Bowen club ready for opening bowl

It is taking longer than usual to arrive this year, but the warmer and drier weather of spring will hopefully soon be with us. And one group that will welcome the chance to get outside and cut the grass again is the Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club.

Members who belong to the local club located in beautiful Bowen Park have already been busy getting the green in shape and preparing for another year of competition and camaraderie. With the start of the season coming up quickly, lawn bowlers have marked their calendars with several important dates and events to remember…

The first of those is happening today (April 9). This afternoon from 1-4 p.m., the Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club will host the first of two open houses. New bowlers are invited to come down to Bowen Park and visit the green to learn about the game of bowls. For those wishing to try their hand, club coaches will be pleased to assist and explain the basics of the sport. Visitors can get details about club membership and upcoming events and also have the chance to win free lessons. Equipment will be provided, but guests are asked to wear flat-soled running shoes to avoid damaging the green.

For those unable to attend today’s session, a second open house for new bowlers will be held on April 16. Again the times will be 1-4 p.m. at the Bowen green and all visitors are welcome to come and learn about the sport of lawn bowling.

For those who are already members of the club, the spring general meeting will be held Sunday (April 10) at 2 p.m. in the Bowen clubhouse. At that time plans for the coming season will be discussed, including information about the schedule for league competition and tournaments. Heading into its 88th year of operation, the Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club will be led this year by incoming president Jeff Dixon. Others on the executive are vice-president Janet Taylor, past-president Paul Roughton, treasurer Bob Calderwood and secretary Vernie Dawkin. Directors for the coming season include Kate Wilson, George Gibson, Dave Towns, Zena Buck and Maureen Evans. Head umpire will be Len Gafka, while Donn Sherry will again handle duties as head coach as well as coordinator for sight impaired bowlers.

Then, the official opening day for the new lawn bowling season will be April 17, with mayor John Ruttan on hand to deliver the ceremonial opening bowl. Following that, club members present will ‘wear the whites’ to mark the first game of the season.

When club competitions get underway, bowlers will be looking to defend various titles won last season. Men’s and ladies’ singles champions were Rick Quibell and Trish Higgs, with Myron Mishio and Teresa Rogerson the novice men’s and ladies’ champs.

Victorious in ladies’ pairs, claiming the Wheaton Trophy, were Emily Lawson and Rosalie Dyck. The Ralph Wilson Shield as men’s pairs champs was won by Gordon Phillips and Bob McKenzie. In mixed pairs, the H&M Jones title went to Bill Roos and Evelyn Scharf, while Mona Haddad and Len Gafka teamed to win the Tom & Ruth Novis Trophy for 75-and-over mixed pairs.

Doug Higgs, Len Gafka and George Shaw partnered to win the Jack MacLachlan Shield as men’s triples champions. The Vince Crawley Trophy for ladies’ triples went to the team of Kate Wilson, Mary Bradford and Rolande Harrison. Mixed triples competition saw Keith McMann, Mary Bradford and alternates Barb Paris and Jim Ross win the Inkster Trophy. Also in mixed triples, the Alan Cup was won by Mona Haddad, Evelyn Scharf and George Shaw. Taking home the Ernie Johnson Trophy were Jimmy Muller, Jean Giszas and alternates Adrie Muller and Margaret McIntyre.

Among other highlights from last season on the green, the Jim Gavin Trophy for mixed fours champions was claimed by the team of Gord Fall, Anne Ashdown, June Noble and Moe Easterbrook. In the Norval Wheatcroft mixed fours tournament, the Nanaimo team of Mona Haddad, Rod Brown, Gerry Paris and Betty Forsyth placed second in the A division. In the tournament’s B division, Nanaimo’s George Gibson, Aileen Foan, Lesia Gafka and Bob McKenzie took first place and the local foursome of Dave Towns, Kathy Towns, Tom Williams and Marcia Williams placed second.

Top teams in the club membership mixed pairs competition were Keith McMann and partner Jean Smythe, along with Jimmy Muller and teammate Anne Ashdown. Kathy Towns, Teresa Rogerson and Roelie Roos were the top three players in ladies’ Wednesday league action. Len Gafka finished first in the men’s Tuesday league standings, ahead of Jimmy Muller and Tom Renton.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.