Club.
I’ve attached a pic of the front and back of the medallion. There is no date on the medallion, but the “W.L.Scott” engraved on the front was my Grandfather’s brother. Apparently they both emigrated from Stonehaven in Scotland around the same time – my Grandfather to Perth in Western Australia, and his brother to NZ.
It was interesting reading through the History section of the club that one of the founding members of the Palmerston North Bowling Club was a ‘Scott’ – whom I would punt was W.L.Scott – an ancestor of mine.
My grandfather – H.C.Scott – was a member of the Swan Bowling and Recreation Club Inc. in Perth. the Club is the third oldest in Western Australia, and is the oldest Club on its original site. Co-incidentally, Swan is one of the very few Clubs in WA which owns freehold title to its property.
So it seems that Palmerston North and Swan have much in common.
Appreciate any history you may be able to provide me with in relation to the medallion – when, what was the event, etc.
Attached is a pic hanging in the Swan Bowling Club-house of my grandfather (Henry Cecil Scott) and his partner, after having won the Western Australian State Pairs title in 1927-28. Maybe there will be a family resemblance if there are any old Marton Bowling Club photos around
If you have any information or advice for Dave, or would like his email address, please contact the website.
Tony Woodley was voted in as the new President of Bowls Manawatu at todays AGM. Best Wishes to Tony for the upcoming year.
Tony took over from Phil Skoglund who had two years as President. A big thank you must be given to Phil for his work over the last two years, a feature being the successful partnership with Specsavers.
Joining Tony on the board will be Steve Toms as vice president. Newly elected members of the board are Eric Cairncross, Les Webster and Ross Martin. Returning Members were Viv Lozell, Coral Wing & Norah Bacon.
Bowls Manawatu Board 2014/15
President: Tony Woodley
Vice President: Steve Toms
Secretary/Manager: Vern Sixtus
Board: Eric Cairncross, Les Webster, Ross Martin, Norah Bacon, Viv Lozell, Coral Wing.
A feature of the new season will be the return to Open Tournaments as the qualifying for Pathways.
Results have come through from Bowls NZ for the National Club Champs held in Dunedin.
Best performed was Bev Budd who came a close second to NZ Rep Tayla Bruce. This report from Bowls NZ…
“Only one round needed to be played on the final day after two superb games in the fourth round gave Burnside’s Tayla Bruce the national title. 19 year old NZ Development Representative Bruce was up against a -time national title holder and 84 year old Bev Budd – Terrace End who was gunning for a Bowls NZ Silver Star.
The lead would swing back and forth as the spectators watched in awe of both the bowers. Ultimately something
had to give and eventually Bruce edged in front to win the game 25-23.”
In the Men’s Palmerston North finished with 1 win. They might consider their draw unlucky as after having a bye in the first round, their first competitive match was against Browns Bay (Neil Fisher, John Walker, Colin Rogan and Brian Wilson). They lost that game 20-6 and Browns Bay continued to go on and win all of their remaining games to be crowned champs.
Result Charts Available:
National Club Championship Singles – 2014
The winning fours team of Pat Horgan, Clayton Simpson, Dean Gilshnan and Mike Abraham from Palmerston North will be contesting the National Club Champs in Dunedin. Lining up against teams from North Harbour, Taranaki, Nelson and Otago, they have a good chance of doing well. Also competing in Dunedin is Bev Budd in the Women’s Singles, she will be up against young gun Tayla Bruce, as well as players from North Harbour, Wanganui & Central Otago. Both Bev and the boys from Palmy will have a bye as only 5 teams/players have entered.
The tournament starts with the Mixed Pairs and runs from the 21st to the 28th of June. Good luck to those competing.
Bowls NZ have published the following programme.
Notice: Bowls Manawatu Inc. Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of Bowls Manawatu Incorporated will be held in the Palmerston North Bowling Club Main Lounge on Sunday 27 July 2014 commencing at 1.00 pm.
Notices of Motion:
Any notice of motion from the Centre Board or from a Club must be received by the Centre Secretary by Tuesday 17 June 2014 in order to be considered at that meeting, unless otherwise agreed by the Centre Board. Every notice of motion from a Club must be signed by the Club President or the Club Secretary.
