At this time of the year, matches tend to come thick and fast, almost to the point that there is no time to draw breath!
The first match of the week was against one of the Tiverton clubs, Tiverton Borough. Not such a good result for Ottery as we lost by 62 shots to 68, losing on 3 out of 4 rinks. The only successful rink and also the top rink for the home team consisted of Celia Russell, Gerard McCartney, Richard Bland and Tony Panzieri.
The next match was an away match to old rivals Madeira, which turned out to be a very close game, with Ottery winning by one shot. On this occasion Dot Luff, Jean Rainton Brian Baker and Gail Hawke formed the top team.
It’s always good to welcome visiting teams and Old Basing Bowling Club arrived on Saturday 14th May as part of their Devon tour. Ottery certainly pulled out all the stops, winning by a handsome margin, with six out of seven rinks triumphing over the tourists, and a draw occurred on the other rink. The top team on this occasion was Eric Richardson, David Rose, Leighton Burston and Gail Hawke.
A proper Devon Cream Tea was provided and we think that the visitors creamed and jammed their scones in the correct manner!
Finally, it was the turn of Brixham St Marys to visit us at Strawberry Lane. It appeared that the age old comment borrowed from another game would be applied, namely “Rain stopped play” But the sun came out and the match started only 10 minutes late and an afternoon of good play and laughter ensued. At the end of the afternoon, it was found that the scores on most rinks were close with the exception of Ottery’s top team, where a win of 21 shots to 6 was recorded, thereby ensuring that the home team won the match. Carol Keating, the anonymous CR, Jan Richardson and skip Mike Kelsey proved too strong as a team for the opposition.
The second week of fixtures proved the saying that all good things come to an end!.
Firstly Ottery experienced a heavy defeat against Seaton, with the home team winning on all four rinks. An away match at Hemyock on Sunday produced a similar result, as Ottery lost by 65 shots to 54. Perhaps, it should be described as a bad week at the office!
It would appear that the weather last week was mixed, as were the results for our club!
On Sunday 1st May, it was good to welcome back Westlecott Bowling Club who have been visiting the club for over 25 years as part of their annual Devon Tour. To hear some of the more senior of their members say how much the facilities at the club have improved over the years was gratifying.
Not so pleasing was the result as Ottery lost heavily by 72 shots to 106, and losing by four rinks to one with one drawn. Keith Thorley with John and Terri Ward forming the only winning team
The next day, the club ventured into foreign lands by visiting Chard Bowling Club, and the result was more satisfactory as the winning margin was 86 shots to 49. John Ward featured again in the top team along with Dot and Tony Luff.
The green keepers had barely the time to cut the grass before Bovey Tracey crossed the River Exe to become our third visitors of the week. A much closer match resulted, although Ottery went down by 67 shots to 70. On this occasion the top team comprised Margaret Trayhurn, Jan Richardson, Sue Cole and Terry House.
Our final visitors of a busy week were Tiverton Park Bowling Club. As the games were drawing to a close it looked as though Ottery were being severely beaten. Somehow, the home teams found their line and length, and ended up winning by one shot. The top team consisted of Brian Baker, Tony Luff and someone who prefers to remain anonymous, but his initials are CR.
Sometimes bowling fixtures can be like the proverbially buses – none for six months and then suddenly, at the beginning of the season, there are three matches in five days! I am please to report that Ottery won all three matches!
The first match was on Tuesday 26 th April against Crediton, which was won by 107 shots to 93, with the home team winning on three out of five rinks. On this occasion, the top team consisted of Maurice Flower, Melvin Trayhurn and the husband and wife combination of Leighton and Eileen Burston.
On Friday 29 th April, Portishead Royal British Legion Bowling Club visited Strawberry Lane as part of their early season tour. Ottery came out winners with a score of 127 shots to 86. The top team was made up of Dot Luff, Dave Roberts, Richard Bland and Terry House.
The final match on Saturday 30th April will go down as the match that nearly never happened. Due to a computer glitch, an agreed match against Bitton Park from Teignmouth was omitted from the fixtures list. It was only by chance that this error was realized and very hastily 18 players were rounded up, cajoled, persuaded or bribed into playing at a moment’s notice. It is thought that The Fixtures Secretary, who is usually so proficient, has gone into hiding! Despite the panic, Ottery came out as winners by 104 shots to
80. John and Terri Ward together with Carol Bennett formed the top team on this occasion.
All in all, not a bad start to the season.
The bowling season started with two away fixtures.
On Tuesday 19th April, we made the short trip to Exmouth to play against Phear Park. Fortunately, Ottery had some reserve players as due to a last minute withdrawal, the club had to supply Phear Park with two players.
However the result was never in doubt as Ottery won by two rinks to one with one rink drawn, the scores being 69 shots to 54. Unusually both winning teams had the same points difference, so it is impossible to identify the top team on this occasion.
The second away match needed a longer trip, this time to Tiverton West End Bowling Club. Not only did they give us a warm welcome when we arrived but the day itself proved to be exceptionally warm as well, to the extent that for the most part, the players discarded their fleeces. There is a saying in bowling circles that says “Everything changes after tea”. This proved to be the case in this match as Ottery went into tea with the scores fairly even, but after tea, Tiverton moved into a substantial lead, winning the match by three rinks to one with one rink drawn. The total of shots scored amounted to 78 for Tiverton against 66 for Ottery. The top team and our only winning team was ably led by Chris Hawke, assisted by Eileen Burston and Richard Bland.