Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
“Ye Ancient Game of Bowls”
“Ye Ancient Game of Bowls”
Notable Wins by District Players
Whilst J. W. Witty was on a visit to Napier in 1887 he strolled down to the Recreation Ground and watched a game of bowls between Dr. Hitchings and a Mr. Smith, who was known as “Nine O'clock Smith.” Upon his return home he and R. Louden formed the Kaiti Bowling Club, which leased, for 12 months, a court on the Gisborne Tennis Club's property in Rutene Road. Other pioneer players were: G. F. Butt, F. Skeet, G. Matthewson, D. Johnstone, H. J. Finn and H. McGowan. When the grass became too long Mr. Witty would go over in the morning and cut it, and Mr. Louden would do the rolling during his lunch hour. Upon page 442 the expiry of the lease Mr. Witty laid down a green at his home in Wainui Road.
Formed in 1889, the Gisborne Bowling Club was registered on 28 June, 1890. It acquired three quarter-acre sections in Rawiri Street, through E. F. Harris, for £180. Two were used by the club; the other was sold for £60, but, 30 yeard afterwards, it was rebought for £600! The club's Wainui Road frontage was obtained subsequent to an exchange of properties between W. Pettie (who was then president) and G. Matthewson. On 16 December, 1909, the present pavilion was opened. Captain T. Chrisp was the first president (1890–92 and 1894–96) and R. Louden was the first secretary. The initial committee comprised: J. W. Witty, G. F. Butt, G. Matthewson, F. T. Morgan, F. Skeet, W. O. Skeet, D. Johnstone and A. R. Muir. Other early presidents were: G. Matthewson (1892–94 and 1895–96), E. F. Harris (1896–98), J. Coleman (1898–99), H. J. Finn (1899–1900), J. W. Bright (1900–03), J. A. Harding (1903–08), W. Pettie (1908–14), and F. R. Harris (1914–16).
The Whataupoko Bowling Club, whose members used Captain C. W. Ferris's green, was organised on 12 September, 1902, with A. T. Hookey as president and Ian Simson as secretary. Although it had only 10 members, it sent a team to the North Island championships at Palmerston North in 1903. Much difficulty was experienced by players from other districts in pronouncing “Whataupoko,” and its players were nicknamed the “What Ho's.” J. W. Witty, who accompanied the tourists, was described by a southern journal as “a team in himself.”
The Te Rau Bowling Club was sponsored in October, 1903, by Sir James Carroll, Captain Ferris and F. R. Harris to afford the native students at Te Rau College an opportunity to learn to play. Enthusiasm on the part of the young natives waned after the first season, but the club did not go out of existence until 1908.
Formed in 1905, the Turanganui Bowling Club was promoted by G. Matthewson, W. O. Skeet, D. Hepburn, M. G. Nasmith and J. Colley. Mr. Matthewson was the first president (1905–09), and Mr. Skeet the first secretary. A start was made to construct a green on a borough property in Childers Road, but, after some tree stumps had been blasted out, a freehold section in the same thoroughfare was bought. Other early presidents were: W. Bruce (1909–11), C. J. Bennett (1911–17), In Simson (1912–14), A. Sawyer (1914–15), and Dan Barry (1915–17). In August, 1915, Lady Carroll donated an acre in Cobden Street for a larger site, and the club bought an adjoining quarter-acre section. The new green was opened on 15 March, 1917. Towards the cost of the pavilion (£1,600) Lady Carroll made a gift of £500. In her honour the club then changed its name to “Kahutia,” that of a great Poverty Bay chief, who was one of her grandfathers. As Sir James had been instrumental in securing the new site the title of “Ariki” (“Great Chief”) was bestowed upon him.
The Poverty Bay Bowling Club was formed on 12 May, 1920, with C. Matthews as president, S. C. Clare as secretary, and the following committee: J. Greig, W. Michie, T. Corson, J. S. Allan and D. G. Robertson. It leased from the borough a section at the corner of Ormond Road and Hall Street. The pavilion was built by voluntary labour. For many years the Strangers Club played on W. Paltridge's green.
