Pa­tron works to en­sure sport sur­vives

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - REXINE HAWES

Zelda Cle­ments has bowled a few in her time.

The Mata­mata Bowl­ing club pa­tron re­cently turned 88 and has no prob­lem re­mem­ber­ing when she started play­ing the sport.

Zelda joined the bowl­ing club in 1965 around the age of 41.

Bowl­ing wasn’t com­pletely un­fa­mil­iar to her, she had pre­vi­ously tried her hand at in­door bowl­ing in the evenings.

It was through gen­tle per­sua­sion from her neigh­bour at the time, that she take up the out­door ver­sion and dis­cov­ered just how dif­fer­ent the two sports were.

‘‘When I first played, the bowl­ing green looked re­ally long. ‘‘I thought hell, how will I get it to the end – in­door bowls is quite short.

‘‘Put it down on the green and let fly – it was so fast, I think it nearly went right through the other end, I didn’t re­alise you didn’t have to push it so hard,’’ she said.

It was only two years into play­ing out­door bowls that she was in­vited to play in her first na­tional fours tour­na­ment. ‘‘I nearly flipped,’’ she re­calls. She trav­elled to Christchurch in 1967 for the Na­tional Do­min­ion Fours with team mates Trixie Bates, Betty Fitzell and Mar­garet Price and the Mata­mata team won the com­pe­ti­tion.

Since then, she says she has played in thou­sands of tour­na­ments across the coun­try.

Zelda was given the hon­our of be­com­ing a life mem­ber, which she thought was ‘‘quite ex­cit­ing’’.

She later be­came the pa­tron of the club. ‘‘I feel quite hon­oured.’’ Zelda says the bowl­ing club, and the equip­ment, has sig­nif­i­cantly changed over time. She says the bowls now roll straighter and don’t curve as much.

‘‘It’s taken the skill away. I don’t like it.’’ Of the bowl­ing club, Zelda says num­bers are de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. She says it’s hard for younger peo­ple to get in­volved due to work com­mit­ments, dur­ing the week and in the week­ends.

She would like to see one big club form from Rewa, Hin­uera and Mata­mata bowl­ing clubs, but doesn’t think it will hap­pen. Along with bowls Zelda en­joys the game of bridge, and get­ting out in her gar­den. She likes to get to the green a few times a week. She’s now pre­par­ing for the cham­pion- ship fours with Ada Steven­son, Jan Wills and Co­ral Dais­ley, which they have won a few times.

PHOTO REXINE HAWES

Mata­mata Bowl­ing Pa­tron Zelda Cle­ments.

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