Noeleen Scott, New Zealand Women’s Cap #4, may well be New Zealand’s oldest currently living Blackjack. If not the oldest living Blackjack ever.
Remarkably, at the age of 96 going on 97, she still lives on her own in her own house in Cromwell, Central Otago. Even more remarkable, in that Noeleen is all but blind … she can just make out shapes and shades enough for her to retain her independence, with a little help from a caregiver popping in every day.
Noeleen is the matriarch of probably the most well-known bowls ‘family dynasties’ in New Zealand … the Scotts.
It is a dynasty that was started by Noeleen’s husband, William (Bill) (now deceased). Noeleen used to watch Bill at the Cromwell Bowling Club. He was very good. He even won the New Zealand Pairs Championship in 1964.
And one day, Noeleen thought ‘I can do that’. And did. So quickly that she came runner-up in the National Singles in 1965.
Bill’s two brothers, Terry and Kevin, also played bowls. And like Bill, Kevin went on to be a New Zealand representative. And both brothers fathered New Zealand representatives : Shaun (the son of Kevin) and Jim and Terry Jnr (the sons of Terry Snr).
And more recently, Sarah Scott, the daughter of Terry Scott Jnr (and granddaughter of Terry Scott Snr) became the 7th representative of New Zealand from the Scott family. Funnily enough, a current New Zealand representative, Kelvin Scott is no relation.
It is an amazing record. And you would have to start thinking that there’s something in the Scott genes which predisposes them to bowls … or something in the water in Cromwell and Bannockburn
Keeping tabs on her family’s bowls success has kept Noeleen busy over the years. But it’s been terrific for her to be able to follow bowls after she reluctantly had to give up the game when her eyesight and age didn’t allow her to play to the standard she wanted.
Noeleen has been a member of the Cromwell Bowling Club for 50 years. She’s won 41 Club titles and 17 Central Otago Centre titles.
She won the National Open Singles in 1977, after coming runner-up in 1965. She was runner-up again in 1981.
But it was the World Outdoor Championships in 1973 at Mt Victoria Bowling Club in Wellington where she really had her moment in the sun : Noeleen won gold in both the Triples (with Irene Foote and Cis Winstanley) and Fours (with Irene, Cis and Verna Devlin). Elsie Wilkie from New Zealand also won gold in the Singles.