Category Archives: 2021

Gloucester Spa BC

What a fantastic end to the season for the Friends on our visit to Gloucester Spa on Sunday 19th September 2021  where the club were celebrating their 100 year anniversary.

We arrived to a wonderful welcome from their President Allan Dunn and Captain Mike Prosser and many of the members of their club.  Players for Friends arrived from 13 Counties for the fixture. 

The welcome buffet lunch was so filling it left most of us wondering whether we would be able to play!

The Teams looking forward to the game ahead

Starting off with a spider, which again I was not even close to, and onto the game.   All went well, with a few spots of rain after about 10 ends, but nothing drastic.  However on the 19th end the rain really came down and prompted the decision to retire for a dry up, warm up and a little drink.   Albeit Friends did manage a win.

We were provided a super-hot meal which counteracted the damp we all had to endure.

Thank you, Gloucester Spa for your hospitality.  A great day, enjoyed by us all!

John Thompson, Captain for the Day


A Good Day at Fleming Park BC

Wednesday 15th September

Day Two of our visit to Portsmouth area and after a brief tour of the roads around the green we found the best place to park and get in!  There are two greens at this location shared by 2 clubs.  The grass green is used by our hosts and the other artificial one used by both clubs all year round.  The surrounding sports area looked very pleasant and the M3 nearby didn’t seem to be too much of an intrusion.  Apparently the M3 doesn’t bother the members but for some reason the football club sited their portacabin by the adjoining hedge and their players use it for target practice; bang, boom, bang, not good for the nerves and concentration during the winter months.

After a welcome coffee or tea and lunch ordered from the catering team led by Paul, and as everyone had arrived early, we were able to get on with the photographs and the Introductions.  However, Fleming Park Vice President Paul had not done a formal introduction on the rink before and his players had their cards were already at their rinks ready to play.  A quick handout of our cards and we were ready for the spider.  The pre-match discussion about the game format being either 18 ends with trial ends or 21 ends and 1 on the first 2 ends somehow changed into 21 ends with trial ends!  We just aren’t used to the long game at the moment.

Two teams of happy bowlers, ready for the game

There followed a close game on most of the rinks and finished up with 3 rinks to them, 2 to us and a drawn rink.  The game overall was a Win for Fleming Park by TWO shots (122-124).  We always say the result doesn’t matter it is the enjoyment of the afternoon, with the new memories and friendships forged.

The top rink for our side was Diane Lee, Ian Pascot, Richard Pearce and Clive Handscombe and for our hosts was Alison Anderson, Mike Betteridge, Paul Bowler and Steve Dowdell (apologies for any misspellings)  The winning margin for both rinks was 12 shots. 

An excellent meal provided by their caterers was followed by the usual speeches from both sides with introductions of our Exec members in attendance and some information about Friends for the home side by me – Kath had spread some membership forms on the tables.  Players from 11 counties made up our team and each county name was cheered when announced. (Beds, Bucks, Cambs , Gloucs, Hants, Herefd, Herts, Kent, Oxon, S’Set and Wilts.).

Vice President Paul receiving a memento of the day from Marcia

After giving our thanks to the bar and for the catering and giving out Top rink prizes to both sides I presented Paul with a framed Certificate to commemorate the game with the Friends of English Bowling.

Thank you to both the Friends for their support and to Fleming Park members for making it a thoroughly enjoyable day in the sunshine.  Thank you also for a share of the raffle money donated to the Friends.

 Can I also wish club members Jane & Andy all the very best for the Wedding on Friday 24th September and for their future Happiness.

Marcia Dunston, Captain of the Day

Friends v. BE Presidents Team at Alexander BC

The Friends of English Bowling v Bowls England
14th September 2021 at Alexander Bowls Club, Portsmouth

The morning was gloomy and as we walked along the front in Southsea we were rained upon for quite a while.  As we headed for Alexander Bowls Club the sky improved, albeit still gloomy and not encouraging.

A warm welcome was received on arrival and we were treated to a lovely buffet, setting us up for the annual “needle” match!

