There's a place for the tiddlers

23:08, Dec 11 2012

Everyone says we have too many bowling clubs and golf clubs in Enzed.

But when shove comes to push, it is always the other mob down the road who can take a hike.

So we are still left with clubs of both codes existing with tiddler memberships, which is not all bad.

There has been minimal retrenchment in Manawatu when it comes to bowling clubs. Clubs like Pahiatua truck on with just a few members but even they, as well as Te Kawau, Woodville, Bulls, Shannon and Ashhurst fulfil a service for older bowlers who would otherwise not drive big distances for their roll-ups.

It is easy to suggest the tiddlers should jump in with the few big clubs, but is that the best for the sport? If the small clubs can survive in these times without pokie machine grants, then let them.

Manawatu has lost only a few - the oldest, the Manawatu Bowling Club, which would make a nice little green corner park if the city council had a will to do it.


Also gone have been Kairanga, Oroua, who joined Feilding to form Johnston Park, and Foxton, who went in with Foxton Beach to become Foxton & Beach.

Golfing retrenchment has been equally minimal in recent decades. The farm courses went at Halcombe and Rangiwahia, so did Brookfields Park and Golf City.

In recent weeks officials from the Rangitikei and Hawkestone golf clubs feared financial oblivion for their two clubs. But when it came to the vote to pack up and move up the road to Marton, the rank and file cried "nyet".

Sometimes it takes a crisis like this to ignite the otherwise apathetic, but whether they can last more than two years is uncertain.

No doubt many weren't having a bar of their assets being parcelled up and handed over to the course at Santoft.

There was also some unease that two freehold clubs were to merge with one whose land is owned by Ngati Apa, even if Marton virtually has a lease in perpetuity from the Maori owners.

It takes way more money to run a golf club, whether it be 18 or 12 holes, than a country bowling club, where volunteers with time on their hands can tend the greens.

Rangitikei have had a succession of annual deficits and have staved those off by felling stands of pine trees. Hawkestone have so far been able to sell off parcels of land to stay afloat.

No-one wants to see a majestic layout like Rangitikei disappear.

All they need to do is advertise it overseas as "a golf course in fine condition in the New Zealand sand-belt for sale at bargain price" and it just might work.

A usual tail-end batsman went out as an opener for Marist in Manawatu club cricket last Sunday and faced a towering international.

United's opening bowler was none other than Jacob Oram, who trotted in and made our man's eyes water when he caught him flush on the manhole cover.

But two balls later, he clobbered the Black Cap over extra cover for four. Amid some swishing and missing, the first ball of Oram's second over disappeared back over his head for four as the audacious Marista scored 34 not out (rain stopped play).

Low-level sledging ensued, which we can assure Mr Oram was very much on the record, because the batsman was our editor, Michael Cummings.

This supposed coup within the New Zealand cricket team is distasteful politics at work.

If Ross Taylor is overthrown, he might never have the same confidence again and won't want to give his guts for the rookie coach.

Taylor might have plenty to learn when it comes to inspiring a team, but he is still a genuine bloke, a Marist and Manawatu affiliate and is our man.

He scores a truckload more runs than the almost unknown Mike Hesson. Yet from the start it seems the Dunedin bloc wanted the more feral Brendon McCullum. No wonder the Sri Lanka tour exploded under Taylor's feet.

Manawatu Standard