Game-for-a-laugh Hatzer gets serious for top role

Keith Hatzer, one of the most colourful presidents in the 121-year history of the Yorkshire CGBA, got a taste of what lies in store over the next 12 months last Saturday.

The Siddal Park player attended a British CGBA rules revision meeting at Winnington Park, Cheshire before hot-footing it back to Mirfield Old Bank BC for the Yorkshire AGM.

Hatzer took over as the figurehead of bowls in the white rose county at Mirfield, in succession to Joan Wrigley, at the start of a busy summer.

As well as having to chair 34 Yorkshire meetings, the 53-year-old hospital worker from Greetland will be supporting the county’s male, female and junior teams and attending numerous other competitions.

That is on top of his British CGBA management board duties and his matches for Siddal in the Halifax League on a Wednesday evening.

“I did have a few butterflies in the car to Winnington,” admitted Hatzer, who has stepped down as a Yorkshire senior men’s team manager to help him fulfil his duties this year.

“I never, ever expected to be president of Yorkshire,” said Hatzer, who added that the encouragement of bowling stalwarts Jim Graydon and John Stewart had been important in his career.

Hatzer insists people will have to “take me as they find me” but also realises he must be “whiter than white” in his role and is confident he can be that with the support of his wife Donna.

Hatzer is well known for his lively banter and collection of bizarre headgear on the bowling green - a mock bird’s nest and eggs, frog’s head hat and a mohican-style wig.

He has also accepted green-side challenges to raise a pound or two for charity. That has entailed crawling under chairs and jumping over benches.

“I’ll be on my best behaviour this year,” said Hatzer, who has never had difficulty championing a sport he loves.

Hatzer revealed that club affiliation fees to the national body were going up from £10 to £15 to help cover the cost of TV coverage provided by Sky. A player’s one-off life membership fee is now £10, from £6.

Halifax are in a group with East Coast and Wakefield in this year’s men’s Yorkshire Inter-District competition. The event is in Leeds on Sunday, July 28 and Halifax’s group matches are at Harehills Park (10.0).

The Yorkshire Merit finals are on Monday, May 27 at Almondbury Libs. Last year’s event was won by James Davison at Elland CA & BC, which will host the county’s mixed pairs final on Sunday, July 21.