Left to right : Vern Withey and Denis Francois
The Wairoa Bowling Club is one of those bowling clubs that we really need to stay open … the bowling world cant afford for it to close.
The reason for that is simple.
There are no other bowling clubs in Wairoa. So bowlers would have to go elsewhere. Unfortunately, ‘elsewhere’ is a long, long way away. Either 100km away to the north to one of the bowling clubs in Gisborne, or 100km away to the Bay View Bowling Club in Napier in the south.
100km is a long way to go for a roll-up or for a game of bowls. And frankly would be a bit of a showstopper for Wairoans wanting to play the game. Bowls would die in Wairoa.
It’s therefore been sad to hear that the Wairoa Bowling Club struggled recently with (let’s call it) ‘an unauthorised use of club funds’, which put them in such a precarious financial position, that they contemplated closure.
But the good news is that they’ve managed to get over the incident and move on.
A team of members, spearheaded by Graham Fitzpatrick, Donna Smith, Kevin Stevenson and Vern Withey, have got the club back on its feet again, and are ready to attack the future.
“We’ve only got 21 members,” says Vice-President & Treasurer, Ven Withey, “But we’ve got another two more that are keen to join.”
What’s more, the club is coming into its prime recruitment season when for the 15 weeks leading up to, and after Christmas, the ‘mercantile’ is held every Wednesday evening … it’s business house bowls playing Bowls3Five, and the businesses in Wairoa lap up the opportunity for the socialising roll-ups.
“We get 60 or more people here for the evening,” says Vern. “And we have come to expect a few of them to take the game up more permanently.”
Although a small club in terms of membership, Wairoa’s a large club in terms of greenspace.
The club has two greens lovingly overseen by Denis (‘with one ‘n’!’) Francois. Denis has been with the club since 1985, so by now he knows every blade of grass and every leaf of weed in both greens,
“In fact, we had three greens until recently,” Denis says, “But part of our recovery plan was selling the third green to the neighbours … we hadn’t used it for years anyway.”
In Auckland, the dollars received for selling a 1600 square metre green would set up a club forever. But in Wairoa, not so much. In fact just enough to pay some of the bills.
The remaining two natural greens at Wairoa are…
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