…and not only did the weather improve,  instead of umbrellas we were looking for the sun screen.

The match was played in the usual good spirit and after 21 ends Bowls England ended up on top with a 125 – 95 win.

The top winning rink for the friends with a score of 22 -13:

Lead – Lesley Summersgill
No 2 – Ian Pasc
No 3 – Jenny Ralph
Skip – Stewart Wright

The top winning rink for Bowls England, after a count back, was Rink 5 23 – 8

Lead – Neil Roderick
No 2 – Chris Mason
No 3 – Bob Markham
Skip – Hazel Marke

On the Captain’s rink playing against BE President, Paul Robson, we had a tough battle and managed to pip them by 1 shot on the last end, it was truly a great match.

Clive Handscombe presenting BE President Paul Robson with the Ian Woodcock trophy – the coveted claret jug


The winner in the end was the game of bowls and everyone seemed to enjoy the day.

Clive Handscombe, Captain of the day.

Belated Celebrations at Lockswood BC

Friends v Lockswood BC celebrating their ( delayed from 2020) 30th Anniversary.

The teams were welcomed to the green by club President Walter on a pleasant September afternoon. Those Friends who had visited Lockswood before were aware that the carpeted surface presented an interesting challenge and they were not disappointed!

The Friends have not been victorious on previous visits, and, although we were slightly ahead for much of the game, a late surge saw our hosts again sneak home by five shots, 116-111, extending their winning run over the Friends to three.


the obligatory pre-match line up

Welcome by Club President Walter, Hampshire President Neil Fletcher & Graham Annetts, Captain of the day for Friends

Heroes of the day were Sue Skerry, Margaret Annetts, Paul Robson and Clive Handscombe, who received a small reward for their efforts in winning 26-6.

Those who were the least successful received a much needed Boost chocolate bar to encourage them!

most important – Peter the Barman

After the match we were treated to an excellent meal in the clubhouse and the Friends gained revenge by comprehensively winning the raffle, one Friends household gaining both a tub of Heroes and one of Celebrations ready for the journey home.

Lockswood did us proud and I am sure everyone had an enjoyable afternoon.

Graham Annetts

Bishops Stortford BC hosts Hertfordshire Bowls Centenary Game

Thursday 29th July

The teams line up pre-match. There’s a few clouds lurking… fingers crossed

Bishops Stortford Bowls Club hosted the game on behalf of Hertfordshire Bowls centenary; we were given a warm welcome at the entrance by Dave Chandler, President of Bishops Stortford Bowls Club.  A lot of our players had never been to the new Bishops Stortford Bowls Club which opened in 2007, and were in awe of their facilities which includes an all-weather green.  Hertfordshire Bowls hold their County Finals here.

Deb and David serving behind the bar who will be celebrating their Golden Wedding on 31st July

The afternoon started with a superb buffet and of course the bar was open, I was surprised after that lunch that anyone was able to bowls.

Hertfordshire Bowls had many of their Past Presidents playing, going back to the year 2004.  Unfortunately the presence of Don Knight was missing as his car broke down en route, he was President in 1999.  Mike Poole and Graham Marriner were playing for Hertfordshire and both of these esteemed gentlemen are holders of the Certificate of Merit.


The Friends of English Bowling had players from 11 Counties playing and this included Marcia Dunstone a Past President of Bowls England and Hertfordshire Bowls, plus Adie Lloyd a Past President of Bowls England.

President of Herts, Terry Barker welcoming Jenny Ralph

Hertfordshire President Terry Barker welcomed us onto the green and the game commenced.  I don’t know what they put in our lunch but our rinks struggled against a very strong Hertfordshire team.  We had a top rink of  Dawn Grisley, Eileen Taylor, Peter Cottee and Mike Bertrand who won by 1 shot, we  had a rink that drew – they were the highest winning rink with 3 ends to go and then lost the plot!  the players were Maddie McConomy, Richard Peyton, myself and skip Mike Skerry.  The overall score was 93-140.  Listening to the banter and comradeship on the rinks, I know everyone enjoyed their game.

