Category Archives: 2016

Friends v B.E. President’s Team

On Tuesday 13TH September  THE FRIENDS played their final match of the season at  Hagbourne  B.C. near  Didcot  against  a B.E. team led by President Michael Jennings.

This Annual match was to play for the IAN WOODCOCK TROPHY.  This Trophy is actually an engraved cut glass jug decanter which is presented to the winner each year.

Hagbourne is a quaint  village with a very organized village bowls club. The club is down a narrow road leading to a small car park.  The majority of players parked at the nearby village hall car park and were then ferried to the club by club members.

On arrival we had a tasty buffet lunch laid on in an open sided marquee outside the club house.

The weather was dry but was very humid and the club provided jugs of iced water for everyone during the game.

The match was as usual very competitive played on a sporty but fair green. In fact five of Rinks finished within one or two shots of each other, but with the sixth rink  a comfortable win for The Friends.

After the match the club provided a very substantial dinner served by the Ladies of the club.

President Michael Jennings then recalled his memories of his earlier bowling life as a member of the club. He thanked all the club members for their efforts for the day. He said how competitive matches against The Friends were. He presented  gifts  to the highest winning Rink and then presented THE IAN WOODCOCK TROPHY  to FRIENDS acting captain Geoff Hunt.

Geoff in reply thanked the ladies for the very nice dinner and other club members for their efforts. He confirmed the competitive match for the day and explained that members for both teams had come from far and wide and there were probably ten or eleven Counties represented in each team, He remarked on the Honours Boards on the walls and that only a small club they had won the Mens National Fours in recent years.  Founded in 1937 the club would soon celebrate their 80th anniversary and we might possibly return again.

Finally he presented President Michael with a personal framed certificate to commemorate playing the IAN WOODCOCK  TROPHY at Hagbourne.

We all then retired happy with the day.

Friends v Stockton B.C.


On September 7th, Friends from 10 counties made their way to Stockton bowls club for our last game up North this season and our penultimate game.  The green was much faster then we were used to and in the first few rounds quite a few woods ended up in the ditch.

Captain of the day was our much loved, hard working Match Secretary Adie Lloyd.

We were greeted with a most welcome cup of tea or coffee by those wonderful ladies in the kitchen or a drop of the harder stuff by the boys behind the bar.

Phyllis and Louise - both celebrating their wedding anniversaries - who made sure we were well fed

Phyllis and Louise – both celebrating their wedding anniversaries – who made sure we were well fed


 Nick and Andy who looked after our thirst

Nick and Andy who looked after our thirst. Andy is also the green-keeper











We were treated to a lovely buffet lunch, set out on the billiard table.

Decisions, decisions, what shall we have, there is so much to choose from

Decisions, decisions, what shall we have, there is so much to choose from ————











I know , lets have it all, must keep the inner man going

———— I know, lets have a bit of everything, must keep the inner man going

After our fill of food we then went out onto the green to start the game.

A warm greeting was given to us by the secretary of the club - our good friend Les Parnell

A warm greeting was given to us by the secretary of the club – our good friend Les Parnell.

The cards were read out and we proceeded to our rinks.  The weather was very warm (hotter and sunnier than down South) but luckily there was some nice shade on and around the green where we could take refuge.

Lots of laughter could be heard all afternoon, so I think we all enjoyed ourselves, even if we did lose the match.  Lots of new friends were made and lots of old friendships renewed.  The Friends are looking forward to coming up North again next year for more of the same.

After the game a buffet supper was enjoyed by all and then President Brian made an amusing speech and told a joke that several people wrote down for future use. He then presented  top rink prizes to the winning team of the day.   Adie then replied and also gave out top rink prizes.  The raffle then took place after which Adie presented Stockton B.C. with a memento of the day.

Adie presenting Brian with a certificate as a memento of our happy day

Adie presenting Brian with a certificate as a memento of our happy day

It was a day of celebrations for the members Stockton B.C. and the Friends would like to thanks each and everyone of you for letting us join you on this happy day.

The birthday boy, Richard, celebrating 81 years

The birthday boy, Richard, celebrating 81 years

President Brian and Phyllis celebrating 53 years of marriage

President Brian and Phyllis celebrating 53 years of marriage.

Friends v Lyndhurst B.C.

Lyndhurst is a hidden gem behind a long stone wall on the A167Durham Road, Gateshead and very close to the Angel of the North.  So hidden that more than one driver had to turn the car round in a tiny cul-de-sac alongside the green, or believed the postcode and finished up a few streets away.  Once a street parking spot was found and the entrance discovered we were warmly greeted by Presidents Keith and Florence and invited to enjoy the buffet.  Thank you to Club members Anne, Trish & Beatrice who worked all day to provide the buffet and the very enjoyable dinner after the game.

