After the fun and excitement enjoyed by many club members at Presidents Day, the normal timetable of matches consisting of friendlies, internal competitions and regional matches have take over during the last two weeks.
The first visitors to visit The Bowling Club in Strawberry Lane was Lyme Regis, who returned home having been heavily beaten. As the losing captain often says in circumstances like that “the result is immaterial, it’s the game that matters”
The ladies of the club then started a series of matches where they excelled themselves. Firstly the dynamic duo of Gail Hawke and Sharon Kenny won the section match of The County Pairs and they are now through to the last 16 in the County Finals. This triumph was swiftly followed up by a victory in the Ladies County Triples, but as two Ottery Teams had been drawn together, it is hardly surprising that one of them was the winner. In this instance the winning trio comprised Marion Kelsey, Sue Cole and Sandra Brockington. We wish all the ladies every success as they proceed in their competitions.
On Saturday 17th June, a team was sent away to Chardstock, who always try and play their home matches when the cricket team has an away match, in order to alleviate parking problems. Chardstock welcomed The Ottery team very warmly, which even extended to allowing Ottery to scrape home by one shot. Someone was heard to say “It’s not the result that matters….”. In this instance, the top team comprised Dot Luff, Gerry Beighton, Melvin Trayhurn and skip, Ryan Seers.
Sometimes the draw in the internal competitions throw up some unusual matches, and such was the case this year, when in the men’s three woods singles tournament, Gerry Beighton was drawn against Ryan Seers. A mere difference of 66 years in ages did not prevent Gerry (with his new bionic bowl assistant) from beating Ryan by a couple of shots on the last end. Ryan was magnanimous in his congratulations to Gerry, wishing him well as he proceeds in this
To repeat a phrase “It’s the game that matters”, and as can be seen, age is no barrier to the playing of a game. It is also so good to see players who have only taken up the game this year.
already taking part in friendly matches and not letting their team down.
Suddenly it is June, and for the Bowling Club that can only mean one thing - Presidents Day.
This is an afternoon hosted by club president, Terry House, to bring the whole club together, play bowls and then enjoy a meal together. It is also a golden opportunity for The President to publicly thank all those club members who give so freely of their time and energy in assisting with the smooth running of the club, ensuring that it is a welcoming and well cared for place for anyone to be.
After his initial speech, the traditional spider was played for, which involves all players bowling together at a target set out in the middle of the green.. A bottle of Whisky was the prize and was duly won by Sue Thomas, which created a slight problem - she doesn’t drink Whisky, but the delight could be seen on her husband’s face!
The players were then divided into two teams - The President’s Team and The Chairman's Team as is usual on such occasions. At the end of the afternoon, it was The Chairperson’s Team that came out the winners, thereby ensuring a
year's bragging rights for Chairperson, Sharon Kenny. The top team of the afternoon consisted of David Rose, Gerry Brighton, Moira Griffin and Ryan(fireman) Seers. It was so good to see members who have only been playing the game since April taking their full part in the afternoon’s activities, and not letting their team down.
After the games were completed, the catering team really pulled out the stops to provide a barbecue and salad supper, with a choice of puddings for afters. The fine weather definitely played a part in ensuring that the whole afternoon was a great success, despite the failure of the Red Arrows who were due to fly in around supper time. Not even The President on his own special day, could arrange for that to happen!
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
After a long, seemingly endless winter, spring has suddenly arrived and the Bowling season has begun. The annual opening drive took place on Sunday 16th April, and new president Terry House formally opened the season by bowling the first ball.
The green looked superb, the whites had been recovered from the back of the cupboard, only to discover that they had shrunk during the winter months, and the players were ready to proceed.
Its an apt time to reflect on what are the benefits of this game. To answer this question, our roving reporter (Mr C. Russell) extracted some information from The Department of Health website, who identified the following five benefits from playing this sport;-
- improved fitness
- improved co-ordination and skill development
- increased confidence and self esteem
- enhanced mental well being
- community connectedness and support
All of the above can be guaranteed to occur at The Ottery St Mary Bowling Club, as could be evidenced during the opening drive. WD40 may have been needed to oil the creaking joints - of the gates, not the players!
Friendships were renewed, and new ones started, laughter and banter abounded on the green, and players went home having thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon of competitive exercise. A superb tea was provided by the catering team which included hot cross buns and cake, delicious!.
Yes, the season has started and we have over 50 competitive matches to be played, we cant wait!