Honours Board

Legend of Bowls North Harbour – Pat Robertson

In the 1980s, about the time the Bowls North Harbour centre was starting, two names which rolled of the tongue as readily as ham and cheese were those of Helensville’s Ivan Kostanich and Pat Robertson.

Together they won a host of titles, both in Auckland when Harbour clubs were still part of that centre and also in the Harbour, topping of all of this with a win in the national pairs championship in Dunedin in 1984.

Ivan has already been acclaimed as one of Bowls North Harbour’s legends, so it is only appropriate that his great mate and long-time partner Pat should join him among the elite.

For even when he wasn’t bowling with Ivan Pat Robertson still amassed championships galore and, as had Ivan in 1977 and 1992 by winning the national singles title, Pat came close, too, to achieving one of New Zealand bowls most coveted prizes.

Remarkably, having twice just a few years before undergone knee replacement surgery, Pat finished runner-up in the 1999 national singles championship.

Pat only started bowling at the Helensville club in his mid-40s in 1975, so when he won his national pairs title with Ivan in 1984 Pat had been bowling a season or two less than a decade.

But he came to bowls with a considerable sporting background. In his youth he excelled in tennis, rugby, rifle shooting and golf, in which his handicap was a highly respectable four.

Not that sport solely dominated his young life. He was a good student who became a teacher and then from 1964 the successful operator with wife Thelma of a Helensville stationery shop.

Having come under the tutelage of Ivan Kostanich almost as soon as he had joined the Helensville club Pat quickly began to amass a stack of centre titles. ln the Auckland centre he won five titles and in the Counties centre one.

The first of his 16 Harbour titles came in the centre’s inaugural 1985-86 season when he and Ivan won three in all: the pairs championship, the pairs champion of champions and the champion of champion fours.

He went on to win 16 Harbour titles, thus adding two bars to his gold star. The last of his titles came in the 2004-05 season when he won the triples championship and this was particularly significant for also in the team was one of his sons, Wayne.

Not only was Pat a supreme bowler in his own right, excelling in all the disciplines, he helped start what at Helensville has become a noble family dynasty. Son Wayne, wife Thelma, brother Peter senior and nephews Peter junior or Red, and Bart have joined him in winning centre titles. As well as the championship triples Wayne won two in one-to-five-year ranks, Peter senior won two titles, both with Pat, Peter junior has three, while Thelma, like Pat, sits among the bowling royalty with her own gold star and eight titles in all.

And one day perhaps Bart will join his uncle among the centre’s legends. He is well on his way, having dominated the centre singles championship in recent seasons, and having added a bar to his gold star.

Pat never joined Ivan as a Black Jack. He was in his bowling prime when there appeared to be a reluctance to select players, no matter their ability, who were more than 50 years old. But he did gain some national recognition, being in a New Zealand over 60 side along with Ivan and another national champion Syd Giddy which competed in the 1998 Trans-Tasman series.

Apart from his considerable playing ability, Pat Robertson was a gentleman, on and off the green, and a model of exemplary sportsmanship. He is a worthy addition to the centre’s select band of legends.