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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Leamington Bowling Club – 75 Years

Bruce Jeans

Published in conjunction with Leamington Bowls 75th anniversary celebration February 2006 1


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

A message from the President It is a privilege to be participating in the celebration of the 75th Jubilee of the Leamington Bowling Club. Present day members can be grateful for the work and dedication of the founders and past members for making this club what it is today. The editor and researchers are to be complimented for the work put into producing this record of our first 75 years. May members bowling out of our club have continued success.

Jean Wallis President

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

An introduction by the Author A number of years ago, while taking charge of the minute books of Leamington Bowling Club, in order to deliver them to the Cambridge Museum for safe keeping, I took time out to read through the early records and jot down some dates and events of interest in the club's life. I must have mentioned this to fellow club members because at our next annual meeting I found myself talked into writing a history of the club. It has been a time consuming, but very interesting, experience which I could not have completed without considerable help. Firstly, I would like to thank Eris Parker, Curator of Cambridge Museum. Eris helped in many ways such as making the museum photocopier available and enabling me to build up a large record of bowling events over the years. Eris assisted me in finding many photos from early copies of the Waikato Independent which in 1966 became the Cambridge Independent. My main tribute goes to my late wife Phyllis who typed out my early efforts and after much correction printed the final copy, giving me the benefit of her previous experience in writing her own books. I should also like to thank my son, Michael, who completed the final setting up of the book including the insertion of photos and the printing of the finished copies. I would like to apologise, in advance, for any errors and omissions. I have endeavoured to check all facts to the best of my ability but unfortunately some records have been lost including the first minute book of the Leamington Women's Bowling Club. Finally I would like to pay tribute to early bowlers, including those who were still playing when I first joined the club, whom I have learned, through my research, contributed much to the club during the middle years of its development. This includes the building of the present clubhouse which was a tremendous achievement requiring a lot of fundraising by both the men's and women's clubs. In working alongside them at working bees I have come to realise how much voluntary effort has been put in over the years by those who formed the club and those who give of their time through to the present. I hope this book is a tribute to them all.

Bruce Jeans November 2005 3


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Leamington Bowling Club– Club–75 Years The first recorded reference to a bowling club in Leamington was in the Waikato Independent on the 10th of February 1921, when there was a move to form a club. Nothing was achieved at this time. In 1925, at a meeting of the Leamington Domain Board, there was again reference to the laying down of a bowling green. The prime mover in the establishment of the green was Mr. R.B. Webber in conjunction with the Domain Board. In 1930 he canvassed the residents of Cambridge, Leamington and district and raised the sum of £52, which was subsidised pound for pound by the Domain Board. In August of that year the board, under the chairmanship of Mr. T.A. Hicks, made the decision to lay down a bowling green. The site chosen for the green had until then been occupied by tennis courts. Within four days of the decision work commenced on the site. By the time the inaugural meeting to consider the formation of a bowling club was called, in the Leamington Town Hall on the 15th of December 1930, the green was already an established fact, although not yet ready for play. The meeting unanimously decided to form a club called the Leamington Bowling Club. The election of officers saw the following elected: Patron Mr. G.E. Clark, President F. Lye M.P., Vice-Presidents R. Webber and F. Pemberton, Secretary-Treasurer A.E. Peppercorn. The Executive Committee was J.W. Garland, H.P. Nelson, J. Dempster and C. Kelly. The membership fee for the first year was set at £1 and Messrs. Pemberton and Webber together with the secretary were to arrange the purchase of a lawnmower and roller.

Leamington Domain gardens, tennis courts and band rotunda. The bowling (No1) green was established on the area formerly occupied by tennis courts. c1920s

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Following several more meetings a deputation from the Leamington Bowling Club comprising Messrs. F. Lye, R. Webber and H.P. Nelson waited on the Leamington Domain Board at its monthly meeting in February. They explained that as the season was well advanced they had only charged a £1 membership fee. They had experienced considerable expense connected with organising and laying of the green and were now in the position of needing assistance to maintain the green for the rest of the season. Mr. Webber stated that they had an assured membership of 17 and he believed it could be increased to 25. After the deputation withdrew the board discussed the issue and decided because the green was an asset, they would give the necessary assistance, but the club would be expected to reimburse the board for certain expenses. At the next executive meeting on the 18th of February 1931 a decision was made to accept the offer from the Leamington Domain Board of keeping the green in order for a sum of £25 per year. It had earlier been arranged that Mr. T.H. Hulme, the domain gardener would be acting as green superintendent. This was the format that was to be followed for many years with the bowling club paying the domain board a fee, later based on so much per player, for the upkeep of the green.

Mr R.B. Webber was the prime mover in establishing the club.

Mr. F. Lye M.P. was the club's first president.

Several more meetings were held during this time to make arrangements for the official opening of the club on the 14th of March. On the 7th of March, it was moved “That a strong ladies’ committee be set up comprising Mesdames Lye, Pemberton, Webber, Peppercorn, Nelson, Dempster, Hill and Miss Hicks.” The purpose was not stated but no doubt they were charged with making catering arrangements for the big day. While the inaugural meeting as stated earlier was held in the Leamington Town Hall these latter meetings were held in the band rotunda that had previously been moved from its original site in Bracken Street to the domain in Scott Street. This was to become the club pavilion for the next thirty-five years; a pavilion the club was to share with the Leamington Croquet Club. 6


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

The opening of the Leamington Bowling Club on Saturday the 14th of March 1931 was well reported in the local paper “A glorious autumn afternoon favoured the organisers of the opening function.” (Waikato Independent ). There was a wide representation of bowlers from all parts of the South Auckland Centre, including a large number from the Cambridge Bowling Club. There was also a good representation of local residents taking an interest in the event. Much favourable comment was heard of the transformation that had taken place in a few short months in an area well known locally for its beautiful gardens. In welcoming visitors the president Mr. F. Lye paid tribute to those who had contributed to making the green possible including Mr. R. Webber, the Domain Board and all who had made donations with particular reference to “that grand old man of Cambridge Mr. Geo. E. Clark” who had made substantial cash and other donations to the club. They were delighted he had consented to be the club’s first patron. After other people had spoken and offered their best wishes, including Mr. T.A. Hicks chairman of the Domain Board and Mr. R.N. Pilkington, Centre President, Mrs. Lye delivered the first jack. Mr. G. Clark delivered the first bowl and the green was then declared open for play. Following a pleasant afternoon of bowling the day ended with afternoon tea served by the bowlers’ wives assisted by other ladies of Leamington. The first annual meeting of the Leamington Bowling Club was held on the 16th of June 1931. Mr. G.E. Clark was re-elected patron and Mr. F. Lye re-elected president, vice-presidents were W.J. Garland and H.P. Nelson, and the secretary-treasurer Mr. A.E. Peppercorn. The executive committee was Messrs. A. Curtain, F. Pemberton and J. Dempster. The green superintendent Mr. T. Hulme was to work in conjunction with a member of the committee to be appointed later. This was an arrangement that was to carry on for a number of years during which he was often sent a letter of thanks for his efforts in maintaining the green. Letters of thanks were also sent to Mr. G.E. Clark for his generous donation of twelve seats for the use of the bowlers and to Mr. Roche, a local surveyor, for his generous offer to take the levels of the green. The following competitions were agreed to for the season: full rink, president’s pairs, first year players and handicap singles. A resolution was also passed to affiliate the club with the South Auckland Centre. It was decided to have the official opening in October but ordinary play could commence earlier. The president’s offer of two cups for competition play was accepted with thanks. An interesting item appears in the minutes of an executive meeting held on the 18th of November 1931. On the motion of F. Pemberton and H.P. Nelson it was resolved that the club approve of ladies joining the club at a fee of 10/6 and that they be subject to the jurisdiction of the executive. Mr. H.P. Nelson moved and the secretary seconded that a committee of Mrs. Garland, Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Simpson (secretary) be appointed to act with the executive. No record appears to exist of women actually joining the club or whether over the early years they joined the men for roll-ups on Sundays. 7


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Play in these early years was restricted. The draw for the opening day on the 14th of October 1931 was timed for 1.45 p.m. with play to start at 2 p.m. allowing time for those who worked on Saturday morning to reach the club in time to play. This was a problem shared with the Cambridge Bowling Club. With both clubs situated on domain land, Sunday play was not allowed. An attempt early in Leamington Club’s life to change this was to cause dissension. At a special meeting of the Leamington Bowling Club held in the domain rotunda on the 3rd of December 1931, at which nine members were present with three apologies, it was moved that the club adopt play on Sundays between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. After a lot of discussion the motion was put and passed with only three dissenting votes. The secretary was instructed to write to the Domain Board informing them of the club’s decision and asking them to give favourable consideration to this matter.

The band rotunda served the club as a clubrooms for over 30 years and was shared for much of that time with the Leamington Croquet Club.

At the board’s next meeting on the 10th of December, reported at length in the local paper, there was strong discussion for and against Sunday play on domain land. Mr. Pemberton moved and Mr. Mack seconded the following resolution “While this board

has no power to prevent Sunday play it regrets the question has been raised as we are of the opinion that if Sunday play is adopted by the Leamington Bowling Club it will be against the interests of the club and detrimental to the status of our Domain and an offence to many of the residents of Leamington.”

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

The following amendment was moved by Mr. Hicks and seconded by Mr. Peppercorn “Whereas the Domain Board does not object to Sunday play on private ground they do

not commend play on the public ground in the Domain, but have not the authority to prevent it.” The amendment was carried by four votes to two, became the motion and was carried unanimously, thus leaving the matter in the club’s hands. Nothing further about Sunday play appears in the minute book of the club until a special meeting held in the domain rotunda on the 9th of March 1932. This meeting was called to discuss the resignation of three members of the club; Messrs. G.E. Clark, R.B. Webber and A. Curtain who were apparently strongly opposed to Sunday play. It appears that on the previous Sunday, due to a misunderstanding, three teams had played on the green and several people had been held responsible. The secretary wrote to Mr. Clark pointing out that the club did not sanction Sunday play but had no power to stop members playing as individuals. As a result of this Mr. Clark’s name does not appear again and Mr. Webber’s resignation was confirmed at the next meeting. Mr. Curtain was apparently persuaded to reconsider as his name appears at a later date. The next meeting of the club shows it to be on good terms with the Domain Board who at this time was taking over the club’s assets in lieu of a £25 debt, under a special arrangement with the club. At the annual meeting, President Lye gave a comprehensive report especially mentioning the help received from the Domain Board and the prospects of a bigger membership in the coming season. While the matter of Sunday play was put behind them it was to cause problems in the years ahead, as the running of championships and other competitions must have been extremely difficult under the restricted playing time available. The competitions to be played in this second year were similar to the previous year, being president’s pairs, full rink, first year players and handicap singles. A perusal of the minutes show the club was also active in other areas with invitations being received to enter outside tournaments and official opening days. In the following year, 1933, invitations were received to attend the official openings of Cambridge, Te Aroha and Ngaruawahia clubs. Not all were accepted. No doubt distance was a factor at this time, also the club’s small membership, that appeared to remain under twenty for most of the first decade, made it difficult to fulfil all commitments. Mention is made at this time of an inter-club with Cambridge; this consisting of one rinks team. Other outside competitions were entered; one being in the Smith-Clark Challenge Shield, the entry being sent on the 26th of October 1932. This was a centre-wide tournament open to all clubs. The challenge was played in Huntly early in the New Year on the 7th of January and is recorded in a beautifully bound book; now held by the Matangi Sporting Memorabilia Museum. Won by Leamington, the team comprised T. Keeley, J. Dempster, J. McIvor and C. Zainey. Unfortunately the following week the same team lost the trophy to a Cambridge team. This challenge trophy that started about 1925 was won outright after about ten years play. It was replaced by the Waikato Rinks Shield also a challenge event. The holder was the club that withstood the greatest number of challenges through the year. In the same year an entry was 9


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

sent for the Champion of Champions Rinks to be played at Te Awamutu but no results have been found. To get some idea of how the club was run in these early days it has been necessary to delve into early newspapers for reports of ordinary club days and other club activities. This together with the early minute books helps to draw a picture of how the various competitions were run under very different conditions to what we experience today. Because of a small membership that appeared to remain around the twenty mark during the first decade and with the restricted hours of play, most competitions appear to have been played on the one-life basis. A typical report in the newspaper in the mid-thirties showed perhaps four pairs teams, competing in a particular event with an ordinary draw for those who had presumably already been eliminated. Although a full rinks competition was included in the programme at the first annual meeting, no record appears of championship rinks being played during the first decade. The donation of the Southern Cross Stars by an anonymous donor in July 1931, played for on a challenge basis at any time during the year and mentioned on several occasions during the first decade, suggests that this was the only rinks competition. Many of the trophies presented for competition in those early years were often won outright. The first recorded occasion was in the club’s second year when the president’s pairs were won by F. Strawbridge and J. McIvor. The two cups presented by President F. Lye were to be won outright. The next president, T. A. Hicks (who died in office) also presented cups for the president’s pairs. They were won by a father and son combination, H.P. and H.J. Nelson. Mr. H.P. Nelson, on receiving his trophy said he would always treasure the cup especially as it was “presented by our late president”; an indication that it was won outright. Other trophies presented at this time could be retained by the winners if they were won twice in succession or three times over a period of time. The Southern Cross Stars mentioned above also disappeared after a few years. However two trophies have survived. The first, a pewter mug, presented by the club’s first secretary Mr. A.E. Peppercorn in 1932 for handicap singles. Although this trophy disappeared in the mid-forties, it was rediscovered in 1978, and in 1980 was presented as runner-up trophy for first and second year handicap singles. It has been played for continuously since that date. The second trophy was presented by Mr A.E. Paton and was in the form of a shield for the winner of the championship singles. The first winner was J. McIvor in 1933, followed by then President T.A. Hicks. Unfortunately he died in office, before receiving his trophy. This shield has, with few exceptions, been played for continuously and contains the names of over forty individuals. An executive meeting on the 27th of March 1935 mentions the entry fee for a tournament being 12/- per team to include morning and afternoon tea, and liquid refreshments. The ordering of a keg of ale and bottles of lemonade from Mr. Fleming (mine host of a local hotel) was mentioned on several occasions and older members 10


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

remember it was served from the shade of the pergola that extended along the side of the green where the clubhouse now stands. Although strictly illegal, the availability of liquor seemed common at this time, and provided no trouble was caused the law turned a blind eye. The matter of the supply of liquor was to be raised on many occasion; at the 1952 AGM a motion (to ban liquor) was lost by nine votes to seven and in 1961 it was decided to abolish free liquid refreshments at open tournaments. In later years the club was able to apply for an ancillary license. Later that year an item in the Waikato Independent, on Tuesday the 7th of May, records that the Leamington Bowling Club celebrated the King’s Jubilee with a one day, full rinks tournament in which 18 teams from various parts of the centre took part. Prior to commencing play the president Mr. J.W. Garland expressed the club’s thanks at the entry which taxed the green to capacity. The winners were from Te Aroha with five wins, runners-up were Cambridge with four wins and one loss and most points. The Otorohanga rink also had four wins and one loss. It is interesting to note that at this early time, tournaments were being won on wins and points. Play-offs were presumably introduced at a later date, but have now gone full circle with wins and points again in favour at the time of writing. During these early years the club often extended play with open tournaments in May and June. In 1935 the club kept the green open throughout the winter. The club continued to function quietly through the thirties with the whole country in the grip of the depression. A minute passed at the AGM in 1934 saw the subscription at £1 10s but allowing relief workers to join for 15s. In 1936 the subscription remained the same but the relief workers now paid £1 1s to be paid in two instalments on the 30th of November and the 28th of February, no doubt to make payment easier. The minute book tells little for the next few years as only annual meetings are recorded, but some items of interest do appear. In 1938 a challenge was entered for the Waikato Shield and the challenge pairs. These were entered again the following year. An item in the Waikato Independent on the 19th of January 1940 records the Leamington pair of J. McIvor and J. Brackenridge reaching the semi-finals of the champion of champions pairs of the South Auckland Centre.

