Over the last couple of weeks, the various winners from the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Awards have been announced.
Find below a wrap of our amazing winners, and stay tuned for the grand winner announcement this Saturday after the Bowls New Zealand AGM!
If success can be judged by the company that you keep, then there is no denying the achievements of Katelyn Inch in 2020.
The Queensland-based bowler had a phenomenal year, which has been rewarded with recognition as the Summerset Bowls New Zealand Female Bowler of the Year.
Adding another layer to her accomplishment, the other finalists in the category were legendary Blackjack Jo Edwards and fellow national representative Selina Smith, who is already regarded as one of the best in the country.
“I’m absolutely not surprised by her success,” says Bowls New Zealand high performance manager Kaushik Patel. “We have a high-performance plan where we are all striving to be world class and she certainly ticks every box.”
“She has given up everything to become a World Class bowler and it is paying off for her.”
In 2017 Inch, who grew up on a farm outside Christchurch, decided to relocate to Queensland. The move was partly to take advantage of the massive bowls culture in the Sunshine State, but it was also made with the awareness of upcoming pinnacle events that would be staged there (Commonwealth Games 2018 and World Championships 2020).
But it wasn’t a simple decision. Inch comes from a close-knit family, and had to forgo a promising netball career, as well as her studies at Canterbury University.
“She gave up her netball, gave up her studies, moved to the Gold Coast to further her career knowing that some big events were going to be there,” says Patel. “But it was a big lifestyle choice and a huge sacrifice.”
And not everything went to plan. Inch was thrilled to be part of the triples and fours teams for the Commonwealth Games – “I never thought I would come so far, so fast” – she said at the time, after making her national debut only two years earlier.
But it was a difficult experience at the Games, as Inch and her team failed to make the last four in either competition, with quarter final exits.
“I know she was bitterly disappointed with her performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but she has rebounded well from that,” says Patel. “She has enjoyed some spectacular improvement, but it is certainly not luck; it has all been planned, all been structured.”
“Last season she had some huge success in the Queensland competitions and a lot of Australians have noticed how well she is doing over there. Then she topped it all off by performing at the NZ nationals – so it was a special year for her.”
The highlight of Inch’s season came at the National championships at Papanui. After a gruelling week, Inch saved her best for the last day.
It started at 8:30am, as she joined Smith in the National Pairs final against Clare Hendra and Tayla Bruce. The younger duo proved too good, prevailing 19-13 to cap off an impressive tournament, where they had beaten defending champions Val Smith and Lisa Prideaux in the semi-final.
It was Inch’s first national title but she had no chance to celebrate, facing two time champion Edwards in the singles final at 11am the same morning.
Inch had faced a difficult road to the decider – beating fellow Blackjacks Tayla Bruce and Wendy Jensen on the way – and the final was a close battle.
But Inch showed impressive composure against the veteran Edwards, taking the last six shots to win 21-15.
Across the Tasman Inch has compiled an impressive list of achievements over the last 12 months. She took out the Australian champion of champions pairs and was fourth in the singles equivalent. Inch also finished third in the Australian Open fours.
Inch was utterly dominant at the Broadbeach Bowls Club (taking the singles, pairs and four titles) and this translated into regional success, including first at the Queensland State pairs and another triumph in their Pennants competition.
“Katelyn performed well at age group level but to make the jump as quick as she has – probably nobody would have expected her to do it that quickly,” says Patel. “But she is getting the rewards for all her commitment and sacrifice.”
One day in the future Andrew Kelly might look back on the 2019/20 season as the fruiting of the vineyard.
That might seem strange – as Kelly has more than 100 caps for New Zealand and an impressive resume of other achievements – but it feels like everything clicked into gear over the last 12 months.
He produced his best ever performances on the national stage, ended a long period in the international wilderness and capped things off by being named in the Black Jacks squad for the World Championships on the Gold Coast (since postponed).
That productive period has been recognised in the best possible way, with the 32-year-old Kelly honoured as the 2020 Summerset Bowls New Zealand Male Player of the Year.
