Progress on the organisation of the Summerset National Fours in Tauranga next year is well underway.
Headquartered at the renowned Bowls Mount Maunganui Club, pool play for the tournament will start on Thursday 27th February, with the finals ending on Monday 2nd March. And with being a leap year, that provides the four days necessary to sort out the best of the best and still leave a reserve day.
Long-time club stalwart (and secretary/treasurer) Garrick Hamlyn is thrilled about the prospect of headquartering the tournament.
“In the Bay of Plenty region, we can put on as good a show as any of the traditional main centres,” he says.
“Depending on the numbers, we may need to use the likes of Arawa and Ngongotaha (as far away as Rotorua), but even those clubs are only a 45-minute drive away. You’d take that long to drive across town in Auckland!”
While the exact clubs being used for the tournament still have yet to be decided, a basket of clubs in the Bay has already been earmarked for probable use.
“Maurice Symes has visited twice making sure potential greens will be up to scratch,” says Hamlyn, “We’re already starting from a great base of grass greens so the keepers just need to make sure they continue to develop the surfaces to the standard everyone expects for our premier fours tournament in New Zealand.”
The Bowls Mount Maunganui Club, and the Bay of Plenty Centre for that matter, don’t take their responsibilities to deliver a great tournament lightly.
“We’re not just sitting back knowing it’s a Bowls New Zealand event,” says Hamlyn, “We’re the headquarters. We need to make sure we put on something really special. Everyone knows there’s a heck of a lot to do to make sure the tournament runs smoothly.”
The Bowls Mount Maunganui Club is certainly a club capable of making that happen.
“The Club was an amalgamation in 2010 of the old Mount Club and the Cossie Club,” says Club Executive Member Arthur Ball. “The council wanted to reclaim the Mount Club reserve … the Cossie Club was looking for a new home … it made a lot of sense to put them together.”
Croquet and petanque were also thrown in the pot and the new multi-sport facility came in to being.
The magnificent newly-built Club Mount Maunganui entertainment venue overlooks the three bowling greens (two grass and one artificial), as well as the two croquet greens and two petanque terrains.
Inside, there’s bars, snacks, meals, TAB, pool, snooker, darts and more. In other words, all the facilities to cater for the 2,000+ membership of the combined chartered club. They’re facilities which the 170 full-playing membership of the Bowls Mount Maunganui Club could never hope to enjoy going it alone with their own resources.
“It’s the way of the future,” says Ball. “There are already a number of ‘super clubs’ like us around the country. Naenae in the Hutt Valley comes to mind.”
And like Naenae, plans are already underway to put a ‘lid’ on the artificial green. “We started the consent process a couple of years ago,” says Hamlyn, “and council is now working with Shade Systems to overcome the complexities with fire regulations. We expect to have a roof here within the next few years.”
It’ll be the first covered green in the Bay of Plenty area, and for that matter in the North Island outside Wellington and Auckland. It’s the way the Mount Maunganui-Tauranga metropolitan area is going. They don’t see themselves as a ‘provincial centre’ anymore, but as one of New Zealand’s ‘main centres’. And as a result they expect to, and are expected to have, all the facilities befitting main centre status.
Even the old objection that it’s difficult to travel from the rest of New Zealand to the Mount-Tauranga no longer holds water – there’s over 20 flights a day landing at the airport just down the road from the Bowls Mount Maunganui Club. On top of that, it’s just a short drive from airports at Auckland, Hamilton and Rotorua.
“It’s a great way to spend a week away with your mates,” says Hamyln. “playing bowls, having a drink and a few yarns or a yarn and a few drinks.
The weather will still be fabulous at that time of year, and the water warm at the beach. It’s a great bowlscation!”
Entries for the Summerset National Fours Tournament are now open on the Bowls New Zealand website at https://bowlsnewzealand.co.nz/2020-summerset-national-fours/
by Rob Davis