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Getting the green ready for the milestone year

With the new bowling season just a month away members of the Winter Working Group at Keynsham Bowling Club are putting the final touches to the bowling green surrounds and the pavilion. About 15 willing volunteers meet each Monday morning throughout the close season under the watchful eye of Clubhouse Manager Derek Phelps, to carry out essential maintenance and improvements. Our picture shows – left to right- Bill Byrne, Allan Waters and Roger Palmer extending the roof of the old score board to provide shelter from the showers. The pre-season information has recently been dispatched to the membership by Club Secretary David Hockney, reminding everyone that the Club is celebrating its Diamond (60 years) Anniversary this year. In recognition of this the Club will be hosting a mixed match against Somerset Patrons in June. In addition there will be a County match between Somerset and Berkshire in August, and the Club will be entertaining the Essex County Touring Team during the second week in May. Resulting from the increase in membership the Club has entered two additional teams in league competitions, namely a mixed team in the Friday Mid Somerset League, and a third side in the Thursday Men’s Bristol & District League. With all of the league matches plus internal competitions, it promises to be a busy season at the “Green in the Park” this summer.

Ground is gleaming as bowlers celebrate 60 years in the park

Bathed in glorious sunshine Keynsham Bowling Club’s green is in immaculate condition in readiness for the new season. How different the scene looks now compared to when bowls started some 60 years ago in 1957. The Club then had a newly laid green and a storage shed for the equipment. Meetings were held in the Lamb and Lark Hotel on the High Street, whilst the Drill Hall, which is now the home of Keynsham Gym, was used to serve teas to the visiting sides. Now there is an attractive clubhouse which is home to a bar and kitchen. In addition there are four sets of changing facilities to cater for the home and away teams of ladies and gents. The Memorial Park is quite rightly referred to as the jewel in Keynsham’s crown, and the Bowling Club is proud that it has been able to enhance that reputation for 60 years. During that period, many playing members, both ladies and gents have represented Somerset County and two of the current membership, David Bendall and Barrie Davis have served as the County President. One of the members who can recall much of the change is the Club President, John Mead who this year celebrates 50 years of membership. Reflecting on this, John says “the Club is where it is today as a result of hard work from members past and present. It should be proud of the fact that when it started it was as a mixed club (not all clubs were), with equal recognition to ladies and gents, something that will enable it to go from strength to strength in the future.” The membership of 2017 will say Amen to that!

Club gets season rolling with a friendly

The season opened at Keynsham in glorious sunshine when 40 members gathered for an opening roll up on April 2nd. As is usual at the start of a new season there have been a series of mens, ladies and mixed friendly fixtures. The men, fielding a strong side, beat their guests from Bath in what has become a traditional early season game. As the various league fixtures and club competitions commence, the green will be open from the start of May in the mornings and from 15th May, commencing at 11.00 am there will be Club coaches available to introduce anyone of any age to the joys of green bowls. The Coaching Co-ordinator Ian Tweedie says “ There is no need to book in advance, just turn up at the stated times and the coaches will do the rest. The Club has a stock of bowls and shoes which is all that will be needed for the initial sessions.” So if you would like to try your hand at the sport come along – you will be made most welcome.

President’s side are the guests on the green.

The season is in full flow at Keynsham Bowling Club with fixtures coming thick and fast! Early in the month there was some concern, as was the case with most clubs, that the green had more brown patches than would be expected, but recent rain has now rectified that problem. The men have started their fixtures in the Bristol and District Thursday evening league and the Saturday North Somerset league, fielding three teams in each. It is probably too early in the season to pass judgement other than to say there is room for improvement! The men have fared better in the early stages of National tournaments and they have progressed to the next round in the Top Club and 2 x 4 competitions. Pride of place however goes to the ladies who at the time of writing have won all of their fixtures – three in the North Somerset League and four friendlies. The club staged its first internal competition on a Sunday when twelve teams competed against each other in mixed triples. The winning team of Lily Springer, Roy Wilton and Martin Moore now hold the Ray Percival Trophy for the next year. We also were delighted to play host for a week to the Presidents County Touring side from Essex who stayed at the Arnos Manor Hotel and played matches against a number of local sides. They were delighted to use our green for mornings in the week and were particularly appreciative of the lunches prepared for them by our ladies. We provided the opposition for their final fixture when we fielded six rinks, ending up being narrowly beaten. Pictured are the two sides at the start of the game.

