It's a huge call but one Bowls Hawke's Bay matriarch Colleen Ferrick is allowed to make.

"My Bowls Hawke's Bay life membership means more to me than my Commonwealth Games bronze medal," Ferrick said yesterday as she reflected on her latest honour in the code she has been involved in since 1979.

"When I was a young bowler all sorts of blunders were made by administrators of the time. I wanted to make sure those blunders wouldn't happen to other people so I got involved in administration. Sometimes they happened when they were out of my control," Ferrick said.

A bronze medallist at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada as the No 2 in an Adrienne Lambert-skipped Kiwi four which also included Anne Muir at three and Marlene Castle at lead, Ferrick, joined the Heretaunga Ladies Bowling Club in 1979.


Those were the days when women couldn't play at the weekends, the length of the dresses were measured regularly to ensure they were no more than 40cm from the ground, jewellery couldn't be worn on the greens and it was extremely rare to see a woman bowler in the bar.

A mother of two and grandmother of two, Ferrick, took up administration in the early 1980s when she took on the secretary role at the Heretaunga club.

Since then she has been president at Bowls Heretaunga, Bowls Hawke's Bay president and a long-time publicity officer for Bowls Hawke's Bay.

Arguably her biggest claims to fame as an administrator were her respective 14-year and six-year stints in charge of the Bowls Heretaunga website and Bowls Hawke's Bay website and Facebook page. She nodded her head when it was put to her she brought bowls in Hawke's Bay into the 21st century.

"I was ahead of my time because I got interested in computers back in the 1990s and got hooked on them."

A Bowls Taradale club member Ferrick, 76, will continue to play bowls but not as often as she has in the past.

"I will pick my tournaments but I won't take any teams away. I will help any teams out if they are short."

The winner of one national title, 42 senior club titles, 24 Hawke's Bay, three Wellington, two Kapiti Coast centre titles and one Gisborne East Coast centre titles, Ferrick, took up umpiring in 2014. However she gave umpiring away after fracturing a kneecap in 2016.

She joins her cousin Dorothy Kelsey among six Bowls Hawke's Bay life members who are still alive. When she received her life membership at the organisation's annual meeting held at the Omarunui club at the weekend, Ferrick became the organisation's first new life member in 20 years.

"If you live long enough you get these sort of awards," she quipped.

As a former Wellington swimming, cricket and hockey representative ,as well as an eight handicapper at golf, Ferrick, had the right sporting background to succeed as a bowler.

She was also a more than handy coach in Wellington and Hawke's Bay, and national selector for two years.

"I could not have done everything I did in bowls without the support of Bruce," Ferrick said referring to her hubby who has also been a representative bowler and rep selector.

The pair have applied just as much enthusiasm to their 8.09ha lifestyle block at Matapiro as they have to their bowling pursuits. Despite the commitment to their patch of paradise, Ferrick said she is still happy to help anybody out with any bowling matters.

"I've been around a long time and I know what changes have been made over the years," she added.

Bowls Hawke's Bay president Ken Greeks presented Ferrick with her life membership badge and also appointed her patron of the organisation.

"Colleen, in your own words you have got a lot out of bowls over the years but I think it is fair to say you have also given a lot back to the sport," Greeks said.

He was right on the kitty with that delivery too!