Lyn Rance : A legend at Green Island

May 26, 2022

Lyn Rance has always loved bowls.

Whether it’s the indoor bowls she’s played since 1989 or the outdoor bowls she started playing a few years later in the 1992/1993 season.

“I’m one of those people when they take up something, they get really addicted,” she laughs. “When I started lawn bowls, I wanted to play all day and every day. I couldn’t get enough bowls. I was the person who said after a full day’s play ‘do we have to finish?’!”

She’s always been fortunate enough to have partners who also enjoy bowls.

“My husband, John, also loved it. And when he passed, I was lucky to find a new partner, Max Grey, who also loved the game. He was at the Brighton Bowling Club, but I eventually convinced him to join me here at Green Island. He’s loves playing, but he also loves buying and selling second-hand bowls. He’s the go-to person if you’re selling your bowls. Or you want to buy a set.”

Over the years, Lyn has become a very good bowler.

She’s amassed 55 Club titles in the singles, pairs, triples and fours. She’s won 26 Centre titles (and another 25 Centre titles in the indoor game). She hasn’t won a National title, but has come so close : coming runner-up in the Fours in Christchurch in 2002 with Marta McEwan, Margaret Malcolm and Gloria Shine. “We were beaten by the better team on the day,” Lyn adds philosophically.

Lyn’s also reached the last 16 in the National Singles.

But what’s truly amazing is that she’s still winning … 30 years after starting bowls, and a few years shy of her 80th birthday.

“We won the Dunedin Centre Triples (with Lesley Dabinett and Margaret Hoad) and Fours (Shirley Mercer, Margaret Hoad and Lyn Baird) this last season,” she smiles. “Plus I won the Veteran Singles and the Champion of Champion Veteran Singles. June Pickles, Lyn Baird, Max and I won the New Zealand Masters Fours the other Saturday, so we have to play in the regionals in July.”

But Lyn hasn’t just been a player. She’s contributed an immense amount to the Green Island Bowling Club.

“I started bowls before amalgamation,” she says. “I was raked onto the ladies’ committee as soon as I joined, becoming Treasurer and President. When we amalgamated I joined the committee and became Ladies Club Captain. Since then I’ve been on the ties committee and am now a selector, umpire and Vice-President.”

“I haven’t offered to be secretary because I’m no good on the computer!”

That’s just outdoor. She’s also been as heavily involved in the indoor game over the years, and is currently President of the Green Island Indoor Bowls Club. She also has Centre roles, being a selector and manager, as well as a selector for Dunedin Centre indoor bowls.

“Funnily enough, I was a tennis player before a bowler,” she says. “I played tennis next door at the Green Island courts and it was a tennis friend who took me along to bowls, and had me fill in for someone else in a tournament. But I don’t play tennis these days ... it’s too hard on the body.”

“However, our original family sport was hockey. My brother even played for the New Zealand Colts.”

Despite all this sporting commitment, Lyn’s love … perhaps her favourite love … is her garden. “I love gardening,” she says. “and I like to get out in the garden at home as much as possible.”

Lyn probably now has the time to love both gardening and bowls. It wasn’t always the case. She and her husband John raised three kids : Sandra, Jonathan and Mark (who tragically passed away). “For years I worked at Neill & Co., which eventually became Wilson Neill.”

Lyn’s sports contributions haven’t gone unnoticed.

She’s a Life Member of both the Green Island Indoor and Outdoor Bowling Clubs. She’s also a Life member of the Green Island Tennis Club.

“She is that someone special at our club,” says Lee Grigg, Secretary of the Green Island Bowling Club. “She does so much for our club, and is a true bowling legend.”

Well done Lyn