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Bob's team give Ryman the big tick!

While most of us were quietly sleeping off the remnants of our Christmas festivities on Boxing Day morning, four keen residents from Bob Scott village were up with the lark and checking their passports (twice!) before heading off to Wellington airport.

The four were winging their way to Melbourne as the winners of the Ryman North Island regional bowls tournament, and they were beginning a six day trip which they described as absolutely fantastic!

Arie Molenaar, Shirley Wilson, Ron Scott and Reta Morris said they were treated like kings and queens from the moment they arrived. "We give a big tick to Ryman," said Shirley

We had all the time in the world and a chauffeu​​red car waiting for us. Everything was perfect, she said. They treated us very well."

Arie was full of praise for Ryman and the Glen Waverley Bowls Club which hosted the competition."It was brilliant. Denise [Thompson, from Ryman Melbourne] picked us up everyday even to take us shopping.

It was exhausting with 36 degree heat but the hospitality at Glen Waverley was absolutely out of this world. It was very well run and Russ Nichols from Glen Waverley was very good to us.

Even the board members came and introduced themselves."

There were three full greens going all the time and each day was a separate competition.

Ron and Arie played pairs on the first day and came fourth. They were beaten on the last ball of one game and the last end of the other game. "It was very very close," said Arie, "and on the first and hottest day!"

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The players came from all over Australia for the event and many were much younger than our residents. There are 150 bowls clubs in Melbourne alone. "They were good, said Arie, "they are young and used to the heat and the longer 40m greens. The greens are slower than ours and longer, so it was an effort."

They even had a secret weapon when fellow Naenae club member Lisa White turned up to support them and grabbed the green jersey! It just so happens Lisa is an international bowler, a former New Zealand player and the home team did very well that day!

"The atmosphere was brilliant. There was a lot of interest in us and people asking how we were doing. Everybody talked about it."

The team also enjoyed their visit to Weary Dunlop village in Melbourne where they had a tour and morning tea with the residents.

"It was so good how we clicked together," said Arie. "We're all friends through bowls. It was good fun!

When we went out for dinner at night we wore our Ryman tops and everybody noticed us in our bright green. We did a good job talking to a lot of people about Ryman over there.

We were very happy! No complaints."

Arie, (aka "Mr Bowls") is an avid believer in the power of bowls. He pounds the table and proclaims,"Bowls keeps us alive! There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning with nothing to do. I think Bowls! Bowls! Bowls!"

They all agree it is the best thing to have a bowling green in the village. It brings people together. "When you get to our age people want to talk to each other and you can do that on the green and at the bus stop!" said Arie. The "bus stop" is the name the residents have given to the shelter on the village green!

A lot of people go to the bus stop and just sit and talk there. It's a social spot, Arie​ says. Sometimes we're there for half an hour and we don't play bowls we just talk!

They all give a very big thank you to Ryman and Denise and Russ.

"We're just so proud to be part of Ryman."​​

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