Category Archives: 2018

The Friends v Oakley B.C.

Friends v Oakley B.C. 17/07/2018.

The team from Oakley B.C. together with the Friends

After the recent prolonged spell of hot, dry weather, it was almost a relief to drive up the leafy lanes to the stunning Hampshire location that is Oakley Bowls Club in pleasant but cloudy conditions!

The match against the Friends was arranged to help the club members celebrate their 40th Anniversary, and we were greeted by a splendid new pair of iron gates at the entrance to the club, the installation of which had been completed the day before we arrived! We were greeted by Vice President Lesley, and Club Captain Barry, and several founder members of this thriving club.

Oakley’s hospitality was well known to those members of the Friends who had been fortunate enough to play there on a previous occasion, and we were greeted by a tasty buffet lunch before the game. The strawberry sponge and fruit cake deserve a mention!

Captains of the Day, Lesley Allard and Graham Annetts greeting the teams

On a very green green, considering the recent dry spell, the match got under way with Oakley members resplendent in their new club shirts. One Friends rink racing into a 12 – nil lead before reality set in and they found themselves level at 17 all, eventually winning the rink by one shot. Another rink found themselves stuck on 4 shots for ten ends, with the well-known cry of “he’s only gone and drawn it” noticeably absent until “he” did on the very last end to increase the score to 6! Despite this set back, the remaining five Friends rinks managed to win by the number of shots required to cover those lost on our other rink, and the match ended in an honourable draw at 117 shots each.

Sandra Lee, aided and abetted by Hazel Solomon and Christine Williams, who provided us with a wonderful buffet lunch and excellent after match meal

The lovely Martin Smith, who gave up his game of bowls in order serve behind the bar all day

Everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon, and there was much animated chatter as we all repaired to the nearby social club for the after match meal of salmon salad and home made apple pie, custard and cream which was enthusiastically received.

An idyllic place to play bowls, with very friendly hosts and lovely food. Thank you Oakley for making us welcome, for all the hard work which members put in to make the day a resounding success we hope to come back for another celebration in the future.

Vice President Lesley accepting the certificate from Captain of the Day Graham


The Friends v Maidstone B.C.

Maidstone B.C. line up with the Friends for the customery photo

Thursday July 12th was the last day of the Friends tour to North Kent, where we were delighted to be invited to play at Maidstone B.C.

Besides hosting a match with the Friends, they had a fixture at nearby Westborough in the morning and following our game they were playing in the local Millenium Cup League, so it was all hands to the pump!

The club provided us with a magnificent buffet on arrival with Ladies Chairman Diane, covering several jobs on the day, along with Mandy, Pat & Arthur who all worked tirelessly throughout the day culminating in a delicious after match meal.

Ladies Chairman Diane Lefevre with the Captains of the Day. Graham Rogers and Tony Jarrett, formally
welcomes the Friends to Maidstone B.C.


















The green was in very good condition, despite the very dry weather and the garden surroundings were a great credit to all those who worked on them.

After a slightly shaky start the Friends rallied to produce a score-line of 60:50 at 10 ends but were pegged back to 89:87 at 15 ends, so the game was in the balance. However, in the end the Friends came through to win 131:120, with the top rink coming from Maureen Aitken, David Wederell, Tony Taylor and Marcia Dunstone who put in a card of 28:15.

Maidstone’s top rink was Gay Morgan, Vic McCormick, Bob Copper and Gordon Gully who had a great game of 23:14.

Arthur with his harem of cooks and helpers. Including Mandy, Diane and Pat (who also helped behind the bar)

The Friends were represented by players from 11 different counties and we were also very grateful to Tony Petts, Brenda Green and Maureen Aitken for helping us as we were a few players short on the day.

Gordon – looked after the bar all day – with a bit of help

Captain Tony of Maidstone proudly represented the club and made sure our needs were well catered for both on and off the rink.

Captain of the Day Graham presenting Captain of the Day Tony with a memento of our visit

A very big thank you to all the officers and members of Maidstone who gave us a memorable day at their club and brought to a conclusion a great three-day tour of North Kent.



The Friends v Kemsley Bowls Club


Kemsley BC and the Friends line up before the match

An emphatic win by the Friends playing with representatives from 10 Counties against a club with less than 40 members.  Ok, well done Friends! – but that said the win was irrelevant.  The hospitality from the club, the friendships forged during the game and the banter across the rinks said everything about Friends celebratory matches.

While the players were still asleep in their respective hotel beds our hosts were busy preparing for the day ahead, some as early as 5 am………yes really!

Chris, the wonderful lady in charge of the catering, with her daughter and Tracey – two of the many ladies who helped her look after us so well

Kemsley be very proud of yourselves, we threw vegetarians, coeliacs and other difficult diets at you but you came up trumps with a super lunch, tea and biscuits at ten ends followed by a lovely tea with everyone catered for.  Thank you so much for that and the lovely green to play on (thank you Peter).

