Bev Corbett : great bowler, great attitude, great person

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Hinuera’s Beverley Corbett has been around the sport for 40 years and will now get a chance to play for New Zealand in the Over 60’s later this year.

One of the paradoxical things about people in this world is that seemingly the more adversity they suffer, the greater is their inclination to take a positive view on life.

Bev Corbett is just such a person.

Bev was selected to play for the New Zealand Development Squad in a lawn bowls test series against Australia in 1997/1998. But when she was selected for the Asia Pacific Games in 1999, Bev had to pull the plug because her son Bruce died and daughter Anne developed a brain haemorrhage. Even her husband’s illness over the past year before he recently passed away, lead to Bev having to make herself unavailable for competitive bowls. Adversity has made it hard for Bev to play bowls.

But it’s also made her love life. And family. And friends. And fellow bowlers.

“Life’s too short,” Bev observes, “to get about complaining about things.” Instead she focuses living life to the full.

Fortunately for us, that still involves a lot of bowls.

Bev’s played bowls for 40 years, and unusually has only ever belonged to the one club – Hinuera. At the time she joined, she and her husband were farming just out of Tirau, but when they retired in Little Hinuera, it still meant the Hinuera Club was ‘just down the road’.

“Mum and Dad were both Life Members of the club. So are my brothers John and Stu Settle. Two of my other brothers, Gordon and Bruce, play there as well. My other brother, Ian isn’t so keen on bowls, but gives us all lots of support.”

Bev became part of that magic time in the 80’s and 90’s when the women’s clubs in the Matamata area created a bowling powerhouse. The area boasted bowling legends of the likes of Millie Khan, Jan Khan, Min Risbridge, Rhoda Ryan, Elsie Wilkie, Jenny Simpson, Thelma Kidd, Vi Fox, Betty Fitzell, Zelda Clements and more.

Bev won her one and only Nationals title in 1997, making up a Four with Milie Khan, Min Risbridge and Jan Khan. But she’s collected two silver stars, after winning 12 national competitions – the most recent being in 2018 when she and Debbie White won the National Club Pairs Championship.

Bev’s won 36 Centre titles.

But one of her proudest wins is as a team member of the ‘Hinuera Heat’ – the team which won the inaugural Bowls3Five Championship at Naenae this year. “It means our team will be in the televised Bowls3Five League at New Lynn in Auckland later this year,” says Bev. “I love the Bowls3Five format. It’s short, sharp and sweet.”

Just like the team’s name. The ‘Hinuera Heat’ was named after the Glenn Frey 80s anthem ‘The heat is on’.

“If it inspired Eddie Murphy to bigger and better things in ‘Beverly Hills Cop’, then it’ll do us!” laughs Bev.

But Bev isn’t getting worked up about this year’s Bowls3Five comp. Instead, next month, she’ll be chilling out with her family in Samoa, practising what she preaches ; loving life and enjoying the company of family and friends.

She deserves it. Bev has been, and continues to be, a jewel in the lawn bowls crown.

Thanks for everything, Bev.

by Rob Davis