There’s not many sports in the world where septuagenarians, and even octogenarians, can continue to play competitively.
Brad Thorn gave it a good go in rugby. And Steve Price in rugby league. But they fell well short.
As well all know, that’s the beauty of our game. Even nonagenarians can be playing lawn bowls well into their nineties, and still put up a good show. In fact, many bowling clubs throughout New Zealand have an example or two amongst their playing ranks.
But few, if any, have a centenarian still playing bowls regularly.
Not just roll-ups, but tournament bowls. And on top of that, still getting out on the mower and roller and doing what needs to be done to keep the club’s greens up to the standard a pickety 100 year would expect.
Peter Sheehan at the Mercury Bay Bowling Club at Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula just turned 100 the other day, and he’s still playing bowls and tending the green line a passionate club member half his age,
“What’s more, he still plays with his old black bowls,” observes Club Secretary, Robyn Anderson. “They probably date back to when he joined the club in 1987 … It’s lovely to see him fearlessly take a neighbouring rink to put the bowl on the head!”
And put it on the head, Peter does.
Ten years ago, when Peter was just a 90 year old whippersnapper, he donated the Peter Sheehan Cup and prize money to the club to run an annual open any-combination fours tournament.
“It’s been a feature tournament of the club every year,” says non-bowling daughter Chrissie. “And my sister Pam and her husband Peter come up every year from Invercargill to see dad and play in the tournament. My brother Pio (Peter) also plays. Their four is known as the ‘three Peters and a Pam’!”
They’re a pretty sharp team. Over the years, they’ve won the Peter Sheehan Cup twice. But Southlanders won’t be surprised at the that … Pam is a Centre representative.
The Peter Sheehan Cup was played a few weeks ago on Saturday 6th May.
“We almost had a full house … 29 teams of fours playing on our two greens,” says Robyn. “It was meant to be a full day of bowls celebrating Peter’s 100th, but the weather didn’t come to the party … we managed to play one round and another shortened round.”
“But it was still a great day. Another ‘Peter’, Peter Sergeant and his team from Thames Coast, took the win despite the efforts of Team…