Sunday Play In 1939 an approach was made to the Domain Board regarding Sunday social play. After some discussion when pointed out by Messrs. H.P. Nelson and T. Keeley representing the bowling club, that tennis was currently played in the domain on Sundays, and that bowls was played in the Rotorua and Te Aroha Government grounds; the Domain Board agreed to the request. It was hoped that new members would be attracted and that the club would benefit financially. To enquiries it was stated that bowls would not be played during church hours. Players would be confined to financial members of bowling clubs and perhaps their friends. A committee was appointed to arrange Sunday play at a charge of 1s per game. Members were urged to encourage local residents to join the club.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

A move was also made to ban club competitions on Saturdays. This happened in 1937 but was rescinded a year later. No indication was given as to how the competitions were to be played; perhaps in the participants’ own time? This could have been possible, as only singles, handicaps singles and president’s pairs appear to have been played. This would have left Saturday afternoon for a Club Draw involving all club members. It was however an indication of the difficulty of running a club with only Saturday afternoon available when all members could be present. Two other happenings of interest about 1938/1939 were an investigation into night bowls. There was also a suggestion that the club set up a committee to go into the question of building an 8 feet x 12 feet pavilion, and to report to a later meeting. However, nothing further is noted about either of these matters at this time.

The Croquet Club At the second annual meeting of the Leamington Bowling Club held on the 14th of June 1932 on the motion of J. Dempster and F. Lye a donation of £2 2s was made by the club to help the ladies towards the formation of the Croquet Club. This was to start an association which was to last over thirty years as the two clubs shared the band rotunda as their joint clubhouse. The official opening of the Croquet Club was arranged in conjunction with the Bowling Club on the 29th of October 1932, with the ceremony for the Croquet Club being held first and then all present adjourned to the Bowling Club where the greens were officially opened for the season. However heavy rain precluded play and the afternoon was spent in a social manner and a dainty afternoon tea. (Waikato Independent 1st November 1932).

Leamington Croquet Club has had a long association with Leamington Bowling Club and shared the band rotunda as their joint clubhouse. Note the light standards for night bowls.

This was a pattern followed over the ensuing years with the Croquet Club being invited to opening and closing days. At a meeting in September 1934, Mrs. Edge was given the catering for Saturday afternoon tea for the bowlers at 2s 6d per day. In 12


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

January of the following year the secretary was instructed to write to the Croquet Club regarding a substitute for Mrs. Edge who had left the district. In the following years there was often a letter of thanks to the Croquet Club for their help and for provision of afternoon tea on Saturdays. Thus in the early years the two clubs were involved both socially and in practical ways. In 1938 a donation of £1 1s was made to the Croquet Club; not an inconsiderable sum when the balance sheet showed a credit of £4 3s 8d. This donation, to be used as a special prize, was to continue over the next few years. In 1951 in response to a letter from the Domain Board asking the bowling club to take over the future management of the green, it was resolved to call a meeting with the croquet club and the newly formed Leamington Women’s Bowling Club to discuss this important issue. Both club’s greens were being maintained by the Domain Board with help from members using shared equipment. In the case of the bowling club they started off paying £25 a year, later rising to £1 10s per member. When in 1955 the bowling club took over management of their green the two clubs became more independent but continued to maintain cordial relations and continued to share items of equipment. The building of a new pavilion by the bowling club in 1965 saw the end of a close association although for the next few years the new pavilion was loaned to the croquet club for card evenings during the winter months. In more recent years when the Leamington Club sank a well to obtain a permanent water supply independent of the town supply which had proved inadequate, an arrangement was made with the Croquet Club to supply them with water from the same source. The friendly association between the two clubs continues with one person a member of both clubs. As a footnote a paragraph appeared in the Independent in the winter of 1956 stating that the Leamington Bowling Club was playing on a portion of the Croquet green during the off season. “It was playing quite well". Another reason for this close association was the number of families who had a representative in both clubs. The first president of the croquet club was Mrs. J.W. Garland whose husband became president of Leamington Bowling Club in 1934. One of the vice-presidents when the croquet club was formed was Mrs. F. Lye whose husband was the first president of Leamington Bowling Club and Patron for four years. The first treasurer of the croquet club was Mrs. A. Peppercorn whose husband Mr. A. Peppercorn was secretary-treasurer for the first six years of Leamington Bowling Club. Other names associated with the Bowling Club on the original Croquet committee were Mesdames H.P. Nelson, J.A. Wallace, Kingdom (nee Hall) and Miss Hicks. Other names that appeared through the first two decades included Mesdames R.S. Hanna, J. Brackenridge, E. Hall, A.K. Fletcher, G. Waite, R. Hunt, Trott, Kelly and Hulme. There were of course many other members over the years. Several points of interest were noted in the first minute book of the Leamington Croquet Club. The first was in 1943 when the minutes recorded receiving letters from two soldiers serving overseas who had received parcels from the croquet club. These were Keith Wallace and Nelson Garland who in later life following their safe return 13


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

became popular members of the Leamington Bowling Club. In 1946 Mrs. Brackenbridge who had earlier been made an honorary member of the croquet club during her husband’s term as president of the bowling club, donated £2 10s to the croquet club for a peace trophy to be played for by all the members. In 1948 the question of Sunday play was raised at the annual meeting; the motion was defeated.

1940 — 1950 With the focus on the war in Europe at this time it was inevitable there would be an impact on the club. The first reference was in response to a request from the South Auckland Bowling Association of which the club was a member. At the club’s Annual General Meeting in 1940, a motion was passed adding 1s per member to the annual subscription to go to the Patriotic Funds to support the troops. In 1941 a sum of £25 was invested in War Bonds. These bonds, rediscovered at the Bank of New Zealand in 2003, were returned to the club. Valued at £10 each if they had been redeemed after five years, these bonds are now collectors’ items, and because of their rarity have been provisionally valued at two hundred dollars; a small windfall for the club. The Annual meeting on the 7th of October 1942 made mention of troops camped in the domain. They were offered the use of the greens, the club to supply bowls and shoes. Other signs of the times were in 1943 when efforts were being made to arrange visits to other clubs. Offers of benzine (which was rationed) were received. In 1945 mention was made that new bowls were unobtainable at this time. In 1947, with rationing still in place, an application to the local postmaster for tea and sugar coupons was unsuccessful. But despite the difficulties and restrictions of the war years the club continued to prosper. An effort was made in the late thirties to recruit new members and this appeared to be having an effect in the early forties, when in 1943 at the annual meeting twenty members were present and twelve new members elected. The following AGM saw twenty-eight members present with five apologies. The balance sheet through the late thirties showed a credit balance of £4 3s 8, in 1938 and £10 9s 4d, in 1939, rising to £18 10s in 1940 and to £36 12s 1d in 1941. There was an unfortunate occurrence in 1943 when some funds appear to have been misappropriated. At the AGM on the 26th of July 1943 the executive was accorded a hearty vote of thanks for the judicious way in which they had handled the matter. A motion that members subscribe five shillings per member to liquidate the small debit balance resulted in £6 15s being raised. The following year saw the club with a healthy credit balance of £113 17s 4d. Letters of appreciation were sent to Messrs. T.H. Hampshire, D.J. Lundon and Edgar James for their services in the matter. Bigger problems were ahead for the club in the near future. The problem of organizing the club programme with only a half day on Saturday continued to exercise the minds of the members. Attempts were made to play most competitions over the DecemberJanuary holiday period or to complete them in the evenings or on Wednesday. Starting time for Saturday play that had been 1:30 p.m. was moved to 1 o’clock to give more time for those having to leave early. 14


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

The matter of Sunday play was again raised in 1944, when at the AGM on the 13th of June it was moved that the club apply for three full days play on Sundays in the coming year. It appears that for several years in addition to the weekly Sunday social days which had been granted in 1939 the club had been running a number of invitation tournaments. In the previous year they had been granted four full days play of which they had used three, making a profit of £27 which was to be used towards a building fund for a new pavilion. The current year’s application had been turned down without explanation. A delegation of three members was appointed to wait on the Domain Board at their next meeting. They were also to put before the board the suggestion that they would be prepared to take over the maintenance of the green at a nominal rental, on similar terms to those enjoyed by the Cambridge Bowling Club. The application for Sunday play was turned down by the Domain Board, in spite of a further letter from the Club’s executive. Nothing further appears in the minutes until an extra-ordinary general meeting of the Club was called on Saturday the 18th of November 1944, with about 65 members present. The result of this meeting was that President W.P. Cummings, Vice President Arch. Paton, Hon. Secretary E.A. Morrice and Messrs D. Walker and M.K. Trott resigned from the club to form a new bowling club on private land where they could play on Sundays. At the annual meeting on the 15th of August 1945 twenty-two further members resigned to form the Central Bowling Club. Members also left the Cambridge club for the same reason. In spite of this major setback the club continued to function. Mr. L. Carey was elected as President, Mr. R.S. Entwistle, the new secretary and a new executive was elected. At their first meeting ten days later, the matter of the resignations was put behind them and plans were made for the coming season. The first business was to take steps to have the club incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act. This was achieved during the year. At the next AGM the President reported a successful season with the club in sound financial position. Some club competitions had not been completed but interclubs had been played with Hamilton East and Cambridge, and two successful open tournaments had been held. Sunday social games had again been popular with many visitors participating. Mr. Carey also conveyed the best wishes of members to the newly formed Central Bowling Club, wishing them every success and stating that there should be plenty of room for the three clubs when our men return from war service. Regular Sunday play at Central and increased Sunday play at Cambridge club saw a drop off in support for the social Sunday play at Leamington. On the other hand the introduction of the five day working week about this time, allowing a full days’ play on a Saturday must have given the club a boost. Other items of interest during this decade give some idea of the problems facing the club. At the annual meeting on the 7th of August 1946 subscriptions were raised to £2 2s compared to 35s the year before, 15


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

due to an increased rental of £1 10s per playing member to cover the cost of maintaining the green by the Domain Board. A report in the Waikato Independent on the 9th of September of that year showed the Leamington Bowling Club facing a loss of membership due to members leaving the district. Membership of the three clubs was quoted as Cambridge; 128, Central; 80, and Leamington; 30. There was no participation by the Leamington club in centre events during the 1945-46 season but they were hoping to take part during the coming season. Although many difficulties faced the club throughout this decade the club continued to look ahead to try to provide for its members. Inter-club matches continued to be played and new relationships were built up with neighbouring clubs. At the annual meeting in 1940 it was agreed to allow the Cambridge club the use of the green for their Easter tournament. This occurred again in 1947 when a report appeared in the Waikato Independent on the 24th of March, stating that 54 teams were competing in the Cambridge Easter Fours with one section to be played at Leamington. In 1944 the club issued invitations to Hamilton East, Te Awamutu, Ohaupo and Cambridge for inter-club visits. The President of Hamilton East club Mr. James Fox presented a shield for competition between the two clubs. This was played on a home and away basis and was competed for on a regular basis until the middle fifties when it appeared to cease. Another inter-club tournament which became known as the Country Shield started in 1946 between four small clubs; Pirongia, Ohaupo, Matangi and Leamington. It is still being contested and is dealt with fully in a separate chapter. Another inter-club started late in the decade was the Clark Memorial Challenge Shield which first involved the Leamington club in 1949 when they challenged the holders, Te Awamutu; no result is recorded. A limited number of Open Tournaments were also played during this period; one of note was in May 1947 when 16 teams took part in an open tournament at Leamington. The winners a Te Aroha team skipped by Ron Buchan who was to become well-known throughout the Waikato in the years ahead as a coach, player and administrator. On the club scene, as well as playing the championship singles, first and second year championships singles and the president pairs which were the main competitions for a number of years, other events were added to the club programme during this period. One was the Victory Cup started in 1944 between club members who lived on opposite sides of the river. This was played for a number of years and was later known as the Coconut Cup. Although no longer played for, this trophy may still be seen in the club cabinet. In 1948 Mrs. E.M. Cleland donated two trophies to be known as the Fred Cleland Memorial Pairs. This has now become the Cleland Pairs and is still played, a popular fixture on the club calendar. Another trophy during this period was the O’Toole cup which in 1944 went to the winners of the first and second year players. It seemed to disappear about this time and its doner is untraced.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

There was also a challenge trophy for a rinks competition donated by Mr. Jim Keeley and known as the Keeley Stars, first played in 1945 the first winner was W. Morrow’s team. This trophy was first played as a challenge but later as a club competition presumably as a one day tournament until the early ’50s when it too disappeared and was replaced late in the decade by an inter-house competition for club buttons, also a challenge trophy. A report in the Waikato Independent in February 1951 records a win for the Grocers’ team of Greer, Adamson, Crawshaw and Webber over the holders the Fencourt Cockies, Turnbull, Hunt, Arnold and Appleby. This competition also lapsed after about ten years.

Leamington domain gardens in the late 1950's early 1960's. Leamington Bowls No1 bowling green with the band rotunda beyond.