“He’s been on the radar for a number of years,” says Bowls New Zealand High Performance manager Kaushik Patel. “He came into the game at a young age, but as you do, certainly lived the life. He fell off the radar for a couple of years
but has matured a lot. He has a partner, a baby and has worked really well with his high performance coach Sharon Sims.”
“They came up with an individual performance plan together and he has worked out what it takes to be world class. He has made every post a winner and his success at the Nationals wasn’t anything to do with luck. That was Andrew Kelly doing everything right on and off the green.”
Kelly enjoyed a breakthrough tournament in Christchurch in January. He was in strong form all week in the singles but reached another level when it really mattered.
There was an emphatic 21-5 win over Dean Elgar in the semi-finals, before another convincing display in the final. Kelly was hunting his maiden singles title, but you wouldn’t have known, as he led 10-3 before closing with a four, two, three and two to beat Ryan Burnett (Broadbeach) 21-7.
“It had been a while since he had won a national title,” says Sims. “But he had been in a number of finals. He had plenty of confidence…you learn every time you are in a final. And he was completely focussed on what he was doing, and not who he was playing.”
Kelly’s willingness to put in a constant, consistent effort is the recipe for his success.
“He works really hard on all aspects of his game, not just on green and it’s all starting to come together,” says Sims.
“He keeps himself extremely fit and works hard on the mental side of the game. He is a joy to work with because he is always open to challenges, always looking to improve and never resting on his laurels.”
Kelly was a prodigious young talent. He reached a national fours final as a 17-year-old in 2006 – finishing runner up – and had already pocketed a bunch of centre titles by that stage.
His Black Jacks debut came in 2010 and he claimed national fours titles in 2012 and 2014. He has since garnered 105 national caps but there have also been sustained periods outside the Blacks Jacks and he has yet to feature in a Commonwealth Games team.
His progress at times was hampered by some indiscretions away from the green, as he struggled to find the right balance in his life.
“He has always been a very talented player,” says Sims. “He will acknowledge when he was first selected that he was a perhaps a bit too young. I say to people `Andrew the man is very different to Andrew the boy’ and that maturity has made a big difference to his game and how he prepares himself. He was always a good kid but also a bit of a character.”
After first observing him at the turn of the decade, Sims sensed a significant change when she began coaching him three years ago.
“We went to the Hong Kong pairs,” says Sims. “I was really impressed by him and his attitude.”
As well as his national singles success, Kelly also went all the way to the national pairs final (with Richard Hocking), before being beaten by the Wellington combination of Raymond Martin and Robbie Bennett.
Kelly also helped the Canterbury men’s team to a memorable success at the National Intercentre title, coming from 8-14 down to defeat Shannon McIIroy 25-24 in the final, in the best contest of the week.
Kelly also won the Stoke Stake’s men’s pairs (with Nathan Glasson).
“There were a few events that he chose not to play but his strike rate was very good,” says Sims. “When you first start out you want to play in everything but you learn over time to pick and choose especially when you have a family, you have to balance these things.”
Asked for his greatest strength, Sim’s nominates his versatility.
“He is a very good draw bowler, but the best thing is he is very adaptable,” says Sims. “He can play on a variety of surfaces. Some players are one trick ponies…good on fast or slow. He’s a good bet for the future in New Zealand.”
Senior Black Jacks Gary Lawson and Shannon Mcllroy were the other finalists in an extremely strong category.
For Raymond Martin, the 2019-20 season was a story of turning potential into performance.
No one has ever doubted the talent of the Wellington bowler, but he hasn’t always achieved the results to match that promise.
That’s all changed after a highly impressive campaign, which has seen Martin recognized as the 2020 Summerset Bowls New Zealand Development Player of the Year.
“It’s just reward,” says Bowls New Zealand high performance manager Kaushik Patel. “He has been performing consistently well but he hasn’t always kicked on. I’m guessing it is just experience and also being part of the high performance program for the first time.”
The high point of his season came at the nationals at the Papanui Club, where Martin took out the pairs title alongside Rob Bennett, defeating Andrew Kelly and Richard Hocking in the decider.
