Ruth Grant is part of the furniture at the Alexandra Bowling Club. She’s been a member nearly 40 years -since 1982. She was Treasurer of the club for 27 of those years. She’s a Life Member of the club (the 31st). And over the decades, she’s chalked up more than her share of bowls wins.
She has been (and still is) a VERY handy club member.
She’s also Manager of the Central Otago Centre … although she modestly describes it as more Centre ‘Secretary’.
But ‘being in the know’ at the Centre was enough to alert her to the chance to hold this year’s Summerset National Fours and Summerset National Mixed Pairs in Central Otago.
“I thought ‘why not’” she laughs.
Ruth wasn’t scared of the fact that the Central Otago Centre had never held the Nationals. “It was something that had always been given to the main centres, but I knew there was no reason we couldn’t hold them here in Central.”
“We could do it. We’d held a Men’s South Island tournament here back in the 80’s. I remember it well. Only because as a Junior Umpire, I had to check that the men weren’t wearing coloured belts, coloured socks or coloured underwear!”
Bowls New Zealand obviously agreed. And for the first time ever, the Summerset National Fours and Mixed Pairs are being hosted outside the main centre Centres, in and around Alexandra.
If the Alexandra Bowling Club, and the other 12 clubs hosting clubs in Central Otago, didn’t know what they were getting themselves in for, then they do now.
“The response from club members throughout the Centre has been marvellous,” says Ruth, “People have been queueing up to help in any way they can. And in the end that’s what tournaments need - a lot of womenpower and manpower!”
Despite being the Centre Admin, Ruth has settled into the tournament role that she prefers in her regular role for the club : Catering Convenor.
“We’ve got a team of women (and yes, men) helping in the kitchen and out front. There’s a lot of food (and tea and coffee) to be served over the 7 days the two tournaments. There’s also a lot of dishes to be done!”
“We’ve had great support from our suppliers for the tournament, The Alexandra Night ‘n Day Store will be providing heaps of sandwiches, rolls and wraps. ‘Eat Humble Pie’ is going to be baking fresh scones on Saturday and Sunday. The Paulin Family have promised all sorts of fresh fruit.”
“Plus there’s going to be everyone’s south of the South Island favourites : BBQ sausages, BBQ patties, the famous Jimmy’s Pies from Roxburgh, and wait for it ………. venison.”
“There may even be a cheese roll here or there.”
In a ‘first’ at a Nationals, a coffee truck (‘Bean on the Run’) has also been set up adjacent to the number one green, so that Auckland bowlers can still enjoy their soy milk double-shot lattes while venturing below the 45th parallel.
“People won’t go hungry… or thirsty,” says Ruth.
With magnificent greens and magnificent hospitality, players will only have themselves to blame for their tournament result.