An interesting sidelight to this latter competition showed the changed attitude to Sunday play following the earlier break-up of the club. In 1949 it was resolved that the inter-house buttons of challenge games be played on Sundays. Earlier it had been decided that the playing of championship singles be played whenever possible on Wednesdays, Sundays or in the evenings. One last event was to occur towards the end of this decade which was to have a considerable effect on the club. In July 1948 a letter was received from Mrs. B. Arnold asking the club to give favourable consideration to the formation of a Ladies Club. Nothing further was heard at this time and it was two years before the matter was raised at the AGM in July 1950.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

The Country Shield This competition was started at a meeting of delegates of the Ohaupo, Leamington, Pirongia and Matangi Clubs, in the Farmers Building, Duke Street, Cambridge, on the 19th of September 1946 at 8 p.m. after general discussion it was decided to hold a series of inter-club matches between the four clubs. These were on a challenge basis and it was left in the hands of Leamington club to purchase a suitable shield at a cost not exceeding £5. Twelve players from each club being a minimum team, constituting a match. A draw was made and this resulted in Leamington being drawn to play Ohaupo at Ohaupo in the first round on the 16th of November 1946. A report in the Waikato Independent of Wednesday the 20th of November under the non-de-plume of ‘Jack High’ reads as follows The Leamington club is built round a small but solid

membership. On Saturday the club sent five teams to Ohaupo to compete for the Country Shield and one to the Cambridge opening. This almost absorbed all members and the teams were not particularly strong. At Ohaupo five losses were recorded but it was a very pleasant day. This started a competition and all who have participated have enjoyed many pleasant days. The Kihikihi club was invited to join in 1950 and Tokanui also appeared about the same time. Matangi dropped out early, as did Tokanui after a few years. Kawhia was mentioned in one newspaper report of coming events, but not in the result a week later; they possibly contributed players to one of the teams. Later the format was changed and played on a round robin basis, with one club getting a bye (five rounds). The next change occurred in 1960 when at an annual meeting it was noted that Ohaupo no longer wished to take part in the competition. The new executive was recommended to keep the competition going and to meet Ohaupo to this end. They were successful, as at a meeting in Kihikihi later that year the Country Shield was changed to a one-day event in which Ohaupo continued to play, the first venue being at the Leamington club on the 29th of October. The format of three graded teams, playing three games was introduced with a finishing time of 3 o’clock, to accommodate the dairy farmers, according to Bob Hunt who played in and took an interest in the competition for many years. Another change was heralded in 1980 when the Leamington club minutes noted there were new conditions for play. It was about this time that the format of four games of one hour 20 minutes was introduced (in 2000 reduced to one hour ten minutes), with the venue rotating around the four competing clubs.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

1950 — 1960 Leamington Women's Bowling Club The first recorded mention of the formation of the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club appears in the minutes of the Men’s annual meeting on the 6th of July 1950 when a motion was passed that the women be granted the use of the greens and equipment on Thursdays subsequent to the club being formed and subject to suitable conditions being arranged between them, the men and the Domain Board. At the next meeting on the 9th of August a committee of three members of the men’s bowling club, Messrs. C. Kelly (President) G. Waite and W. Harris were appointed to give any help to the women in the formation of their club. The opening date was set for the 2nd of November 1950. Unfortunately no minutes of the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club exist and no report of the opening appears in the local paper. However, the Waikato Independent on the 16th of October 1950, reporting on early club activities mentioned the Leamington women commenced play on Thursday last, with about sixteen members. At the opening of the men’s club, Mr. C.J. Kelly wished the new club every success and promised hearty support. The Leamington women also attended the opening of the Central Women’s Bowling Club.

Mrs. V. Cummings first president of the Leamington Women's Bowling Club.

A further report on the 6th of December recording Sunday drawn games at Leamington included the team of Mesdames Furborough, Dunn and Kelly 14, versus Mesdames Wallace, Harris and Stevens 12. That same report included the results of a progressive pairs tournament at Leamington, won by Mrs. E. Stacy (skip) and Mrs. E. Gorringe (lead).

May Dunn, Life member, spoke in 2001, of the excellent and considerable help from the men in the establishment of the women’s club. Further support and a pointer to the future was a donation by Mr. A.K. Fletcher of a trophy known affectionately as the Brown Bowl, for a competition between the two clubs. This was first played for on the 3rd of March 1951 and became a regular feature of the men’s closing day. A short time later, on the 14th of March 1951 the Waikato Independent reported the first one-day open tournament held by the women’s club with teams present from all parts of the Waikato and King Country. This was the first time many of the competitors had visited the domain and they were loud in their praises of the beautiful setting. In this era the domain gardens enjoyed a wide reputation and many visitors came just to see the many colourful garden beds.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

The nineteen-fifties were to see many changes to the bowling scene which were to have a wide-ranging effect in many areas of the game. Many of the older established men’s clubs were very conservative in their attitude to the formation of women’s clubs and the playing of mixed events. Another factor which was to affect the local club was the changed view of the Domain Board to Sunday play following the formation of the Central Club some years earlier. While no formal announcement was noted at the time the opening years to the 1950s saw an increasing amount of organized Sunday play. This was further added to with the formation of the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club and the need in the future to provide a weekend day when the women could have use of the one green available at this time. There was also an increasing call for more mixed events. The attitude of the National Bowling Association to mixed bowling was also very conservative. However a ruling that the centre should have no control of Sunday tournaments was made at the 1951 AGM of the Waikato-Thames Valley Centre. That same year Leamington Men’s Bowling Club made an application to the Domain Board to hold up to six mixed Sunday tournaments during the coming season. At the time this was recognized as the beginning of mixed tournaments in the area. (Waikato Independent on the 31st of March 1952). Was this also a first in New Zealand? At the AGM in July 1952 Mr. A.K. Fletcher, president, after noting an increase in membership to 52 and thanking the women for their assistance through the year reported on four mixed open tournaments which had been patronised beyond expectations. A report in the local paper (September 1952) prior to the opening of the season stated the Leamington green had had a good deal of play in the previous season, particularly with Sunday play, but had responded well to treatment. It was hoped to feature the popular mixed tournaments during the coming season. Mixed tournaments continued until the 1954-55 season when a letter was received from the Centre demanding an explanation regarding the playing of mixed tournaments. At a meeting (Waikato Independent on the 17th of June 1955) of the Waikato-Thames Valley Centre, the contentious subject of mixed tournaments was strongly debated before the commencement and during the annual meeting. Finally the President, Mr. Quintrell made it clear that the 1951 decision had been ruled out of order by the Dominion Council. In the future men’s clubs could apply to the Centre to loan their greens to women’s clubs for mixed tournaments. A year later a report of a Dominion Council meeting showed there was a wide division over the matter. On the one hand small clubs like Leamington were endeavouring to run mixed tournaments both to improve the clubs’ finances and in a genuine attempt to foster good relations with the women bowlers who shared their green. On the other hand the well-established men’s clubs saw mixed bowling as a threat that would take their members away from their own club events and open tournaments. The result of this was the green was loaned to the women who ran mixed tournaments on a regular basis for many years but the matter was to be raised again in the future.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

The club continued to prosper in a quiet way. With a membership of around fifty there was an increase in the amount of competitive play compared to the 1940s. The 1952 season saw the club playing senior and junior singles championships, championship pairs, progressive pairs, the Fletcher trophy, the Paton trophy, Cleland Pairs, Lowe cup, Harris trophy and consistency singles. In addition the club held the Centre Challenge shield for several weeks and competed in the Country Shield, the Fox Shield and the Clark Shield. The following year saw Championship fours played for the first recorded time. The winning team consisted of Charlie Dunn, who was to be a prominent member of the club in years ahead, W.J. Harris, N. Blackman and C. McEntee. Following a successful application to the Leamington Domain Board in July 1953 for permission to erect lights for night bowling the Leamington Bowling Club Executive met in December of that year to arrange details. The following decisions were made, that play would be on Wednesdays and Saturdays with tournaments to be played on Saturdays. Non-members to be charged a small sub. and members and non-members to pay two shillings for the first time and one shilling and sixpence thereafter. It was moved that women be allowed to play and that play to start at 7:15pm. The first committee comprised A.K. Fletcher, C.M. Dunn, N. Mason, N. Blackburn and E. Hurst. A special rule later added, that an incorrect delivery of the jack be placed by the opposing skip, thus anticipatied a rule that became compulsory years later.

Taking Over The Management Of The Green The year 1955 was another important milestone in the progress of the club. The Domain Board at this time was still involved with the maintenance of the green and various discussions had taken place between the Board and the bowling club over the years on the question of the upkeep and cost of the green. The matter came to a head in the 1954-55 season when drought conditions combined with the inadequate water supply caused an early end to the bowling season. An Extra-ordinary General Meeting of the club was called on the 15th of March 1955 to discuss taking over management of the greens and after much discussion it was decided to have a further meeting with the Domain Board with the provision of an adequate water supply high on the agenda. After several further meetings with the board another Extra-ordinary General Meeting was called on the 19th of July 1955 when the decision was made to take over control of the bowling green. It was also resolved to build a 10,000 gallon reservoir to provide an adequate supply of water to the green. When the club opened on the 26th of October the reservoir was an established fact. The president Mr. C.M. Dunn thanked those members who had given so much of their time to help in the building of the reservoir. The reservoir was situated close to the edge of the camping ground where the car park is now, and near an existing pump capable of producing 750 gallons of water per hour. Unfortunately while it provided a good supply of water to the green through a three-inch pipe, acquired cheaply from the Waihi Gold Mine, it was to cause problems with leakages over a number of years and eventually had to be replaced. With the taking over of the club's green there was also 21


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

the expense of providing the necessary equipment and mention is made of the purchase of a Ransome electric mower at a cost of £120. In the minute book, dated the 12th of January 1956 there is a statement signed by C.N. Dunn, President and T. Myers, Secretary, confirming the taking over of the lease of the Leamington green from the Domain Board and agreeing to permit the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club to use the green and equipment on Thursday of each week on the payment of 13s 6d for each member. This agreement to be terminated at the end of the 1955-56 season and to renewed by mutual consent. The end of the season saw the president reporting on a very successful season. The club’s finances were in good order despite major expenditure on taking over the green. The president gave thanks to those who gave freely of their labour and also for many voluntary donations, which avoided the club's funds being depleted. Thanks were also extended to the women’s club for their help in various ways. The club was also looking ahead and it was resolved at this annual meeting that the club proceed towards acquiring the necessary land from the Domain Board for a second green. The objective was a long way off and it was to be a number of years of negotiation before this was achieved. The club continued to hold a busy programme of events through this time. The end of year report showed the club finances in a sound position after paying off the balance on erection of lights for night bowls and for the purchase of the mower. A full range of competitions had been played with the option of the singles being played on Wednesday or Saturdays proving a success. The MacDonald Shield which had been introduced the previous year as a graded inter-club with the Cambridge Bowling Club had been successfully defended and has continued to be a popular event. Two other trophies were also John Brackenridge first Life Member of presented during this decade. A local Leamington Bowling Club businessman Mr M. Cubis presented a cup for singles competition, first won by G. Waite in 1952-53 season; a couple of years later Charlie Dunn presented a runner-up cup for the same event. In 1961 the family of the late Joe Hurst presented a cup which is awarded to the winner of the Veterans Handicap singles for members over 60 years. Tom Myers who had joined the club in 1949 soon encouraged his three sons, Tom, Arnold and Norm to join. Son Tom soon resigned as he moved to Waihi but Arnold and especially Norm were to stay with the club for many years. When Tom Myers died in 22


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

1956 he had been secretary for five years. In remembrance of him members contributed to a Rinks Memorial Honours Board. A memorial seat was donated by his sons. An event of some importance which occurred during this decade was the awarding of the first recorded Life Membership to John Brackenridge in 1954. John retired to Cambridge in 1928 after a successful bowling career in the Wellington area where he had won several Centre titles, and with his brother took the New Zealand pairs title in 1922 when playing for the Newton club. He joined the Leamington club in 1938 and served one year as president; his main contribution to the club was as coach, a position he held for ten years. During 1956 the local paper reported a dozen or more bowling club members were making use of a portion of the croquet green for winter bowls three times a week. Although slow the green was playing surprisingly well. In 1958 a ruling was made that for Saturday play whites must be worn except when the weather was unsuitable when greys could be worn. Mixed events were now firmly established. Thus ended a decade which was highlighted by the formation of the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club.

Leamington Women's Bowling Club 1957-1958 Back: Mrs. Furborough, Mrs Milicich, Jean Looker, Bell Reynolds, Joyce Reynolds Middle: Alice Mason, Miss Speake, Kath Looker, Kath Frost, Anne Richards, Eileen Smith, Iris Smith (nee Dunn), Eileen O'Brien, Mrs Wyn Brown. Front: Beatrice Blackburn, Carol Gunderson, Merle Clune, May Dunn, Hazel Morris, Jesse Kelly, Dorrie McEntee.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

1960 — 1970 The opening of the 1960-61 season saw the Leamington Men’s Bowling Club in a sound position and planning a full programme of club and inter-club events. Membership was showing a steady increase and the club was looking forward to a successful season. A perusal of the minute books of the period showed continued cooperation with the women’s club with both clubs at their respective annual meetings passing motions thanking their fellow bowlers for their help and support throughout the previous season. Mixed bowling tournaments organized by the women were continuing to prove popular and mixed night bowling tournaments were well supported with teams on one occasion coming from Ohaupo, Hamilton, Claudelands, Frankton, Hillcrest and Morrinsville and Te Awamutu. One change made early in this decade which was indicative of the extra hours play available to club members. A motion was passed at the annual meeting on the 6th of July 1960 that all championships be played on the two-life system. This reversed a motion, passed in 1946 when only Saturday afternoons were available, that all competitions were to be one life. The clubs were to continue quietly until the opening of the 1963-64 season when the Domain Board called a meeting of the Leamington Men’s and Women’s clubs where they were informed that the band rotunda was nearing the end of its useful life as a pavilion. It was considered not worth repairing; the cost of such repairs being in the region of £600 to £800, which the Board was reluctant to spend. The bowling clubs’ views and their plans for the future were sought. The men’s club was definite that they were not willing to spend money on the rotunda, but on the other hand if they were to build their own pavilion they required security of tenure and sufficient land not only for the new pavilion but also enough land for a second green. They did not feel one green would support the number of bowlers required to make the cost of building a new pavilion worthwhile. This meeting took place in September 1963, and three months later, in December the club received a notice from the Domain Board informing them that firm plans were now contemplated for the removal of the pavilion and asked for early action to be taken for the club to provide its own pavilion. This was to prove a real challenge for the two Leamington clubs over the next three years. For the Men’s club it meant a lot of planning and a number of meetings with the Domain Board to decide on a site for the building. On the one hand the Board was determined to preserve the character of the domain gardens, which as earlier mentioned had gained a wide reputation for their beauty and which included a pergola which extended along the side of the green where the pavilion now stands. The bowling club was equally determined to have the pavilion built in what they saw as the only possible position, this being in close proximity to where they wanted the second green to be. This was also contentious as it involved the removal of several trees and the shifting of the children’s playground.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

During the next eighteen months a number of meetings were held with the Domain Board while negotiations went on before the club finally succeeded in gaining permission to build their pavilion where it now stands. Main opposition to the site had come from the Domain Chairman W. Milicich who stated that he opposed the scheme but would not vote against it and he said “This will be an end of a beautiful park.� (Waikato Independent 28th May 1965).

Photographed from the band rotunda (looking towards Scott Street) c1949 a view which shows clearly the pergola with the bowling green behind. Opposition to the removal of the pergola to make way for the new clubrooms was strong. The occasion is the visit, after WWII, by Anthony Eden later Prime Minister of England.

