Friends v Holloway Hill B.C.

On Wednesday 21st June, Friends from seven counties descended on Holloway Hill Bowling Club for a five rink match played in delightful surroundings. We were welcomed by Club President Barry, and Captain of the Day Roland and unlimited cups of tea or coffee or cold drinks from the bar. Following the regulation photo-call, organised by Web-Master Cyndy, the match got under way. The weather, although beautifully sunny, proved a major challenge with the temperature around 32 degrees. Plentiful supplies of cold water were available, but a drink and shade break after 10 ends was for many the highlight of the afternoon!

President Barry sensibly relaxing in the shade whilst we all sweltered in the heat

The match was played in excellent spirit, with the Friends prevailing on all 5 rinks, and the rink of Margaret Morris, Joy Burton, Terry Foote and Andy Hunt were narrowly top rink thanks to a 3 on the last end. From the general banter which could be heard all over the green, everyone had an entertaining afternoon, with the Holloway Hill team more than playing their part.

The hot ladies in the very hot kitchen

The ladies of Holloway Hill deserve a special mention for producing a delicious hot meal in sweltering conditions to round off a very enjoyable day for everyone even though the Friends success on the green continued during the excellent raffle which followed the meal and short speeches by both Captains,

Captain of the Day Graham presenting Captain Roland with a memento of the day

Friends v Gidredge Park B.C.

The Friends visited Gildredge Park B.C. in Eastbourne on 20th June to assist them celebrate the Club Runner Up of the Year 2016 award.

The quiet before the match

After a very nice lunch provided by the Ladies of the Club the Friends played a very competitive match against their hosts.

The lovely ladies who provided us with a smashing lunch

It was an extremely hot day with the temperature nearing 30 degrees, with the local Ladies providing continuous water supplies.

With a break at halfway for tea and biscuits Club Captain Henry welcomed the Friends and thanked them for the honour of the visit to celebrate their award.

He noted the very friendly atmosphere during the game and confirmed that the Friends had been the winners.

A Club Officer then detailed the Club History and that it was their Centenary Year in 2020.

He explained the Club commitment to the Handicapped including blind and deaf players and how after a great membership drive they had secured an incredible 111 new members some of them playing in the match.

Friends Captain of the day Geoff Hunt replied that it was a great pleasure to bring a Friends team to the Club to celebrate their award and the wonderful achievement of the Club as they had to compete with clubs from around the country.

He then gave a brief resume of the history and purpose of the Friends and that we pass around £35,000 each year to Bowls England in support. Geoff said players had come from far and wide to the match and 11 Counties were represented. He then introduced the 5 Committee members who were playing.

Finally he presented Captain Henry with the handsome trophy awarded to the Club Runner Up of the Year 2016.

It had been a very successful and a very hot day.

Friends v Alnwick B.C.

The Friends with their new friends from Alnwick B.C.

On Thursday 15th June we played our final game in Northumberland and visited Alnwick B. C.

After a delicious buffet the proceedings started with  Adie thanking Margaret and George Batey for all their hard work in organising our three day trip to Northumberland.  He then presented them with a beautiful pink rose bush as a thank you from us all.

We all went outside for a photograph and then Vice President Michael Brown formally welcomed us to the green.

The green played beautifully. The weather was perfect.  The members of Alnwick were absolutely lovely.  How could we not enjoy ourselves –  and we did with lots and lots of laughter across the rinks.

After the match we went all went in to the club house for a jolly nice supper finishing up with apple crumble, ice cream and cream.

The wonderful ladies who fed us so well

V.P.Michael then thanked us for coming to visit them. He finished off by letting us know that the Friends had won.  He then added ‘If you cannot win be good losers’ Alnwick’s winning rink was Bob Miller, Sylvia Taylor, Russ Dale and Alan Hall.

Captain of the Day Adie Lloyd, who is also the match secretary (I call him the Governor) then thanked Alnwick for letting us help celebrate their 140th anniversary.  He also added that it was Maureen Peyton’s birthday but not her 140th.  Adie then thanked the Friends who had come from as far away as Portsmouth and ten other counties for coming on this mini tour to Northumberland and making it such a success.   Our winning rink consisted of Andy Hunt, Paul Robson, Maureen Aitken and Sue Shrimpton.

