Bowls Counties Manukau lose Papatoetoe Hunters to Auckland
Written by Alan Apted for Auckland Now
Bowls Counties Manukau and Papatoetoe Hunters' Corner Bowling Club have split.
The split ends a 21 year relationship and was triggered by members of the 105-year-old club in Hunters Corner voting for a return to Bowls Auckland.
They were with Auckland for 86 years before switching allegiances in 1996.
The move was the demand of a special general meeting in March which was approved overwhelmingly by members.
At the heart of the decision is a sense at Papatoetoe Hunters that Bowls Counties Manukau can't help it meet its potential and satisfy the playing needs of its members.
Papatoetoe Hunters with its 80 plus members was the third largest club in the Counties Manukau area behind the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Bowling Club and the Papakura Bowling Club.
They hosted four Counties Manukau Centre titles last year while other local tournaments were well supported by its members.
President John Clark says Papatoetoe Hunters' survival is at stake.
"The club's survival depends on it. We need more people playing more often to increase the usage of our greens which will financially benefit our club.
"We had just eight centre and club tournaments last year. We need more if our club is to remain viable."
"The under-usage of the club's greens, the need for more competitions against higher calibre opponents and traffic problems which put off players beyond Papakura patronising Papatoetoe Hunters' tournaments are also issues," he says.
Papatoetoe Hunters hosted eight centre and inter-club events last year, four men's and four women's. They used 12 greens over nine days.
But that's not enough for Papatoetoe Hunters' vice president David Shackleton.
"It's hard to argue that we didn't get a fair go in that regard. But our focus there is maybe more on quality or the lack of it at these events.
"Competition-wise, Auckland with its 42 clubs offers us more than Counties Manukau and its 16 clubs. It has a significantly larger player base and that makes for more meaningful competitions."
The Auckland open centre fours and open singles was cited as an example of the gulf between the two centres.
It attracted 48 entries. The winning team played seven rounds for seven wins. Counties Manukau had just 10 entries with the winners needing just two wins to claim the title.
The Auckland open singles had 156 entries compared to Counties Manukau 23.
"You end up playing the same few people from the same few clubs," Shackleton says.
Bowls Counties Manukau was contacted for comment and have yet to respond.