The fight was not yet over. There was still strong opposition as the Reserves Committee of the Board sought to rescind the previous decision. They still wished to retain the pergola and have the pavilion built elsewhere. Commonsense prevailed. It was pointed out the plans had been tabled, a permit had been issued and a contract had already been let to a builder. The building proceeded. The committee of the bowling club had not been idle. Three local clubs, Frankton, Ohaupo and Hinuera were contacted, seeking advice on the cost of their pavilions. A reply is recorded from the Hinuera Club inviting members to inspect their pavilion. An Executive meeting in July 1964 records that plans for the new pavilion were discussed and an application was made to the Department of Internal Affairs for permission to 25


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

run a raffle with a first prize of £75, second £20 third £5. The help of local members of parliament was also sought with a view to obtaining a Golden Kiwi grant, for which three applications were made over the period of the pavilion planning and construction, all without success. The raising of funds was due in the end to the efforts of the two clubs; the men by way of donations, raffles and an interest free loan from the Myers brothers. The women’s club was also busy raising funds and May Dunn, a foundation member and Bell Reynolds recall many trips to Cambridge selling tickets on the street and with the permission of Mine Host selling quick raffles in a local hotel bar. One particular prize was a gold watch presented by Mr. J. Gunderson, a member of the men’s club, also raffled by the women. A minute appearing in the men’s executive meeting on 30th of March 1966 records the event and thanks the women for the cheque and their efforts in the matter. At the annual meeting of the Leamington Men’s Bowling Club in June 1967 after the pavilion was completed the retiring president again thanked the women for their efforts and stated that they had raised £700 towards the cost of the project. Much had yet to be achieved before that goal was reached.

The new clubrooms under construction in 1965 with pavilion in the background

At the annual meeting at the end of July 1965 the retiring president Mr. G. Smith reported that the foundation was down and the steelwork of the frame was in place. He was confident the new pavilion would be ready by the opening of the new season. In this he was a little optimistic as the first recorded use of the new pavilion was a meeting of the management committee held on the 16th of November 1965. This being a milestone in the club’s history Mr. L. Donaldson proposed that it be recorded in the minutes. 26


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Only one carpenter, Mr. C.D. Tatton was hired for the building project, voluntary labour being supplied by club members; special mention being made of the contributions of Mr. C. Kelly and Mr. A. McVicar. At the following AGM in the absence of the president A. Ryrie, Mr C. Dunn spoke of the great achievement for such a small club. He also mentioned the need in the near future for the formation of the second green. At the official opening of the new season in September 1966 the president A. Ryrie paid a tribute to the women for their great help. In reply Mrs. O.Curin, president of the Women’s club congratulated the men on providing the new pavilion “It gives the club so much more prestige, the ladies love it”. (Waikato Independent 26th of June 1966). The pavilion was officially opened on the 6th of May 1967 at an evening function when a large gathering of members and friends were welcomed by President Alec Ryrie who said the proposed removal of the Rotunda in 1963 was “The finest shot in the arm we ever had.” (Waikato Independent 10th of May 1967). It was then the club resolved to build a new pavilion. Special guests included Mrs N.K. Dallinger representing the Domain Board and representatives from surrounding clubs. After briefly tracing the clubs’ history the president suggested to members and to those who followed that the new pavilion would be a monument to what could be done with determination and co-operation. The club’s Patron, Mr. Arthur Paton officially opened the building and he together with Mrs. Dallinger offered the club congratulations and best wishes for the future. Mr. Gordon Vagg on behalf of the Cambridge and Cambridge Central Bowling Clubs also complimented the club on its achievements.

A. E. Paton Patron 1950-81 Joint Patron 1981-1990

The club was not resting on its laurels. At the annual meeting in June 1967 it was recorded the club had a credit balance of £425 and its only liability was an interest free loan of £300. This was paid off during the following season and the club was planning two more projects. These were the provision of a shed for the club mower and equipment, and the formation work on the second green. It was moved that the management committee be empowered to go ahead with preliminary work, which included removal of a tree, removing topsoil and taking of levels. They were also charged with calling a meeting to discuss costs etc. of the project. The following management committee wrote to the centre asking for any available advice on the establishment of a new green. Consideration was given at this time to the laying down of an artificial green. Experiments had been carried out in the South Island as early as 1951 when an article appeared in the Waikato Independent describing experiments with rubber coated with 27


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

bitumen and also a sawdust green, the rubber being found to be far superior. In the autumn of 1969 a retired engineer Mr. Griffiths was invited to visit the club to give advice on the laying of an artificial green. The minutes contain no further reference to this visit or if in fact it actually took place. Laurie Harvey who was elected Green Superintendent in 1973 after the retirement of Charlie Dunn who had spent ten years in the position remembers that serious consideration was given to the establishment of an artificial green. Several members made a visit to an Auckland club and a large amount of rubber dust was accumulated at the club before the decision was made to lay down another grass green. Another factor which may have had some bearing on the matter could have been as a result of a meeting attended by the Green Superintendent C. Dunn and one other which was mentioned in the minutes of an executive meeting on the 16th of August 1967. They were to attend a conference at Waharoa on cotula greens which was something new at that time and could have influenced the club when making a final decision to stay with grass for the second green, which could be relatively easily converted to cotula. This was to happen in the not too distant future when in 1979 at an executive meeting in May of that year the Green Superintendent’s report stated that the No.2 green was sown in cotula and growing well. Meanwhile the laying of the second green was to be delayed for several years and did not really get underway until about 1971. The building of the implement shed was however completed before the opening of the 1967-68 season. The following year saw plans in hand for the building of a soil shed and this was completed by the end the season. The women’s club also continued to be active through the second half of the decade. The President’s report at the 1966 AGM stated “We have had an excellent season both

socially and financially, our membership has increased with every possibility of another successful season next year”. The following year saw a departure from the usual round of club activity. At the annual meeting in June 1967 the women’s club decided to create a touring fund by depositing half of all monies raised by way of raffles and card afternoons in a separate account. This meant continuing with activities which had contributed so much towards the building and furnishing of the new pavilion. The result of this decision appeared in a report in the Cambridge Independent in June 1969 of a joint closing function of the clubs on a Saturday evening when Mrs. M. Dunn gave an ‘interesting and humorous resume of the recent

bowlers’ trip to Rotorua, Opotiki, Gisborne, Palmerston North, Wanganui and New Plymouth. Twenty members took part. Places visited included a wine distillery at Clive, the Norsewood Museum and the Foxton textile mills’. Money was also raised during this time and put towards improving the clubhouse surroundings. A minute appearing at the annual meeting of 1968 proposed that profits from card afternoons be put towards the laying down of a concrete path. Thoughts were also given to helping the wider community and reference is made to both men’s and women’s meetings of raising funds for the Resthaven Appeal which was being 28


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

conducted in the town at this time. The men, along with other clubs in the area ran tournaments while the women raised money by way of raffles. This continued for several years. In spite of the time and energy spent in raising funds for the new pavilion the two clubs continued to operate successfully during this time with a full range of club events including mixed days and inter-club competitions. Two more events of some significance to the club were to happen before the end of the decade. On the 22nd of October 1969 Mr Gordon Vagg addressed a meeting of the men’s executive with regard to a proposed zone event to comprise of a rinks, a pair and a single competition. The Leamington club agreed in principle to the idea but at a later meeting of the club little initial interest was shown. The following year as the competition clashed with a zone allocated day for a Leamington open tournament, the club was unable to take part. However in subsequent years the Vagg Cup as it became known was to grow in popularity and the Leamington club has been a regular contender with a measure of success in bringing the cup home. The other event was the death in 1968 of Clarrie Kelly, one of the club’s most stalwart members and a foundation member. A carpenter by trade Clarrie received special mention for his help in building the new pavilion. When he was made a Life Member in 1964 it was mentioned he had served in all but one position on the Executive (that of Secretary). He was president in 1949 when the women’s club was formed. At an executive meeting in December of the year following his death a beautiful rose bowl was presented by J. Doyle who worked with Clarrie in the carpenter trade. This was first played for on 22nd of February 1969 as a mixed tournament and has continued to be popular in the club programme. So ended a decade which with the building of the new pavilion was probably the most important in the club’s history. In retrospect it seems ironical that the band rotunda, that according to the Domain Board was due for demolition “having reached the end of its useful life and was not worth repairing” (it was fifty-six years old when the new pavilion was completed) continues to provide a useful service up to the present day. It was repaired and continued to be used on the same site for a number of years by local radio hams before being moved to its present position where it was fully restored with the replacement of the staircase. It is still a prominent backdrop to the greens and looks very solid seeing it was built in 1910.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

1970 — 1980 The Leamington Women’s Bowling Club Reaches a Milestone The opening of the seventies decade saw the women’s club approaching a milestone; their coming of age in 1971. Plans were in hand for a two-day mixed tournament to be held in early March. On Saturday morning the president Mrs. Betty Britten welcomed a full green of past and present members from Otahuhu, Papatoetoe, Tauranga, Waihi and Hamilton as well as representatives from the other four Cambridge clubs. Twelve foundation members were present including the first President Mrs. Vera Cummings, first Vice-President Mrs. Caroline Wallace, first Secretary Mrs. Rita Duncan and the first Treasurer Mrs. Frances Stephens. Other foundation members were Mesdames May Dunn, Benny Arnold, Vi Morris, Grace Harris, Merle Clune, Jess Kelly, Hazel Morris and Elsie Stacy. The Mayor Mr. N.R. Hunt offered congratulations on behalf of the Borough Council and the people of Cambridge and Mr. N. Myers spoke for the Leamington men’s club. All teams were drawn and the winner of the tournament was Neville Blundell, Nelson Mason, Allan Fisher and Ann Topp (skip).

Past presidents of Leamington Women's Bowling Club at the club's 21st celebrations. From the left Hazel Morris, Jess Kelly, May Dunn, Bell Reynolds, Lauris Curin and Betty Brittin (Percy) president at the time.

A consolation tournament for non-qualifiers on the Sunday was won by Jean Stowers, Mrs. Ralph Garland, Dulcie Cochrane and Norm Myers (skip). At the conclusion of play on the Sunday the prizes were presented by the Mayor. Members supplied lunches each day, these being much appreciated by the visitors. On the Saturday night a special meeting was held which took the form of a dance with a buffet supper. Congratulations were received from Mrs. Cummings and Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Stevens lit the candles and Mrs. Duncan fanned them out. The cake was cut by Mrs. Jess Kelly. Music for the evening was supplied by Gordon Brunskill’s orchestra. Thus ended a milestone in Leamington women’s bowling history over which they could look back with some pride.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Nelson Mason, Anne Topp (s), Neville Blundell, Allen Fisher Winners of the Women’s 21st

The Second Green The decision on the laying of the second green had been held in abeyance for several years. Early in 1971 the decision was made to go ahead and preliminary plans were made. This necessitated an approach to the council to peg out the ground and the hiring of a bulldozer to do the preliminary leveling including the removal of a metal roadway which crossed the area. This work was accomplished in the spring of that year. There followed two years of hard work by members of the club in the development of the new green, led by Charlie Dunn, Green Superintendent. Help was also given by friends and family of members who brought their farm tractors to help with the cultivation and leveling. Three people who are remembered for their help are Norm Carson, Gordon Mead and Brian Harvey. One problem arose which is well remembered by May Dunn. A load of topsoil was obtained which was found too late to contain a large amount of stones. May remembers many hours on her knees helping Charlie picking up stones before the final leveling and the grass could be sown. Charlie Dunn was to resign as Green Superintendent at the 1973 AGM after ten years and was replaced by Laurie Harvey. An appreciation of his service is recorded in the minutes. The opening of the new green coincided with the opening of the 1973-74 season on Saturday the 29th of September at 1 p.m. and a special invitation card was printed to mark the occasion. Visiting clubs who honoured the occasion were Cambridge, Cambridge Central, Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Matangi, Hamilton Cosmopolitan, Ohaupo and Pirongia. Special guests were the Mayor Mr N.R. Hunt, Mr S. Lewis a former president of the Waikato-Thames Valley Centre, Mr D.B. Johnstone Centre president, Mr M.R. Buchan, Centre secretary and New Zealand delegate, Mr G. Vagg, Centre delegate and Mr A.E. Paton the club patron and Life Member. In welcoming everyone Mr N. Frost said he was proud to be president of the Leamington Bowling

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Club and he paid tribute to all those who had worked hard over two years to complete the new green and its surroundings.

The second green was opened by Life Member and Patron Arthur Paton who in spite of being blind sent up a straight jack followed by Mr. S. Lewis who drew a close bowl.

Mr Hunt reminded those present that forty-two years ago the then Mayor Mr C.H. Priestley had been present at the opening of the club in 1931. Congratulations were also received from D. Johnson, R. Buchan, and Gordon Vagg. Mr Sam Lewis long time bowler and Centre President in 1941-42, after referring to earlier days in Leamington hoped that the old band rotunda would always be retained. The green was opened by Life Member and Patron Arthur Paton who in spite of being blind sent up a straight jack followed by Mr. S. Lewis who drew a close bowl. Unfortunately the greens were too wet for any play and the day ended with a sumptuous afternoon tea served by the women members. The formation of the second green saw an end to night bowling which had proved popular over the years. The light standards were removed to make room for the new green and were not replaced. Other matters were being considered by the club at this time. A special meeting was called on the 6th of December to consider alterations to the pavilion. Dave Crampton put forward proposals to extend the clubhouse to make it more suitable for indoor bowls. The matter was fully discussed and several motions were put forward. It was decided to go ahead and cost the proposal and call another meeting. Nothing further appears in the minutes at this time, which coincided with the development of the second green and may have been a factor in the proposal not proceeding. New toilets were added to the pavilion ready for the opening day in September 1975. Two years later at an executive meeting held on the 15th of December 1977 approval was received from the Cambridge Borough Council sanctioning extensions to the club house.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Early the following year on the 12th of January a further report from the building committee stated that the building inspector was confident that the land required for the extension would be granted. It was moved and seconded that Rex Beech and Les Norwell draw up plans for the extension which were to include a lounge and bar area across the rear of the pavilion. The plans were approved at a special meeting on the 31st March 1978, finance for the project was to be raised by way of five year subscriptions or borrowing on the best terms available. The Leamington Women’s Bowling Club contributed $250 to the project and Norm Myers made an unconditional loan of $1,000. The building was completed by the end of the year, Rex Beech being the builder, helped by voluntary labour. Unfortunately Rex fell ill a few years later and the club lost a popular member. The lounge he built was named the Rex Beech Lounge in his honour. The provision of the bar coincided with a change in legislation which enabled the club to apply for an ancillary liquor license which was granted in 1979, and required the appointment of a bar manager.

The Provision Of A New Water Supply As mentioned earlier when the club first took over the management of the green they built a reservoir to try and ensure a secure water supply. Unfortunately this reservoir was a constant source of trouble being always in need of repairs for leaks. Early in 1978 a special executive meeting was held on the 11th of February, by the 23rd of the month a bore had been sunk at a cost of $240, which Norm Myers offered to pay for and water was found at 49 feet, requiring a deep well pump. Reticulation was arranged to go ahead using a second hand pump and a 10,000 gallon tank was purchased to provide sufficient water to flood one green, the usual method of watering the greens at this time. A pump shed was built and the services of Rex Beech again called on to carry out the construction. A second 10,000 gallon tank was also donated about this time by Keith Wallace and Norm Myers. This was acknowledged at an Executive meeting in February 1979. The club now had a secure water supply of their own and a new challenge was looming.

