Takapuna. Club of the Year Harbour Sport – Lindsay Knight

  • February 28, 2022

  Takapuna’s golden seasons of recent years have received an even richer polish, arguably the greatest accolade in the club’s 110-year history.

 Takapuna Bowling Club has just been proclaimed “the club of the year” for the entire North Harbour sporting community by Harbour Sport.

 This follows last year’s double award as Bowls North Harbour’s club of the year and also Bowls New Zealand’s supreme honour as the national club of the year.

 The magnitude of the latest award is all the more exceptional when it is realised that within North Harbour there are many outstanding and successful clubs across many high-profile sports, not forgetting Takapuna’s sister bowling clubs.

  From clubs in those codes have come All Blacks, Black Caps, All Whites, Black and White Sox, Silver Ferns and many Olympic champions and Olympians which shows just the context in which Takapuna has been judged. Moreover, this latest honour has come in an Olympic year, during which a North Shore resident Lisa Carrington confirmed herself as one of New Zealand’s greatest Olympians.

  Other award finalists were North Harbour Synchronised Swimming, North Shore Swimming, Ngataringha Tennis Club, Takapuna District Cricket Club and North Shore Rowing Club.

 Takapuna board chairman Graham Dorreen is justly proud of every member’s contribution to what is a rare sporting trifecta. “It is rewarding and special to win BNH and BNZ awards but to win this, when bench-marked against other codes, is amazing,” he says.

 Graham believes the following reasons have been fundamental for the club having been so widely recognised and acclaimed:

 @ Nine podium appearances in national championships, with Graham Skellern in the 2021-22 season gaining another national title and our other Commonwealth Games contender, Selina Goddard, a national bronze medal.

 @ The upgrading of the clubrooms and facilities attracting new members plus junior and skills training which have helped raise playing standards.

  @ Rollups which emphasise the recreational benefits of bowls attendances at uniformly bumper levels.

   @ New initiatives like shoot-out pairs and twilight events adding value and fulfilling the wishes of members.

  @ A financial balance sheet which is in excellent shape.

 Graham points out that “all of this has been achieved in a covid environment where watching pennies is so very important.”  

 Takapuna in the current season has hopes of adding to the many distinctions gained in the

2020-21 season. The women’s inter-club sevens team, having regained its North Harbour title is

 set to go to Wellington to try to go one better than last year’s close runner-up finish to

a strong Nelson team.  

 The North Harbour three-five title, which Wendy Jensen, Lisa Dickson and Simon Poppleton won last season, is still to be contested as well as several other national events, in which Takapuna members are involved.

  Besides the three-five success the other highlight of the 2020-21 season was the national sevens runner-up achievement of an outstanding women’s team of Selina Goddard, Wendy Jensen, Anne Dorreen, Lisa Dickson, Robyne Walker, Adele Ineson and Connie Mathieson.

 Takapuna’s male bowlers also were runners-up in the Harbour inter-club sevens, John Janssen and Jeremy Belcher won the centre champion of champion pairs and Jeremy Brosnan, Bevan Smith and Ian Hardy won the Dick Bree triples championship.

  In Bowls North Harbour’s annual awards Graham Dorreen won coach of the year for the fifth time, Robyne Walker, now the club president and centre board member, administrator of the year and Sue Rossiter umpire of the year for the third time. Brett O’Riley, too, has been appointed the Oceania World Bowls Director.

  Takapuna for much of its first 100 years was a male only club, always one to be respected, if not quite a powerhouse.

  In the old men’s club there were many fine players like Owen Smith, a gold star badge holder in both Auckland and North Harbour, 1949 All Black Graham Delamore and a Welsh skip Cliff Parry. And in the 1987-88 season two players not long out of juniors, Tony Marinkovich and George Fabling, were runners-up in the national pairs.

  For a brief time such stars as Rowan Brassey and Danny O’Connor were Takapuna members and twice in the early to mid-2000s helped the club to the national sevens title, with club stalwarts like Murray Mathison, Bob Howitt, Trevor Forward and John Sakey part of that success.

 In 2004 the nearby women’s club was absorbed into the Takapuna Bowling Club and that virtually seamless merger and a subsequent policy of gender equality have been among the club’s most enduring achievements.

 The pay-off for has come in recent years and a study of past women’s championships reveals how far the club has come. In the mid-2000s there were frequently only four of five teams or players in the women’s championships and on occasions no more than two.

 But for this season’s women’s championship there were 20 players. There were several upsets and the quality of play in particular by Wendy Jensen, Lauren Mills and Lisa Dickson, even in difficult conditions, was as good as one would see in a national final. In 2020-21 there was the rare treat of two Black Jacks in Selina Goddard and Wendy Jensen contesting the club’s singles final.

  That has not been the only recent example of the club’s ever expanding player depth. Competitive tournaments were held for both first year men and first year ladies. In even recent years there have been “tournaments” in those for just two players and seasons when no competition has been possible.

 As chairman Graham observes, “it has been a magnificent year.”