Author Archives: Carolyn Hunt

Leamington Highlights 2019

Friends of English Bowling support many of the National Championships held at Leamington …    take a look at some of the valiant winners this year.    All the photographs below are kindly provided by Bob Saunders Photography


Surrey have retained the Johns Trophy after defeating Wiltshire in a repeat of the final from 12 months ago.

Surrey ladies celebrate their victory



Devon have secured their fourth Middleton Cup victory in five years after defeating Kent in the Final at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa this afternoon.

Good Work Devon !

In a repeat of the 2016 and 2017 finals, Devon defeated Kent, who haven’t won the title since 1993 – despite appearing in five finals since their success against Cumbria 26 years ago.



Congratulations to Devon’s Sophie and Sam Tolchard who won the Bowls England National Family Pairs competition, supported by the Friends of English Bowling.

The brother and sister duo from Kings BC defeated Northamptonshire brothers William and Jamie Walker (Northampton West End BC) in the final at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.



Berkshire’s Peter Warne, Michael Blizzard, Bob Harris and Trevor Broad from Thatcham secured the Men’s National Senior Fours title, supported by the Friends of English Bowling.

Congratulations – Berkshire’s Senior Fours

They defeated Worcestershire’s Paul Kitchen, Richard Payne, Wayne White and Grant Burgess, from Chester Road in the final at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.



Sophie Tolchard & Donna Rock


A thrilling victory for  Sophie Tolchard, in the  Womens Two Wood Singles at the National Championships in Royal Leamington Spa.









The Lincolnshire Team with The Walker Cup

Lincolnshire won the Walker Cup, after defeating Northamptonshire.  It is their third success in the competition, adding to previous victories in 1976 and 2000.



Buckinghamshire’s Dave Labrum and Malc Drage have retained the Mens National Senior Pairs Competition.  The 2017 champions defeated Herefordshire’s Martin Smith and Mark Atkins 22-15.

Buckinghamshire’s Malc Drage & Dave Labrum





Devon’s Sam Tolchard won Men’s National Champion of Champions Competition.   Sam defeated Middlesex’s David Pitt to claim the prestigious title for the second time – having previously secured the crown back in 2007.







Bedfordshire’s Dawn Grisley, Maz Fisher, Jenny Ralph and Jackie Bryant, from Potton BC, won the Women’s National Senior Fours Championship.  They defeated Sussex’s Rachel Mackriell, Mary Bray, Julia Fordham and Denise Hodd (Polegrove BC), Friday 23rd August.



Warwickshire won the Balcomb Trophy, to win the inter-county double rink crown, supported by the Friends of English Bowling, for the first time since 2014.  They defeated Essex, the 2017 winners, in a high quality final of the event that went down to the very last bowl of the match.



Neil Farnish in celebration mode

Buckinghamshire’s Neil Farnish won the Bowls England Men’s Senior Singles Competition, supported by the Friends of English Bowling.  He defeated Devon’s Stuart Evans in a thrilling final  25th August.

Farnish and Evans both progressed to the final after comprehensive victories in their semi-finals against Norfolk’s Peter Wilkinson and Somerset’s William Anderson respectively.



Wiltshire’s Lucy Smith and Mike Titcombe won the Bowls England National Mixed Pairs Competition.

The duo from Westlecot BC defeated Kent’s Sara Trotter and Dave Mason in the final.  Smith and Titcombe never looked back after winning eight of the opening 10 ends to surge into a 13-3 lead, eventually securing the title 24-8


A triumphant cheer from the Kings BC team – photo by Allen Simms


MENS TWO WOODS – 28th August

Herefordshire’s Shaun Jones has won the Men’s National Two-Wood Singles Championship, supported by the Friends of English Bowling.

The Ross-on-Wye BC bowler defeated Kent’s Tom Bishop, representing Bromley BC.    Congratulations Shaun!





A great day for the Northants Team

Northamptonshire have secured the Amy Rose Bowl for the first time after defeating Somerset.  It’s Northamptonshire’s first appearance in the final of the competition, which started in 2000, reaching that stage with victories over Lincolnshire Lionesses and a remarkable extra end defeat of Devon Belles.