It was his first national title, and a significant breakthrough for the man from the Victoria club in the capital.
“He was very focused on winning it,” says Rachel Curtin, who is his Bowls New Zealand coach. “He had a good partnership, which had been fostered throughout several tournaments. I wasn’t surprised at all with the result; he has been close before and he was ready to shine.”
Martin first turned heads in a big way back in 2015, when he led his Fours team on a fairytale run to the national final. Martin skipped one of the youngest teams that week on the North Shore of Auckland, but they refused to be intimidated by age and experience deficits.
They beat Gary Lawson in the quarter finals, before ousting Rob Ashton in the semi finals, but Peter Belliss and his team proved a bridge too far in the decider.
Martin has been a consistent performer at national level since, but the week in Christchurch could be a bridge to greater achievements. Curtin has certainly noted significant growth, on and off the green.
“He has a more determined, focused approach and has developed more confidence,” says Curtin. “And then he channels it in a way that is more understanding and accepting of others. He feels more confident in himself so can be more himself.”
“He’s really happy with life and has a good balance of work, social, bowls and family. That’s transferred into his ability to be able to go onto the green and know that all of that is sorted and he can perform.”
Curtin has also seen Martin emerge as someone that others can follow.
“He has taken on a leadership role, not only at club level but also in the representative squad,” says Curtin. “He approached that aspect with a methodical, focused approach.”
Last season Martin also took out the Wellington Octagonal and Premier Interclub titles and made the last four of the Wellington Open Fours.
He also swept the world singles and pairs titles at the Wellington Professional Bowls Association Indoor events and replicated that pairs success at national level. Martin finished the season as the No 1 ranked player in the New Zealand Professional Bowls Association.
He could have had an opportunity to shine even further, but for highly unfortunate circumstances. Martin was in the New Zealand side chosen for the 2019 Hong Kong Classic, but that event couldn’t go ahead due to the riots late last year. He was also selected for the World Indoor tournament in Bristol, which was subsequently cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
“You have to feel sorry for him, he’s been selected for two key events and both have been cancelled,” said Patel. “But he will keep going. Raymond has been part of our development squad and he has been doing everything right to become world class.”
Patel also lauded the achievements of Keanu Darby and Sheldon Bagrie-Howley, who were the other finalists in this category.
Clare Hendra’s breakthrough year on the national scene has been rewarded in the best possible way, with the Wellingtonian named as the Summerset Bowls New Zealand 2020 Female Emerging player of the year.
It’s a significant honour for Hendra, who has come back to the sport she loves in recent years, after taking time out to start a family and focus on career commitments.
It’s been quite a return, and Hendra had some eye catching achievements in the 2019-2020 season.
She was part of the victorious quartet at the National Fours tournament in Tauranga, then went all the way to the final of the National Pairs, as skip alongside Tayla Bruce.
Hendra also scooped four regional titles, including the Wellington Open singles and Taranaki Octagonal singles and was honoured as the Wellington player of the year.
In Trans-Tasman competition she led the triples in the closely fought series (1-2) and ended the season as the third ranked female bowler in New Zealand.
Hendra also made a mark at club level, helping her Silverstream team reach the last four in the Wellington Interclub sevens for the first time.
“She was out of the game for a while, then came back into the sport,” says Bowls New Zealand high performance manager Kaushik Patel. “It’s a great success story because she is balancing work, life and family life and trying to be world class. She is making every post is a winner thus far.”
“She is a perfect example of what can be achieved and [last month] she got selected into the Blacks Jacks squad for the first time.”
Invercargill based coach Craig Merrilees linked up with Hendra at the start of last season and has been thrilled, but not surprised, by her progress.
“In all my years of bowls I have never come across anyone more dedicated in their quest to become the best than Clare,” says Merrilees.
He explains that Hendra has a demanding full time job as a manager of a group of business analysts at the Ministry of Education, as well as being a wife, and mother to her four year-old son but still maintains a “clear focus on her goal of becoming world champion”
Hendra trains three to four times a week, usually in two hour sessions. Merrilees says 90 per cent of their work is drills, rather than practice games, but Hendra is diligent and dedicated, particularly with her preparation before each session to maximise its value.
