Thames Valley Bowls Inc… AGM 18 June, 2023

Presidents Report

Welcome to the 2022/23 AGM of Thames Valley Bowls Inc.

The 2021/22 season we had to deal with Covid. The past season was dominated by the weather.

By late January many Clubs had lost almost half of their Club days due to weather. But it wasn’t just the wet and rainy cancellations… it was the impact on our roading infrastructure and network. The loss of access of the SH 25A (Kopu – Hikuai) in January, added over 1 hour of travel time to Thames from places like Whitianga, Tairua and Pauanui. For me, from Pauanui, it now takes me as long to travel to Thames than it used to take to drive to Auckland. So, a meeting, or a tournament, in say Thames, for those clubs mentioned, now involves at least 4 hours travel, and often getting up for a bowls tournament at 5.00am.

One of our goals is to continue to achieve high levels of entry into our Open Championships. And to assist with achieving this, the Board implemented a short-term measure of having a qualifying venue in both the East and the West. Post section, the next day, was understandably in one venue, so some participants had to endure some lengthy travel. And what a group of keen bowlers we have in the Thames Valley… entry levels remained high, with some events seeing a participation of 5% to 10% of all eligible bowlers. What a great attitude, and with many folk being junior bowlers!

The weather and roading tested both bowlers patience, and administrators sense of reasonableness, and persistence. It was a year of learning for many of us. We didn’t get everything right, but things will improve from such an experience. A big thank you to all involved.

The Bowlshub entry, draw and results system, is now a fundamental part of how we operate… draws are made and published prior to the event, and results are being shown online soon after a match has been played. While we still have some improvements to make, much positive feedback has been received about Bowlshub. This has only been the case due to the high workload and persistence of its Champion, Alan Cotter, and also the support provided by Colin Williams at BowlsNZ.

As well as Bowlshub, a further change happening, is how our Calendar of events process is managed. By being computerised, and with 4 updates since April… by the time of the AGM and the “Woolsale” this year… there won’t be the drawn-out agonising process of going through the events day by day for the 365 days. This change is challenging… particularly for those used to the process of the past. However, by using current technology, we can be much more efficient, and will save 1 to 2 hours of unnecessary discussion at the Woolsale.

To our Greenkeepers… you have a challenging task in a normal year, but this season with so much rain and Cyclone Gabrielle… these are further reasons why all of us should be so appreciative of your efforts. A big thank-you to you all.

To our representative players, coaches, managers… on the greens a very good year. Our Juniors for the 3rd time in 4 years won the Geddes Trophy, as the Zone 2 Winner… in a competition with Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Counties/Manukau. Our Premier 1 teams punched well above their weight at the National Intercentre. There are 27 Bowls Centres in New Zealand. Our Premier 1 Women qualified for the top 8 post-section. Our Men missed by 1 point from also qualifying for the Top 8.

To all our Volunteers. Special mention goes to our Club committees. Your time, your effort, your contribution…. to the great sport of bowls, means it thrives, even when circumstances get tougher. I would urge all bowlers to look at how you can assist in a small way in your club,… it doesn’t have to be on a Committee. But our sport is dependant on Volunteer efforts, and I applaud those who do give some of their time. Thank you.

To Murray Galloway… after 7 years on the Thames Valley Board, with 3 as President, and at least 2 where you have had your arm severely twisted to do “just one more” year to help out a new Board etc…. you are most deserving of the right to have a break from Thames Valley Bowls commitments. Your unstinting commitment when strong character and wisdom was required, saw our Centre stay a strong Centre. Board member, President, Umpire, Judicial representative, Tournament Controller, player and good buggar… you were the spine around which Thames Valley Bowls was confidently functional. Thank you Murray… now try and enjoy some well-deserved “me time”!

To Molly Galloway… three years of Secretary… no way! For you Agendas and Minutes, were a very small, but a very valuable part of your contribution. There are so many other areas you contributed to, not the least being the glue holding the Board on track, and making us all look better. In collaboration with TV Patron John McConnell, you served 2 years Coaching and mentoring our Rep Women… with exceptional results. The smoothness of Prizegiving is solely attributable to your efforts! Molly, your kind offer to transition a new Secretary into the role is very much appreciated… we just have to find this person.

To the Board… Murray Galloway, John Brooks, Wayne Head, Tony Jenson, Alan Cotter, Kaye Bunn… Along with Molly Galloway and Bruce Rosie… Thank you for your efforts. To Kaye, thank you for your time on the Board, and best wishes for your future bowls activities.

To the new Board… the new season is a challenge. There will be changes, but… all our decisions will be with the focus on what is best for Thames Valley bowls.

PS we still need a Secretary and a Board member. We are not looking for unicorns or PHD graduates. We are looking for people with a positive attitude, and common-sense, who can work with others… to achieve a well performing Centre, where respect, good bowls, good membership, and sound finances prevail.

To all our Thames Valley bowlers, administrators, and supporters… may the Right Bias be delivered every time!

David Gillingham


18 June 2023