Summer is here at long last and the outdoor bowls season is well and truly underway. If you have a hankering to try out the game I would encourage you to go ahead and get involved.
As a relative newcomer myself, I can thoroughly recommend this social sport and I’m really looking forward to my third season playing for Torquay Bowling Club. Continue reading →
I had only been bowling for a couple of weeks when some bright spark suggested that I take part in a friendly game at the club one day. So onto the green I trooped with my new bowls and new white bowling skirt and top. I was quite proud to have been asked to play and very much in awe of the etiquette and other players. It was 1982.
It is with pleasure that I attended the Men’s annual presentation for Bowls England.
What a lovely evening with everyone shedding the grey and white uniform and dressing up in their evening attire. And I don’t mean pyjamas or nighties, it means our glad rags that possibly only come out once or twice a year.
We all met for pre dinner drinks in the Rowley Suite of the Walker Stadium, Leicester. The Rowley suite is named after George Arthur Rowley, (21 April 1926 – 19 December 2002), an English footballer nicknamed ‘The Gunner’ because of his explosive left-foot shot. He holds the record for the greatest number of career goals in English football league history, and indeed English football as a whole, scoring 434 from 619 league games.
History lesson over – now I can tell you about the evening.
It is so nice to meet up socially with people that you have worked closely with over the previous season and who have become chums via Facebook and other media channels. You barely recognise them minus their bowling gear off, and with their posh suits and frocks on. It was non-stop chatter all evening.
The meal was great, I liked it anyway – belly pork, slow roasted so it was good and crispy, served with mash and black pudding with cabbage on the side.Yummy, you’d either love it or hate it. I liked it. Followed by golden syrup tart with ice cream – lush – and then coffee.
The presentations went wonderfully well, with the evening culminating in a speech from John Bell, who writes a column in Bowls International Magazine – he is a really funny guy and his description of going out to the Commonwealth Games with the team, the flight, the bugs and the accommodation, was hilarious.
At the end of the presentations a special gift was given to all who were involved with our Commonwealth Games team. It was nice to see that they were thanked for taking on board a young team and supporting them far from home in conditions that were, some say, a little fraught. Well done.
But if you think that was the end of it you are mistaken. I love to chat and of course did the rounds of the tables where I knew my mates would be. I was waylayed several times by people wanting to talk about TLH Leisure Resort or to tell me how much they had enjoyed staying with us. It is so good to get this sort of feedback and I am proud to be involved with TLH who are definitely market leaders in the Bowls world.
In the meantime my mobile was going off like mad, vibrating during the speeches. On looking at it, after the celebrations, I could see that I had two missed calls: one from a chum at the Dolphin in Dorset who had just qualified for the National EIBA Top Club and one from Nottingham IBC, where another great friend had qualified with her team.
Well done all of you. The National Top Club finalists are now published and drawn as:
Swale v Torquay United
Watford v Dolphin
Cumbria v City of Ely
Nottingham v North Wilts.
All very good teams with a fair few Internationals sprinkled over them. Oh well, bring ‘em on. Let’s go for it Torquay United. Last year we were the bridesmaid, this year we’ll be the bride.
Portsdown SMBC, headed by Richard Allen, run the Portsdown Charity 5’s competition every November. It’s a great event with many clubs taking part. The format is that 5 people create a team and they play a pairs and a triples discipline with cumulative scores after the games. It’s such a great format, based on real bowling teamwork, that TLH adopted it for its 4321 competition in February. The Charity 5’s is also a big fund raising event, and this year their chosen charity was The PBC Foundation. PBC, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis is a slow, chronic liver disease, which is not brought on by alcohol abuse. Anyone can develop this condition, and it can become very serious.
The final was very closely fought with Laven against Portsdown SMB. After the pairs were completed it was 5 shots each, and after the triples the score was even again, so an extra end had to be played. The winner of that extra end was Portsdown SMBC, so they are the 2010 champions. Well done guys and gals, you must be proud of yourselves.
The event raised a fantastic £1035.59 (where did the 59p come from?) and the 2 night mid week break voucher supplied by TLH raised a super £96 which is included in that total fund. That’s brilliant. Topping this sum up with £500 won during the Worthing Open Charity Event, Portsdown were able to donate £1535.59p to the Foundation. Roger Flake won the holiday voucher from TLH and I very much look forward to welcoming him to TLH in the future.
NEW FOR 2011 Turkey and Tinsel Short Mat Treat
I am often asked about non-competitive short mat bowling. As most of our bowling at TLH is competitive I am pleased to announce the arrival of our new Short Mat Break. The title says it all: It’s a real Christmas treat.
Dates: Friday 2nd – Monday 5th December 2011 – 3 nights from only £142�
Based at our Derwent Hotel the break consists of :
A flexible timetable to suit you
Non competitive bowling
Bowl as much or as little as you want to
Bowl against other guests at the hotel or local sides.
Festive dress optional on one day of your stay
Full Turkey and tinsel programme of events at TLH
Full festive entertainment, with dancing and cabarets.
Play on mats laid on the bowling arena
No rink fees It’s just a great way to have fun at Christmas with your friends, do that last little bit of Christmas shopping in the town, or just relax and enjoy yourselves around the resort. Call Sarah on01803 400116 for more information. To book call Reservations on 01803 400500.
