Members of the Prattens club in Midsomer Norton want to say a big thank you to their neighbours, who came to the rescue when their green was damaged by flames from a burning air balloon that crashed tragically on New Year’s Day 2011.
“We were without a green for a whole year, but our friends at Fosseway, Norwest, Paulton, Purnell and Shepton Mallet all supported us and allowed us to play our home fixtures on their greens,” said clubman Barrie Dando.
“It was a traumatic time for us – though obviously not as bad as what the relatives and friends of the balloonists had to go through,” Dando added.
“Thanks to our good neighbours, we were able to fulfil all our friendly fixtures and our county league ties.”
The small Prattens green, which has only five rinks, was re-laid in time for the start of the 2012 summer season and, although it was heavy to start with, it speeded up over the months and is now running really well.
“It was a shame that two of our celebratory ‘get-back-on-the-green’ matches – one against a team comprising the five Good Samaritan clubs and another against the Somerset Executive, led by county president Dave Bendall – were washed out,” Dando said.
“Happily, we managed to re-arrange both of them and got round to playing them in September,” he added. “It was a horrendous chapter in the history of the club, but we are now looking forward to the future with confidence.”
The Board of Bowls England is recommending that, from 2014, the men’s national championships, which have been staged in Worthing’s Beach House Park since 1973, will be played in Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa.
“This decision was reached following the submission of a detailed feasibility study initially requested by the Bowls England Council,” announced BE chief executive Tony Allcock, who spent most of his illustrious playing career in Cheltenham.
The recommendation will be voted upon by the 35 counties forming Bowls England at the Company meeting on Saturday, November 24.
Rumours of a possible move have been circulating for a few years, but it is understood that the women’s national championships will remain at Leamington and will be played in tandem with the men’s events.
Now that the 2012 outdoor season has finally been put to bed, the focus of attention turns to the indoor game, and a couple of big games have already been played, starting with the annual international series for players over 50.
England suffered three straight defeats at Bodelwyddan Castle in North Wales, but no blame could be attached to players from the West of England, because their claims for places in the national two-rink team had been overlooked.
Graham Shadwell, who is looking forward to carrying England’s hopes in the pairs and fours when the world outdoor championships are staged in Adelaide from November 23 to December 9, has made a confident start to the winter season.
Although his commitment to England’s outdoor team means he was not available for selection for the national indoor side, he is getting in some useful practice for his trip down under by competing in the national indoor championships.
After winning the all-England mixed pairs title at Worthing in August, Shadwell and wife Debbie hit top form to beat a strong pair from Chippenham’s North Wilts club in the first round of the equivalent indoor event.
Sue Cooke and Wayne Snook were never at the races, as the Shadwells powered to an irresistible 26-6 victory that could be the first step towards completing an unprecedented national double.
Pat Hayes, described as ‘a tireless worker for the club, sometimes to the detriment of her own health’, has been awarded life membership of the City & County of Bristol Indoor Bowls Club.
Club chairman Lewis Toman said: “It was a great privilege for me to make the award to Pat, who has made an enormous contribution to the club over the years – and we wish her well and hope to enjoy her company for many years to come.”
The Bristol club, who recently conducted a recruitment drive, report they are ‘doing quite well’ for new members this season, but they could always do with more and are encouraging would-be newcomers to make themselves known.
The best way to get started is to turn up for an ‘Umbrella’ session, which involves a friendly game of bowls for anyone who turns up on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
“The timings differ from day to day,” says the club’s marketing director Wendy Toman. “Anyone interested should ring us on 01179 633460 for details before seeking us out at 198 South Liberty Lane, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 2TY, but we guarantee you a warm welcome, even if you are a total novice.”
Talented Bristolians Paul Brown and Tony Down made a spirited challenge for top honours in the British Wheelchair Bowls Association national championships at Stoke Mandeville last week.
Facing the hot favourites for the pairs title, they were pipped 15-13, in the semi-finals by Welsh duo Dave Powell and Kevin Woolmore, who were themselves denied by the narrowest of margins in the final, which was won by Cornwall ace Mike Diston and Essex star Lea Davis.
