Seatoun bowls reaches 100

ADRIANA WEBER
Last updated 12:22 12/10/2012
Seatoun bowls
ADRIANA WEBER
Celebration planned: Trevor Smith, who has been helping organise the Seatoun Bowling Club’s special weekend.

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The Wellingtonian

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Seatoun Bowling Club turns 100 this month, though not without some recent hiccups.

The club will celebrate its centenary with a weekend of tournaments, socials and activities from October 19 to 21.

Club president Trevor Smith, a member since 2006, was thrilled to be a part of the festivities.

'The club has such a long and colourful history and it's a huge privilege to be able to celebrate that,' Mr Smith said.

Originally named the Seatoun Bowling and Tennis Club, the organisation was founded by seven members who recognised the need for a place where the Seatoun community could play tennis, croquet and bowls.

In its first year, the club had a focus on tennis, and 52 of its 92 members were tennis players.

Bowling became increasingly popular in the 1940s and in 1941 the club replaced its croquet lawns with another bowls lawn.

In 1961, the two tennis courts were also replaced by bowls lawns and the club was renamed Seatoun Bowling Club.

Mr Smith described this era as 'the golden years of the club'.

'Our club was very popular; in fact, it was so popular that in 1962 all new members were put on a waiting list. At one point the club had more than 200 members.

'But since the 1990s the membership has steadily declined.

"Bowls is not as popular as it used to be and we just aren't getting enough of the younger generation coming through.'

In 2008 the Seatoun RSA merged with the bowling club, which increased the club's membership. However, membership has since dwindled to just 40.

'Even with joint membership we are still struggling.

"I'm excited to celebrate our 100-year anniversary, but at the rate things have been going, I'm not sure whether the bowling club will make it to another century.'

Women's bowlers have formed a significant portion of the club's membership over the years.

In 1943, Seatoun Women's Bowling Club was founded, Wellington's second women's club.

Though the women and men formed separate clubs, with their own finances and administration, they shared the Seatoun club's facilities and lawns.

Membership for the women's club was firs limited to 35 but by 1982 had risen to 65. In 1997 the women's and men's clubs merged.

Seatoun club members have included some big names in New Zealand sport - Stan Stone, a president of the New Zealand Bowls Association, test cricketer Frank Mooney, tennis champion Stan Painter and Sky rugby commentator Grant Nisbett.

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For information about the club's open day on Sunday visit: sportsgrounds.com.nz/ bowlsseatoun.

- The Wellingtonian

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