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GALLERY: Newcastle lawn bowls legends celebrate feats of the past

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Friendships were renewed and memories relived when the region’s lawn bowls legends converged on Raymond Terrace last week.

As the Newcastle District Bowling Association wraps up after a stellar 125 years, president Mark Conway thought it timely to host the “one-off” function to acknowledge the local stars of the greens and their many incredible feats.

And, as a result, more than 100 people attended the Raymond Terrace Bowling Club on Friday 10 May for a day of reminiscing and laughter.

Emcee Mike Rabbitt chats with Hall of Famer Sam Laguzza and state and Australian star Terry McCabe.

“We’ve never had a group like this together before,” he said.

“So, it was a chance to commemorate the players from the Newcastle District Bowling Association (NDBA) who’ve not only represented NSW, Australia and New Zealand but also played more than 50 matches for the club.

“We had Bowls NSW Hall of Fame inductees present as well.

“Plus, nine of the top 10 blokes who have played in excess of 200 games for Newcastle graced up with their presence.

“It was a terrific event, emceed by Mike Rabbitt who did a wonderful job entertaining the large crowd, with special guests John King (St George Dragons) and Ziggy Niszczot (South Sydney Rabbitohs).   

“I’m sure everyone had a great time.

“Sadly, it’s the last official function for the NDBA due to its unification with the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Women’s District Associations.

“We’ll now be called Greater Newcastle Bowls.

“So, it was a good opportunity to have all of our elite bowlers in the room for a celebration of their achievements.”

Emcee Mike Rabbitt and Newcastle District Bowling Association president Mark Conway (top right) with South Sydney fan favourite Ziggy Niszczot and St George legend John King.

Conway admitted it was a mammoth task organising the get-together.

“I decided to stage the bowls lunch a few months ago, as we haven’t had one previously,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“But, with the help of the zone’s sports administrator Warren Shipley and the talented Katey Hughes, with her designs and artworks, it was all systems go.

“There are too many champion bowlers to mention in the Newcastle area, where we have also had numerous sadly pass away.

“However, Hall of Famer Sam Laguzza, World Singles Champion Lee Schraner, former NSW rep – and the holder of the most game played for Newcastle – Jason Pietraszek, state and Australian star Terry McCabe and New Zealand icon Richard Girvan all spoke about their outstanding careers here.

“It was terrific to hear from them.

“The Newcastle District Veterans Interzone Champions for 2024 were presented with caps by their team captain Michael Beesley, too.”

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