Adie finished off by explaining a little bit about the Friends and what we do to support English bowling by raising approximately £35,000 a year.  He then handed a certificate to Michael to commemorate our visit.

Captain of the Day Adie presenting VP.Michael with a memento of our visit.

On behalf of all the Friends I would like to thank Adie for all his hard work in arranging these games and the clubs we have visited for making us so welcome.  We do appreciate it.  It was a very successful tour with us winning all three games.  Today’s score 137 – 81.


Friends v Gosforth B.C.

The Friends with their Gosforth friends

As at Hexham yesterday, the first excitement of the day for those Friends participating in the game at Gosforth was obtaining parking permits to ensure no one left Northumberland with a hefty parking fee to their name.  We received a warm welcome from members and it was not long before we were tucking into a super buffet, prepared by the Ladies with some “Friends” even participating in a tipple.  This was not the sort of pre-game preparation expected from highly tuned athletes!

President Michael Povey of the Gosforth Club welcomed the visitors to the green and once he and Captain of the Day, Kay Kerley, had exchanged the normal pleasantries it was time to commence play.  By 5 ends the Friends trailed by 7 shots with most of us caught out by the speed of the green, which is used by Northumberland for Middleton Cup games.  On a hot day, with temperatures touching 24C, it looked like being a long afternoon.  By 10 ends the deficit was still 5 shots but gradually the Friends got their act together and after a closely fought game, with some excellent bowling on both sides, a late surge saw the Friends triumph by !25 shots to 90.

The ladies in the kitchen – some of whom also played

Food – glorious food

Following the game, the club provided us with an excellent two course meal which was followed by the customary speeches.  President Michael, in formally welcoming the Friends, noted that team had been drawn from 10 different counties and thanked people for travelling very long distances.  He expressed the hope that the Friends would visit Northumberland again in the near future and warned us to expect a reaction on the green.

Responding, Kay Kerley thanked everyone at the club for making us so welcome, paying particular thanks to the Greenkeeper and to the catering and bar volunteers.  She presented prizes to the highest winning rinks on both sides.  For Gosforth – R Johnson, Y Mallaburn, F Woods and B Duell; For The Friends – Carolyn Hunt, Eileen Taylor, John Colley and Bill Vivers.  Kay then gave all present a brief outline of the history and reasons for the existence of the Friends of English Bowling before presenting to President Michael a certificate commemorating the Friends visit.

Captain of the Day Kay presenting a memento of the day to President Michael


Friends v Bowls Northumberland

The Friends with their friends from Bowls Northumberland

It was obvious after the warning about the 4 hour parking restrictions that all the drivers were poised locally to swoop into Elvaston Road at 12 noon to try and get the nearest positions to the bowls club gate.  At 11:55 all was quiet and then suddenly cars arrived from all directions jockeying for the best place.  After that initial bit of excitement we took ourselves into the club for refreshments before the game.  Hexham Elvaston club members certainly looked after us in that respect.

After some anxious moments for both Captains we eventually got onto the green with a full team each.  Club representative David Robertson welcomed George Batey, Assistant Secretary & Match Secretary of Northumberland Bowls and Marcia Dunstone, Match Captain for the Friends onto the green.  All rinks were announced and everyone took their places for the commencement of the game.

The rinks were a bit slow to start with but soon everyone got into the swing and pace of the green and started to have a competitive game.  It soon became apparent that one rink for the Friends was doing particularly well with cries of “E’s only gorn and drawn it” for many of Adie Lloyd’s bowls.  And indeed the top rink for the Friends was Adie’s with team members; Lesley Summersgill, Maddy McConomy and Tony Taylor.  Paul Robson’s players were very kind to the opposition and allowed them Top Rink for Northumberland.