Part of the beautifully kept walled green and garden

Part of the beautifully kept walled green and garden

President Keith and President Florence having a quiet chat before the proceedings begin

President Keith and President Florence having a quiet chat before the proceedings begin

Sweeping up the leaves before the game

Sweeping up the leaves before the game

Tricia, Bea and Ann who fed and looked after us so well

Tricia, Bea and Ann who fed and looked after us so well

Chris Smith partaking of the wonderful lunch time spread

Chris Smith partaking of the wonderful lunch time spread









2017-09-07 15.40.14

Our visit to Lyndhurst was part of their prize for being Runner-Up in Club of the Year 2015.  As National President last year I had the pleasure of congratulating last year’s President George and his wife at the Men’s Dinner last February.  As a member of Berkhamsted the winning Club of the Year, I enjoyed chatting about and comparing our two clubs during my afternoon with them.  Lyndhurst raffled the sets of woods they won and used the money to provide their lovely new shirts at a discount to the members (and very modern and smart they looked too).  The club members look after the lovely gardens; tiered with lots of bushes and paths and dotted with benches.  They have mid-teens from the local secondary school for coaching sessions but haven’t gained any junior members from that, they may try a younger age group next year.

After the photographs and official welcome the game commenced.  The grass looked a bit long and it was a bit of a heave at first but we must have got the hang of it because we beat the hosts over the 6 rinks by 25 shots.  Plenty of laughter and banter on the green so all were enjoying the game whatever the score.  Ten counties were represented and I think the club members were very impressed by the distances travelled by the Friends.  Small bottles of wine were awarded to the top rinks for both sides and it was my pleasure to present the Lyndhurst with an engraved glass memento of our visit.

Captain of the day, Marcia Dunstone presenting President Keith with the runners up trophy

Captain of the day, Marcia Dunstone presenting President Keith with the runners up trophy.

Lyndhurst has entered the Club of the Year competition again so I hope we will be able to visit them again in the future.


The Friends v Bowls England Select Team

On Thursday 1st September following a well attended Friends AGM in the Naval Club in Leamington Spa we gathered together on the bowling greens to play the annual Friends v B.E. match.

This is probably the favourite game of the year when 12 rinks of Friends are matched up against 12 rinks for B.E. often pairing club or county colleagues up against each other.

The bonus this year was that as the competitions had finished for the day we would be allowed to play on greens A and B.

The opportunity to play on green A appealed to the more confident players to show their skills, or so they thought but it was not quite as easy as the National Competitors made it seem.

It was a bright day and thankfully stayed dry throughout and as usual there was fierce competition across the greens and the usual hard luck stories told during and after the game.

As for the Scores, the B.E. side just shaded results on green A with The Friends on top on green B and the Friends sneaking home overall.

Following the match we all returned to the Naval Club where we were provided with a splendid supper following the presentation of the flags to the President.

The company was then entertained with short speeches by  B.E. President Michael Jennings and Friends Chairman Geoff Hunt, both confirming how popular and important this Annual match is each year. They both thanked the Naval Club for supporting the event and the fine meal.

We all then retired, tired but happy after another very entertaining day.

Friends v Bowls England Ladies Team


The ‘Friends’ proudly stand under the clock waiting to do battle with the Ladies from Bowls England


The Ladies (plus a few gents) who made up the opposition.

On August 11th the ‘Friends’ had their annual match against the Bowls England Ladies.  It was perfect bowling weather – cloudy and warm.  The greens played like a dream.  The groundsmen have done a wonderful job.

There were 96 players on the green and the laughter could be heard from a long way off.  Despite Angela Harris playing her usual tricks of changing the stickers, so that our skip had a wrong bias, and moving the jack to a more advantageous position as she walked past the head, we still managed a good win on our rink against the B.E. President Michael Jennings.

In fact we did not have a losing rink on B green.  Well done to all of you.  C green also came out on top.  I cannot wait to see what happens on September 1st when we return to play the ‘Select Team’.

After the game we moved over to the Royal Naval Association Club for our after match meal.

2017-08-12 13.38.56-2

Lyn McDonnell (centre) together with Chef Nick and helpers.

The top table guests walked in past a line of cadets to see the beautifully laid out picnic tables – complete with picnic hampers.  The two Standard bearers, Roger Haymes and Liam Payne then presented President Michael with the flags and these were placed either side of the top table.

There was lots of food to choose from, including prawn cocktail and then we tucked into the deserts.  Three for each of us.  Lemon syllabub, the most delicious scones with clotted cream and jam and meringues with fresh fruit and cream.  (sorry there is no picture of this but it is a bit difficult when you are on top table).

After the meal President Michael thanked all concerned with the day, giving special thanks to his Senior Vice Viv, who was his captain for the day and had the hard job of finding fill in players at the last moment.  Prizes were then presented to the top rinks.

Captain of the day, Cyndy Lee, then thanked all her players for doing so well and giving us a stupendous win.  Prizes were then presented to the winning rinks from each green and wooden spoons to the highest losing rink from the ‘Friends’.

The raffle then took place, which raised the amount collected so far this year for Michael’s charity to over £6,000.  Michael thanked everyone for being so generous.

The Standard was then officially handed back to Roger Haymes and proceedings came to an end.

A wonderful time was had by all and my grateful thanks go to Adie Lloyd our match secretary who works quietly in the background making up the teams and sorting out the winners and losers and also finding replacements for last minute no shows.  Not an easy job but he does it with great panache.  He is ably assisted by his wife Kath, who is our hard working treasurer.


