Bere Alston BC – Game 4

Thursday 19th May  at  Bere Alston Bowling Club

The teams line up in the sunshine

After a couple of wet days playing in Devon in the final game of the week, The Friends’ team were relieved to play in the sunshine at Bere Alston, a club with only 30 playing members with excellent clubhouse and facilities. 

We were greeted at lunchtime with very nice sandwich’s, sausage rolls, and a selection of Home made Cakes (yummy yummy).

With a good green and ideal playing conditions we managed a good win 3 rinks to 1 rink. 82 shots to 54 shots.  Top rink went to Maddie McConomy, Alan Horwell, Ian Whelpton and Neil Fletcher.

The Friend’s team were represented by 10 different counties –  a great turnout considering we were just one mile from the Cornish border.  A nice meal was prepared afterwards by Ivor, Jean, June, and Mike volunteer club members doing their first catering duties.  Well done to you all I am sure you will be requested again and again.


Bill Smith presenting Captain Jim Horrell with a memento of the day


All good things have to come to an end and after a lot of chatter and excellent hospitality by our host’s,  Captain of the Day Bill Smith presented host Club Captain Jim Horrell with a framed certificate to mark the occasion.

A great day making new friends and catching up with old ones.

Bill Smith

Tavistock BC – Game 3

Wednesday 18th May –  Sir Frances Drake  Bowls Club, Tavistock

Visiting Devon is always a pleasure, today was no exception and across Dartmoor to Tavistock was beautiful. We were early enough to delve into the pannier market and buy some treasures When we arrived at the bowls club, members were there to welcome us into the clubhouse extension,  which our Adie officially opened in 2014.

Ready to Play

Unfortunately just as we started to bowl the rain began and it rained on and off all of the game until it became heavy at 16 ends,  which ended the match.  However,  cold players sat down to a hot meal of slow cooked chicken with seconds, and a lovely choice of sweets with seconds also.  The club members did us proud.

The club Chair, Sue welcomed us  and thanked Adie for bringing a team back after his promise of 8 years ago to do so, and that it was so nice to see our members Aileen, President of Devon this year and Bill, JVP of Devon this year. Club Captain,Valerie, also welcomed us and thanked her members for all their help in the preparations for the day. Adie, our captain of the day, replied that it was always an absolute delight coming to Tavistock and how good it was to see two disabled players joining in.  He presented miniature bottles of preserves to the highest rinks on both sides.

The result of the match……..we were very friendly Friends losing 50 shots to 62 shots.

Thank you for such a lovely day. Can we come every year?

Plymouth Sir Francis Drake BC – Game 2

Tuesday May 17th   FoEB v Plymouth (Sir Francis Drake) BC

Ready for the game and dressed for the weather

Oh dear, the weather wasn’t looking so good, and it certainly proved not to be during the afternoon! 

The warm welcome we all received was not matched by the weather.   Our wets were donned and we began the game in the hope the rain would ease up but unfortunately it got worse.   The greenkeeper, Sam Allen, was concerned for the green, and a buffet lunch and a warm clubhouse decided the two captains to call a halt at 10 ends.

Bar Manager Andy Pater

Members from 10 different counties represented The Friends and were delighted to be invited to play at Plymouth St Francis Drake Bowls Club as part of their celebrations for reaching 100 years at their Whiteford Road site, and the club had great plans for the following weekend…  we do hope the weather improves.

With the bountiful buffet eaten prematurely and the two Captains having said their piece, we were able to return to the green and manage another 8 ends, mostly in the sunshine!!   This certainly called for a drink, and we all resumed to the clubhouse full of chatter…   Captain for the day for Friends, Carolyn Hunt, was finally able to present gifts to the highest winning rink for both sides, which just happened to be her and Captain Paul’s players with a 19-19 draw.  Overall Friends were beaten by 22 shots –  Ooops!

Paul receiving momento from Friends Cptn for the day, Carolyn


A certificate for the club was presented to Captain Paul Chudley to remember our time with them.

It might have been awful weather, but it certainly didn’t stop us all enjoying the afternoon, and the great company.  

Thank you Plymouth SFD Bowls Club.






Sawbridgeworth BC – Game 1

Sunday 8th May

Friends v Disability Bowls England and Chelsea Pensioners

A magnificent line-up

The Friends arrived early at Sawbridgeworth Bowls Club for our first committee meeting, this time face-to-face and not on-line, as we have been doing for some time. 

The happy workers – Thank you (l-r) Joan, Barbara, Natalie, Sue, Brenda and Dean at the back

The club made us very welcome, providing drinks and biscuits, and we finished our meeting as the DBE players arrived at lunch time, when the bar opened and freshly made rolls could be bought.

Shortly after this some of the Royal Chelsea Pensioners came in their own bus to join in with us.  Photos were taken of us all, the Chelsea Pensioners in their red coats, by many people including Steve Watson, DBE Chair for Bowls International.

Then the necessary cup of tea, the sorting of the rinks, and the match commenced in bright sunshine. 


We think the Friends won, but with 3 sides playing 1 match the scores were mixed.  However top rink and top score prizes of home-made preserves were given out by Kath, Friends’ chair and Captain of the Day.  Speeches were made by Kath, Paul, DBE’s Captain, Ron on behalf of the Chelsea pensioners, and Bob, President of Sawbridgeworth BC.

Elvis popped in – here he is posing with Doris

A lovely day.  Well done and thank you Sawbridgeworth BC for hosting us all, providing us with good food and drink. Highly recommended club, green and company.

A final thought between FEB and DBE.   Let’s make this an annual fixture organised alternately by FEB and DBE.

FEB’s turn next year.

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