Establishment Of The First Cotula Green Green With the additions to the pavilion complete and a permanent water supply of their own the club was again looking ahead. The minute book records a Special Meeting called on the 17th of February 1979 at which 26 members were present. This was called to discuss the establishment of a cotula green. After much discussion during which it was pointed out that we now had a permanent water supply and that cotula groovings were available the executive was empowered to go ahead with the project. This entailed using the groover that Laurie Harvey who was green superintendent adapted for the purpose to break up the surface of the green which then had to be removed by hand, using as usual the willing help of the members. By the middle of April Laurie was reporting good progress in preparing No 2 green for the sowing of cotula. Some trouble was experienced in obtaining sufficient cotula groovings and 33


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

enquiries were made to Walton, Waharoa, Tauranga South and Kahutia bowling club in Gisborne. This shortage was caused by a number of clubs making the decision to change their greens to cotula that particular year. Help was sought at this time from Ron Buchan who had acquired knowledge of manures needed in establishing cotula and it was he who was able to arrange an ample supply of groovings from the Kapiti Bowling Club to augment local supplies from the Walton club. By the 16th of May Laurie Harvey was reporting that the No 2 green had been sown in cotula. By September he reported that the green was coming along well; a further report in November of that year Laurie stated that the green was playing well. This signaled the beginning of a new era for the club, especially for those members who had not experienced the superior playing qualities of the cotula surface. Another improvement for the club during this decade was the provision of a separate parking area to serve the various clubs in the area. Previous to this the bowlers had been allowed to park in the camping ground but this had caused congestion at busy times. The Cambridge Borough Council decided to fence off the area adjacent to the bowling club, providing parking for up to an estimated 60 to 100 cars which provides ample parking for most of the year for the croquet and bowling clubs but is sorely taxed during the winter netball season. While it was a busy period for the club members with many calls on their time and much achieved, a perusal of the minutes showed little interruption to the club’s programme through the seventies. An early innovation was the introduction of a triples championship for which Dave Crampton presented three trophies. The playing of triples had become increasingly popular during this period and was to be added to the Waikato-Thames Valley Centre’s Champion of Champions event during the early eighties. Another event started about this time was the Baldwin Cup presented by Reg Baldwin a prominent bowler from the Cambridge Club. This trophy was for four teams from each of the three mens clubs in Cambridge to compete against each other. This has developed into a very popular contest which still continues, with much local pride resting on the result. Previously Leamington club had played inter-club matches against Cambridge for the MacDonald Shield; they also played inter-club with the Central club, but here there was no trophy at stake. Another event involving all clubs in the Cambridge area which was introduced about this time and became popular for a number of years was combined mixed social days on public holidays such as Labour Day, Anniversary Day and New Year’s Day. One club would open their greens on those days at which other members were welcome, avoiding the necessity of all clubs being open when many were away over holiday periods. Many successful social days were reported in the local paper. An increasingly busy Centre programme may have contributed to this ceasing.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Other activities noted were an application to hold the annual RSA tournament on the Leamington greens and a donation of $28 to a Commonwealth Games fund, the profit from an open tournament run for the purpose. Following the loss of the Leamington Town Hall which had been condemned, the Leamington Indoor Bowling Club hired the pavilion for a number of years. The Leamington Bowling Club has been well served over the years by its members giving many hours of selfless service to keep the club running smoothly. The seventies decade saw the club honouring five of its long serving members with life membership. The first three members were Mr. A.E. Paton who had, at this time been club patron for over twenty years; Mr. G.A. Waite a past president long time stalwart of the club and Mr. P.R. Hunt who served for many years as club coach and a term as club secretary. They were awarded their badges at the club’s closing day social at the end of the 1971-72 season. Bob Hunt, a keen wood carver, presented the club with two kauri shields he had made from timber salvaged from the old Methodist church. These now hang in the clubhouse and contain the names of all life members of both the men’s and women’s clubs. At a special general meeting in September 1974 the club passed a motion conferring Life Membership on Jack Paton who had joined the club in 1942 and had given many years a of service including two years as president in the 1953-55 seasons. The J.D. Paton memorial pairs trophy was presented in his honour by his brother A.E. Paton. At the opening of the 1975-76 season the president Laurie Harvey presented Charlie Dunn with his Life Membership badge. Charlie had served ten years as Green Superintendent during which he was a leading light in the establishment of the second green. He also served as president during the 1950s and served on the executive for many years. A meeting on the 21st of November 1979 saw proposals being put forward for the clubs fiftieth Jubilee celebrations to be held during the following club season. The success of the first cotula green was also to lead to consideration of converting the No 1 green to cotula in the near future.

The Three Day Combined Tournament A lot had been happening during the seventies and much progress made; however the middle years of the decade were to see the two Leamington clubs combining with the other Cambridge clubs to start an event which was to have a far reaching effect on where bowls were played in New Zealand and the upper North Island in particular. Since the formation of the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club our two clubs had cooperated in playing mixed bowls sometimes among themselves and sometimes involving other clubs in mixed tournaments. This, as noted earlier, had caused the men’s club to be censured by the Waikato–Thames Valley Centre who were following a directive from the national body not to allow men’s clubs to organise mixed tournaments. Sundays were frowned upon but women’s clubs were allowed to run mixed tournaments provided they were sanctioned through their own centre. 35


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

This was still the position in 1973 when following the birth of an idea a meeting was held at the Central Bowling Club’s pavilion. Those present, representing all the clubs in the town were Mesdames B. Reynolds, M. Dunn, K. Blackwood, C. Stacy and Messrs T. Turnbull, B. Deed, L. Harvey, N. Frost, K. Miller and F. Entwistle. No formal minutes from the meeting have survived but a report in the minute book of the Cambridge Combined Clubs records that a decision was made to hold a two day mixed tournament. Tom Turnbull who was to be a leading light in the next few years was elected President and Keith Miller elected Acting Secretary.

Cambrtiddge Cmbined Club 3 Day Committee Bell Reynolds three years as president a term as treasurer May Dunn 10 years as secretary president for two years and patron for nine

Despite some initial opposition from individuals within the local bowling fraternity the tournament went ahead on the Leamington greens on Sunday the 3rd and Monday the 4th of March 1974. Under the headline ‘Two Day Open Mixed Tournament Could Have Given A Lead’ the report in the Cambridge Independent stated that sixteen teams had taken part and 'it was understood that a meeting was to be held shortly to

discuss the future and the possibility of holding an extended mixed tournament next season'. This meeting was held on the 3rd of May 1974 with representatives from the six local clubs. The meeting considered the previous two day tournament a success with a small profit of $17.35c which was to be used to advertise the next tournament. Application was also made to the Centre for the right of men’s clubs to lend their greens to the women on Wednesdays for mixed tournaments.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

A further meeting on the 21st of June of that year records the first official use of the name Cambridge Combined Bowling Clubs. A report by B. Deed that the Centre had agreed to their remit that men could loan their greens to women’s clubs on Wednesdays, for mixed tournaments, cleared the way for what was to become widely known as the Cambridge Combined Clubs’ 3 Day Mixed Tournament. Played at each of the bowling clubs in Cambridge on the 7th, 8th and 9th of April 1975 it was an immediate success, drawing 86 teams from a wide area of the North Island with teams present from Auckland, New Plymouth, Taupo, Edgecombe and many other centres as well as the local centre. The report in the Cambridge Independent stated that this was the first ever extended mixed tournament held in New Zealand and is now assured of becoming an annual event. Leamington teams were well represented with a team comprising Mrs. Mick Cotter, Mrs. Molly Crampton, Dave Crampton and Norm Myers (skip) being runner up in the main event. The outright winners in the consolation tournament run on the final day was another Leamington team of Bell Reynolds, Laurie Curin, Sam Reynolds and Owen Curin (skip). Over 50 teams immediately entered for the following year, when entries were to rise to over a hundred with often a waiting list of teams wishing to enter. By 1981 the tournament was exceeding all expectations in popularity. With entries coming in from all over the North Island reports of that year’s tournament showed 448 bowlers taking part on eight greens in Cambridge and Leamington, with a large number of teams unable to gain entry. In 1982 in welcoming visitors on opening day the President Gordon Vagg announced that no fewer than 140 teams had sought entry to the tournament. In future years pre-paid entries would not be allowed and the first 112 paid entries received would be accepted. Warren Towers who was a member of the Leamington Club at the time became secretary of the Combined Clubs Committee during this period. He well remembers that on the first Monday in October he would post off entry forms for the next tournament and by Wednesday the entries were beginning to arrive and by Friday the tournament would be full. What were the thoughts during this time of those who had so strenuously opposed the introduction of mixed tournaments? The tournament of the 1982 year was won by a New Plymouth team of Jopie Half, John Half, Louise Carley and Sid Carley (skip) one of a number of teams from the Taranaki province. Sid was to win the tournament no less than three times over the years. In the 1986-87 season to celebrate the centennial of the Cambridge Borough, Cambridge Combined Clubs organised a one-day tournament in October. Ninety-six men and women bowlers from the six local clubs were drawn into twenty-four mixed teams. The president of the combined club, May Dunn welcomed the players and the mayor, Pat Allan, expressed pleasure that the bowlers were holding a special event in Cambridge’s Centennial year. A very enjoyable day concluded with an all-Leamington team of Doug McCabe, Doreen Davies, Molly Burns and Jim Johnstone the winners. Second place went to Phyllis Furborough (Leamington), Rita Reeves (Cambridge), Bill Cloke (Cambridge) and Charlie Dunn (Leamington). Third place-getters were Geoff 37


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Evershead (Cambridge), Dot Headley (Leamington), Ron Reeves (Cambridge) and May Dunn (Leamington). Thanks went to Warren Towers and the profit from the day went to the local St. Johns Ambulance Association. Entries were to drop away, not because mixed tournaments were any less popular but because other centres were quick to follow Cambridge Combined Clubs’ lead. Today there are many mixed tournaments throughout the country, finally burying the prejudice that had existed for so long. At the 25th anniversary fifty-eight teams entered; eleven from Leamington club who were always strong supporters of the tournament. Individuals from the club were also prominent in organising the event. May Dunn was secretary for seven years, president for two and Patron for nine. Bell Reynolds was president for three years during which time she did not play, but spent time every day visiting each green ensuring the players were enjoying themselves. She was made the Cambridge Independent’s Sport Personality Of The Week in 1981 and was awarded a New World Supermarket voucher. Others who served on the committee in various capacities were L. Harvey, N. Frost, Betty Percy, John Jennings and Bob Wiseman. Bowlers from Cambridge and Central clubs also prominent in the organisation of the tournament were Gordon Vagg, T. Turnbull, Bert Deed and Betty and Don Bruce. Unfortunately the tournament which started a minor revolution in the bowling world has struggled to survive over the last few years with only 22 teams contesting the thirtieth annual event in 2004. A decision was made at the annual meeting of the combined clubs that the tournament would cease much to the regret of many older bowlers who had supported the Three Day Tournament for many years.

1980 — 1990 The opening year of the new decade saw a proposal put forward to convert the No 1 green to cotula. No doubt reflecting the success of the first green, members were keen to see their club proceed with the establishment of a second green in the same way. A special meeting was called in March 1980 when it was moved ‘That we convert No 1 green to cotula.’ The discussion that followed showed that the majority of members were in favour of the change although some preferred deferring the conversion until after the jubilee celebrations which were being planned for the following season. The decision was made to go ahead; the motion being passed by 17 votes to 7. By April Laurie Harvey reported that good progress was being made in the preparation of the green and by May he reported that the green had been sown in cotula and was growing well. By the time of the Jubilee celebrations the club had two well established cotula greens which were to serve the club well for many years and which have received much favourable comment over the years from visiting teams.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Fiftieth Jubilee Celebrations

President Ray Moncur welcomes members and visitors to the Leamington Men’s Bowling Club fiftieth anniversary.

Meanwhile preparations were well under way to celebrate the opening of the club fifty years previously. Following the pattern of the formation of the club two separate celebrations were planned. The first was to commemorate the meeting called on the 15th of December in the Leamington Town Hall when the decision was made to form the Leamington Bowling Club. The nearest weekend, the 13th and 14th of December, was chosen for this. The Saturday men’s tournament was attended by a wide representation of past and present members including eleven past presidents of the club. The oldest of these was Bill Morrow, 86, who held office in 1939-40; Arthur Fletcher 1951-53 and 1959-61; Charlie Dunn 1956-57; George Smith 1964-67; Alex Ryrie 1966-67; Norm Myers 1970-72; Norm Frost 1973-74; Laurie Harvey 1975-76, Keith Miller 1977-78 and Neville Blundell 1979-80. The visitors were welcomed by President Ray Moncur who at the end of the day gave a short history of the club and paid tribute to the past presidents who, he said had all contributed to the progress of the club. He thanked the members of the women’s club and all who had assisted with the organisation of the celebrations. “There have been a lot of mighty guys in the club and we still have them’ said Charlie Dunn a member for thirty years. Speaking on behalf of visiting teams Gordon Vagg offered congratulations saying “It is only a pity the original foundation members are not here to see the club today.” The Sunday, fittingly, because of the close association between the men’s and women’s clubs was a mixed tournament. A special ceremony was the cutting of the Jubilee cake, made by Mrs. Phyllis Beech and cut by three Life members, Carol Gunderson and Messrs Bob Hunt and Arthur Paton. The winning team on the Saturday was skipped by the well-known local bowler Gordon Vagg of the Central Club with his team of Ron Fell, Len Crawshaw and Peter Welten. Runner-up was a Cambridge club team of Ron Vaudrey, Reg Baldwin, Tom Lamont and Dave Clark (skip) with a Leamington combination of Roger McGeeham, 39


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Ray Nelson, Jim Fitzgibbon and Charlie Dunn (skip) in third place. The Sunday tournament winners were the Cambridge Bowling Club team of Flo Baldwin, Myra Moses, Reg Baldwin and Dick Moses (skip), with the Leamington team of Les and Ida McKay, and Deni and Dave Crampton (skip) second and another Leamington team Geoff Allan, Pearl Harvey, Pat Fletcher and Laurie Harvey (skip) third.

This photograph appeared in the Cambridge Independent at the time with the caption: VISITING REPRESENTATIVES... Five outside clubs who were represented at the Leamington Bowling Club's opening fifty years ago had teams present again on Saturday. Photographed are Ray Moncur (Leamington president), Ken Stone (Hamiton), Harry Alcock (Whitiora), Gordon Roper (Frankton Railway), George Mandeno (Te Awamutu), Will Hicks (Cambridge), Norm Myers (Centre delegate) and Bob Hunt (Leamington patron).

