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 visitors during this busy period were Chagford, a small club situated in the middle of Dartmoor. The result was never in doubt with Ottery winning handsomely by 77 shots to 45. All four rinks recorded a win, and the top team comprising of Eileen Burston, Emma Bradshaw-Smith and Ray Luscombe won by 16 shots.
Two away matches followed at the weekend, the first was at Hemyock and for the second, Ottery travelled to Axminster. The weather on Saturday afternoon was perfect for bowls and Ottery were warmly welcomed by the Hemyock team who tried bribing us at teatime by providing hot cross buns instead of the usual biscuits. Bribery did not work and Ottery came away with a satisfying win by 76 shots to 60.
Sunday proved to be another glorious day, and Axminster were only too willing to show off their new outdoor carpet, This surface usually takes some getting used to and the winning streak came to an end as Ottery, captained by Ryan Seers, lost by the narrow margin of 2 shots.
“Where has that time gone” - an expression that many of us could endorse, and at The Bowling Club this is no exception. The month of May seems to have flown by, and the results are an indication of a lack of game time during the winter period.
A review of the results cards would indicate that most matches have either resulted in a marginal victory for Ottery or a marginal victory for our opponents.
Having said that, there was one match when, in the words of club captain, Melvin Trayhurn. “Ottery simply did not turn up!”, and as a result suffered a heavy defeat.
Then the rains came which resulted in the bad flooding at Tipton St John and Newton Poppleford, and it was presumed that a new game of “bowls skimming” would have to be played against close neighbours Budleigh. However the storm clouds passed over and an exciting match ensued, with the losing margin being one point (again).
The ladies team, under the captaincy of Marion Kelsey, began to find both line and length in the first round of the Grace Matthews Top Club competition, by beating the highly respected Madeira “B” team. This is a regional competition and is played over four disciplines - singles, doubles, triples and rinks. The combined results are then added together to identify the winning team. Very well done to the ladies and we wish you every success in the next round.
Suddenly the month of May has arrived and The Coronation is in everyone’s thoughts. Not to be outdone, the club decided to have an afternoon of bowls with the players suitably dressed for the occasion. The traditional whites were kept at home and everyone managed to find something to wear in the traditional colours. What players of previous generations, where the dress code was blazers and ties, would have thought, I dread to think!
To commemorate the special day, George Hutchinson, one of the club members donated a cup for the occasion. Not just a teacup, but a proper trophy to be played for annually. Club captain, Melvyn Trayhurn, organised the social side of the afternoon with assistance form Mike and Marion Kelsey who organised the order of play. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon ensued with much laughter, confusion and fun! At the end of the afternoon a ploughman’s supper was provided by the catering team, and the winning team, consisting of Sandie Brockington, Mike Cozens, and believe it or not, George Hutchinson., were awarded their chocolate prizes. Perhaps we should all donate a cup to the club and then become part of the winning team, thereby ensuring that our name is engraved on at least one of the
After all the jollity, the season settles down to a great number of friendly
matches interspersed with many local competitions.
The season has started gently with seven matches already played, and as one would expect, there has been a mixture of results. Unfortunately one of the teams scheduled to visit us managed to muddle up the date of their fixture and failed to arrive. Never mind these things do happen!
As the month of April closed, it was a pleasure to welcome Tiverton Boro to Strawberry Lane, and a close encounter ensued. Ottery just edged the match with a score of 66 shots against 63 for the visitors. A result that was particularly pleasing for Ryan Sears who was captain of the day, and for whom this was his first match in that role. The top rink for Ottery comprised of Richard Chapple, Ron Spedding, Brian Hammond and they were captained by Gail Hawke.
For 31 years, it has been traditional to welcome Westlecot, a combination team from the Swindon area to the club as they curtail their annual tour of Devon. Two of the Ottery stalwarts, Gerry and Maggie Beighton, have played in every match since this team started visiting Ottery, and this achievement was duly recognised by both teams. Once again this was a very close match with Westlecot winning by a single shot.
Some photos below taken by Chris Hawke