With H. Miller as first president, the East Coast Bowling Centre was formed on 19 September, 1921. Clubs affiliated in 1948 were: Gisborne, Poverty Bay, Kahutia, Wairoa, Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay, Te Araroa, Ruatoria, Waikaremoana, Matawai, Kia Ora and Te Karaka.
First Poverty Bay Champions of Champions:
Senior Singles—W. S. Coutts (Poverty Bay), 1921–22.
Pairs—P. L., Power and J. J. Martin, skip (Kahutia), 1928–29.page 443
Rinks—A. W. Horne, E. Beatson, M. W. Craig, W. J. Hueston, skip (Gisborne). 1923–24.
Junior Singles—R. B. Watt (Kahutia), 1933.
Intermediate Singles—O. R. Olsen (Gisborne), 1938.
Intermediate Pairs—F. Fredericks and E. Roderick (Poverty Bay), 1938.
Junior Rinks—J. Robertson, F. York, H. Wootton, W. Neenan, skip (Kahutia)., 1938.
Triple crowns of outstanding interest have been gained as under:
Senior—S. McKenzie (Poverty Bay): In 1940 he won the champion singles, skipped the champion pair, and skipped the champion rink. He was the first player in any centre to secure the honour. In 1934 he had won the champion singles, had skipped the runners-up in the champion pairs, and had skipped the winning rink.
Junior—G. A. Weatherley (Kahutia): In 1942 he was lead for the champion junior rink, lead for the champion intermediate pair, and won the champion intermediate singles—a record probably unequalled in junior ranks in New Zealand.
Burton Cup: The Burton Cup (donated by E. W. Burton in 1910) was, at first, competed for at Easter only by Gisborne, Turanganui (later Kahutia) and Te Rau Clubs. In 1912 the scope of competition was extended to include all clubs in Poverty Bay and on the East Coast and also those in Hawke's Bay as far south as Dannevirke. Results:
1910—Gisborne: W. Pettie, R. Robertson, J. Coleman, I. S. Simson (s) and M. W. Craig, F. Eure, W. A. Smith, J. Ponsford (s).
1911—Gisborne: Brown, J. Coleman, J. Greig, J. Ponsford (s) and A. Zachariah, A. J. Benzie, W. J. Hennessey, F. A. Martin (s).
1912—Gisborne: R. A. Johnson, C. G. Maher, G. Carter, W. Paltridge (s).
1913—Port Ahuriri: Dyer, Northcroft, Quinn, Wrightson (s).
1914—Turanganui: A. Sawyer, S. Thacker, M. W. Craig, J. J. Martin (s).
1915—Gisborne: E. Beatson, R. G. Crawford, T. Corson, T. A. Crawford (s).
1916—Gisborne: E. Ashton, A. T. Hookey, Cox, R. W. Kyme (s).
1917—Gisborne: Bullock, F. Harris, J. Coleman, W. A. Smith (s).
1918—Hastings: T. Horton, T. J. Thompson, J. Holt, J. Beatson (s).
1919—Napier: Proctor, Wells, Plested, Letham (s).
1920—Hastings: Waters, Thompson, Land, King (s).
1921—Gisborne: J. Coleman, H. J. Grieve, H. E. Maude, M. W. Craig (s).
1922—Napier: Patrick, Daly, McCarthy, Sinclair (s).
1923—Napier: J. B. Andrews, F. C. Williams, C. Cunningham, H. Bull (s).
1924—Hastings: Bates, Crombie, Thompson, Kruse (s).
1925—Kahutia: J. Whitehead, O. Prince, R. Jenkins, B. Dudfield (s).
1926—Poverty Bay: W. Barnett, J. A. Wyatt, J. Greig, D. G. Robertson (s).
1927—Gisborne: W. Fairley, T. F. Crawford, E. J. Halford, G. R. Watson (s).
1928—Bluff Hill: W. Letham, J. T. Thompson, T. A. Plested, R. McLaren (s).