Hilary, far right, & her trusty helpers







Thank you Hilary Chandler (Past President of Hertfordshire) and her band of helpers for a wonderful meal after the game.

The all-important presentation of the Friends memento certificate.

After the formal speeches and top rink prizes that were handed out by Terry and Jenny, Graham Searle got his fine book out; not only did he fine the Hertfordshire players he included some from the Friends, the money raised was for the Presidents  charity.

At the end of the proceedings Terry donated a large bottle of Brandy for auction which raised £165 also for the Presidents charity; you will never guess who won the Brandy… lets just say Terry won’t have to supply a bottle for the next auction.


Elvis, serenading the ladies

A lot of you missed the final ending to a brilliant day when Don Fox (alias Elvis Presley) sang to 4 of our lady players on the veranda.

Thank you everyone for a wonderful day which was enjoyed by everyone.

Jenny Ralph






Friends play Rugby Railway Bowls Club

What a fantastic welcome given to the Friends by this wonderful Club on Saturday 24th July 2021. 

24 “Friends” and 4 guests arrived at the venue from 10 different County associations,  and were awarded a magnificent buffet, before the game began.   

The mayor of Rugby came along to judge the club’s flowerpot display competition which was won by the Captain of the club, Vanessa, and very well deserved.  Thanks was given to all who entered as it brightened up the green surrounds, as indeed did the hanging baskets.

Marie & Tressa preparing the wonderful lunch

With lunch sitting comfortably, the game got underway, and not knowing quite how how the weather was going to behave we set off with one on the first two ends and a full game of 21 ends.

There was so much noise during the game I really thought that we were playing a Rugby game!  However, it was a very well contested game with the Friends winning 169 -89.



The after-match meal was served in the main clubhouse, and it rated as one of the best after-match meals I have ever had, and I’ve had quite a few over the years!! 

 President Bruce’s speech was excellent, and I presented the club with The Friends of English Bowling memento certificate.   

As captain for the day for The Friends, this is one I will always remember. 

John Thompson




Centenary Celebration Game for Aylesbury Town


The Teams out in the heat of the day… game on!

18th July 2021 :   The day has arrived for the ‘Friends’ to celebrate Aylesbury Town reaching their 100th Anniversary.  The sun was out, it was hot, the green looked lovely and the welcome was great, with Ann Payne, Match Secretary, at the gate providing us with all the information we required.   At the clubhouse we were met by current President and Captain Colin Perrottet.   The 24 Friends bowlers had come from 10 different counties to play including the current Bowls England President Paul Robson.   I think he came to suss out the green for when he returns with his Bowls England team.

The club is amongst a sports complex of tennis, cricket, squash and bowls and today we were the only sport competing, maybe it was too hot for the others.  The Sports Club oversees the clubs but each one is independent and looks after their own buildings and playing surfaces with the Sports Club helping with obtaining any grants etc.

A lovely buffet was provided before the start of the game and the bar was open.   Once Adie had organised the cards we went out and played a ‘spider’ which was won by a home team member.   Photos were next and then finally the game commenced.   Visitors first had to try and find some shade so that they could watch the game without being overcome with heatstroke.

Whist Trial ends were played the usual questions were asked amongst the players on each rink, how far have you come?, how long have you been at this club?   all answered with astonishment and laughter.

Phew… it certainly looks warm

The game then started and was going to be the full 21 ends in hot sunshine. Water was provided at the end of the rinks and of course the bar was still open.   The game score was very up and down throughout and a lot of laughter coming from all rinks.

An excellent game and finally we were able to get out of the sun … but it was still warm inside the clubhouse.   Some of the heat coming out of the kitchen where the ladies had cooked us a lovely meal of chicken in sauce, new potatoes and vegetables followed by trifle.

Speeches and presentations followed the meal, together with the score – Friends 126, Aylesbury 115  Only 11 shots in it over 6 rinks, very close.  Both clubs had top rinks.  The Friends were Margaret Malloch, Trish Scholey, Paul Robson and Mike Poole, and for Aylesbury Chris Hounslow, Jan Green, Dave Catton and Keith Stratfull.