The players search for their woods after the spider won by John Thompson

You have reached 90 years with some difficult times in the past, including arson in 2002 and some major landmarks including Rodney Clark as County President in 2015.

President Rodney Clark welcomes Captain of the Day Marcia Dunstone and the Friends to the club whilst Captain Percy Bootes looks on

For the records, Friends won 139-96 with all rinks winning.  Top rink for the Friends was Graham Searle, Shirley Wederell, Sue Skerry and skip Terry James.  Kemsley best rink was Bill Whitehead, Jean Russell, Ron Hedgecock and skip Percy Bootes.

President Rodney accepting the memento commemorating the clubs
90 glorious years

The day ended with both sides wanting to return for the Centenary in ten years time.  A great day!  Thank you Kemsley.

The Friends v Peninsula B.C.

Members of the Peninsula B.C. line up with the Friends before the match

In the first of three matches in North Kent the Friends were royally entertained at Peninsula BC in Hoo,  just outside the city of Rochester.

The lovely ladies who made us so welcome with cups of tea, bacon and sausage butties and scrummy cakes

We had been invited last year to visit the club to celebrate the opening of their new clubhouse being provided by the building contractors developing a new housing complex around the green.  Sadly due to problems experienced by the contractors on the site the club still awaits its new clubhouse but it is coming later this year.

Captain Brian Trill welcomes Captain of the day David Wederell

It was initially a dry cloudy day and quite fresh out on the Hoo peninsula but as the day went on the sun returned and we enjoyed the game on a sunny humid afternoon.  PBC Captain of the day was Brian Trill who is Kent’s SVP and we offer him our best wishes for his 2019 presidency of the County.

After the spider – the rush to find the woods and to see if you have won

We enjoyed a good game on a very dry and fast running green.  The Friends best rink was Adie lloyd’s including Maddie McConomy, Cyndy Lee and John Thompson.  The Friends won by 54 shots but that is not important.

Captain of the Day David Wederell presenting a memento of the happy day

The important girls in the kitchen who provided us with a great supper and the the most amazing deserts

The winner was bowls and many new friends were made.  Once again a very big thank you for a great start to our tour of North Kent.  We all look forward to visiting you again in the near future to see your new clubhouse which should be up and running for the 2019 season.












The Friends v Ilminster B.C.

The Friends and Ilminster B.C. all friendly before the match

On Sunday June 24th,  Friends from eight counties converged on the Somerset town of Ilminster to help the local bowls club celebrate being runners-up in the 2017 Bowls England Club of the Year Awards.

We found a thriving club with excellent facilities, plenty of car parking and very friendly members. After an excellent buffet lunch, served in the modern air conditioned clubhouse (all powered by solar panels on the roof!), and the mandatory photo call, the match got under way.

The Captains of the Day, Kevin Hamilton and Graham Annetts, greeting the teams

















In brilliant sunshine, some competitive bowls were played on a green which, like many up and down the country, had been affected by the lengthy spell of dry weather. Judging by the banter heard across the green, most people enjoyed themselves, with Ilminster gaining the upper hand on four of the rinks. Although the Captain of the Day managed to create a draw with some creative accounting, in reality Ilminster ran out winners by 133 shots to 104.

Everyone was pleased to retreat to the cool of the clubhouse for an enjoyable meal, after which the Club Chairman Kevin received a glass plaque commemorating our visit.

A close up of the award

Chairman Kevin receiving the well deserved memento of the day

Lovely weather, good food, a competitive game and several raffle prizes for members of the Friends team. What better way to spend a summer afternoon?


The Friends v South Warwickshire B.A.

South Warwickshire and the Friends- all friends together

On Sunday 17th June the  ‘ Friends ‘ visited Leamington Spa B.C. for a special match against South Warwickshire B.A. and its President Fred Bannister to support a worthy charity Zoe’s Place , which is a hospice for babies and Children under 6 yrs with life limiting Conditions.

The ladies and Colin who fed us so well

On arrival the ‘Friends’ players had the opportunity to purchase for lunch a variety of filled rolls, sausage rolls and salad. All the money collected was then donated to the Charity.

The weather was slightly cool with a hint of rain to come but in the event it stayed dry all the afternoon.

After a Team Photograph and Australian Spider ( where the winner has a bowl closest to the far ditch ) the match was played on Green C  immediately in front of the pavilion and the green played very well with many reminiscing about the National Championships to come in about 6 weeks.

It was a very enjoyable and competitive match with the scores on 5 of the Rinks very close with the teams sharing 2 wins each with 1 drawn. However on the final Rink the Hosts were overwhelming winners and in consequence won the match 94 – 124.

