There were plenty of hi-jinks, tempered with just a little sadness, when the Foxton and Beach Bowling Club farewelled its No 1 grass green last week.

A final gala day of bowls was held before members took part in a somewhat madcap session of cricket, golf-putting and petanque on the green.

The occasion marked the end of an era for the club as the 56-year-old grass (maniototo) green will now be ripped up and replaced with an artificial green, as a number of other bowling greens in the region have been in recent times.

The cost of maintaining grass greens, along with the need to employ green keepers has become somewhat prohibitive for some clubs and artificial greens have the added advantage of year-round play.


Depending on the weather over the next month or two, Foxton and Beach Bowling Club members hope to be back delivering short bowls, wide bowls, ditch bowls and a few touching the kitty, on the new artificial green in about six weeks.

Foxton and Beach Bowling Club's three most recent green keepers got together to bid farewell to the green they had tended for the last 30 or so years: Dick Sleep, 90, green keeper at the club for 12 years, Clem Goss, 84, 14 years on the green and Beven Parlato, 72, who has been in charge for the last three years after many years as custodian at the Shannon Bowling Club.

A game of cricket took place in the background as bowling club members celebrated the occasion with a tipple or two on the green.