In the final, Northamptonshire dominated from the start against rinks skipped by the experienced Laura Holden and Stef Branfield, securing a comprehensive 34-15 victory.



Surrey’s Harry Cushen, Jamie Tindall, Jon Wilson and Charlie Souter have won the 2019 White Rose Trophy.  They defeated Northamptonshire’s Danny Walker, Kieran Rollings, Nathan Betts and Connor Cinato.

The Surrey Swifts recorded earlier wins over Northumberland Geordie Boys and Northamptonshire Saints on their way to securing the title, with the Northamptonshire Cobblers defeating Hampshire Hogs and Wiltshire Moonrakers to reach the final.



The joyful team from Camberley BC

Surrey’s Camberley BC have won the 2019 Tony Allcock Trophy, supported by the Friends of English Bowling, defeating Box BC from Wiltshire 42-36.

Box were in control in the opening stages of the match with Nick Grenfell’s rink leading 15-2, before a remarkable run in the second half of the contest by Camberley’s David McCallum’s quartet to ensure a 21-21 draw.

It is the second time that Surrey has enjoyed success in the Tony Allcock Trophy after Supreme BC secured the inaugural event in 2011.


The triumphant ladies from Kings BC, Devon   –  photo provided by Allen Simms

Devon’s Kings BC have retained the Women’s Top Club title, after defeating Baldock Town from Hertfordshire in the final.

Sophie Tolchard sent Kings on their way with a 21-19 victory in the singles, recovering from a 3-16 deficit against Devon Cooper.  The senior international duo of Emma Cooper and Natalie Chestney also overhauled an early 3-12 scoreline in the pairs discipline to record a 23-13 success, whilst the Devonians also enjoyed victory in the triples for a 3-1 win.  Kings reached the final with a 3-1 victory over Buckinghamshire’s Gerrards Cross BC, while Baldock Town defeated three-time champions Wigton BC from Cumbria in the last four.

Baldock were competing in the final for the first time since 2003, whilst Kings enjoyed their third success in the event.



A triumphant cheer from the Kings BC team  –  photo provided by Allen Simms

Devon’s Kings BC won the Men’s Top Club title for the fourth successive year.  They defeated Buckinghamshire’s Gerrards Cross BC 4-1 in the final at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.

Kings comprehensively defeated Bedfordshire’s Sandy Conservative BC, whilst Gerrards Cross reached the final for the first time since 2005 after securing a narrow victory over Huntingdonshire’s Warboys.

Friends v. Lockswood

Lockswood Bowls Club Special Celebratory Match

Lockswood and Friends ready for the match

We had a grey day weather-wise, but a far from grey day welcome.  Lockswood B C is a friendly club with an all-weather green,  in the south of Hampshire.  No excuses for not being up with your woods.

Greetings on the Green

We had a lovely welcome and a fresh, plentiful buffet lunch laid out for us.  Time arrived for the match and a big black spider, who, in this case, was not mobile having not ate his batteries,  was sat upon the jack.  After the spider it was bowls in the ditches time  for those not used to the surface, but our team soon settled down to a hard fought, enjoyable game.
What was this ? An oven breaking down?  Was there going to be a disaster?  No of course not.  Our after match meal was just going to take a little longer to come.   Good excuse to have the  speeches, presentations and raffle first.



President Pat Newman accepting Friend’s Certificate

The club’s president, Pat, welcomed us and presented top rink prizes and gave a present to our captain of the day Adie, who responded, thanking the club and giving out Kath’s preserves for top rink prizes.  Pat also donated the spider money to the Friends.  Thank you very much.

Well, was the meal worth waiting for?  It certainly was. The main course was hot and delicious chicken breast casserole with fresh vegetables,  followed by blackberry and apple crumble and ice-cream.   Then cheese and biscuits, and then coffee, tea and mints.   First class –  well done ladies indeed –  turning a near disaster into such a success.