Friends v East Grinstead B.C.


It was raining at home when we started out to go to East Grinstead, but it was dry when we arrived at the Club.  We were warmly welcomed with ample tea and biscuits and the club members began to realise that we had come from different counties.  Ten in all.

The game was commenced in the dry, but sure enough it soon started to rain, although the real heavy stuff waited until after the match.

The green was a pleasure to play on, even with a rabbit hole on one? (small scraping in the surface).  Our members did us proud and we had a handsome win.

We were given a beautifully presented salad and small cakes for tea.  The captains, Mick Bushell for East Grinstead and Adie Lloyd for the Friends, thanked every-body and talked about the match.  Adie then told them all a little about the Friends.  Adie presented top rink prizes of his presidential pens – before they go even more out of date.

Their president, Bill Apps, gave a very interesting speech about the history of bowls in East Grinstead, their own club and a few well known people connected to the town.  Next the raffle was drawn and then, a glass of celebratory wine was offered to us all.

Thanks you East Grinstead for a friendly, very happy day celebrating your 80th Anniversary.

Friend v Market Overton B.C.

Friends Group 20th July 2016 (1)

Driving through the glorious Leicestershire countryside towards England’s smallest County, I was reminiscing about the many times I made this journey when playing County competitions in my ‘home’ County of Leicestershire. There are a very few Bowls England affiliated clubs in Rutland -Market Overton BC being one of them.

The club has made great progress in recent years; running membership recruitment sessions, applying and receiving all the necessary funding to build a new disabled toilet facility and in 2015 bringing honour to the club by bringing home the Bowls Leicestershire County Women’s Pairs title.

The welcome by the club was indeed a warm one. My car temperature gauge recorded 27.5⁰ – Phew.

Market Overton is quintessentially an English Village and has a bowling green to enhance.

It was clear that the club, led by their hard working secretary Annette Oliver, had really made a special effort. The buffet lunch was absolutely superb.

The wonderful ladies in the kitchen

The wonderful ladies in the kitchen

Yum yum -before the gravy

Yum yum -before the gravy









The supper was completely homemade and consisted of Chicken, new potatoes and vegetables, followed by gorgeous sweets namely  homemade sherry trifle and a delicious cheesecake which I simply had to sample after consuming a gorgeous trifle (oh how it did remind me of the bygone days when every club made sherry trifle!)

A raffle raised £208.00 for the Club and everyone was delighted to support this small but efficiently-run friendly club with their super facilities.

The match was indeed ‘friendly’ and although The Friends recorded a victory, everyone was a winner. Exhausted, we returned home but content that we had all enjoyed a lovely day in Market Overton. On behalf of ‘The Friends’ sincere thanks to the club for a super day.


Tony Allcock MBE (Captain of the Day – with the help of Adie Lloyd!!)


Friends v Purley Bury B.C.

2017-07-18 15.59.01

Sunday July 17th

On what was the hottest day of the year so far, and after a most enjoyable lunch prepared by our hosts, 6 rinks of The Friends were welcomed onto the green by President Robin Gordon to join the Purley Bury team in celebration of their 70th Anniversary.  (We were actually greeted as The Friends of Bowls England – a common misnomer!)

2017-07-18 15.54.54

After the teams were called out and the group photograph taken all the players spread around the green for the Spider.  The jack was hiding under the biggest “spider” I’ve ever seen, giving the shudders to those arachnophobes present.  Lesley Summersgill from Hampshire managed to get her bowl under the spider alongside the jack and was happy to receive a bottle of whisky from the President during his address later.  Thank you PBBC for very generously donating the Spider collection to FoEB.

Many of us found the green a bit tricky mainly because the club made 7 rinks to rest Rink 2 and also because it was quite a fast green for those more used to the wet slow greens of late.  However we acquitted ourselves very well and the result was 2 winning, 2 drawn and 2 losing rinks for each side.  The President very kindly called it a draw during his speech but the actual score was 119 shots for our hosts and a very close 114 shots for The Friends, so a 5                                                            shot win for our hosts.

After the game and before the speeches and raffle all the players and guests sat down to a most enjoyable 3 course meal and liquid refreshment prepared or served by some of the club members.  During his speech President Robin welcomed us again and expressed some amazement that 12 counties were represented in The Friends team, many having travelled a long distance to play.
He was also very grateful for the generosity of everyone in support of the large raffle.  In response I thanked the club for their hospitality during the day and the Club Captain Paul Harland for the note book and pen given to all players. I introduced the FoEB committee members present as well as those BE Past Presidents, Honorary Members and 2 Certificate of Merit holders playing in our team, and also named the 12 counties represented – it gets a cheer or two!  Before closing I awarded top rink prizes for both sides.  (FoEB top rink was Colin Dunstone, Diane Lee, Jessie Clark and Paul Robson) and concluded by presenting President Robin with a framed Certificate to commemorate our visit.

The match meal crew

The match meal crew

The lunch time crew

The lunch time crew