Getting ready for Christmas
I want to say how much I am looking forward to seeing you all over the Christmas Tournament period. It is always nice to meet the friends that we make over the years and to welcome you back to TLH. I also look forward to meeting the new faces that will be making their debut at TLH this year.
I know just how much coming away on a bowling break means to you and please be assured that TLH does its very best to make sure that you have the very best of time.
Well if ever there was anyone who has a personal rain cloud, it was me this year. I cannot think of one game that I’ve played this summer when it has not rained on me. I am undergoing therapy for rising damp and have been made the official gardener for rink 4, which we have set to rice.
I’ve not seen anything like it. Whilst playing at Leamington in the triples this year I placed the mat, and it sunk into a puddle so deep that we had to send the green keeper down in scuba gear to retrieve it. Not a pretty sight I can assure you, but we did manage to help him out of the ditch once the tide had gone out. Poor fella.
But it’s not all about the bowling – it’s the company, team camaraderie and the lodgings that add to the fun. And in hindsight I have howled with laughter at our antics.
During the course of the triples, and I play with very good mates, Julia Barnes and Barbara Bellamy (their husbands are also there) ’cause we had booked for 3 nights just in case we managed to get to the semi’s, we stayed at the Travel Lodge in Coventry. Very smart and very clean, but you just know, you get that feeling when things are going to go awry.
Here goes: We had got soaked in the first round of the triples – soaked to our underwear, even though we all had waterproofs on. After the game we pile into the car and slip away to our Hotel. We had lost by a shot after a bit of a debacle with an Umpire or two, so we were not best pleased with the outcome, but that’s another story all together.
We arrive in Coventry only to find there is no car park at the Hotel and that we have to get into the Multi story. I drop off my car load of people, wet gear luggage and try to park. The MS next to the hotel is closed for the night so I have to find another car park – I eventually fine one about a mile away, I park. Please bear in mind that I am wet through to my drawers.
I park, and now have to find my way back to the hotel. Cold, wet and a bit irritable I navigate the town centre on foot and this takes about 20 minutes. I find my dear Mother in the reception of the Hotel and fortunately she has got the room key for us.
Up in the lift we go to our room on the 2nd floor. It’s a double bedded room, I had booked a twin room. So, as much as I love my mum I have no intention of sleeping with her so I make the trip downstairs to ask for a twin room. Please bear in mind I am wet through. My hair is stuck close to my head and I probably look frightful.
The receptionist allocates me another room and it is a disabled twin room – great, as long as I can get a coffee and a hot shower I will be fine.
We arrive in our new room, try to turn the lights and the kettle on, nothing is working, so its down to reception again, still soaking wet remember and advise that there is no electricity. ‘Oh, that’s OK” I’m told, “Just slip the room card in the slot by the door and everything will work”. I thank the girl for not explaining this in the first place and go back upstairs. Quick shower, wash the hair, coffee and – you’ve guessed it – no hair dryer. It’s the first time I’ve ever been away and not taken mine. I have 5 mins to meet my team mates in reception, as we are going out to dinner. Hey ho, I’ll do my best with some mousse and my brush. (Meltdown)
Dinner that evening was great, Alfonso’s in Leamington – always worth a visit, and a glass of wine seemed to mellow the evening. So – it’s back to Coventry for bed. And bless my mother, because she is a great chum to me, however once she has taken out her contact lenses she is next door to useless. So its no small surprise that when she tried to turn off her bedside lamp she pushed the disabled alarm in our room. Oh my goodness, you never heard alarm bells like it. Out of bed she leaps in her winceyette’s, trying to turn off the alarm and pushing everything that she can to stop it. Its only a few seconds and we can hear thundering feet coming along the corridor. I generally sleep in the ‘buff’ so have whipped a towel around myself for decency. Mum couldn’t find the door if it was barn sized and fireworks going off all over, so I answer the door to two white faced youths – terrified they must have been as to what they were going to find. One calmly walks into the room when he sees it’s a mistake, and turns off the alarm. Simple it was, but in our panic we did not see it at all.
Calm follows, for a minute or two, and then we wonder how we are going to tell the others that we have had two young men in our room in the middle of the night. That’s when it all got too much, and we lay in bed and howled with laughter. It’s been a horrendous day. So many things went wrong, rained off for 45 mins, it was the game from hell. Umpires from the dark side of the moon, rooms, electricity, parking .
You know it took 3 days for our shoes to dry – these were placed in the sun (wishful thinking) between the double glazed windows in Julia and Sels room – and what a pong when we retrieved them on the day we left the hotel. It nearly knocked you backwards. Still, a good spray with some Sanex underarm soon sorted that problem.
I was glad to get home.
Looking back over the few days I was in Leamington, I was delighted to see some of the Organisers that already bring groups to TLH Leisure Resort and I am even more delighted to have met and booked our old friends from Snitterfield for another winter re-union tour.
To all the people who I have talked to about TLH Leisure Resort in Torquay I look forward to welcoming you to us in the future.
That’s all folks.
Dru signing off.
(Just off to see my consultant who is advising on a webbed foot transplant. Oh!, and by the way – yep, its raining)