WBT World Bowls Indoor Championship at Potters Leisure Resort (January 12-27) – England play-offs at Lincoln – Singles – Quarter-finals: J Heath (Dunholme) bt W Bailey (City of Ely) 7-7, 6-5; K Rands (Scunthorpe) bt R Atkins (Malvern) 8-3, 6-6; M Orrey (Grantham) bt E Elmore (City of Ely) 8-1, 3-6, 2-0; L Gillett (Leicester) bt D Brown (Lincoln) 7-1, 6-7, 2-1.
Semi-finals: Heath bt Rands 2-12, 8-3, 2-1; Gillett bt Orrey 10-4, 11-2. Final: Gillett bt Heath 7-5, 10-4.
Pairs – Quarter-finals: M & R Atkins bt N Holliday & S Knight 7-2, 10-2; M & N Orrey bt D Bolt & M London 8-1, 7-2; D Brown & J Heath bt J Hart & A Ware 9-4, 8-7; C Leuty & M Whyers bt B Field & W Willgress 8-3, 9-0. Semi-finals: Orrey & Orrey bt Atkins & Atkins 6-4, 5-5; Brown & Heath bt Leuty & Whyers 6-3, 6-5. Final: Brown & Heath bt Orrey & Orrey 6-4, 10-2.
Wales play-offs at Cynon Valley – Singles – Quarter-finals: D Harding (Cardiff) bt D Newth (Islwyn) 5-5, 9-3; D Gough (Severn Valley) bt J Breen (Rhondda) 7-1, 5-4; D Lewis (Cynon Valley) bt P Carpenter (Merthyr Tydfil) 7-2, 5-7, 2-0; S Harris (Merthyr Tydfil) bt J Roberts (Heatherton) 8-7, 8-3. Semi-finals: Gough bt Harding 5-5, 9-0; Harris bt Lewis 9-4, 6-3. Final: Harris bt Gough 4-5, 9-1, 2-1.
Pairs – Quarter-finals: A Williams & L Stanley bt D & M Jones 4-4, 5-4; M Harding & P Rowlands bt D Harding & C Fountain 10-3, 6-3; R Owen & J Roberts bt J Breen & D Doubler 5-8, 8-1, 2-1; G & G Rees bt A & I Merrien 6-4, 5-9, 2-1. Semi-finals: Harding & Rowlands bt Williams & Stanley 0-7, 9-3, 2-1; Rees & Rees bt Owen & Roberts 5-6, 6-3, 2-0. Final: Rees & Rees bt Harding & Rowlands 6-4, 5-6, 2-1.
British Seniors Indoor Team Championship at Bodelwyddan Castle, North Wales – Ireland bt England 33-32 (Ireland skips first): S Elliman 16, B Morley 16; R McCune 17, M Sharpe 16. Scotland bt Wales 33-19 (Scotland skips first): R Grant 21, E Williams 6; J McCann 12, S Hill 13. Ireland bt Scotland 39-25 (Ireland skips first): McCune 19, Grant 12; Elliman 20, McCann 13. Wales bt England 30-28 (Wales skips first): Williams 12, Morley 13; Hill 18, Sharpe 15. Ireland bt Wales 49-22 (Ireland skips first): McCune 26, Hill 7; Elliman 23, Williams 15. Scotland bt England 37-31 (Scotland skips first): McCann 13, Morley 22; Grant 24, M Sekjer 9.
Final standings: 1 Ireland 6pts (+42 shots); 2 Scotland 4 (+16); 3 Wales 2 (-39); 4 England 0 (-19).
British Wheelchair Bowls Association Championships at Stoke Mandeville – Singles – Semi-finals: L Davis bt D Powell 21-19; C Gibson bt M Diston 21-20. Final: Gibson bt Davis 21-19.
Pairs – Semi-finals: K Woolmore & D Powell bt T Down & P Brown 15-13; L Davis & M Diston bt G Ridgeon & S Bigg 27-4. Final: Davis & Diston bt Woolmore & Powell 13-12.
EIBA Summer Fantastic Fives – finals at Wey Valley: Egham bt Colchester 6-2; Dolphin bt Whiteoak 6-2; Dolphin bt Colchester 6-2; Egham bt Whiteoak 8-0; Whiteoak bt Colchester 6-2; Dolphin bt Egham 6-2.
Final standings: 1 Dolphin 18pts; 2 Egham 16; 3 Whiteoak 8; 4 Colchester 6.