If you were at the 2017/2018 BLK National Open Championships at the Taieri Bowling Club, you couldn’t have helped but notice the immaculately attired, purple-tied gentleman attending to cleaning duties every morning at 6:00am.
His name is Ron Waugh. And Ron’s just gone through his 89th birthday making him the oldest bloke (there’s an older blokess) at Taieri – a club he has belonged to since 1966.
Ron spent much of his life working for printer Whitcombe & Tombs (now Whitcoulls) as a compositor then on the road repping. “Cadbury’s was my biggest customer,” says Ron. “They gave me the purple tie, and I’ve worn it ever since.”
Ron retired in 1989, so he could play more bowls, and spend some time drinking his favourite tipple, Speights, a company he once printed 3 million labels for each year. Bowls became a passion. “In my hey-day, I reached the last 32 in the Nationals. And won the club fours 3 or 4 times.”
But bowls was just one of the many sports Ron had a go at.
Ron played on the side of the scrum at the Alhambra Rugby Club. “I was only 9 stone 8lb (60kgs). I was the lightest forward in Dunedin, but they used to put me in the programme at 10 stone 6lb.” Ron’s rugby finished when he dislocated his collarbone. “Ron Elvidge pushed me over!” he laughs.
He started playing 4th grade soccer for the Northern AFC. “It was a golden period for the team,” explains Ron. “We scored 85 goals and only conceded 4. The seniors were busy winning the Chatham Cup.”
Ron also played table tennis for North East Valley at a club and rep level. As well as playing 2nd grade cricket for the Grange. “I haven’t played water polo,” he adds.
But it wasn’t all about life in Dunedin. One of Ron’s big life adventures was sailing to Scotland on the ‘Mataroa’ where he worked for a year as a printer at John Waddington – the makers of Monopoly and Cluedo. “We went to watch the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, where we say Yvette Williams win the long jump.”
Ron’s a man who’s been there, done that. Thanks for all the help at the Nationals, Ron.