There’s an old adage in the game of bowls: you haven’t got a bowling club unless you’ve got a bowling green.

Many clubs have found that out the hard way … when their greenkeeper has moved on … or when the nematodes have moved in … or when the liquefaction has moved up … or when cyclonic sludge has moved through.

But it could equally be said that you haven’t got a bowling club unless you’ve got one of those ubiquitous organisers in the club … some who takes it on their shoulders to ensure everyone in the club knows why they should be where they should be when they should be, and if necessary, how they should be!

At the Riccarton Racecourse Bowling Club, on the western outskirts of Christchurch, they not only enjoy lovingly curated bowling greens (both natural and artificial), but are spoilt by a club organiser who is the best of the best: Club Secretary, Joyce Speedy.

So good are Joyce’s organisational genes, that she is co-winner of Bowls New Zealand’s Club Person of the Year 2023.

General Manager of Bowls Canterbury, Lorraine McLeod, is unequivocal in her support for Joyce,  “Riccarton Racecourse would not be the club it is today, nor the club it will continue to be in the future, if it wasn’t for their incredible secretary, Joyce Speedy.  She is the epitome of a true ‘club person’.”

But what really wins the hearts and minds of all those she deals with inside and outside the club, and inside and outside Canterbury, is not only that she’s super-competent, but super-nice to boot.

“She’s approachable, caring, empathetic and has a great sense of humour,” says an adjective-piling Lorraine. “And she’s punctual, dedicated and always available 24/7 to answer never-ending queries.”

“It means that everyone always knows what’s going on.”

Joyce is assiduous in maintaining communications: creating and distributing the minutes of meetings almost before they happen, curating and printing the club’s handbooks well before a new season beckons, and unfailingly authoring and publishing the club’s weekly ‘What’s Happening’ newsletter.

But Joyce is not just a one-woman chief cook and bottle washer.

Her positive can-do attitude rubs off on the others around her, motivating them to join in to create the flourishing club that Riccarton Racecourse is.  The president of the club, her husband Peter ‘Speedo’ Speedy, is no doubt very grateful.

And so are we in the wider bowls community.  Congratulations for your well-deserved award, Joyce.