As another season draws closer, some of last season’s greatest achievements and success stories will be celebrated next month at the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Awards..
Less than a month out from the awards night, a gala dinner will be held in Auckland reflecting on some of the finest moments on and off the green, both here at home and on the international stage.
With a set criteria from Bowls New Zealand, nominations from around the country are put forward from centre, clubs and individuals, with dozens of deserved candidates being whittled down to select category finalists for the 2018/19 season.
Category awards include Coach of the Year, Development Player of the Year (male and female), Player of the Year (male and female), Para Bowler of the Year, Team of the Year, Umpire of the Year, Greenkeeper of the Year and Club Person of the Year.
With a stable of elite stars among the mix, all eyes will be on the Supreme Award, with long serving Blackjack Jo Edwards taking out the inaugural honour at last year’s event.
Edwards, who has continued to enjoy a purple patch of form since the awards, is back among the finalists for Female Player of the Year, going up against fellow squad members Kirsten Edwards and Val Smith – both also in fine form throughout the 2018/19 season.
Recalled Blackjack Gary Lawson, who after a 10-year hiatus, made a gold medal return in the Asia Pacific Championships, features alongside Andrew Kelly and Shannon McIlroy for Male Player of the Year – all finalists racking up a trophy-laden season in their own right.
Kelly will be remembered for his Intercentre finals’ heroics, helping push Canterbury over the line in a gripping singles showdown with Nelson’s McIlroy – placing Canterbury in the mix for Team of the Year, along with the winning Auckland women’s Intercentre side and the New Zealand Blackjacks.
Among the success stories last season has to be the continued rise of the development stars, with national singles champions Taylor Horn and Debbie White both featuring in their respective category, while national pairs champions Jordan King and Lisa Prideaux and Burnside duo Richard Hocking and Caitlin Bassett also deservedly receive recognition for their stellar efforts.
With the recent announcement of the Parajacks joining the televised Bowls3Five league in November, the awards will also recognise some of the country’s best performing para athletes, with Bruce Wakefield, Lynda Bennett and Mark Noble all featuring as category finalists.
Outside of the player accolades, Graham Dorreen, Graeme Rees and Gayle Melrose have all been put forward for Coach of the Year, with all three having had a significant impact on their troops, both locally, nationally and internationally throughout major events.
Keeping the game and players in check, Sue Rossiter, Michael Johnson and Sue Way have been named as finalists for Umpire of the Year, with Johnson receiving the inaugural honour last year.
Awamoa’s Ken Thickett, Bowls Papanui’s Ron Sabin and Mangawhai’s Wayne Neal comprise the finalists for Greenkeeper of the Year, all three having carried out an outstanding job at their respective clubs throughout a busy summer programme.
Rounding out the awards, Bowls Orewa, Coopers Beach Bowling Club and Miramar Bowling Club are among the three best clubs in the country, named as finalists in the Club of the Year category – while Birkenhead’s Terry Moverley, Bowls Kensington’s Maureen Parker and Bowls Tauranga South’s Judith Payne have all been recognised as finalists for Club Person of the Year.
The evening will also see the presentation of caps to Para athletes representing New Zealand in past Commonwealth Games and the induction of Hall of Fame members.
Iconic sports presenter and broadcaster Geoff Bryan will be on hand as the function’s emcee, guiding ceremonial proceedings, with a buffet and a Q and A session to break formalities throughout the night.
Good luck to all of this year’s finalists.
Bowls New Zealand category finalists at a glance:
Bowls New Zealand Coach of the Year Finalists:
Graham Dorreen, Graeme Rees, Gayle Melrose
Bowls New Zealand Development Player of the Year (male) Finalists:
Richard Hocking, Taylor Horn, Jordan King
Bowls New Zealand Development Player of the Year (female) Finalists:
Lisa Prideaux, Caitlyn Bassett, Debbie White
Bowls New Zealand Male Player of the Year Finalists:
Gary Lawson, Andrew Kelly, Shannon McIlroy
Bowls New Zealand Female Player of the Year Finalists:
Jo Edwards, Kirsten Edwards, Val Smith
Bowls New Zealand Para Bowler of the Year Finalists:
Bruce Wakefield, Lynda Bennett, Mark Noble
Bowls New Zealand Team of the Year Finalists:
Canterbury Men’s (Intercentre), Auckland Women’s (Intercentre), Blackjacks Asia Pacific Championships Team
Bowls New Zealand Umpire of the Year Finalists:
Sue Rossiter, Michael Johnson, Sue Way
Bowls New Zealand Greenkeeper of the Year Finalists:
Ken Thickett, Ron Sabin, Wayne Neal
Bowls New Zealand Club of the Year:
Bowls Orewa, Coopers Beach Bowling Club, Miramar Bowling Club
Bowls New Zealand Club Person of the Year:
Terry Moverley (Birkenhead Bowling Club), Maureen Parker (Bowls Kensington), Judith Payne (Bowls Tauranga South)