Jim and Maurice who manned the bar all day

After the match everyone sat down to a magnificent meal.

President Fred Bannister then welcomed everyone to his home club and explained more details of his charity and was warmly applauded by all the players. He also reminisced about the number of times he had played on Rinks with Friends captain Geoff. He then presented prizes to his highest winning Rink.

In reply Friends captain of the day Geoff Hunt confirmed the great pleasure it was to visit and also to support such a worthy charity,

He then gave details about the ‘Friends” history since they founded in 2005 and the funds they raise. He then introduced the 5 Committee Members playing in the match.

He explained that Friends members are from all round the country and that there were players from 11 Counties present for this match.

Finally he presented President Fred with a framed Certificate to commemorate the visit.

Captain Fred receiving a memento of the day from Captain of the Day Geoff

It had been a very enjoyable day and everyone was looking forward to their  next visit during the National Championships

The Friends v Brimfield and Little Hereford B.C.

Brimfield & Lititle Hereford B.C. line up for the official photo with the Friends

On Thursday 14th June the Friends journeyed to Brimfield and Little Hereford B.C to play their third and final game of the three day tour organised by our match secretary, Adie Lloyd.  The threatened rain kept away and the sun came out to say hello and welcome.

We entered the beautifully appointed club house to find a lovely buffet lunch waiting for us together with teas and coffees.  After lunch we went out onto the green to play the celebratory match against the club,  It was their 30th anniversary.  It is a thriving club with 60 members and they keep the club open all year with lots of different activities.

Captain Doug Swathwaite together with Captain of the Day Adie Lloyd reading out the cards

Before the game a spider was held to raise money for the club’s charity.  This was won by a member of the club.

The two teams trying to find their woods after the spider

There was lots of laughter on the green and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.  After the first few ends we were well down but then we got used to the fast green and clawed our way back and in the end we won on five of the six rinks.

After the match we made our way back to the club house for a very good meal.  Lasagna, asparagus and  loads of different salads.  This was followed by chocolate gateau or strawberries and cream.  To finish an excellent cheese board.

Barbara and Stan – who fed us so well



The smiling boys behind the bar – Bill and Richard

Judging from all the empty plates that went back to the kitchen we were all very happy with our meal.  Our very grateful thanks go to Barbara and Stan for all their hard work with the catering.  Their is no greater satisfaction for a cook then to see empty plates.

After the meal the Chairman, Lester Bennett welcomed us all and thanked us for helping to celebrate their anniversary.

Speeches were then made by Captain Doug and a reply by Adie.  He explained that unfortunately Kay Kerley was supposed to be taking the game but had fallen ill.  Kay had however given Adie some lovely boxes of mint chocolates to give out as rink prizes.  Well worth winning – they taste superb.  He also explained a little about what the Friends do and how they first started.  Leaflets were on the table for those that wanted them.  Membership of the Friends is open to any one who wants to join.  We have lots and lots of fun and it is nice to put something back into the game that we all love and want to see flourish.

Adie presenting Doug with a memento of the occasion.

Days like this do not just happen and we really appreciate all the hard work that went into organising it.  A very big thank you to all concerned and we are looking forward to celebrating your 35th with you.

The Friends v Kington B.C.


The members of Friends and Kington B.C. line up – still good friends – after the match.

On Wednesday July 13th, the Friends travelled from 12 counties to help celebrate the 120th anniversary of Kington B.C. Something that we had realised but for some reason the members of the club had not.  It is a thriving little club with 60 members.

Parking was arranged for us so that we did not have to park on the road, which we very much appreciated.  You walk down a little lane and then on your left hand side you come across a lovely green and club house.

Ladies Captain/Secretary/food organiser, Sian and match fixture husband Kenneth

We were made most welcome and greeted with cups of tea or coffee and biscuits.

The two non playing Captains then welcomed us onto the green and read out the cards.

Captain of the Day Adie and Captain Peter Evans

After the match we made out way back to the clubhouse for a splendid buffet supplied by all the members.

Terry behind the bar in a rare quiet moment

Captain Peter then thanked us all for coming to visit and then Adie replied and presented top rink prizes to both teams.  He then told the gathering all about the Friends and the way that we help English Bowling, how we support Bowls England, supplied the first aid tent and pay for the paramedic to be in attendance for the Leamington Nationals.  How we support the Hospitality marquee, how we support the youth teams and disability bowls etc.  Most importantly how much we enjoy ourselves in so doing and visiting all the different clubs and making lots of new friends.

Presenting a memento of the day (what is Adie wanted for?)

Thank you very much Kington B.C. for inviting us and for such a happy day full of joy and laughter.

I should add that we won the match 119 – 84 and to quote Adie ‘If you lose you make someone else very happy’.