No sooner was the season underway when Covid again became a major factor causing disruption of our representative programme and, in conjunction with a period of inclement weather, affected centre events and tested everyone to the limit. Thanks to the representative managers, players, host clubs and event organisers for your perseverance at the time. From January on the programme progressed relatively smoothly albeit compressed through having to deal with the rescheduling of some earlier events. Thank you to all the umpires who assisted and provided substantial support to the success of all our Centre fixtures.
New initiatives were introduced around Centre event organisation involving host venue clubs and Tournament control. Next season will address the shortcomings experienced this year around entry, draws and Website notification.
One of the highlights of the season was the Bay wide Sevens competition, won respectively by Ngongotaha Women and Tauranga Men. This is our premier Club fixture for the Centre and the realigned format looks positive for the future. Covid issues required regional playoffs to take place and, in conjunction with the Te PukeClub, we successfully hosted the Zone 2 pathway event. A feature of that day was Bowls New Zealand’s live streaming to the bowling nation.
The implementation of ‘sudden death’ for Champ of Champ fixtures has met with majority approval and will continue. Congratulations to those individuals and teams who have won their way to national finals in July. Bowls 3Five is the other club fixture with a pathway to a national final. Well done to Tauranga Club’s Cliff Webber,Angela Stephen and Caitlin Thomson winning the Centre event that saw them qualify for the national finals.
Entry into Centre events throughout the season was strong generally and our congratulations go to Bowler of the Year, Mary Campbell who continued her exemplary career form that she has displayed for so many years. In doing so Mary achieved her twentieth Centre title. Other leading bowlers celebrated at our recent Honours Day included GoldStar medallist Dennis Duncan, John O’Shea who brought up ten titles and the trio of Sue Hodges, Jan McLeay and Dan Dickison who all reached their 15 title threshold. While Steve Beel, Eric Pattillo and Nick Tomsett flew the Centre flag in reaching quarter finals in their respective events at the national championships.
Overall we deal with a very full bowling programme. The newly formed Operations Committee, in addition to day to day management of Centre events has worked diligently on the early establishment of the calendar of events for next season and a draft is also now in place for the following season.
Our Representative teams have continued to do us proud. Covid also forced pathway regional playoffs to be implemented for the National Inter Centre and congratulation go to our Men’s team for successfully progressing to the delayed national finals to be held in October. The Women’s team at the same time performed extremely well, narrowly missing out replicating the men’s result. An excellent victory over North Harbour in January, followed later by the Premier 1 team winning the Zone2 Kaimai Shield were other season highlights. While the Premier 2 and the Junior representative teams performed very creditably in their Inter zone competitions. All these performances reflect very highly on our respective Senior and Junior selection groups and supporting management teams.
Productive meetings with our Zone counterparts in recent months have enabled us to establish a comprehensive representative programme for next season, which hopefully will become the basis for ongoing years.
On another positive note our congratulations and good wishes are extended to Graham Skellern having won selection to represent New Zealand in the Para section of the Commonwealth Games being held in July. In doing so Graham becomes the first Bay of Plenty bowler to achieve Games selection.
Growth in Club memberships remains top of the agenda for all our 19 clubs. Your Board has introduced two workshops as part of an enhanced gathering for the Annual General Meeting. One of the workshops will focus on the ‘Recruitment and Retention of New Members’ - sharing strategies on effective areas to achieve this. Promotion of ‘Community Bowling Clubs’ will also be on the agenda. The second workshop will concentrate on Centre event topics, including the use of artificial greens for Centre events.
Financially the Centre remains in a healthy position. This year’s surplus however needs to be balanced against next season’s budgeted loss, mostly reflected by the affect of Covid on the representative programme.
The Board’s aim this coming season will be the further development of Sponsorship and Grants. The Lion Foundation continues to be a strong partner in funding important Centre needs and the partnership with Craigs Investment Partners around our premier representative teams and Bowls 3 Five has been renewed. Discussions are also advanced for a partner for Junior bowls.
Paul Hunt has recently taken up his position as Centre Manager, having been appointed in May. Paul brings to the role a wealth of business and sports knowledge further enhanced by his time as President of the Tauranga club and a stint as an Independent Board member of Bowls NZ. I am confident that Clubs and Players alike will enjoy his positive approach as he settles into his role.
We are very grateful to Eddie Ashcroft stepping in at relatively short notice as our Interim Centre Manager when the governance restructure came into place at last year’s Annual Meeting. His invaluable experience and intellectual knowledge of Centre affairs will be retained as he continues on the Board as a Western Division representative.
My sincere thanks to everyone involved during the season and special thanks to the Board and Operations Committee members for your proactive responses to everything throughout the year.
Bill Murphy –President Bowls Bay of Plenty.