A month in the life of Birkenhead Bowls

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Birkenhead’s Terry Moverley has lived and breathed bowls for the past month, organising and overseeing several high profile events in the North Harbour.

It’s been a busy month at the Birkenhead Bowling Club on Auckland’s North Shore. But that’s the way Terry Moverley likes it.

Terry is Secretary of this large metropolitan bowling club and his mission is to keep the membership of 270 or so not only engaged with the game of bowls, but stimulated with a comprehensive menu of social and entertainment activities.

Birkenhead is a ‘club’ in the real sense. Like they have in Australia. Where people don’t just pop in for an occasional roll-up, but who regard Birkenhead as a home-away-from-home – a place to frequent for both bowling and socialising.

In fact, the Birkenhead Bowling Club is one of the hubs of the Birkenhead community, and bowlers and non-bowlers alike are welcomed.

It’s not a formula for every bowling club in New Zealand, but Terry and his team are making darn sure it works for them.

“I love being involved,” says Terry,” but I must confess that my day job (as an electrical draughtsman) got in the way in February, and in the end I had to tell my boss he needed to dock my annual leave.”

“We had the Carpet Mill Birkenhead Men’s Pairs over the long Waitangi Weekend. The entrants were playing for $5,500 prize money and the ‘Champions Cup’. Manurewa Cossie Club’s David Clark and Roger Andrew came out on top.”

“The following week, Australian current dual World Singles Champion Karen Murphy ran three clinics here at the club. Karen had a great two days, including a session on the Friday with our very own Marlene Castle. The girls and guys who attended were over the moon, particularly Colleen Rice who Karen asked to join her as her partner in the Women’s Pairs the following weekend.”

And what another great women’s pairs tournament it was.

“The $6,500 Good Home Birkenhead Women’s Pairs Tournament (on the weekend of 15th and 16th) was fantastic,” says Terry. “It’s a tournament that’s always been loved, and has bowlers on a waiting list to enter. Karen and her partner Colleen were pipped in the final by Mangawhai’s Sue Wightman and Kensington’s Anne Muir. The clubhouse was rocking after the final!”

With the support of Centre Secretary Lesley Langer and Centre President Maureen Taylor, Terry was also the Event Director for the North Harbour New Zealand Masters held for the first time this year.

“During the week (commencing Monday 17th February), Birkenhead and other North Harbour clubs hosted preliminary rounds of the men’s, women’s and mixed teams of the Masters. Semi-finals and Finals were held at Birkenhead on the Thursday and Friday. Bowls New Zealand were even here showing us how to live-stream the action.”

The icing on the cake was the fact that the weather smiled kindly on Auckland over February.

“Everything went ahead as planned – we didn’t see a drop of rain all month. The drought may be bad for tank water users and farmers, but for bowlers it’s the summer we dream of.”

Terry will be happy that it also makes bowlers thirsty.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on here at Birkenhead is that all the sponsorship and entry fee money goes back in to prize money for the winners. We don’t make any money on the tournaments per se. We just hope that when the bowls is over each day, that the players retire to the clubrooms for some cheer.”

Despite the busy February, there’s no rest for the wicked.

The team at Birkenhead still have the Wheels on Wairau Seafood Tournament coming up in April (already ‘sold out’), the $2,500 Giltrap North Shore Birkenhead Easter Triples in April, and the inaugural $5,000 Birkenhead Power Play Pairs in May.

“If loving bowls and socialising is wicked,” laughs Terry, “Then we’re pretty wicked here at Birkenhead!”

by Rob Davis