Some of the lovely ladies who looked after us so well

After a very enjoyable post match meal, thanks were offered to Hexham Elvaston club by both match captains for all their hospitality.  Both captains gave Top Rink prizes each of the 2 top rinks and gave the opposing captain a gift bag of a bottle.  Some hilarity was caused by the Friend’s match captain inadvertently giving back the gift bag just received instead of her own gift.

Playing for the Friends were members from 12 counties, some from as far south as Kent and Hampshire, Wiltshire in the west and York and Northumberland in the North, plus 3 past National Presidents; Kay Kerley, Adie Lloyd and today’s Captain, Marcia Dunstone.  Many had made a mini-holiday around the three matches in Northumberland and were looking forward to the next two matches in Gosforth and Alnwick as well as exploring more of the beautiful coast and countryside here.

Match Result was FEB 106 and Northumberland 99.

Captain of the Day Marcia presenting a memento of the day to George and David


Friends v Eastern Counties B.A.

The 7 teams from the Eastern Counties Association  with the Friends

About midday on a glorious sunny Wednesday 24th May teams from Friends of English Bowling and Eastern Counties Bowling Association gathered at Newmarket Avenue Bowls Club,  in order to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Eastern Counties Bowling Association.

After a splendid lunch, FEB captain of the day Tony Allcock, MBE,  led out  a mixed team from 14 counties to play against a team led by ECBA President Charles Frederick.

Tony Allcock. Bill Smith, John Grainger, Charles Frederick and Tony Taylor

Special thanks must go to Adie and Kath Lloyd and to Tony Taylor for the work they did to make this a special day. It was Tony Taylor’s home club and it is good to see him playing after his recent illness, and we all wish him continued good health.  The home club President John welcomed everyone onto the green, after which seven rinks commenced play, on a green that was quickly found to be heavy after the recent rain.  All rinks experienced many a short bowl.

After 21 ends the victors were FEB –  152 shots to 125.  The winning rink from FEB was Jackie Yelland (Notts), Sue Moody (Herts), Bill Smith (Leics) and Tony Allcock, MBE (Glos).  The winning rink for ECBA was Bob Thurgood, Tony Dymond, Ian Stocker and Richard Coles (all Hunts).

The Chefs having a welcome fag break between meals

After the match another fine hot meal was prepared for us, followed by speeches by the two Captains of the day.  In attendance were six Past Presidents of the ECBA, 4 Past Presidents of Bowls England, the S.V.P of Bowls England and the Chief Executive.

Captain of the day Tony presenting President of Eastern Counties with a certificate to mark the happy occasion

Thanks to the caterers, bar staff and all concerned in the arrangements for the day.



Friends v. Fordham B.C.

The team from Fordham with the Friends

On Wednesday May 23rd the ‘Friends’ set off from as far away as Somerset for our first game of the year against Fordham B.C. in Cambridgeshire.  Ten counties were represented.  Also present were three past England Presidents, as well as the current Senior Vice President.

On arrival we were greeted by the ladies in the kitchen with a very welcome cup of tea.

Some of us then went outside in the sunshine and watched Malcolm (Jack of all trades) having a fight with the flag pole.  He did win in the end and both flags flew over the green.

After a buffet lunch we exited the lovely clubhouse and were warmly  welcomed on the green (which looked magnificent and played very well) by the Chairman of the club and Captain of the Day, Tony Carlton.

Lots of laughter filled the green and the scores went up and down – but, sad to say, in the end we lost by 12 shots. 

After a delicious supper the winning rinks were announced and prizes awarded.  John Thompson, Captain of the Day for the ‘Friends’ made a very amusing speech and at great expense gave his winners a lolly-pop each (appropriated from Little Chef) and a bag of jelly babies (to keep up their strength for the game tomorrow).

John then presented the club with a certificate to commemorate our visit.

Our grateful thanks go to Fordham B.C. and all its members for a most enjoyable day.  We hope you had as much fun as we did.

These days do not just happen – a lot of planning goes into them.  So once again a big thank-you.

President Monica toasting the visitors

We had the pleasure of meeting the President of the club Mrs Monica Nelson.  This lovely lady has been President since 2010 and is 97 years young.  Monica has been told that we all expect an invitation to her 100th birthday bash.

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.