Just like the acorns which covered the old terrain in autumn could grow into mighty oaks if nourished, Thursday afternoon Petanque has flourished and is now a major strength of our Club.
Thursday play was initiated by Rona Philips, Malcolm Williams, Helen Hargreaves and Jude Hukins. In these early days, play was on grass and when the Council terrain by the tennis courts was completed, the numbers steadily increased and blossomed further when the Club moved to the present terrain.
Most new players became involved through "word of mouth" and joined their friends to enjoy company, some exercise and a game of Petanque .
Thursday play was originally based on a melee format or disc draw. Malcolm made the discs, a board and a case to hold the discs. Unfortunately these were stolen from the "secret" store area behind the public toilet block.
Subsequently Rona Philips suggested a team format providing for three games with different partners. This idea was new so after some discussions it was decided to vote on the concept. In case any of her friends would be embarrassed to be seen to be voting against the idea, Rona turned her back while hands were raised. She need not have worried as the proposal was accepted and the format has proved to be very popular leading to an attendance of up to 50 on sunny (usually) Thursdays.
Sadly Rona was taken ill and passed away in Wellington while visiting her daughter on 24 April 1999.
In her memory, the Thursday players hold a seasonal Memorial day competition followed by afternoon tea . The first Memorial day was 2nd September 1999 and Rona's daughter, Jenny Goldsborough was invited to present the winners' trophy.
The starting time for Thursday play was initially 1.30 but as the draw provided for multiples of eight players, people came earlier to miss the dreaded cutoff point as any latecomers played outside the competition and the starting time was changed to 1pm
The Thursday organising group is quite unique. Members take it in turn to be "duty" persons and overall leadership has been provided for many years by a small group of dedicated players in particular, Noeline Price and Shirley & Bernie Clark who took up the challenge of Thursday organization. Bernie has the added challenge of arranging fine, sunny Thursday afternoons with "Huey".
The group decided to stay on for a cup of tea and biscuit at a small charge of 20c to socialize and chat and the proceeds from this have been twofold. Not only did this make some funds available for midwinter and Christmas lunches, but it involves all players in the social friendships that make Petanque the special game that it is.