Takapuna Bowling Club have reached their Everest.
It’s often said that good things take time, but the North Shore outfit have hit the accelerator over the last couple of years, a remarkable period of growth and achievement.
Their success has been recognised, named as the Summerset Bowls New Zealand 2021 Club of the Year.
“We are over the moon, absolutely thrilled,” said Takapuna chairman Graham Dorreen. “It has been a real team effort and it (the award) will be massive for our members, our sponsors and our partners.
In 2019 a new board was convened at Takapuna and set some lofty goals.
“We wanted to be the best club in New Zealand and the club of choice on the North Shore, in our catchment area and beyond,” recalled Dorreen.
The mission statement was built upon three pillars. The first was “on green” both in terms of competitive achievement and participation. The second was the “off-green” factors, with a focus on the facilities.
“We took a lot from a Sport North Harbour report which concluded that good facilities were significant in attracting new members and retaining people,” explained Dorreen.
The third aspect was financial, aiming to have the strongest possible balance sheet. Two years on, Takapuna, by any measure, have smashed it out of the park.
“We’ve probably had our best year competitively in our history, which stretches back more than 100 years,” said Dorreen.
Social numbers have also been “fantastic”, with up to 45 people involved in thrice weekly roll ups, while there have been a record number of club teams entered in local and regional competitions.
After installing a new synthetic green in 2018 (at a cost of around $250,000) Takapuna has invested around
$150,000 since then on a complete revamp and renovation of the facilities and club rooms. “If you have good facilities, people come along for the ride,” said Dorreen.
Topping it off, Takapuna have had a superb year financially, recording a significant surplus despite the challenges of Covid, and now boast more than 30 different sponsors, headed by Forsyth Barr, Ryman Healthcare and Heartland Bank.
The theme for the past season was “The Blue Wave”, designed to engage all club members, whether social or competitive, as well as club supporters and sponsors. It was part of a holistic push to drive performance, participation, support, profile and memberships.
Results have been spectacular. Ten club members reached the podium at national level, including Selina Smith (runner-up national women’s fours and pairs), Brett O’Riley and Bevan Smith (third equal national men’s fours) and Connie Matheson (third equal national women’s singles).
Smith and Graham Skellern were selected for the New Zealand high performance squad, while the women’s Interclub 7s team finished second in the National finals.