“She is never complacent, always striving to be better,” says Merrilees. “No doubt Clare can become a real force in the game she loves, and she is certainly a world class athlete in the making.”
Others in the sport have also been impressed.
“She is supportive of the game itself and has a love and enthusiasm which is infectious to her teammates,” says Nigel Dixon, the general manager of Bowls Wellington. “Her encouragement and support to new bowlers was evident this year when she won a centre title with a fours side, in which none of the other players had won a centre title before.
“That was an example of her selflessness and willingness to put herself in a position to assist those around her, despite there being easier options.”
Black Jack Selina Smith has a unique perspective, after facing off against Hendra in the National Pairs final, then teaming up with her to win the National Fours.
“She was a breath of fresh air to play against and I was inspired by her comradery and class,” said Smith. “She always put teammates first. She cares about teammates and opponents and is positive and supportive.”
Fellow Black Jack Tayla Bruce, who played alongside Hendra in the National Pairs final, took a similar view.
“Claire embodies the Black Jacks values of pride, honesty, respect, accountability and integrity.”
Leeane Poulson and Lisa Prideaux were the other finalists in the category.
Congratulations to all finalists in the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Annual awards.
Graham Doreen is again top of the pile in this country, recognised as the Summerset Bowls New Zealand 2020 coach of the year.
It’s the second time Doreen has picked up the prestigious award, after taking the honour in 2017. He was also a finalist for the award in 2018 and 2019.
“Graham brings unrivalled passion for the sport and for the role of coach,” says Bowls New Zealand high performance manager Kaushik Patel.
“And he is always putting the athlete first, second and third. Those are his words, that’s his motto.”
“In 2017 [he was recognised] after being in charge of the North Harbour under-five teams that won back to back national titles,” adds Patel. “But this time round it is more about specialist coaching on a one to one basis.”
Doreen is personal coach to Selina Smith (nee Goddard), who picked up national titles in the fours and pairs in the 2019-20 season, as well as two North Harbour centre titles
Fellow Black Jack Wendy Jensen is also mentored by Doreen, along with North Island representatives Lisa Prideaux and Leanne Poulsen
He was one of Bowls New Zealand's eight high-performance coaches, though has stepped away for the upcoming season.
Doreen is also in charge of the national women’s development squad and was the women’s coach for the third Trans-Tasman test earlier this year.
In the 2019-20 season Doreen coached the North Harbour centre premier women’s squad, after enjoying previous success with the men’s team.
He focussed on strengthening the base of talent and this was reflected in results; Harbour trumped Auckland in the battle of the bridge and was first equal in the final quadrangular tournament.
But Doreen’s influence has stretched beyond national and centre levels.
At his beloved Takapuna club he has led a coaching team which have had a profound influence on rookie and junior bowlers.
There have been strong gains, a testament to Doreen’s ability to analyse technique and provide calm, effective and positive motivation.
At the North Shore club Doreen has also run evening skills sessions for large groups.
“He’s been a major influence at Takapuna bowling club and that club has gone from strength to strength under his watch,” says Patel. “[Graham] is most effective at the club and centre level and works with the elite levels within the realm.”
Patel observes that Doreen is also driven to improve, and not afraid to think outside the square.
“He runs specific skills sessions, including mental skills sessions,” says Patel. “He has engaged a mental skills specialist, at his own expense, to help his bowlers on a regular basis and we have seen the dividends from that.
He has had a significant impact on the sport and is a deserved winner.”
The other finalists in the category were Anne Craik and Emily Robbins.
A dedication to excellence and an unrelenting commitment to the sport have seen Anne and David Burrage honoured as the 2019-2020 Bowls New Zealand Summerset Awards umpires of the year.
It’s deserved recognition for the Wellington based duo, who have constantly impressed with their work ethic and passion for Bowls.
“It’s got to the point where I hesitate about picking up the phone to call them,” says Sue Way, Vice President of the Bowls Wellington Umpires Committee.