The official opening of the club on Saturday the 14th of March 1931 was celebrated to the day on Saturday the 14th of March 1981 with a Men’s Open Tournament at which five teams representing clubs who had been present at the original opening were present. Leamington bowlers, Ralph and Nelson Garland, sons of William Garland president in 1935-36 sent up the first jack and bowl. At the conclusion of play congratulations on the progress made by the club and best wishes for the future were extended by George Mandeno (Te Awamutu) Gordon Roper (Frankton Junction) Harry Alcock (Whitiora) Ken Stone (Hamilton) and Waldo Beer (Cambridge) representing the five visiting clubs at the original opening. Congratulations came also from Gib James (Central) Norm Myers (Waikato-Thames Valley Centre) and from the Mayor of Cambridge Mr. Ray Webb who congratulated the club on providing such a fine asset for the town and hoped the next fifty years would be as progressive and enjoyable as the last. The day ended with the presentation of prizes by club patron Bob Hunt with everyone agreeing that it was appropriate that the winning team should be one skipped by Norm Myers who had contributed so much to the club over the years. His team members were Geoff Allan, 40


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Jim Johnson a visitor from Tauranga and Warren Towers. It was also pleasing that the second, third and fourth teams were from Te Awamutu, Whitiora and Cambridge clubs, representing three of the clubs present fifty years previously.

The 50th Jubilee cake is cut by the three life members Bob Hunt, Carol Gunderson and Arthur Paton.

From the time the club had provided its own water supply the usual method of watering the greens was by flooding. Using a three inch fire hose or similar and a full tank of water it did not take long. When Laurie Harvey was green superintendent he preferred to flood in the late evenings to avoid the temptation of anyone causing damage by paddling in the water. This led to a rather unusual incident. Laurie had noted some damage around holes drilled in the greens during autumn cultivation which had not been completely filled. Suspecting some caterpillar was responsible, he flooded a small area with a hand hose and succeeded in driving out several porina caterpillars. He decided to flood the green about sundown. As the water spread across the green the heads of caterpillars could be seen as they came up out of their holes vainly trying to hang on by their tails as they pushed their heads above the water, a most unusual sight. The flow of water soon defeated them and they were washed to one side of the green where Laurie and his helpers paddled around and picked up about half a gallon of half dead caterpillars. The green was subsequently sprayed with insecticide to ensure a complete kill. Flooding of the green ceased in 1983, a special meeting of the club was called to discuss the installation of a sprinkler system. The club decided to proceed with the project at an estimated cost of $3,000 which was to be raised by way of interest free debentures of $50, repayable by ballot drawn at the annual meeting. Within a short time as had happened so often in the past an enthusiastic working bee was organised and members were busy digging trenches and laying pipes to the four sides of each green and using the skills of various members to join the network of pipes to supply the four sprinkler heads on each green. Although some modifications have been

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

necessary over the years, including a centre sprinkler on each green, the system is still working well. In 1984, at the opening of the club, Laurie Harvey was presented with his Life Membership by Patron Bob Hunt in recognition of his many years of service to the club, first as assistant greenkeeper then as green superintendent for ten years. This was the same year Alex Ryrie, long time member and a past president, presented the club with a painting of the band rotunda which had served as the clubhouse for the first thirty years of the club’s existence. The painting was by another long serving member, retired minister Les Norwell, who had been secretary for eleven years. The painting hangs in the clubhouse, a reminder to all who knew Les as a very popular member with a dry sense of humour. A number of years later, on the passing of this well respected player, Les' widow offered the club a choice of another one of his paintings which also hangs in the clubhouse. This is a representation of a well-known Cambridge landmark, the Whitehall rocks. Alex Ryrie died in 1985. His son Jan Ryrie of Kitimac, British Columbia donated the Alex Ryrie Memorial Cup in memory of his father and mother who both served their respective clubs well; Jean as a member of the women’s club executive, and Alex was president from 1965-67 secretary-treasurer 1959-62 and as treasurer 1980-1982. The cup was first awarded for mixed pairs but later for mixed triples. Norm Myers joined the club in 1952 and was soon involved on the executive. He became tournament secretary in 1968, a position he was to hold for thirty years during which time he served two terms as president. In 1986 he was awarded life membership of the club and later the same year after having served several years on the Waikato Centre Executive he was elected president a position he held for two terms. In 1989 Norm donated a cup for competition among Junior teams belonging to the zone to be run on similar lines to the Vagg Cup. This has become a keenly contested event which although coming close, the Leamington Juniors did not manage to win until the 2004 season. Norm retained his interest in the club until ill health forced his retirement from the game. He will be remembered for the tournament which with his wife Nancy sponsored for a number of years. A memorial tournament was held in 2004 and it is the wish of his family that this continues. In 1989 a group of juniors was invited from Auckland for a weekend of bowls with local juniors. This was arranged by coaches from both areas as a culmination of the winter coaching programme and was continued for several years. A friendly game was played on Saturday afternoons followed on the Sunday by a full day’s tournament, lunch being supplied by members of the women’s club. The introduction of Twilight Bowls at the end of the 1980s was an attempt to encourage non-bowlers to try the sport. A leaflet drop was organised around the Leamington area; the only requirement being the wearing of flat soled shoes. The club supplied bowls where needed. This met with a reasonable measure of success and many happy meetings have been enjoyed followed by a barbeque in the clubrooms.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

It was also at the end of this decade the Leamington Indoor Bowling Club who had been using the pavilion for their club nights, donated $400 to improve the lighting system.

Stalwarts of Leamington Bowling Club Life Members Laurie Harvey, Charlie Dunn, Patron Arther Paton, Life member Norm Meyers and joint patron Bob Hunt.

Achievements during the Eighties and Nineties During these decades as well as competing on the local scene and in open tournaments within the Waikato Centre, the clubs were also competing further afield. Men’s teams were regularly traveling to Taranaki, the Bay of Plenty, Taupo and Rotorua to compete in extended open tournaments. Some successes were recorded. In 1981 a team skipped by Norm Myers with Bruce Jeans, Rex Beech and Norm Frost came third equal in the Combined Tauranga tournament. In 1984 a team skipped by Laurie Harvey with Ray Moncur, Keith Taylor and Neville Blundell were runners-up in the same tournament. This was quite an achievement as at that time the tournament was played on greens from Katikati to Te Puke with over two hundred teams participating, playing two games of twenty-five ends on each of four days with some games not finishing until six o’clock in the evening. Six or more wins qualified for post section play. From then on it was sudden death play-offs. The tournament would finish on Saturday or sometimes the Sunday, depending on the number of qualifiers. The first success at centre level occurred in 1982 when Keith Taylor won the Waikato Junior Champion of Champions Singles title, fifty-two years after the club was formed. In 1986 Ray Moncur won the Open Champion of Champions Singles title of the Waikato Bowling Centre at his sixth attempt. Along the way ‘he had established himself as one of the Waikato’s leading bowlers.’(Cambridge Independent). He went on to reach the last eight at the National Champion of Champion event held that year in 43


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Nelson. Three years later in the 1989-90 season Ray (skip) with Earl Petch and Herbie Furborough were runners-up in the Waikato Centre Champion of Champions Triples. The club had long been a supporter of the Cambridge Easter Tournament entering teams and on several occasions over the years offering the use of the Leamington greens if needed. In 1980 a letter was received thanking the club for the use of their greens during Easter. Success in this tournament was however a long time in coming. In 1982 two Leamington teams reached the semi-finals and one team comprising Neville Blundell (skip) Warren Towers, Cyril Peterson and Keith Taylor were successful in reaching the final. On an adjoining rink Laurie Harvey (skip) Bruce Jeans, Alec Ryrie and Frank Smith had reached the last end holding an advantage of four shots over a Whitiora team skipped by Ralph Dutton. A famous first was looming for an all-Leamington final. Then disaster struck and the Leamington team dropped five shots on that final end. Ralph Dutton’s team went on to comfortably win the final. Two years later in 1985 a team skipped by Ray Moncur reached the final only to be denied the win. Success came in 1987 when again two Leamington teams reached the semi-finals. Ray Moncur’s team of H. Furborough, I. McDougal and Don Bruce was eliminated by R. Lowe of Putaruru and the other team of Laurie Harvey, Bruce Jeans, Biz Weinberg and Keith Gray eliminated George Jaspers’ team from Tauranga. The day was one of almost continuous light rain during the morning semi-final with the greens becoming slowly flooded, necessitating several stoppages while water was swept off. The final was delayed on two occasions due to heavy rain and finally at five o’clock with the score locked at 13 all after nineteen ends, by agreement the final ends were decided on the draw of cards. Not the most satisfactory way to win the club’s first Easter, but looking back it was a hard won final with the winner in the end having, to quote a bowling term the ‘rub of the green.’ Ten years on in 1997 Bruce Jeans (skip) and Laurie Harvey, together with Harry Trotter and Tom Bourke managed a second win in the Cambridge Easter, this time on a sunny day, defeating a Cambridge team of J. Newberry (skip), G. Newberry, C. Haines and J. Crawford. A very satisfying result as the Leamington team was the last to qualify in the final eight. This was a good year for the two Leamington clubs as a team comprising Betty Hines (skip) Pat Fletcher, Howard Walker and Dom Russo were successful in winning the Cambridge Combined Clubs Mixed Three Day Tournament, a first for the Leamington club. The previous year a composite team skipped by Neville Blundell (Putaruru, previously of Leamington) together with Laurie and Pearl Harvey (Leamington) and Grace Lowe (Putaruru, substituting for Joyce Blundell) were successful in winning the three day mixed tournament. The beginning of the nineties saw several promising younger players joining the club. In the 1990-91 season Russell Adamson and Larry Fitzpatrick (skip) were runner-up in the Waikato Centre Champion of Champions Pairs. Larry Fitzpatrick won the 1992 Waikato Junior Champion of Champion Singles and was selected for the Waikato Junior Representative team where he won the Don Healey Trophy for the best allround junior in the Waikato Centre. In the same year the team of John Taylor, Ross 44


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Davies, Stephen Phillips and Larry Fitzpatrick (skip) won the Waikato Junior Nominated Fours. The following year Stephen Phillips and Larry Fitzpatrick (skip) won the Waikato Junior Champion of Champions Pairs. In 1994 the club retained the junior Champion of Champion Pairs when it was won by John Taylor and George Wood. In 1995 Stephen Phillips won the Waikato Open Singles. The 1997 season saw another Champion of Champions Pairs title won by Ross Davies and Kevin Gainsford (skip) the latter also winning the Waikato Open with K. Robinson (skip) of Tokoroa. The following year the team of Graham Whyte, Vic Read and Kevin Gainsford (skip) won the Champion of Champion Triples. Another tournament, Superbowls, was first played for in the 1998 season. The local section was won by Steve Posa who was a new member of the Leamington club and also representing the Hillcrest club. He went on to be runner-up in the National Superbowls played into Dunedin. This qualified him to play in the World Superbowls finals in England where he was unfortunately eliminated in the first round. The following year Steve again qualified for the World Superbowls by winning an Auckland tournament. He again traveled to the world event but was again eliminated.

Leamington Women’s Club During Two Decades Of Play For the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club the 1980s was a beginning of a golden era. Previous to this the club had won only one centre title when, in 1971, J. Doyle won the Junior Champion of Champions Singles. Two years later in the 1973-74 season Bell Reynolds came close to bringing the Leamington Women’s Club its first open title when in a close game she was defeated in the final by Elsie Wilkie. In 1982 Pat Fletcher (skip) and Betty Hines won the Waikato Open Championships Pairs followed the following year with Pat Fletcher winning the Waikato Open Championships Singles and coming runner-up in the National Champion of Champions Singles played at Blenheim. In February 1987, Pat Fletcher (skip) Betty Hines and Nellie Shaw won the Centre Champion of Champions Triples and with Barbara Carson won the Waikato Open Fours a month later. Continuing into the next decade the same team again won the Centre Championship Triples in January 1990 and at the start of the next season in November 1990 Pat Fletcher won her second Waikato Centre title. In the same season, March 1991, Pat Fletcher (skip) and Betty Hines won their second Waikato Centre Champion of Champions Pairs title and a team comprising Betty Hines (skip) N. Shaw, B. Carson and N. Callagher won the Waikato Open Fours. In November of the following season Pat Fletcher (skip) and Betty Hines, N. Moess and P. Scholes won the Waikato Centre Graded Fours, followed in February 1992 when Betty Hines (skip) Nellie Shaw and Pat Fletcher won their third Centre Champion of Champions Triples title. Thus in a ten-year period from 1982 to 1992 the club won ten centre titles and three members Pat Fletcher, Betty Hines and Nellie Shaw were awarded gold stars for winning five centre titles, an outstanding 45


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

performance for a relatively small club. Two further titles were added in 1996 and 1997 when Jean Wallis twice won the junior Champion of Champions Singles. Jean Wallis and Dawn Bourke, during the 1996-97 season twice won the Waikato Junior Pairs tournament; an event that has since been elevated to centre title status.

Leamington Golden Girls Pat Fletcher, Nellie Shaw and Betty Hines winners of Gold Stars for 5 Centre titles.

Club members also performed with credit in the annual Dominion tournament that was held in the Waikato in February 1986 with some play taking place on the Leamington greens. Twenty-one players of the Leamington Women’s Club took part, including five teams in the fours, five teams in the pairs and seven players contesting the singles. Pat Fletcher (skip) and her team of Nellie Shaw, Olive Williams and Betty Hines defeated some leading teams, including Rhoda Ryan of Matamata, to reach the semi-final when they were eliminated by the eventual winners, a Kihikihi team skipped by Maida Russ. In the pairs Pat Fletcher (skip) and Betty Hines progressed to post section play before being eliminated. These two players also contested the singles where both qualified with Pat reaching the semi-finals. As the headlines in Cambridge Independent stated “A Great Effort But No Titles Won.” In 1987 Leamington Women’s team of May Dunn, Lily Yeates and Kitt Isitt caused a major upset when in the first round of post section play in the Taranaki Women’s Open they eliminated a team skipped by Maida Russ who had won the New Zealand Women’s Open Fours played in the Waikato the previous year. So ended two decades of play which the Leamington Women’s club could look back on with pride.

