Bowls North AGM & Awards Function Wrap Up – By Lindsay Knight
So many personal highlights occurred at Bowls North Harbour’s Annual General Meeting and awards ceremony held at the Takapuna club on Saturday it is difficult to sort any one as being higher or more significant than others.
But the elevation to life membership of former Centre chairman and successful coach, Graham Dorreen, might well have come as the biggest surprise, particularly for the recipient who as he sat at the morning’s annual meeting as Takapuna’s delegate had no inkling of what was to come.
Not only was the day special for Graham but so, too, was it for the Birkenhead, Helensville and Takapuna clubs, for Helensville’s Robertson family and for Birkenhead’s Milika (or Millie) Nathan and Ruth Lynch.
The recognition of Graham Dorreen was for his huge contribution he has made to the Centre as well as three of its clubs, Milford, Browns Bay and Takapuna, in the relatively short span, 15 years, in which it has been involved in the sport.
Nominating Graham for life membership, board chairman Steve Yates said his service had been exceptional. This had included a term as centre chairman 2016-19, his introduction of the Bias funding scheme, the impact he had had at three clubs, and, of course, his successful coaching, of the Men’s Development and Women’s Representative teams.
At Browns Bay he had helped start the Heartlands tournament as well as the hosting of the 2014-15 national championships, at Milford the still flourishing Milford 5000 and in his current term as Takapuna chairman he had spearheaded many upgrades, especially of its facilities.
It was a double for Takapuna as far as Centre appointments went. Brett O’Riley, currently a World Bowls member, was made the Centre’s Patron. Despite his relative youth, Brett has played bowls for 42 years and among his many distinctions, playing and administratively, have been two appearances in national finals.
In the afternoon’s awards ceremony, emceed by radio personality Miles Davis, the remarkable playing careers of Birkenhead’s Ruth Lynch and of the late Pat Robertson, from Helensville, were rewarded with their induction into the Centre’s legends.
The occasion was made even sweeter for the respective clubs of each of these outstanding players, and for Robertson’s family in particular. Pat’s nephew, Bart, was proclaimed the Centre’s supreme player of the year after the dominant seasons he has enjoyed in championship events.
When he started his illustrious career at Helensville, which brought him 16 Centre titles and in 1984 the National Pairs Championship with Ivan Kostanich, Pat also started a family dynasty for wife Thelma, his son Wayne, brother Pete senor and nephews Pete junior and Bart, all became Centre champions, and in two cases gold star holders.
Thelma and Wayne travelled from Canterbury to be at the ceremony and after being proclaimed the Centre’s Supreme Winner for the 2021-22 season, an emotional Bart paid tribute to Pat. “I learnt the game from uncle Pat,” he said. “He taught me how to read a head.”
Ruth’s family was also in attendance as she was inducted into the elite and so joined her great friend and bowling mate, the late Carole Fredrick. With Carole she shared many of her 25 Centre titles as well as the 2012 national fours title. Legends voting panel convener Gary Stevens, as a long-time Birkenhead club-mate of Ruth’s, took special pride in presenting Ruth’s citation.
Just as Bart Robertson made many trips to the podium to receive his swag of awards so, too, did Birkenhead’s Millie Nathan almost wear herself out walking the red carpet. She received honours galore in both one-to-five and open events, and was a runaway winner of the women’s junior award and as the Centre’s “young bowler” of the year.
As chairman Steve observed, the awards were dominated by Birkenhead, Helensville and Takapuna members. Birkenhead, because of the exploits of Millie and several others in Centre Championships, were worthy winners of the Centre’s club of the year title, but in any other season the other two would also have had strong claims.
Another appropriate touch was Bowls New Zealand Chief Executive Mark Cameron, a member of the Riverhead club, adding to the many honours won by the great umpire and Centre legend, Mairangi Bay’s Jean Ashby, with a lifetime achievement award.
Besides the awards and certificates to championship winners and runners-up there were these special awards for the year: : Volunteer: Lyn Davey (Orewa), administrator: Terry Moverley (Birkenhead), coach: Graham Dorreen (Takapuna), greenkeeper: Tony Rickerby (Takapuna), umpire: Sue Rossiter (Takapuna), official: Chub Roberts (Hobsonville), President’s Cup: Neil Connell (Helensvile), one-to-five year men’s winner: Andy Dorrance (Manly), one-to-five year women’s and young bowler of the year: Milika Nathan (Birkenhead), open men’s winner and supreme award: Bart Robertson (Birkenhead), open women’s winner: Selina Goddard (Takapuna), club of the year: Birkenhead.
At the annual meeting Maureen Taylor was re-elected president and Neil Connell vice president. Board members are Steve Yates, Robyne Walker, Garth Partridge. Mike Beretta and Trish Croot. Following the AGM, the Board (as per the constitution) met and unanimously elected Steve Yates as Chairman.