President, Vice-President, Patron and Board Members:
A President, Vice-President and up to 7 Board Members of the Centre shall be elected at each AGM. Nominations must be lodged with the Centre Secretary by Tuesday 17 June 2014. Nominations shall: be in writing; be signed by the Club President and Club Secretary of the nominating Club; contain the consent of the nominee and contain the nominee’s full postal address.
The Bowls Napier greens are the scene this week of six consecutive days of regional eliminations under the ‘pathways’ concept. At time of writing, Manawatu has already had significant success. The top Men’s Interclub side from Northern and the ‘B Grade’ Women’s team from the same club both earned a spot in the National Interclub finals weekend to be held in Palmerston North later this month. A journey to the deep South awaits Pat Horgan’s Palmerston North Men’s Four who will try for a National Club title at the Dunedin indoor complex in June. Further aspirants for Dunedin will hopefully emerge as the week progresses. While congratulating our successful players, several background aspects of the competition are points of discussion. Firstly, our ‘pathways’ players will face major hurdles to surmount in their pursuit of national glory because match play on artificial indoor surfaces is not available locally. The Heretaunga complex in Hastings the only one that is not located far from the Manawatu. It’s also acknowledged that the region in which Manawatu competes is not one of New Zealand’s strongest, meaning that most of their opponents will have battled through a potentially tougher field to earn their place. The ‘pathways’ concept was designed to give all players the chance to play their way to a national title without the expense of attending the traditional Nationals held in the post-Christmas period. It’s not quite that simple though, with endless debate about the costs of this system and consequently the best dates and venues to use from an economical point of view. Long gone are the halcyon days when money was poured liberally into the sport by a certain cigarette company, whose representatives would even dispense their product cost- free around the greens during top competition! The status of the ultimate champions is also under debate. From the outset, winners have earned a full national title and a point towards a potential Gold Star, but Gary Lawson and others have championed the argument that ‘pathways’ titles should not be recognised equally with the traditional tournament ones. Putting all that aside, local bowlers will be right behind our representatives who, in the Horgan team’s case anyway, sneaked through on countback by the narrowest of margins. This is not uncommon where only four teams are involved in a cut-throat competition which almost requires a mathematician on the bank to keep up with the constantly changing match differentials that often make all the difference at the end.
There was also a need for accurate maths last week in the engine room of the Palmerston North club’s 30th Golden Oldies tournament. In this case though, Centre Secretary Vern Sixtus and his trusty laptop computer ensured that results were dealt with accurately and speedily. There was a suggestion at one point that a certain former national president who was officiating at the Terrace End greens may have made an error! A speedy return journey to headquarters to locate the relevant scorecard proved that the error in fact lay with the skips, who had signed a card showing the reverse of the correct result. This incident underlined the responsibility of the players to keep accurate records in an event where often only the finest of margins separate the competitors and thus can make the difference when it comes to the prize money. This tournament is the biggest run by a club in the country, proving that there must be several keys to its ongoing success. One is the distribution of prize money, which is well stratified, avoiding the temptation to put too much emphasis on a large purse for the ‘A’ Section. Levin’s Ian Mahoney played impressively to wrap up his second title in three years, this time with a radically altered team featuring the addition of two former Manawatu players in David Walker and ‘the Lizard’, a.k.a. Trevor Tuatara.
As Bowls followers battled the horrendous gales to locate a worthwhile spectacle last weekend, probably very few thought to stop off at the abandoned top green at Takaro. If they had, they would have observed our Commonwealth Games players, Barry Wynks and Mark Noble, hard at work for hours on end as they gradually master the skills they will require. A very different mindset, backed up by distinctly different skills, is required to be competitive on the rough, lead-heavy and at times under-prepared greens that most countries in the world strangely choose to play on. It was encouraging to hear that Mark and Barry were joined at the weekend by Wellington’s Lisa White, a member of our Women’s Team, who was in the squad that journeyed to Glasgow to experience the foreign conditions in recent months. Sharon Sims is also giving generously of her time and ‘knowhow’. To be able to tap into the experience of a local player who has managed to earn medals in top Northern Hemisphere competition must be a big advantage. Centre President Phil Skoglund battled greens like these at Edmonton in 1978, leading to his biographer later being threatened with a libel suit for honestly reporting his opinion of the local surfaces! It’s comical now to read in ‘Mr Bowls’, the biography of Phil’s uncle T.T. Skoglund, how this country sent a team in total ignorance and completely unprepared to the Vancouver Empire Games of 1954. New Zealanders played on lightning-fast grass greens in those days, and our team were totally bewildered to find themselves competing on vast swards composed of something vaguely resembling buffalo grass.