“I know no matter what the situation, where they are or even if it late notice they will invariably say yes and sometimes you feel a bit bad.
“In this position you create a list of people in terms of their competence and availability and Anne and David are always near the top of that list.”
The husband and wife duo qualified as level 1 umpires in June 2016, graduating to level 2 national umpires the following April.
“They have been wonderful assets to the sport,” says Way. “They love the people contact, watching great bowls, doing things for other people and making a difference. And they certainly have.”
Across the 2019-2020 season the Burrages umpired some big regional events, including the Wellington Open Fours and Triples and the Bowls Specialist mixed 242 pairs. They also officiated at the Clubs New Zealand national Fours.
“Our competitions are on multiple greens and there is a lot of responsibility,” says Way. “Umpires need to be on site an hour before the start of play and are still around after the last person leaves. There is a lot to do.”
The Burrages have also gone beyond the call of duty with their willingness to assist Bowls Wellington to train other umpires.
“It’s something they have done since they were first qualified, helping our trainer so much,” says Way. “They had a thirst for learning and passed that enthusiasm on to others.”
They usually attend every session of the six-week training modules and take a full role. Ann does the reaccreditation process, and both help with the training.
“They’ll be there early to put out all the equipment and get the stuff ready,” says Way. “Sometimes there might be 16 measuring exercises with at least two bowls involved in each. There is a lot to do. They’ll take a full role in the training, then put everything away again.”
Way has no doubt that their love for the sport has rubbed off on budding new umpires.
“They enjoy the social side and they complement each other so well,” says Way. “David can be very black and white, while Anne is kind and caring, but they are both great with people."
The couple have relocated to the Kapiti Coast, which means round trips of up to two hours or more to attend training sessions or umpire events, but that hasn’t altered their devotion to their duties.
“Whenever you need an umpire, they are there,” says Way. “They’ll ask what time they should be there, and they are never late, even if it is a last-minute request, they will usually do it.”
The Burrages are also keen bowlers. They previously belonged to Tawa bowling club – and David was club secretary up until recently – but have joined Raumati Beach bowling club since their move north.
Their community contribution doesn’t stop with Bowls, as Way points out they have also been exam supervisors at University and NCEA level.
“They are retired and they like to serve,” says Way. “They are awesome people and live life to the full. With Anne and David, it is definitely two for the price of one.”
Lynda Bennett set new standards of excellence over the past year and has been honoured with a fitting accolade, crowned the Summerset Bowls New Zealand 2020 Para-Sport bowler of the year.
It’s just reward for Bennett, who enjoyed a wonderful season on the green.
The Waikato bowler won the national disabled singles title, and then backed it up by skipping her disabled triples team to victory.
Adding to those achievements, Bennett was also third equal in the disabled pairs category of the New Zealand Open.
Bennett also showed her ability against able-bodied rivals, part of winning teams in the Te Awamutu Ladies Pairs and Mixed Fours competitions, along with a third place in the Ladies Triples.
“Lynda was probably unlucky not to win this award last year but the way she dominated at the nationals, she was a sure winner this time round,” says Bowls New Zealand high performance manager Kaushik Patel.
“Unfortunately there weren’t any international events she could showcase her skills due to circumstances.”
Patel added that Bennett performed admirably as part of the Para team in the Bowls3Five, though she wasn’t available for all fixtures.
Bennett’s recipe for success is multi-faceted, with an unrelenting commitment to continuous improvement.
Coach Rex McGill says she has embraced the concept of “purposeful planned training”. He explains that Bennett has a focus on process over outcome and has developed breathing techniques and other mindfulness tools to help with the mental side of the sport.
And she doesn’t cut any corners with physical preparation, with Pilates and core sessions twice a week and well as regular swims to help with cardio.
“It’s impressive the way she looks after herself,” says Patel. “You look at the modern bowler and you talk about going the distance….she is super fit and really looks after herself.”
“She is committed to it and as a one armed bowler, her conditioning has to be spot on, to get the balance and the strength needed to compete.”
