Mercedes Cup – Success over the Years – report by Lindsay Knight
Helensville’s efforts in winning the Mercedes Cup at Whangarei in early July has been rightly celebrated as one of the highlights of the Bowls North Harbour season.
But it wasn’t quite as rare an occasion as some thought at the time. As Birkenhead stalwart John Hindmarch points out, several other Harbour clubs have won the event which is contested by one-to-five year bowlers from centres in the Northern region, Auckland, Counties, Northland, Far North as well as Harbour.
Mairangi Bay and Takapuna’s successes have been duly noted. But overlooked have been those of both Northcote and Birkenhead.
A Northcote team of Greg Newby, Graham Mulholland, Jerry Tomlins, Mike Haggart, Dave Moverley and Nigel Armstrong won in 2008.
Birkenhead has been a double winner. In 2009 Dave Good, Nigel Drew, Martin Short, Mike Turner, Hindmarch and Brian Wilson were successful.
And from the same club Jerone Rusk, Gary Wallace, Rob Henson, Jerry Belcher, Jacqui Belcher and Jimmy Heath won in 2017.
Mairangi Bay, of course, was the first Harbour club to win the Mercedes Cup, with Brian Rogers, Des Lowe, Con Kater, Ron Finlay, Les Bolton and Bruce Aley winning in 2005. There was another Mairangi Bay success in 2015, when Phil Chisholm David Payne, Colleen Rice, Theresa Rogers, the late Fata Leota and Allen Langley were such a strong unit.
Takapuna’s sole success was in 2015, with Walter Howden, Maureen Howden, the late John Vermeulen, Colin Johnson, Bevan Smith and Don Tabuteau in the lineup.
Bob Howitt and the late Trevor Forward were the mainstays of that side and the writer was honoured to be part of the squad and so able to appreciate the value of this event towards the development of newer bowlers.
That is proven by the many bowlers from the above clubs who have won many centre titles and like Howitt and Forward even achieved at national level. Those also with centre titles include Haggart, Short, Hindmarch, Wilson, Jerry Belcher, Henson, Heath, Kater, Brian Rogers, Theresa Rogers, Payne, Rice, both Howdens and Smith.