1929—Kahutia: B. L. Power, A. Cruickshank, J. Newton, J. J. Martin (s).
1930—Kahutia: B. L. Power, A. Sawyer, J. Newton, J. J. Martin (s).
1931—Gisborne: J. Nasmith, W. A. Smith, J. W. Holmes, J. A. Engerbretsen (s).
1932—Kahutia: E. Robinson, G. Downey, D. Roderick, A. E. Bragg (s).
1933—Poverty Bay: W. Hankey, J. Hankey, J. J. Hartley, W. J. McGibbon (s).
1934—Gisborne: D. M. Grade. J. Murray, A. J. Sutton, H. A. Armstrong (s).
1935—Gisborne: L. Balfour, R. Johnson, H. E. Maude, J. W. Holmes (s).
1937—Gisborne: J. S. Waite, W. Neal, W. Riddell, F. Williams (s).
1938—Gisborne: H. Gilmer, A. W. Bragg, W. Riddell, F. Williams (s).
1940—Opotiki: G. N. Hammond, M. O. Kidd, C. Gordon, R. A. Hedley (s).
1941—Gisborne: C. Horne, J. Nasmith, F. Williams, H. A. Armstrong (s).
1943—Gisborne: W. Langlands, L. L. Winter, G. Henderson, P. W. Smith (s).
1944—Poverty Bay: H. J. Poole, J. N. Nalder, A. G. Slight, S. McKenzie (s).
1945—Gisborne: R. N. Poulgrain, H. S. Irvine, M. W. Craig, J. H. Walker (s).
1946—Kahutia: S. Gooch, G. Brebner, R. Hickman, R. Graham (s).
1947—Gisborne: C. Horne, R. Johnson, W. Riddell, J. H. Walker (s).
1948—Gisborne: H. Duckworth, J. K. Nasmith, F. Williams, H. A. Armstrong (s).
1949—Taradale: A. Atkins, M. Oliver, W. G. Ireland, P. Oliver (s).
Peace Shield: The Peace Shield commemorates the declaration of Peace after the First Great War (1914–18). Its cost was subscribed by local bowlers. Until 1922 contests for the trophy were conducted by a special committee. The shield was then handed over to the Centre for open competition at its tourney each New Year. Results:
1920—Gisborne: C. Hampton, H. J. Grieve, H. E. Maude, W. J. McDonald (s).
1921—Kahutia: B. L. Power, J. A. Eaton, A. W. Mason, J. Newton (s).
1922—Gisborne: E. Gibbs, J. A. Russell, E. J. Halford, A. W. Horne (s).
1923—Gisborne: E. Adair, J. Mahoney, R. Robertson, W. J. Sinclair (s).page 444
1924—Kahutia: E. Lane, G. Vincent, J. Rothwell, S. Wootton (s).
1925—Kahutia: J. Whitehead, O. Prince, R. Jenkins, B. G. Dudfield (s).
1926—Gisborne: B. Sutton, W. Boys, I. Stephenson, W. J. Hueston (s).
1929—Tolagal Bay: F. Wilkinson, J. S. Paterson, G. A. Crowley, E. Crowley (s).
1930—Gisborne: R. Clark, T. Adams, T. F. Crawford, W. J. Sinclair (s).
1931—Gisborne: J. Fowler, R. Robertson, H. E. Bright, I. Stephenson (s).
1932—Gisborne: C. D. Beaver, F. Williams, A. Hay, S. McKenzie (s).
1933—Gisborne: Galvin, Johnson, G. Crowley, E. Crowley (s).
1934—Kahutia: J. Walker, C. Holland, D. Roderick, A. E. Bragg (s).
1935—Poverty Bay: J. Buzza, J. Graham, A. Slight, S. McKenzie (s).
1936—Gisborne: I. J. Quigley, L. Balfour, H. E. Maude, J. W. Holmes (s).
1937—Gisborne: L. Balfour, J. Nasmith, H. E. Maude, G. Crowley (s).
