Bowls North Harbour has suffered inevitable disruption because of the lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Clubs could not function from late March into the middle of May, then again from mid-August. That meant several club, centre and national tournaments could not be held.
But the centre board chairman Tony Popplewell views the future with optimism and says that compared to many other codes, bowls has escaped fairly lightly, with the first lockdowns occurring towards the end of the summer season. And the later lockdown came several weeks before the 2020-21 season started.
The finances of most clubs and of the centre itself have not suffered too drastically and the many carpet greens within the centre meant a surprisingly large number of important events were completed.
Another casualty of the recent lockdown was the centre’s awards day, with the winners having to be honoured “in-house” by their respective clubs.
Topping these accolades was Takapuna’s international Selina Smith, who with her two national titles, won the supreme playing award. Her club-mate Wendy Jensen was named the centre’s top women’s performer, and Colin Rogan the men’s.
Highlights of the other awards were Birkenhead’s father and son, Gary and Terry Moverley, Gary being the umpire of the year and Terry winning the administrator of the year and the President’s Cup.
Northcote’s Mike Haggart (volunteer), Bowls North Harbour’s Lesley Langer (official), Takapuna’s Graham Dorreen (coach), Helensville’s Callum Clark (young bowler), Helensville/Orewa’s Laurie Keen and Takapuna’s Trish Hardy (the men’s and women’s one-to-five year winners), were other recipients.
The champion-of-champion events played through July into early August produced a broad range of winners from seasoned stalwarts to relatively new players.
Rogan took his centre title tally to a phenomenal 34 by winning the men’s singles and then teaming up with Browns Bay’s Neil Fisher, John Walker and Brian Wilson to win the fours, while Birkenhead’s Ruth Lynch took her tally to 25 titles by skipping Millie Nathan and Amy Little to the women’s triples.
Tony Grantham and Randall Watkins confirmed Birkenhead as club of the year by winning the men’s pairs, and Mairangi Bay’s Theresa Rogers secured a centre gold star by winning the women’s pairs with Sheryl Wellington.
Orewa’s Walter Howden, Bruce McClintock and David Eades won the men’s triples and young Matthew Higginson added to Orewa’s swag by winning the one-to-five year’s men’s singles.
The upsets came in the women’s fours when Orewa’s Tira Campbell, Elizabeth Ring, Teri Hughes and Yvonne Preston surprised more fancied combinations, and from a couple of Warkworth ladies doing much the same. Jules Loubser, a third year player, won the women’s singles and club-mate Michelle Macdonald won the one-to-five singles.
The immense depth in each of the Birkenhead and Orewa clubs was shown in their respective wins in the men’s and women’s Winter Cup competitions played through July.
In late June Takapuna scored a dramatic win over Northland’s Hikurangi in the regional three-to-five year final, but then lost the chance to go to the national play-off in Wellington with a narrow loss to Counties’ Manurewa.