Honours Board

Legend of Bowls North Harbour – Ruth Lynch

Let’s see if I can capture in a few words those qualities that make our next Inductee an obvious choice to join the elite players of Bowls North Harbour.

She packs a ton of ability and so much knowledge and experience into a small frame.

She is so competitive, so focused and sets herself very high-performance standards.

But with all that determination, she’s very practical and down to earth, with a great sense of humour.

And above all, she just loves playing bowls at all levels – National, Centre and Club championships or even midweek events – Ruth Lynch plays with the same intensity and enjoyment.

It is appropriate that Ruth’s illustrious bowling deeds are being recognised today with her elevation to the ranks of Bowls North Harbour’s legends. For in so doing she joins her great friend and best bowling buddy, Carole Fredrick, within that group of elite players. Together Carole and Ruth are synonymous names in North Harbour women’s bowling.

Like Carole, Ruth has had a phenomenal record in the centre and with 25 titles has four bars to the gold star she won in 2003-04 in the champion of champion triples.

Carole was part of that team and she was also in the same Sunnybrae team when Ruth won her first centre title, in 2001-02 in the champion of champion fours.

But their most memorable triumph together came in the 2011-12 season when at the Carlton-Cornwall club they were respectively skip and three in the Birkenhead four which won the national championship title.

Others in that four were Gayle Melrose and Lisa Helmling and the victory was all the more precious for both Carole and Ruth because it was achieved in a CLUB team, at a time when “stacked” composite dream-teams had long since become the norm at national level.

When Carole died early in 2020 Ruth spoke through her grief to pay her friend a tribute. “We had some great wins, but what I cherish most is that we played for fun and what I remember most are the laughs we had together. “

And that’s Ruth’s attitude to playing bowls.

Carole’s passing was perhaps the motivation a few months later when Ruth joined her as the only two women in the centre to have four bars to their gold stars. Ruth clinched her 25th North Harbour title when she skipped Millie Nathan, then only a third-year player, and Amy Little to the champion of champion triples title.

But perhaps the greatest of Ruth’s centre titles was achieved as a singles player. In the 2017-18 season in the women’s championship singles Ruth found herself trailing Mairangi Bay’s talented Theresa Rogers 4-16.

Theresa was only a third-year player but as she has demonstrated so many times since she is, and was even when a junior, an uncompromising competitor and extremely hard to beat, particularly with a 12-point lead. But Ruth summoned up all of her vast experience and by remaining calm and focussed finished with a 21-19 win. Later that season she again beat Theresa 21-14 in the champion of champion singles. 

Though essentially a team player Ruth, like all top players, has been an accomplished singles exponent with six of her 25 centre titles coming in singles events.

For many years Ruth was a stalwart member of the centre’s representative teams, and after a period away of her own choosing she finally bowed to the repeated requests of selector Graham Dorreen to again make herself available because he valued her experience and leadership.

He says “She was an amazing skip with excellent weight control and an awesome competitive spirit. She could always play a killer shot when needed, the mark of an outstanding competitor who could completely reconfigure a game.”

I think those comments by Graham say it all.

They sum up why Ruth Lynch is a Legend in Bowls North Harbour.