Her coach McGill adds that for someone so experienced – Bennett was part of team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games – she also sets the right example on the green.
“[She has an] impeccable standard of sportsmanship and fair play,” says McGill, who adds that Bennett is always trying to encourage other disabled bowlers to play.”
Bennett also isn’t one to put limits on what is possible.
“Her philosophy is defined by what she can do, and not by what she can’t do,” says McGill. “She regards failure as the result of not trying sufficiently. [She] constantly plans [so she can] realise her maximum potential.”
Graham Skellern and Steve Delaney were the other finalists in the category.
Congratulations to all finalists in the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Annual awards.
Gisborne Bowling club President Rod McCulloch admits they had a few nerves about nominating Jamey Ferris for the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Awards 2020 Greenkeeper of the Year.
Ferris has been an invaluable part of the club for a decade, and McCulloch realised that having him in the spotlight might attract other suitors.
“There is a bit of a risk with all this exposure,” laughs McCulloch. “Some other clubs might want him when they realise how talented he is. But he has assured us he will be staying in the area. We certainly hope so…we think the world of him.”
The nomination of Ferris was accompanied by a string of endorsements and references, which show why he has been ultimately honoured as the 2020 Greenkeeper of the Year.
“He has made a massive contribution – not just at our club – but across the region,” says McCulloch. “He is so passionate about the sport and that shows through in everybody that he does.”
McCulloch says the quality of the turf at Gisborne bowling club is testament to Ferris’s skills, work ethic and desire to constantly learn.
“They are exceptional to play on and it’s always nice to hear comments from others about how wonderful the greens are,” says McCulloch. “For Jamey it’s a 24 hour job – he’s prepared to be there whenever.”
As one example, McCulloch cites an episode in the second week of August, when the club had a midweek event scheduled, despite an unfavourable weather forecast.
“Rain was meant to be coming and many other greenkeepers might have said ‘well, it’s not meant to be’” says McCulloch. “But Jamey is different. He said, ‘I’ll see what I can do’ and he was down here early in the morning, mowing the greens and then he rolled the greens.”
“We played that day and kept going a bit longer even when the rain came. In the end we got an hour and a quarter of bowls in, which was enough to finish. Jamey knew we had paid entry fees and wanted to give us the best possible chance of playing.”
Ferris has been greenkeeper at Gisborne for 10 years. He has consistently achieved a greens rating of 55/60, again during the 2019-2020 season.
As well as his level 1, 2 and 3 green keeping certificates, he also gained the level 3 Sports Turf industry qualification in 2017 and is committed to constant improvement. He often works outside normal working hours, and as McCulloch points out, his mantra is to always strive for a tournament ready green seven days a week.
“No matter who is playing or practising, he wants them to have the best possible experience on the greens,” explains McCulloch.
Ferris has implemented a more organic approach to greenkeeping over the past year, avoiding hazardous substances as much as possible and making use of seaweed fertiliser. As well as being safer for members, there is an added benefit of cost savings.
Ferris is heavily involved within his industry. He has attended every cluster meeting in the Gisborne-East Coast area over the past 10 years and served as president since 2016. Ferris has also attended greenkeepers conferences around the North Island and been proactive in offering advice and assistance to clubs around the region.
His work has resulted in some glowing tributes
“Jamey is the Greenkeeper for the two largest bowling clubs in our district (Gisborne and Kahutia) and his work has resulted in their greens becoming the best in the district,” says Bowls Gisborne East Coast President Steve Goldsbury, who adds that Ferris has had a positive influence on the transformation of the greens at the three country clubs in the area.
Bowls New Zealand life member and former chair of the Eastland Greenkeepers association Martin Christensen describes Ferris as a sponge for information, with an inquiring mind who is always passing on knowledge.
“It’s about application to a vocation that Jamey lives for each day; producing high quality turf playing surfaces along with mentoring other green keepers.”
Former vice president of Bowls New Zealand Robin Jefferson says the sport is lucky to have Ferris. Jefferson, who has also been President of Bowls Gisborne East Coast for the last decade, says Ferris is aware this is not a 9-5 job – “more like 6am to 7:30pm” and is prepared to give his time.