The major fixtures of the weekend were of course the Hexagonal for Men and Women, which was endorsed by players and officials and will be continued into the future. The performance of both our teams was simply outstanding. The Women proved themselves equal to the powerful Wellington side and the Men just got home ahead of Wanganui, while both left the other four Centres battling for the minor places. The Men’s Singles players, Shane Rogers and Darryl Johnson, must deserve special mention for their lion-hearted exhibitions of skill and tenacity in seriously adverse conditions, finishing with a scarcely believable nine wins and a narrow loss from ten starts. Darryl’s immaculate weight control and Shane’s ability to fight back from substantial deficits were a highlight, but the combined achievement of both teams was huge. Then came the difficult process for the respective selectors of cutting back their successful teams to the seven players required. Viv Lozell’s Women’s team looks strong and experienced, with an in-form Feona Sayles providing the spearhead in the Singles. The Men’s side is a conservative selection by Terry Puklowski, who has preferred to call on the vast top-level experience of Philip Skoglund in the Singles, rather than gambling on Shane Rogers being able to step up to an even higher plane. Shane will be disappointed, but he’s in the team, and both Men and Women have the firepower to pull off a big result.
This weekend sees another chapter of the very successful Hospice Tournament at Northern with its associated auctions and raffles which Barry Gush continues to organise and run so well. If readers not already involved are keen to participate in any way in this worthy event, they should contact Barry or the Northern Club, even at this late stage.
Brian Henn’s victory in a long delayed but hard fought Open Singles final was a popular one, and was even good enough to lure wife Lois to the greens for a very rare glimpse of her husband’s skills. It was his third tight tussle under the two-life system with a high quality opponent in Mark Noble, and in the end there was still nothing between them! Brian’s winning shot was an advertisement for his well recognised style, using the precise weight to achieve the result he was after. Brian is well regarded as a hard-bitten survivor from a bygone era and is hardly a poster boy for the clean -cut image that the bodies funding sport these days would like to see. He dispenses with hats for sun protection and is even sighted occasionally with a cigarette in place while drawing the shot. In earlier days he learnt his trade leading for the powerful Peter Shaw side that boasted the talented McGovern brothers in the engine room of the team, and he won his first Centre titles with them. Much more recently, his solid leading has contributed hugely to the successful Brian Little combination in Taranaki. His Gold Star took a long time coming though, because
only in recent years has he become a feared Singles exponent. His genial, no-nonsense no-fuss approach is an example to any young player.
With the crucial Champion of Champions events now complete, a lasting impression is of the collective strength of the Northern women , most recently Champion Fours and Open Pairs winners to add to another Interclub title earlier. With Sharon Sims currently having time out, there are no real stars among the Northern women, but there are many very capable players whose collective club spirit produces the little bit extra needed to win so consistently. The power of Pat Horgan’s Palmerston North combo in the Men’s Fours is obvious, but it was great to see the re-emergence of young Ashhurst skip Mark McIntosh, who marshalled his team well to take the final to the wire. Two of Pat’s team learnt their trade at Terrace End, with Mike Abraham picking up his first title and Clayton Simpson showing again that he is a fine player with youth and exceptional ability on his side.
The hexagonal representative event hosted locally this coming weekend will give both men and women a good idea of where they stand looking forward to the national Inter-Centre titles in Wellington. Barry Wynks and Mark Noble will be missed, but it’s often overlooked that Manawatu were an unlucky second to Dunedin for the Men’s title last year, so our players are genuine contenders.
The Palmerston North club will host two major extended tournaments in the near future – first the North Island LVA Fours and then the unique Golden Oldies event which has filled up yet again with a full field of eighty teams.This is a big tournament by any modern standards and Ken Murray’s superbly prepared greens will guarantee the best possible conditions for both events.