Captains Colin and Mike

Of course the important presentation was the Framed Celebration Certificate for Aylesbury Town B.C. Centenary to Colin which bowlers will hope to see next time they bowl at this wonderful club.

Thanks was given to all those that had made it such a wonderful day the green keepers, the kitchen staff, the bar staff, the bowlers and other members who were assisting in the background.   

It was then time for everyone to make their way back home having met new and old faces playing the game of bowls.

Mike Bertrand


July 17th – Celebrations with Long Crendon BC

As I am no longer a member of the executive committee, I was delighted when Kath telephoned me and asked me if I would like to be Captain of the day at Long Crendon.   I did not hesitate to say yes please.   I had no idea that Arsenal were playing away to Rangers on July 17th.  Well someone has got to support Arsenal.  They drew  2 – 2.

Cyndy Lee

In good spirits the teams line up

On July 17th, 18 people from nine counties made their way to Long Crendon Bowls Club in Buckinghamshire.  We were delighted to join them, to help celebrate their centenary and the opening of their glorious new club house.

We were warmly greeted on arrival by the club President Adrian Smith and the club Captain Alan Quinell.   The boys behind the bar, Chris and Tony, the girls in the kitchen, Jo, Amanda and Pauline, were ready and waiting  to see to all our needs.  Watering and feeding.  The chairs and tables outside, plus large umbrellas to give lots of shade, were up and quickly filled by the arriving Friends.

The Captains – Cyndy & Alan

At 2pm, Captain Alan and Captain for the day Cyndy, greeted the members of both clubs and read out the team sheets.  


Who’s won the spider??

There was a spider before the game with a prize for both the nearest lady and gent.  The Friends won both….   the home team had their revenge when it came to raffle prizes!

A large container of iced water, together with lots of plastic mugs, was placed in the shade so that the teams could keep well hydrated.  Oh boy – did we need it.   The heat was intense and I hope that nobody suffered heat stroke.  I can understand being advised not to go out in the sun between 12 and 3pm.  I can also understand why in hot countries they start at 7am and are off the greens by 11am.  They also have large umbrellas at either end.  If global warming continues we might have to follow suit.

From the laughter emanating across the greens you could tell that everyone was enjoying themselves.   After the match the fun and laughter continued into the club house.  We were at tables of six and I must say that it was the first time I have been in a room with more than three people since Covid 19 arrived.  It is such a lovely large room that I felt quite safe.  Lots of open doors and Captain Alan, bless him, put a large fan in front of our table.

It was the dream of one of the members, Mike Evans to build the club house; he did the drawings and it is such a shame that he never got to see the wonderful job that the project manager, Frank Ashurst together with the club members made of his dream.  There is a lovely stained glass wall (which unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of) with a door leading to the back entrance.

Jo, Amanda & Pauline

The girls served us with our lovely salads and a choice of strawberry or chocolate and nuts ice cream cones.  What a perfect meal on such a hot day.  The chocolate one was super nice.

Using the Stuart Lake accounting method – we drew 10 all.  The score was Long Crendon 109 – The Friends 82. 

Captain Alan then gave all the Friends rather lovely golden pens.  Captain Cyndy then announced the winners of both teams.  Mick, Kevin and Sandy for Long Crendon.  Diane, Sue and Adie for the Friends.  When I gave out the cards I did point out that it was a loaded rink.  So nice to be proven right.  To much laughter, wooden spoons were given to the two losing teams.

A memento of the lovey day we had spent with new and old friends at Long Crendon was then presented to Captain Alan.  Hopefully we will see it on the wall next time we visit the club.  The Friends have requested an invite to the longest serving member, Mick’s 90th birthday in 18 months time. 

Thank you to all at Long Crendon for a truly lovely day.  I am sure the club will go from strength to strength.  A freehold site, a magnificent club house and more importantly – wonderful members.