Thank you  to all the club members who gave us such a great day for our last match of the year, and letting us win by 4 shots.  We hope you have a successful winter season.  Thank you to all our members, who supported us in this match and in all the other matches played this year, giving us such an enjoyable year  we shall all remember.

Thank you to the match reporters and photographers and our web master Carolyn.
We look forward to next year and to seeing you all again.

Kath Lloyd

Friends v. Bowls England President’s Team


A Happy Line-Up

Today the President of Bowls England, Hazel Marke, played her last outdoor game of the season against The Friends of English Bowling at her own club, Alton Social.  They were playing for the ‘Ian Woodcock Trophy’ a lovely glass claret jug, which was won last year by Bowls England.

Hazel passing over the coveted Trophy to Kay


As Hazel said at the start of her year she was looking for sun, fun and friendship all of which were in evidence today.  Overall the Friends won on four rinks but as usual Hazel tried to make it a draw without success with the Friends winning 133-114 with the top rink being Sue Sayers, Babs Salter, Mike Morris and Mike Skerry.

We are all now looking forward to the 2020 season.

Kay Kerley
Captain of the Day



Some snapshots of the day:


Friends v. Gerrards Cross

Gerrards Cross line up with Friends

Friday 6th September:  The third match of the Friends visit to Buckinghamshire was at Gerrards Cross Bowls Club.

We were welcomed to the club by Kirk Smith, the President and Alan Price, the Captain.  Kirk is the son of Eric Smith, one of the gentlemen who conceived the idea of a group of bowlers financially supporting bowls in England, and he assured me that his late father would have thoroughly approved of the wonderful organisation the Friends has now become. It was a pleasure to meet Mary, Kirk’s mum, who was one of the team of ladies who provided us with a delightful buffet lunch and after match meal.

With Cyndy Lee present, we were all organised for the pre match photo, and prepared to commence the game in cool, blustery but thankfully dry, conditions. The green was in splendid condition and proved to be very much to the Friend’s taste, with the result a resounding win by 129 shots to 80.  Mike Skerry again skipped the highest winning rink, aided by Sandra Smale, John Timms and Jenny Ralph.  Mike lives 2 miles from the Gerrards Cross club, so local knowledge may well have assisted his team to victory!  Despite the scoreline, the Gerrards Cross members were excellent company, and if the noise from rink 1 reflected the enjoyment across the green, everyone had a great time.

Following the game, we enjoyed an excellent meal and more banter in the clubhouse.

In his speech, Kirk Smith told everyone all about the start of “The Friends”, and introduced two Gerrards Cross members who were among the first to support the Friends when the organisation was formed in 2005. His excellent speech enabled the Friend’s Captain of the Day to quietly cross out most of the notes he had made for his speech, as, one by one, Kirk covered most of what he had planned to say!

Having thanked everyone at Gerrards Cross for their excellent hospitality and presented the highest winning rinks from both teams with a little liquid refreshment and those who fared less well with a small token of encouragement, he wished everyone a safe journey home, with some of us having rather further to travel than Sue and Mike Skerry!

Graham Annetts
Captain of the Day



Friends v. Marlow

Marlow and Friends, ready for the off

Thursday 5th September saw the Friends arrive at Marlow Bowls Club to help them celebrate their 100 years of existence …. no founder members were present.

The club President Don Isaacs met us all with many of their members, and we were all made to feel so welcome and provided with a light lunch.

The game starting at 1.30 using six of the seven rinks.   A very competitive game ensued with great enjoyment but I feel Marlow members tried too hard beating, the Friend 129 – 97, winning on four rinks to the Friends two.

The Highest winning rink from the Friends was Val Botting, Richard Pearce, Leslie Taylor and skipped by Roger Button – all received a Lollypop and some wine.   What a great day!

John Thompson
Captain of the Day

Friends v. Iver Heath

All Friends : Iver Heath BC v FoEB

Wednesday 4th September   –    Helpful Husband: “Now take care, the entrance comes up really quickly along this road I always seem to go past it and have to turn round”..    yes we missed it and had to turn round!   Once parked we were welcomed into the Iver Heath club and enjoyed the buffet prepared for us by the club members.  Thanks Betty, Kate, Sue, Lyn and Sylvia for lunch and for the after match meal, all delicious and home made too.