Ferris takes a proactive approach, is always ready to learn and has great people skills.
“He is well respected by those he leads – he has a good manner with them,” says Jefferson. “That is why he is successful. We are fortunate to have a young man giving of his best in the interests of bowls.”
Ferris has also been Greens’ advisor for Bowls Napier for the past two years.
“Jamie takes a keen interest in the ongoing condition of our greens and partly as a result of his advice our greens are playing better than they have for a number of years,” says Malcolm Stockwell, Greens Superintendent for Bowls Napier.
Ferris has attended the Kahutia Bowling club greens for the last seven years, with club President Murray Murton commenting that they have been maintained to “an exceptional level”.
Aside from his technical abilities and capacity to work hard, Ferris also has the common touch.
“He’s a member of the club as well and he gets on very well with people,” says McCulloch, who adds that Ferris is the best singles bowler at the club.
“He’ll take part in roll ups and will encourage junior players. And many times, I’ve seen him go and help a bowler who happens to be there when he has finished work. He’s a pretty special guy.”
Jim Naylor is the Bowls New Zealand Club Person of the Year – and it’s not hard to see why.
The popular award drew a large amount of entries, with the judging panel short listing no less than eight finalists.
But Naylor was the standout.
He has made a remarkable contribution to the Coopers Beach bowling club, and as President helped guide them through the precarious lockdown period.
But his overall effect on the Far North club in recent times has been staggering.
“We wouldn’t have anything like the club we have now without him,” says Secretary Carol Sell. “I’ve got no doubt that Jim has had the biggest impact on the club that anyone has ever had.”
Naylor is in his sixth year as club president and across that time has set a standard that few around the country could match.
The best example came in 2016 and 2017, when Naylor and another member worked every day to renovate the club rooms, building new toilets, installing a commercial kitchen and upgrading the bar.
“He gave up two years of his life for that,” says Sell. “He loves a project but it’s amazing what he can do and he didn’t charge the club a cent for his labour.”
Naylor has also been key to getting the club on a more even keel financially. They have been in the black every year during his tenure, after earlier periods marked by some losses.
“He has ensured the club is in a good financial position and because of that we were able to weather the lockdown without too much pressure,” says Sell.
The isolation period saw Naylor’s work ethic and commitment come to the fore.
He spent days installing the stock control system on the bar till, which entailed complex discussions with the software company, as the new system did not have an operating manual. He also produced a manual for future use.
During lockdown Naylor also lined the ceiling, improved the lighting, carpeted the floor and painted the walls, as well as going to the club each day to check the refrigeration and chillers were functioning properly.
Last summer Naylor installed a overhead projector and large screen. This has been a great boost for members, but also a bonus when the club is used for outside events.
Naylor also recently stepped in to run the bar – after the bar manager departed at short notice – and then trained the new person.
He holds coaching classes for new bowlers every second week, which has improved the confidence of players at the beginning of their careers.
Naylor is a regular at the club on Friday nights, when it becomes a hub for the local community, and has great empathy with the members.
Sell says the Naylor has the ideal approach as President and gets the best out of the committee.
“He has a calm nature and doesn’t get upset or agitated,” says Sell. “If you are given a job or a project he lets you get on with it and doesn’t interfere.”
Sell has also been constantly impressed by Naylor’s determination to find the best possible outcome for the club.
“He will always try to find the best deals,” says Sell. “He’ll spend hours on the computer comparing things. He’s always got the club’s interests at heart.”
Sell admitted she found it hard to encapsulate Naylor’s contribution into a few paragraphs, but she has no doubt about his legacy.
“Our members feel like we have the best club in the Far North and Jim has played a massive part in that,” says Sell. “It’s been amazing what he has done, and what he continues to do. We are lucky to have him.”
The other category finalists were Tony Fielding, Terry Moverley, Frederick Smith, Sue Wightman, Lesley Langer, Maurice Picard and Robyne Walker.
Congratulations to all finalists in the Bowls New Zealand Summerset Annual awards.