Sport and Health

Bowls Birkenhead Centres the “Summer of Bowls’ on the Shore

For bowlers wanting to mix their holidaying and lawn bowling, the North Shore of Auckland will make a great place to enjoy a ‘bowlscation’ in February in 2020.

Four Bowls New Zealand ‘Summer of Bowls’ are scheduled to be played over the month, catering for both men and women, young and old, and novice and expert bowlers.

The programme starts off on the weekend of 1st and 2nd with the annual Milford 5000 Triples for mixed teams of 1-8 year bowlers at the Milford Bowling Club. On the 8th and 9th February. the Carpet Mill Birkenhead Men’s Pairs are being played, followed by the Good Home Birkenhead Women’s Pairs the next weekend on 15th and 16th February – both at Bowls Birkenhead. And the Bowls North Harbour New Zealand Masters is being played on the North Shore during the week of 17th to 21st February.

A total prize money of $27,000 over the 4 tournaments adds more than just icing on the cake to make the Shore the place for bowlers to visit over summer.

“But people need to be quick,” says Bowls Birkenhead Club Secretary Terry Moverley. “Entries have already filled for the Men’s and Women’s Pairs, but we’re taking a waiting list. People need to get in touch with us as soon as.”

Those contact points are as follows –

Milford 5000 Mixed Triples https://bowlsmilford.co.nz/
Carpet Mill Birkenhead Men’s Pairs secretary@bowlsbirkenhead.co.nz
Good Home Birkenhead Women’s Pairs bwopenpairs@gmail.com
North Harbour New Zealand Masters https://www.bowlsnorthharbour.com/masters-2020-entry-forms/

“We’ve got World Singles Champion Karen Murphy playing in the Women’s Pairs,” says Moverley. “Karen’s represented Australia over 650 times at international level.”

“As a bonus, she’s going to spend the Thursday and Friday (13th and 14th) at Birkenhead running bowls clinics for both men and women. What’s more, one of the participating women will be invited to pair up with her In the Women’s Pairs Tournament over the weekend. It’s a great opportunity to potentially play with a bowling legend!”

Both women and men interested in joining one of Karen’s 2-hour clinic sessions can contact Moverley directly at secretary@bowlsbirkenhead.co.nz

Australian bowls legend Karen Murphy will be on the North Shore in February.

While other clubs might view all this tournament organisation with trepidation, Bowls Birkenhead seems to take it all in its stride.

Not only has the club become renowned for running the successful Men’s and Women’s Pairs in February, but also the Wheels on Wairau Seafood Tournament (next year on the 4th and 5th April 2020), the Carpet Mill Archers Road Triples over Easter (next year on the 10th and 11th April 2020), and the Birkenhead Power Play Pairs next year at the end of May 2020.

“On top of this, we also run a regular monthly Sunday tournament,” adds Moverley. “We have no problem attracting players. We put it down to the fact that we put all the sponsors’ money and entry fees back into the tournaments as prize money and hospitality. The club just makes a few dollars from what we pick up over the bar.”

It’s a formula that has seen Bowls Birkenhead attract a membership of 300 or so, with slightly less than half of those full playing members.

“We have an ideal spot for a bowling club here,” says Moverley. “We have the advantage of drawing membership from a large catchment area on the North Shore of Auckland, but we also enjoy the sense of belonging to the small community of Birkenhead village.”

That means things like the fact that the Birkenhead Fire Brigade are ‘ex officio’ members of Bowls Birkenhead, and who also provide the magic at the Kids’ Christmas Party every year at the club (this year on Sunday 22nd December at 12:30pm).

It also means that the club is continually developing its infrastructure.

“We’ve continued to upgrade the club rooms over the years,” says Moverley.

“Ten years ago we put in the sliding doors opening up to the front deck – it’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the bowls. Six years ago we added a couple of offices. And soon we’ll be refurbishing the bar.”

“We’ve also got a team investigating whether we should cover one of the two greens. It’s not an easy decision either way. We all enjoy the natural greens – there’s one starweed and one maniototo. The maniototo can be a bit temperamental – the nematodes got the better of us for a while – but our greenkeeper will have it back in top shape for the new year.”

Whatever decision the club makes, Bowls Birkenhead is, and will continue to be, a great venue for tournaments. Or even just a roll-up.

Or for that matter, even just a social stop to enjoy the company of the bowlers who have made Bowls Birkenhead a ‘must visit’ on the Shore.

Published with permission from Bowls NZ

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