We were welcomed on to the green by Club President and Captain Danny Davies and then started our game in the warm sunshine.  A bit blowy so the bowls didn’t always do what was expected, well that’s my excuse.  However the green had a very good pace and is obviously well looked after by Chris Robbins and the green team.   Lovely too to see all the hanging baskets and flower beds around the clubhouse.   I enjoyed playing with my team of Barbara Battom, Allan Sayers and Ray Keen versus Danny’s team skipped by Sue Skerry, a fellow Friend.  However a disastrous last few ends by us gave them the win and by co-incidence the difference of 5 was reflected in the overall score.  118 to the Friends and 123 to Iver Heath  –  a win for our hosts.

  • Top rink for Iver Heath was Carole Fox, Terry Knowles, Rod Evans and Mike Skerry.
  • Top rink for Friends was Maxine Fletcher, Carol Daines, Philip Havord and Martin Salter.

Thank you to Keith & Terry, club members who looked after our liquid refreshment;  Keith Hawes – as well as being a great barman,  is also the Bucks County President this year.

A surprise for Val’s special day!


Before we started the after meal formalities trays of fizz suddenly appeared plus a super cake.  A Special birthday surprise for Valerie White – whatever number was on the cake Val we don’t be-lieve it.   Husband Michael had everything organised for us to celebrate the occasion with her.  Well done Michael, it was a lovely surprise for us all as well, and you must have brownie points that will last for years!


Marcia & Club President Danny Davis



This was followed by the usual toasts and speeches on both sides plus little bit about the Friends by me. An extra special day and maybe we may have a couple of new Friends from Iver Heath next year, though we can’t promise cake and fizz every time!

Marcia Dunstone
Captain of the Day

Friends v. BE Select Team – 29th August

On Thursday 29th August more than 100 Members of the Friends gathered at Leamington Spa,  many attended the AGM – and then on to play in the annual match against the BE team.

Although rain was expected it turned out to be a sunny, but windy, afternoon.  The match is always very competitive against friends and colleagues on both teams.   5 rinks played on Green C and 5 on Green D.  As usual with these games, there was much laughter, although the game was not put in jeopardy.

The players returned to the Irish Club for the after-match meal, just in time for a pre-dinner drink.

Following the meal B.E. President Hazel and Friends Captain of the day Geoff Hunt addressed the players and guests.  President Hazel gave the result of the match which gave the Friends team a win on 9 rinks and a draw on 1 rink,  and an overall win by 101 shots.    Captain Geoff in reply confirmed that he was surprised at the result as it had seemed so competitive through the afternoon with many rinks very close.   He thanked former Naval Officer Senior Vice President Paul for organizing the seating arrangements into rinks with the use of his Bosuns Whistle, and asked whether it would be used again next year.?

President Hazel and Captain Geoff presented gifts to the Highest Winning rinks for each team.  They thanked the Irish Club for the meal and all the arrangements to end a very successful and enjoyable day.

The Top Table

Friends Two Wood Pairs at Leamington 2019

The FEB Two Wood Pairs took place at Royal Leamington Spa today with 25 Pairs taking part.  The weather forecast was for a sunny day and so it proved, although the wind was still cold.  The draw is made when everybody arrives but the winner will have played 75 ends.

Chairman Geoff (centre) with Ken Eichen & John  Stone, Zoe Barnard Rowland & Anna Molony


The semi final was contested between Zoe Barnard Rowland and Anna Molony of Avenue Bowling Club, RLS against Marie Borthwick and Sid Barkas of Worcestershire, which Zoe and Anna won 13-8.   The second semi final was between David Williams and Stuart Allinson of Wiltshire against Ken Eichen and John Stone of Hampshire who won 14-8.  This put Ken into his fourth final of this competition (having won it once).



The winners: Zoe & Anna

The final was a close encounter until Zoe and Anna picked up a 3 on the eleventh end followed by a four on the next end and carried on to win 16-11.   Congratulations to Zoe and Anna and thanks to everybody who has taken part.