1990 — 2000 While the two clubs could look back on a very successful decade through the eighties and they continued to have some success on the greens in the nineties as described in the last chapter some problems and challenges were ahead. The first of these had been 46


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

recognised with the introduction of twilight bowls at the end of the last decade to try and attract new members. Along with many other clubs falling membership was a problem and continues to be so. The way we organised our championships was also being discussed at this time. Research shows that this was a topic that had been regularly raised over the years. In the 1940s skips were allowed to pick their own teams when representing the club, provided the team was graded. The club always remained firm in its resolve that all championships be drawn. This meant, for all club events, including championships, members could enter their names and be sure of getting a game. A compromise was tried in the 1980s when teams for champion of champions events were selected but this was also a cause of dissatisfaction, as players who had been part of a championship winning team were often left out. A satisfactory solution appeared to have been found in the late 1980s when it was decided to hold special one-day events in pairs, triples and fours. Skips could pick their own teams and the winners were to represent the club in Champion of Champions events. Within a few years this was upgraded to a full two-life system with a subsequent reduction of the drawn championships which had been one of the strengths of the club, to a one-day tournament. It seems that the right balance which ensures that all players, especially beginners, having the opportunity to participate in all events has yet to be reached. Perhaps a return to the 1940 graded teams could be the answer. The women players do not have this problem as their rules do not allow for drawn teams in championship events. The problem of ensuing the participation of all their members is however still there. Another problem facing the club was fitting the programme to suit the majority of members, many of whom were working on Saturdays. This was reminiscent of the early days of the club when only Saturday afternoon was available for club play. While Sunday is now available it is still a difficulty. Another problem was the increasing demand on clubs with the introduction of an inter-club competition which although popular with those participating restricts the amount of time available for the completion of their club competitions before Christmas. In the past this had left the New Year free for the running of the major tournaments. This was further complicated when the Waikato Centre hosted the women’s and men’s national championships. While we looked forward to seeing the top players perform in our area and the chance to participate, it did have a downside. In the case of the men’s nationals which were played in January 1992 on Waikato greens, including Leamington it was necessary to change the date from early to late January for our very popular two-day mixed tournament which had been sponsored for a number of years by Nelson and Ralph Garland, later by Trust Bank Waikato and then by National Insurance. The club was unable to regain this date the following year, the tournament lost some of its popularity and was reduced to a one-day and finally dropped from the programme. The effect of the inter-club on the club programme was serious enough for the club to call a special executive meeting on the 21st of March 1995 to debate the matter. After much discussion several remits were formulated to forward to the club’s AGM for 47


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

approval to go forward to the centre AGM. Other clubs were also expressing dissatisfaction with the way the inter-club was run and its effect on local events. As a result of these representatives the Centre made a reduction in the number of playing days set aside for the inter-club but it is still the subject of some dissatisfaction among bowlers throughout the area. Another matter that was causing some discussion was the introduction of the card system for tournaments based on a wins and points system it allowed a tournament to be finalized by the end of the fourth game. This allowed the sponsor to be present and address all players during afternoon tea and to present the prizes. The previous system, favoured by many of the older players was the play-off system where each game had to find a winner often necessitating an extra end. At the end of the day, following afternoon tea, those still in contention had to play off, thereby extending the day quite considerably. Other players with long distances to travel were often long gone before the winners were found. The card system has been gradually accepted and is now used in the majority of one-day open tournaments, returning to a system recorded on 7th of May 1935 in the Waikato Independent as mentioned earlier. To quote an old saying there is very little new under the sun. The Cambridge Cosmopolitan Club (known colloquially as the Cossie Club) had for several years been hiring the use of the Leamington greens on a one evening a week basis. At the end of the 1992-93 season they made an offer of $3,000 rental for use of the greens on Monday evenings, for a ten-year period. This was accepted and has been a very successful association. A number of Leamington members are also members of the Cossie Club. The year 1993 saw the calling of a Special General Meeting to discuss the renovation of the No 2 green, the first green to be sown in cotula in 1979 which was suffering from thatch and poor drainage. The decision was made to close the green early and to proceed with the renovation. Following the obtaining of a written quote, this was confirmed at a further special meeting on the 14th of December. The top two inches of the green were removed using special machinery developed for the job. This disposed of the thatch leaving the soil to be removed by shovel and wheelbarrow; a big job. Members were fortunate to be assisted by a number of Periodic Detention workers in this task. Members of the Women’s Bowling Club provided lunch. Unfortunately the contractor was unable to remove as much depth of soil as planned, due to striking shingle when starting the second cut. However with much hard work in levelling and re-sowing in cotula, a good result was obtained. The subsequent oversowing with maniatoto a few years later saw this cotula taking over, changing the character of No 2 green; maniatoto tending to make a faster green. During this decade the men’s club honoured two of their members with Life Memberships. The first of these was Lloyd Eves in 1993 after being a member for 16 years. Lloyd did not earn this accolade for his exploits on the green where he was a good average bowler and he never aspired to an executive position. He earned his life 48


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

membership working quietly on a number of committees without which no club can operate. He served 12 years on the match committee, 6 years on the house committee, 12 years on the Mid Week Rollup committee and 7 on the Winter Rollup committee, often serving on two or three committees at the same time. He was always there to answer the phone on rollup days and always there to help tidy up, both on the green and in the clubhouse at the completion of play. When, through failing sight, he had to give up his favourite sport he was sadly missed; he was an example to us all. The second Life Member was Ray Moncur who served a term as president in 1980-82 and became treasurer in 1983, holding the position until the 1997 season. He also held the position of secretary for a year in 1995-96. Ray was also a well-known figure on the green having represented the club widely both in Centre events and open tournaments in the Waikato area and further afield. Another event of major importance was to take place before the end of the last decade of the century. Big changes had been taking place at top-level administration; the New Zealand Bowling Association made a decision to amalgamate the men’s and women’s national organisations under the name of Bowls New Zealand. Clubs were being encouraged to amalgamate. The first recorded move for the Leamington clubs was at the AGM of the men’s club on the 18th of May 1996 when a recommendation was carried that the women’s club be approached with a view to amalgamating in the future. Several meetings were held over the next two years while the pros and cons were discussed. There had always been good co-operation between the clubs. While the men were largely responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and voluntary labour for the major projects, the women worked hard raising money for their own club, with any surplus being donated to the men’s club. In addition they kept the pavilion clean and tidy and tended the gardens around the clubhouse and greens. At a Special General Meeting called by the men’s club on the 14th of December 1996 an official move was made towards amalgamation, with the motion “That this club

amalgamate with the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club, such amalgamation to take place on the 1th of June 1997.” After some discussion this was passed by a large majority. Further meetings were held where the Women’s club expressed some concern over the date, equalisation of subscriptions and some constitutional matters. It was decided to delay amalgamation for a year, during which approval was given to the amalgamation of the two Waikato Centre organisations. Maureen Read (President) presided over the last meeting of the Leamington Women’s Bowling Club on the 1st of March 1998. Two months later on the 24th of May the Leamington Men’s Bowling Club met to formally move “That the Leamington Men’s

Bowling Club be wound up and the assets of the club pass to the ownership of Leamington Bowls Inc.” This was passed unanimously. Graham Whyte retiring president of the men’s club wished the new organisation every success. That same day the inaugural meeting of Leamington Bowls was held with an attendance of 53 members with 18 apologies. In the spirit of the new organisation the first President was Graham Whyte with Vice-president Maureen Read being elected the following 49


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

year. Carol Voller and Bob Wiseman were vice-presidents; Dawn Highnam, secretary, John Jennings treasurer, Jean Wallis assistant secretary-treasurer, Dorothy and Graham Whyte tournament secretaries, K. Gainsford green superintendent, Maureen Read club captain, Tom Bourke social convenor and Bob Perrin convenor of the house committee. The following year saw the introduction of a mid-winter dinner at the clubrooms. This was a big success with 138 members and family attending. A highlight of the day was the presence of the Ranfurly Shield which was held at the time by Waikato. This was arranged by Tom Bourke who had a long association with the Waikato Rugby Union. The Christmas dinner at the Cambridge Tavern was also a great success with 112 attending. These functions continue bringing club members and their families together on a social basis. So ended the decade and the century.

2000 0nward A New Decade And A New Century Early in the decade the need to renovate No 1 green was becoming apparent. Consideration was given to changing to Astroturf but after investigation the cost was beyond the ability of the club to meet the financial commitment. Instead the committee met with Harry Hopping, greens adviser and Richard Death on the 17th of December 2001 to discuss the merits of establishing a starweed and maniatoto green, and to investigate costs. At a Special General Meeting the following month, the decision was made to convert the green at a cost of five and a half to six thousand dollars. That autumn saw a hive of activity as work commenced on the task of removing several inches of topsoil. Detention workers again assisted members to wheelbarrow the soil from the green to Borough Council trucks which made numerous trips to the Taylor Street rugby grounds where it was used to build up a terrace. After several days of cultivating and leveling the green was ready for the sowing of starweed, followed by the over-sowing of maniatoto cotula in June. Unfortunately the weather did not help the establishment of the starweed and it was the following autumn before the greens could be tested with a couple of rollups. By the start of the following season it was looking good and the members were looking forward to testing a new surface that few had experienced. By the start of the 2004—05 season the green was starting to show a lot of promise and should serve the club well in the years ahead. Plans were also in hand early on in the new century to update the clubhouse with the addition of a covered decking along the front to provide an area where players and visitors could sit in comfort to view action on the green. In charge of the project was Vic Read who has contributed much to club maintenance over the years. He was ably assisted by other members of the club led by President Ivan Stanton, The result was an attractive addition to the clubhouse. The first Annual General Meeting of the new century on the 21st of May 2000 saw the combined club honouring two of its members with Life Membership; appropriately one 50


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

woman and one man. Pearl Harvey had served for a number of years on the Women’s Executive including two terms as President and two years as Secretary and had also served on the match committee. Bruce Jeans received Life Membership for his work as a member of the Executive during which he served two terms as President and as club coach for twenty years. The club suffered an early loss with the sudden death of Pat Fletcher in 2002. Pat had earned wide respect on the green, winning her gold star in 1990 and with a total of nine centre titles was one short of a gold bar. She was sadly missed because as well as participating in most club events she was often present to watch Men’s events. As one male member remarked after her death, it did not seem right playing without Pat watching from the sideline. A new star however was arising in the club. Genevieve Baildon first played in 1995 when as an eleven-year-old schoolgirl she came with her father to twilight bowls, and later became a student member. The introduction of the Waikato Area School Bowls Pairs in 1995 enabled her to compete with players of her own age, and taking part from the beginning, she gained experience and confidence. In 1999 she was runner-up in the Club’s Women’s Junior Singles, an event she was to win in the next three years. Also in 1999 she entered the Kittyhawk under 19 Nationals at Mt. Eden; an event she entered for the following four years, winning the prize for the Best Performed Young Woman in 2001, 2002, and 2003. In 2000 Genevieve was runner-up in the girls’ singles at the College Games at Hamilton City. She was third equal at the Secondary School Bowls at Wanganui (2001) an event she was to win the following year at Nelson.

Genevieve Baildon First Leamington Club member to be selected to represent New Zealand

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

In 2002 Genevieve was selected to represent New Zealand in the inaugural Junior Trans-Tasman test series. This was played at Moama, Australia, and won by the Australians, 3-0. In 2003 she again represented New Zealand in the second TransTasman series where, at Pukekohe Indoor Stadium, New Zealand won an historic first test with Genevieve winning her singles match. Unfortunately Australia went on to win the series 2-1. In 2002 Genevieve won the Waikato Centre Champion of Champions 5 years and under singles. In 2004 she won the club’s women’s open singles. In 2005 Genevieve was selected to represent New Zealand for the third time as part of a four strong New Zealand under 25 team to play in an age-graded singles tournament held in Hong-Kong in conjunction with the World Indoor Bowls Singles. She came third in the Women’s event. Now attending Waikato University and a member of the National Women’s Development Squad she has a promising future. The Leamington club wishes her well wherever her career takes her. The club continued to perform well at Centre level, in 2000 winning two further titles when Stephen Posa won the champion of Champions Singles and the team of Geoff Anson, Kevin Gainsford, Steve Livingston and Stephen Posa (skip) won the Waikato Open Fours. In October Ross McGrail was selected for the Waikato Academy Team that had been set up to coach emerging players of promise. Ross had performed well at club level twice winning the Junior Singles Championship and also the Open Pairs Championship with Vic Read. In January of 2001 the men were successful in bringing home the Vagg Cup and a team comprising Tom Bourke, Bob Bisset, Brian Tomsett and Allan Holmes (skip) won the prestigious Hinuera Leads and Twos Tournament. In April of the same year I. Stanton, R. McGrail and Tom Bourke won the Waikato Triples ten years and under. Vic and Maureen Read of the Leamington club in a composite team with A. Steiner and P. Froggett of Tokoroa won the Cambridge Combined Three Day Tournament. The next major successes were in the 2003-04 season when Gary Mutton, Ken Solly, Lindsay Calkin and Kevin Weal and Gavin Fryer finally brought home the Myers Trophy and a women’s team of Betty Hines, Dawn Highnam, Maureen Read, Jean Wallis, Dorothy Whyte, Genevieve Baildon and Dorrie Carnegie won the inaugural Waipa Women’s Trophy on the same day. The following season saw even more success when the junior men again won the Myers Trophy with Dave Silva replacing Lindsay Calkin in the team. This was only a start as Kevin Weal and Dave Silva went on to win the Waikato Junior Champion of Champions Pairs and Lindsay Calkin and Vic Read (skip) won the Waikato Champion of Champions Pairs. This was followed by Dave Silva, Kevin Gainsford, Geoff Anson (skip) winning the National Regional Triples at Thames, which qualified them for the National finals at Rotorua. In the Waikato Under Ten Year players Dave Silva, Ken Solly and Lindsay Calkin (skip) had another win for the club. To cap off an excellent season a men’s triples team of Lindsay Calkin, Vic Read and Kevin Gainsford (skip) in 52


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

the Champion of Champions Triples came third equal, and not to be outdone Maureen Read, Audrey Smith and Dawn Highnam also finished third equal in the Women’s Champion of Champions Triples. The Leamington men's and women's bowling clubs have always been very competitive both at club, inter-club and centre level as well, as has been mentioned earlier, traveling and competing further afield. For small clubs they have had a fair measure of success over the years and most of these successes have been mentioned as they occurred. At club level the honours board is there to record those who have won honours at club level. Two players however deserve special mention having proved themselves both at club level and further afield. The first is the late Pat Fletcher who won a total of fifty eight titles and earned her gold star at centre level. The second is Ray Moncur whose name appears thirty-four times on the honours board and has also proved himself further afield with one centre title and numerous open tournament successes.

