Bowls North Harbour Annual Awards – 2024

  • June 24, 2024

Two of Bowls North Harbour’s most consistent players over many season, John Walker and Elaine McClintock, and Mairangi Bay’s Ian Coombe topped the many worthy winners at the Centre’s annual awards ceremony held on Sunday 23 June 2024 at the Hobsonville club.

John, the namesake of one of New Zealand’s most famous middle-distance runners, was inducted into the Bowls North Harbour Legends, joining a small but elite group which includes the likes of Ivan Kostanich, Danny O’Connor and Marlene Castle.

And Elaine, who during another stellar 2023-24 season, in winning not only the women’s category, was proclaimed for the first time, the Harbour’s Supreme Bowler of the Year.

Earlier at the Centre’s Annual General Meeting Ian Coombe was acclaimed as a life member.

Since arriving on the North Shore from Whanganui on bank transfer more than 30 years ago John has compiled an outstanding record, as a member of two strong clubs, Mairangi Bay and Browns Bay.  He has won 30 open centre titles, a staggering figure which has been exceeded only by the phenomenal 39 of his friend Colin Rogan, with whom he has shared much of his successes. Indeed, along with Browns Bay club-mates Neil Fisher and Brian Wilson they have been part of a powerhouse four which has also achieved legendary status.  As well as many centre titles, the four has tasted national success, winning in 2014 the New Zealand champion of champions Pathways title. And the season before Walker and Rogan were with Fisher in winning the Trusts New Zealand Open triples.  Walker’s latest success which brought him a fifth bar to his centre gold star had an appropriate touch of nostalgia. It was achieved with his Browns Bay club-mate, Rona Turner, the widow of Brent, an outstanding bowler and who has earlier been acclaimed in the Centre’s official legends.

Before taking up bowls in his home town, where he played on many occasions against the great Peter Belliss, Walker was a promising sportsman in other codes, captaining the under 21 representative rugby side and playing regularly at Hawke Cup minor representative level.

Elaine won her first Open Centre title while still a Junior in 2000-2001 and has since gone on to achieve another 19, gaining her third bar to her Gold Star with the three titles she won in the past season.  These were in the Centre Women’s Singles, the Champion Pairs with Kerin Roberts and in the Champion of Champions Triples. Previously with the Browns Bay and Orewa club, Elaine joined Mairangi Bay in the past season and played a large role in it winning the Centre’s inter-club sevens title.  In the crucial singles match she beat Takapuna’s Black Jack, Selina Goddard, 21-15, repeating her earlier success in the Championship Singles when she beat Selina 21-8. To beat a bowler of Selina’s international class twice in the one season, let alone once, is a feat to be celebrated.

Elaine has also proven herself at National level, a close runner-up in the New Zealand Singles Championship final when it was held at Browns Bay in 2015, and twice a winner at the Trusts New Zealand Open.  Husband Bruce has also been an accomplished bowler, with two centre titles to his credit.

Other award winners at last month’s ceremony included Carlson Barnett (Helensville, Open Men’s Player of the Year), Glenys Rountree (Mairangi Bay, 1-5 Year Women) and Wayne Harris (Orewa, 1-5 Year Men and Junior Player of the Year), Murray West (Volunteer of the Year), Mike Day (Mahurangi East), Administrator of the Year, Warren Seeque (Orewa) Coach of the Year, Tony Rickerby (Takapuna) Greenkeeper of the Year, Sue Rossiter (Milford) Umpire of the Year, David Lewis (Takapuna) Official of the Year.  The  President’s Cup, was awarded to Pete Sheehan, (Browns Bay) and the Club of the Year was named as Takapuna Bowling Club.

And at the Centre’s annual meeting, held just before the awards ceremony, an outstanding contribution made as an administrator was recognised when Ian Coombe was bestowed life membership.  Ian has been heavily involved, along with his capable wife Sandra, as a player, coach and administrator at firstly the Milford club and since 2008 Mairangi Bay, as well as having served the Centre as a Selector-Coach, Board Member and for six years Board Chairman.

The rarity of this award is there only three living life members, Jean Ashby, Margaret Duke and Graham Dorreen, the latter nominating Ian for his life membership. Also at the annual meeting Neil Connell was re-elected president, Laurie Kean the new vice-president replacing the retiring Mike Beretta, and Sue Rossiter, Nigel Rattray and Greg Yelavich joined the board for the retiring Robyne Walker and Trish Croot.

The Hobsonville club was an outstanding host for the awards afternoon and deserves thanks and praise for its hospitality. In particular it provided a superb emcee in new board member, Rattray, who revealed himself a natural comedian with a sharp yet gentle wit. His interview with Centre Patron and World Bowls regional Director of Oceania, Brett O’Riley, was a highlight.