The bowling community in Mid Ulster and further afield were recently saddened by the death of Thompson Rodgers, secretary of Maghera Presbyterian Bowling Club.
He had held the position since 1976, an astonishing 40 years. During most of that time, he organised the club’s successful triples competition. The tournament was supported by players from across the Province and was regarded as one of the most efficiently run events on the bowls calendar.
Thompson was proud of the fact that each year, the club donated its entry fees to local charities. A true gentleman of the sport, Thompson emerged when bowls, in his eyes, was ‘a different game’. There was no excessive celebrating that goes on nowadays and there was very little driving at heads which is now the norm. He was a keen competitor, playing the circuit with Cecil Morrrow, Billy Shiels and Leonard Stockman. Thompson was always determined to win, but when the game was over - win, lose or draw - he got on with life. He was a member of the Mid Ulster team for many years and proudly took his place in the side that lifted the IBA Inter-zone title - the Boomer Cup - for the first time.
Even when his playing days at that level had finished, Thompson rarely missed a zone match. In spite of major health problems, he was visibly moved when the zone regained the Boomer Cup earlier this year.
One of Thompson’s greatest attributes was is ability to see people as equal. He was not a man who cared about ‘which foot you kicked with’ or ‘which side of the house you came from’. This is why he was respected right across the bowling community. Mid Ulster have lost one of its most faithful and supportive individuals and the fact that current and past zone players formed a guard of honour for his final journey, reflected just how high esteem Thompson was held. Sympathy is extend to the family circle.