Sad news from Takapuna – by Lindsay Knight

  • February 17, 2022

  Trevor Forward, one of the Takapuna club’s playing icons, and a player widely acclaimed and respected by his rivals within the North Harbour centre, has lost his long battle against leukaemia, passing away on Queensland’s Gold Coast, aged 79.

  Having played for no other bowling club but Takapuna, which he joined in the 1999-2000 season, Trevor was a genuine home-grown product.

 Other renowned bowlers have worn Takapuna’s colours, many over the past 20 years. Rowan Brassey and Danny O’Connor had short stints in the early to mid-2000s and have been followed by the club’s present crop of stars. But the bulk of their illustrious careers have been spent elsewhere and in some cases their links with Takapuna have been brief.

 So any judgements of respective merits need to carry a qualification. And in that context club historian and life member Murray Mathieson has rated Trevor as standing alongside Owen Smith, a gold star badge holder in both Auckland and North Harbour centres, as the club’s finest ever products.

 Trevor’s playing record makes it plain why he is entitled to a lofty place among the club’s legends. He won more than 30 centre club titles across all disciplines, won six Harbour centre titles giving him the gold star award and he was in the Takapuna sevens teams which in 2005 and 2007 won the national inter-club title.

  As well there were a host of successes in trophy events, veteran events and at one-to-five level many club and centre titles. He was a centre junior representative and a representative briefly at premier level.

 Many judges, not confined to the Takapuna club, believe that various centre selection panels erred in not giving him more representative chances.

 Trevor was not a bowler who came directly from any coaching manual. He had a distinctive round-arm style which in his early years those more preoccupied with cloning rather than coaching tried to alter.

 For a while his form and confidence wavered until someone with more foresight and common sense advised him to do what came naturally and to revert to his old method.

 From then on it was a lengthy tale of success and from his early junior years he was a priority target for inclusions in their teams not only by Takapuna’s leading players but many from other clubs. He also performed with distinction in the many winters he spent on the Gold Coast.

 Though often skipping in more recent years, Trevor’s chief bowling expertise was in the front, either leading or at two. He had an instinctive feel for weight and when on form was like a metronome in peppering the jack or sitting out opponents’ shot bowls.

 Foremost among those who cherished his accuracy and consistency were all of the Takapuna’s best bowlers, particularly Murray Mathieson, Bob Howitt and Chris Taylor, all of whom played extensively with him and shared in many of his centre triumphs.  They have all remained in awe of his talent.

 As quietly spoken and undemonstrative on the green as off it, Trevor from the side-lines appeared to have a calm, relaxed demeanour. However, those close to him during a game soon appreciated that within he smouldered as much as anyone and there were times when he battled his emotions.

 He was never nasty or belligerent, of course, but in frustration could be heard mumbling to himself if he didn’t reach the level he expected of himself, or if his opponent profited by what he perceived to be a wick or lucky shot.

 This writer had nowhere near the ability of Trevor, but, as did so many other Takapuna club members, had the privilege of often playing with him and even sharing some of his successes.

There was a special affinity between us. We joined the Takapuna club about the same time and were juniors together and as Canterbury products we discovered that at different stages of our young lives we had lived in the same Christchurch house.

 The Takapuna club prospered, too, from Trevor’s skill as an accountant. He served a total of 12 years as treasurer and in recent year was the club’s auditor. Being treasurer is one of the toughest administrative roles in any club but Trevor was so effective and unobtrusive in the role many perhaps were unaware he held this post.

  The Takapuna Bowling Club, and it’s sure the entire North Harbour bowls community, offers its deepest condolences to Anne and the Forward family.