Ray Moncur 1 Centre Title 34 Club Titles and Pat Fletcher 9 Centre Titles Winner of Gold Star and 58 Club Titles

Looking Forward and Looking Looking Back A tribute to those who have contributed much to the club we have today. With the 2004-05 AGM over and a new committee elected the club was starting to plan ahead for the seventy-fifth year anniversary of the clubs formation to be celebrated during the coming season. Perhaps this is a time when members should pause and look back to all that has gone before. In researching the history of the Leamington Bowling Club it has become clear how many people have contributed in many ways to the successful running of the club.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

In 1983 an attempt was made to recognise those who had made significant contributions by creating a merit board where the names of prominent members of the club could be recorded. This idea was discontinued when it was found to be impossible to decide who should be included on such a list. It was also pointed out that there was already provision to recognise the contributions members made by being elected president of the club or being made a Life Member or Patron. The club could also recognise individual members by sending their names forward to the Centre for a service award. For many years this included playing an annual match between the Auckland and Waikato Thames Valley centres for the Hardley Shield, where they received their badge. For many members their contribution to the club was as a member of a committee elected to run various aspects of club activities. For others, the many working bees connected with the upkeep of the greens was an opportunity to put something back into the game they loved. It also gave them an opportunity to get to know their fellow bowlers away from competitive game where concentration on the game required all their energy. The efforts of many unfortunately were only recorded on their passing, when they were accorded a moment’s silence in their memory and the president spoke briefly of the loss to the club. It must be remembered that except for the first ten years of the club’s life when the green was managed by the domain gardener, Mr T. Hulme with help from the members of the club, all maintenance work on the green has been carried out by the members. This included in those early days regular cutting and rolling of the green, the rolling needing two men to manage the heavy hand roller. The green superintendent has since those first years always been a member of the club with generally one or two members appointed as assistants. It is only in more recent years that the club has employed a green-keeper for the regular cutting of the greens and has purchased a motorized roller to take the drudgery out of the task. The club has been well served by Peter Richards who was first appointed in 1966 and except for a period in the 1980s, still regularly cuts the greens. There is still however the regular maintenance which takes many hours during the season and many hours of renovation, calling on all available members during the winter months. This has been the strength of both clubs over the years with those entrusted to the positions of responsibility being well supported by club members when a particular job has needed to be done. At executive level too the clubs have been well served with regular monthly meetings held to ensure the smooth running of the clubs and many hours spent behind the scenes by the secretary and treasurer ensuring minute books are kept up-to-date and all accounts paid and finances well managed. Sub-committees also should not be forgotten with the match committees in particular being always in the firing line if the programme does not run smoothly. The kitchen and bar staff are also sometime taken for granted but are an essential part of club life and are often the last to leave at the end of a sometimes long day. In the men’s club most of those who have become prominent in the club or have received Life Membership have been mentioned earlier. 54


Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Before amalgamation, the women's club honoured the following with Life Membership; May Dunn, Hazel Morris, Anne Richards, Bell Reynolds, Laurie Curin and Zelda Moughan. All served for a number of years on various committees and contributed in many ways to the successful running of their club. As with the men's club those named are but a few who have served the two clubs over the years and this chapter has been written as a tribute to all who have contributed to making Leamington Bowls the club it is today. It is also a reminder to the present day members that if the club is to continue to progress in the new century they also need to put something back into the club and the game they have been able to enjoy.

Bruce Jeans the author delivers the first bowl of the 75th season

All in all the club can look back with pride on seventy-five years of effort by many individuals with much having been achieved both on and off the green.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Leamington Mens Bowling Bowling Club Presidents 1930-32 F. Lye M.P. , 1932-34 T.A. Hicks, Hicks 1934-36 J.W. Garland, Garland 1936-37 H.P. Nelson, Nelson 1937-38 J.A. Wallace, Wallace 1938-40 W.R. Morrow, Morrow 1940-41 J.H. Burton, Burton 1941-42 G. Waite, Waite 1942-43 J. Brackenridge, Brackenridge 1943-44 W.P. Cummings, Cummings 1944-46 L. Carey, Carey 1946-48 C.E. Hall, Hall 1948-49 L. Carey, Carey 1949-51 C.J. Kelly, Kelly 1951-53 A.K. Fletcher, Fletcher 1953-55 J. Paton, Paton 1955-57 C.M. Dunn, Dunn 1957-59 A.F. Shaw, Shaw 1959-61 A.K. Fletcher, Fletcher 1961-63 N. Blackburn, Blackburn 1963-65 G. Smith, Smith 1956-67 A. Ryrie, Ryrie 1967-69 O. Curin, Curin 1969-72 N. Myers, Myers 1972-74 N. Frost, Frost 1974-76 L. R. Harvey, Harvey 1976-78 K. Miller, Miller 1978-80 N. Blundell, Blundell 1980-82 R. Moncur, Moncur 1982-84 R. Nelson, Nelson 1984-86 B. Jeans, Jeans 1986-88 K. Taylor, Taylor 1988-90 W. John, John 1990-92 C. Weinberg, Weinberg 1992-93 N. Myers, Myers 1993-94 Wes. Ansley, Ansley 1994-95 S. Styles, Styles 1995-97 J. Jennings, Jennings 1997-98 G. Whyte. formation of Leamington Bowls 24 May 1998

Leamington Womans Bowling Club Presidents 1950-1953 Mrs V. Cummings, Cummings 1953-1955 Mrs J. Kelly, Kelly 1955-1957 Mrs Blackburn, Blackburn 1957-1959 Mrs M. Dunn, Dunn 1959-1960 Mrs H. M. Morris, Morris 1960-1962 Mrs McEntee, McEntee 19621964 Mrs H. M. Morris, Morris 1964-1966 Mrs Dauphin, Dauphin 1966-1969 Mrs L. Curin, Curin 1969-1971 Mrs Betty Brittin, Brittin 1971-1973 Pearl Harvey, Harvey 1973-1975 Barbara Carson, Carson 1975-1978 Merle Clune, Clune 1978-1981 Nellie Shaw, Shaw 1981-1982 Bell Reynolds, Reynolds 1982-1983 Barbara Carsons Carsons, sons 1983-1986 Ida McKay, McKay 1986-1988 Lilly Yeates, Yeates 1988-1990 Jean Gray, Gray 19901992 Phyllis Furborough, Furborough 1992-1993 Ngaire Moess, Moess 1993-1995 Betty Percy, Percy 1995-1998 Maureen Read formation of Leamington Bowls 24 May 1998

Leamington Mens Bowling Club Office Holders Holders Secretary Treasurer 1930-36 A.E. Peppercorn, Peppercorn 1936-43 R.S. Hanna, Hanna 1943-44 E.A. Morrice, Morrice 1944-47 R.S. Entwistle, Entwistle 1947-51 P.R. Hunt, Hunt 1951-56 T. Myers, Myers 1956-59 A. Jones, Jones 1959-62 A. Ryrie, Ryrie 1962-66 A. Thomas, Thomas 1966-71 A. Donaldson, Donaldson 1971-74 R.C. Evans, Evans 1974-75 E.R. Wright Secretary 1975-76 E.R. Wright, Wright 1976-86 L. Norwell, Norwell 198690 E. Moess, Moess 1990-95 S. Phillips, Phillips 1995-96 R. Moncur, Moncur 1996-98 G. Knight Treasurer 1975-80 J. Fitzgibbon, Fitzgibbon 1980-82 A. Ryrie, Ryrie 1982-83 J. Prentice, Prentice 1983-97 R. Moncur,1997Moncur 98 J. Jennings formation of Leamington Bowls 24 May 1998

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Leamington Womans Bowling Club Office Holders 1950 Secretary Rita Duncan, 1950 Treasurer Francis Stevens, Secretary Treasurer 1951-55 Mrs Garrett, 1955-56 Mrs McEntee, 1956-57 Mrs Garrett, 1957-58 Mrs Blackburn, 1958-62 Mrs Gunderson, 1962-74 May Dunn, 1974-75 Pearl Harvey Secretary 1975-78 Pearl Harvey, 1978-89 Zelda Moughan, 1989-91 N. Gallagher ,1991-98 Dawn Highnam Treasurer 1974-80 Edna Preece, 1980-82 B. Carter ,1980-87 Nellie Shaw, 1987-94 Phyllis Scholes, 1974-96 Nellie Shaw, 1996-97 J. Welton, 199798 Jean Wallis formation of Leamington Bowls 24 May 1998

Leamington Mens Bowling Club Patrons 1930-32 G. E. Clark, Clark 1932-39 F. Lye M.P., M.P 1939-50 J.W. Garland, Garland 1950-81 A.E. Paton, Paton 1981-90 A.E. Paton and P.R. Hunt, Hunt 1990-95 P.R. Hunt, Hunt 1995-98 C. Dunn Life Members 1954 J. Brackenridge, Brackenridge 1964 C.J. Kelly, Kelly 1972 A.E. Paton, Paton 1972 P.R. Hunt, Hunt 1972 G. Waite, Waite 1974 J.D. Paton, Paton 1975 C. Dunn, Dunn 1984 L. Harvey, Harvey 1986 N. Myers, Myers 1993 L. Eves. Eves 1995 R. Moncur, Moncur 2000 B. Jeans. Jeans

Leamington Mens Bowling Club Patrons 1963-64 Mrs Milich, Milich 1964-65 Mrs Hyde, Hyde 1965-79 Mrs J. Kelly, Kelly 1979-88 Carol Gunderson, Gunderson 1988-96 May Dunn, Dunn 1996-98 Pearl Harvey Life Members May Dunn, Dunn H.M. Morris, Morris Anne Richards, Richards Bell Reynolds, Reynolds Mrs Laurie Curin, Curin Zelda, Moughan, Moughan Pearl Harvey.

Formation of Leamington Bowls 24th of May 1998 First President 1998-1999 Graham Whyte, Whyte 1999-2001 Maureen Read, Read 2001-2003 Brian Tomsett, Tomsett 2003-2004 Gordon Knight, Knight 2004-2005 Ivan Stainton, Stainton 2005- Jean Wallis. Wallis

First Secretary 1998 Dawn Highnam, Highnam Assistant Secretary Treasurer 1998- J. Wallis. First Treasurer 1998-2003 J. Jennings 2003-2004 I. Grozier 2004-- J. Jennings Patrons 1998-2000 C. Dunn 2000-2001 Pearl Harvey 2001-2005 Laurie Harvey. 2005 Betty Percy

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Green Keepers – Superintendents 1930-1941 T.H. Hulme Employed by the Leamington Domain Board 1941-1944 C.E. Hall 1944-1948 Joint Green Supervisors C.E. Hall, T. Keeley, A.E. Lowe. Lowe 1948-1950 A.E. Lowe, W. Harris, G.Waite

Sole Green Keepers 1950-58 G. Waite, Waite 1959-1963 A.K. Fletcher.

Green Superintendents 1963-1973 C. Dunn, Dunn 1973-1988 L. Harvey, Harvey 1988-1990 W. Burroughs, Burroughs 1990-1991 G. Allen, Allen 1992-1994 H. Furborough, Furborough 1994-1996 T. Wallis, Wallis 1996-1997 G. Whyte, Whyte 1997-1999 D. McDougall, B. Bisset. McDougall 1999-2000 K. Gainfort, Gainfort 2000-B. Bisset

Leamington Mens Centre Titles Titles 1982-83 K. Taylor Junior Champion of Champions Singles, 1985-86 R. Moncur Champion of Champions Singles, 1991-92 L. Fitzpatrick Junior Champion of Champions Singles, 1991-92 L. Fitzpatrick(s) S. Phillips, R. Davies, J. Taylor Junior nominated Fours, 1992-93 L. Fitzpatrick(s) S. Phillips Junior Champion of Champions Pairs, 1993-94 J. Taylor(s) G. Wood Junior Junior Champion of Champions Pairs, 1994-95 S. Phillips Open Singles, 1996-97 K. Gainfort(s), R. Davies Champion of Champions Pairs, 1997-98 K. Gainfort(s), Gainfort(s), V Read, G Whyte Champion of Champions Triples, 1998-99 S. Posa Open Singles, 1998-99 S. Posa Superbowls, 2000-01 R. McGrail, T Bourke, J Stainton Leads and Two Triples 10 years and under, 2000-01 S Posa (s) S Liddington, K Gainfort, G. Anson Open Fours, 2004-05 K. Wael, D. Silva Junior Champion of Champions Pairs, 2004-05 V. Read (s), Lindsay Calkin Champion of Champions Pairs, 2004-05 L. Calkin (s) D Silva, K Solly Open Triples10 years and under.

Leamington Womans' Centre Titles 1970-71 J. Doyle Champion of Champions Singles, 1981-82 P. Fletcher(s) B Hines Open Champions Pairs, 1982-83 P Fletcher Champion of Champions Singles, 1986-87 P Fletcher (s) B Hines N Shaw Champion of Champions Triples, 1986-87 P Fletcher (s) B Hines B Carson N Shaw Champion of Champions Triples, 1989-90 P Fletcher Open Singles, 1989-90 P Fletcher (s) B Hines N Shaw Champion of Champions Triples, 1990-91 P Fletcher (s) B. Hines Champion of Champions Pairs, 1990-91 P Fletcher(s) N Shaw B Carson Noeline Gallagher Open Fours, 1991-92 P Fletcher (s) Betty Hines Ngaire Moess Phyllis Scholes Waikato Centre Graded Fours, 1991-92 B Hines (s) N Shaw P Fletcher Champion of Champions Triples, 1995-96 Jean Wallis Champion of Champions Junior Singles, 1996-97 Jean Wallis Champion of Champions Junior Singles, 2001-02 Genevieve Baildon Champion of Champions Junior Singles.

Gold Star Winners Pat Fletcher 9 Centre Titles, Betty Hines 7 Centre Titles, Nellie Shaw 5 Centre Titles

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

The Bowler Patient and strong All the day long; Sweet and polite From morning to night; Happy and cheery Though prospects be dreary; Careful and straight. Resourceful and wise Under all sorts of skies; Hopeful and brave Though the crisis be grave; Helpful and kind And to all fates resigned; Ready and quick. Calm and serene On the smooth bowling green; Smiling not crossed If the game has been lost; But subdued as to tone When the victory's his own; Such is the proper bowler. Found in the Waikato Independent (local Cambridge newspaper) of 9 April 1921.

Don'ts For Skips Don't grouch at your team Don't acquire the habit of praising all shots good or bad. Don't blame your team for losing; take your share Don't change a players second shot unless absolutely necessary e.g. changed head Don't give your third a shot you are not prepared to play yourself Don't give instructions just when your man is getting his shot away Don't lose patience when things go wrong your turn will come Don't forget that some of the most effective shots are between the draw and the drive 12 December 1945 (source unknown)

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years

Bits and Pieces During WW11 During research of the Leamington Bowling Clubs early years the writer came across the following item in the Waikato Independent on the 9th of May 1940. A letter was received from a member of the 1st echelon serving in Egypt. He along with others was invited to the Gezira Sports Club where they were entertained by partaking in a game of bowls playing 2 by 2 pairs. Perhaps this is the the origin of the 2 by 2 and 2,4,2 pairs recently imported from Australia, brought back by troops serving in the middle east.

A Scottish Connection In May 1986 Ian McDougall a member of the Leamington Bowling Club travelled back to his home town of Coet-Bridge in Scotland. While there he made a presentation of a trophy to be called the Kiwi Cup for a mixed pairs competition at his local bowling club. He had obtained the approval of the Leamington Bowling Club to present it on their behalf before leaving.

Remembering The Independent On the 9th of November 1966 The Waikato Independent which for many years had provided excellent coverage of sporting events in the Cambridge area and which provided much of the background for this book changed its name to The Cambridge Independent excellent coverage not only of bowls but all sporting events in the Cambridge area until it ceased publication in 1995 and was replaced by the present paper The Cambridge Edition.. Edition

Sunday Play Organised Sunday play was not allowed on the Leamington or Cambridge greens in the early days situated as they were on domain land, although some casual rollups were allowed. The South Aukland Centre at this time were also strict on the matter of Sunday play as was the national body. While club play was allowed open tournaments were definitely out so when in December 1932 the Frankton Bowling Club held a Sunday tournament without the permission of the centre they were immediately suspended and disbarred from playing with any of the affiliated clubs in the South Auckland area (Waikato Waikato Independent Saturday 3rd December 1932). The club had played in direct contravention of the Centre's rules, as the holding of Sunday tournaments had been definitely debarred at the annual meeting. The club was to be suspended until they apologised and the Centre received a guarantee that the offence would not be repeated.

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Leamington Bowling Club - 75 Years