“Wow,” exclaimed Judy Russell, president of the Mercury Bay Bowling Club (MBBC). “What a way to celebrate your 99th birthday, playing bowls all day with family and friends, but that’s exactly what Peter Sheehan, life member and patron of our club, did on Saturday last week.
“This was the tenth time Peter has sponsored his birthday tournament, the first time being on his 90th birthday in 2013.”
In perfect autumn conditions, 18 teams of four enjoyed over five hours of bowls. Joining Peter in his team was his daughter, Pam, an accomplished bowler from Invercargill, his son, Peter Jnr (known as PO) and fellow MBBC life member, Pam Phillips. Peter’s other daughter, Chrissie, keenly helped out during the tournament.
“Peter does not use what bowlers call a ‘pick up stick’, used to pick up your bowl without bending down, and he was seen throughout the day picking up the bowl of one of his team mates nearly 20 years his junior,” says Judy. “Teams from Pauanui, Whangamata, Coromandel Town, Tairua, Thames Coast and Tui Park as well as individual players from Kerepehi, Thames and past MMBC members now residing in Cambridge participated in the day. Peter’s team wore Rugby League ‘golden oldies’ jerseys as their uniform in honour of PO’s career as an outstanding league player.”
Peter was born in Whangarei and brought up on a local farm. He served in Italy in World War II. He met his wife, Daisy, in Christchurch. He worked as a diesel mechanic in the 1950s before spending a few years in New Guinea in the early 1970s. In 1973, the family shifted to Whitianga where Peter worked as a mechanic on a fishing boat. He joined the MBBC in 1987 and won the First Year singles championship.
“Over the years, Peter has won many titles - Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours - and has served as greenkeeper and mechanic and maintenance man for the club for many years,” says Judy. “He still turns up most days to help around the club grounds, still plays in roll-ups a couple of days a week and usually enters all tournaments being held at the club. Saturday was a great day, Peter, thank you.”
Pictured is Peter with his two daughters, Pam (on the left) and Chrissie, on Saturday.