1939—Kahutia: C. T. C. Hands, C. G. Vail, C. Somervell, J. Newton (s).
1940—Gisborne: A. F. Salmon, O. R. Olsen, R. Johnson, H. E. Maude (s).
1941—Poverty Bay: J. H. Robinson, A. Quane, H. Ritchie, G. Bennett (s).
1942—Poverty Bay: L. A. Burgess, J. N. Nalder, A. Slight, R. Graham (s).
1943—Gisborne: J. Russell, J. Murray, O. R. Olsen, H. A. Armstrong (s).
1944—Gisborne: H. B. Tyerman, S. Massam, W. Riddell, E. F. O'Brien (s).
1945—Gisborne: J. Riddell, W. Neal, F. Williams, W. Riddell (s).
1946—Kahutia: G. P. Weatherley, Geo. Weatherley, C. Corbett, R. B. Watt (s).
1947—Gisborne: F. Stephens, R. Johnson, W. Langlands, J. H. Walker (s).
1948—Gisborne: F. Wise, R. Johnson, E. O'Brien, J. H. Walker (s).
1949—Kahutia: A. Falkner, G. Moore, C. Corbett, R. B. Watt (s).
North Island and National Titles: The activities of the Te Rau Bowling Club were marked by an episode which led to much amusement, and also great rejoicing, in Gisborne bowling circles. In 1907 the North Island championships were scheduled to be held in Masterton. A rink was selected by the Gisborne Bowling Club to attend. Four other members—A. J. Massey, W. J. Hennessey, F. R. Harris and W. Pettie—also put in an entry, but as representatives of the Te Rau Bowling. Club, of which they were also keen supporters. Te Rau won, and its members received a great welcome upon their return. The title had been won twice by Gisborne Bowling Club. At Gisborne in 1901, when 14 teams competed, H. McGowan, G. Humphreys, J. Coleman and J. Ponsford proved the winners, and, in 1905, also at Gisborne, J. Ponsford, A. J. Massey, J. Coleman and F. A. Martin won in a field of 20 rinks.
In 1905 the North Island singles title was won at Gisborne by F. A. Martin, of Gisborne Bowling Club. S. Gooch (Kahutia) won the Dominion singles at Auckland in 1949. The North Island “pairs” title was won at Auckland in 1911 by J. J. Martin and A. Sawyer (Turanganui), and they were also successful in the Dominion “pairs” championship at Wellington in 1917. The Dominion “pairs” title was won at Auckland in 1919 by W. J. Hueston and J. Rosemond, of Gisborne Bowling Club.
An amazing change of fortune gave a Tolaga Bay team the Dominion “fours” title at Wellington in February, 1947. Up till the end of post-section play it comprised: E. Crowley, E. Crowley, senior, V. F. Hurlstone and G. A. Crowley (s). Then E. Crowley became indisposed, and F. Wilton (Khandallah) played as substitute. In the final Tolaga Bay met an Otahuhu team composed of J. J. O'Gorman, H. L. Rule, A. Murdoch and T. T. Skoglund. At halfway Otahuhu led 9–7, at the 15th head by 13–12, at the 16th by 18–12, and at the 18th by 22–12. Tolaga Bay scored “a miraculous 7” at the 19th and went on to win 23–22. Tolaga Bay (E. Crowley, J. H. Meikle, V. F. Hurlstone and G. A. Crowley) also won the 1949–50 title.
In 1925 B. G. Dudfield skipped the winning Kahutia rinks for both the Burton Cup and the Peace Shield. When Gisborne won both contests in 1947 its teams were skipped by J. H. Walker.
The Gisborne Riverside (Women's) Bowling Club was formed in 1941 with 15 members. Five years later the membership stood at 48. At the outset the club used W. Paltridge's riverside green; hence its name. On 9 November, 1946, it moved to a new green on a borough site in Childers Road.
A Gisborne Carpet Bowling Club—the first of its kind in New Zealand—affiliated, in 1910, with the Scottish Carpet Bowling Association, which sent out a medal for competition.