Club bowled over by a rare “hot shot”

With much activity taking place on the green in Keynsham Park two of the highlights recently relate to the ladies of the club. Playing at home to Bath in the North Somerset League they achieved a Hot Shot, such an unusual occurrence that Bowls England issue certificates to recognise the occasion. All of the eight woods bowled by the team end up closer to the jack than the closest wood bowled by the opposition. Our photograph shows the four ladies with their certificates from left to right – Pam Rose, Lesley Portch, Brenda Higson and Pam Edge. The second incident centred around the closest result so far this season. The ladies were at home to Purnells in the Fear Cup and with just one wood to play they were losing by two shots. The skip was Brenda Higson and her wood picked up the jack taking it through to the back of the green and earning five shots – a three shot victory taking Keynsham into the next round of the competition. As we now enter the second half of the season competition now increases in the various leagues that Keynsham play in, as teams battle for promotion and in some cases to avoid relegation. Individual members are also busy playing one another in the various club internal competitions. As I write this it has just started to rain and it is scheduled to continue to do so for several hours. The Green Manager’s prayer has been answered!

Bowlers battle it out for memorial cup”

Whilst club members have been busy competing against other clubs and also in the internal competitions the green in Keynsham Park has been also used for non-club matches. One of the Sundays in the month drew bigger than usual crowds, when in the morning Norwest beat Yatton in one of the semi-finals for the Wedmore Plate and in the afternoon Bath beat Willmott Green in a Turnbull Cup semi-final. Somerset hosted Berkshire in a County match with the visitors returning home as the victors. Another Sunday the green was occupied by fifty six club members competing in fourteen teams for the Tom Pells Cup, a trophy presented in memory of Tom by his widow Lyn who still plays regularly at Keynsham. The winning team of Mike Barrow, Ann Mollard, Lily Springer and Pete Gibson was presented with the trophy by Lyn and Tom’s granddaughter, Jessica. An annual match occurs each year for the Alsop Shield between Keynsham and Fry’s. This year it was hosted by Fry’s and Keynsham emerged as narrow winners by 77-73 shots. Keynsham played against Willmott Park at home in the semi-finals of the Bristol Triples League. With only three ends to play Keynsham had a comfortable nine shot lead but somehow managed to lose 55-53. A highlight of the season is always the annual fixture between the ladies and the men. This was played on seven rinks – the fact that Keynsham was able to field 28 ladies shows the depth of membership that the club has. The gents won narrowly – the ladies captain asked me to say that- and then everyone was served with a tea of the highest standard prepared entirely by the men. One of the Monday night roll ups concluded with a “bangers and burgers” BBQ prepared by the Clubs Social Committee.

Finals day and a special 50th for bowlers.”

September was a very eventful month for the members of Keynsham both on and off the green. The first Sunday was Finals Day with 15 trophies to be won which were contested by 44 players, with a selection of singles, pairs and triples for ladies, men and mixed teams. The important cups of the season were for the Ladies and Gents Championships and they were won by Marlene Tidy and Roger Price. The one disappointing feature of the day was the weather as players had to continually don their wet gear. This impacted on the number of members turning up to watch. The various leagues concluded during the month with all of our teams remaining where they are for next season – no promotion or relegation. The one success was in the Men’s Friday Triples League with our team finishing in top spot. The weather was completely different on a Saturday at the end of the month when about 80 members gathered in the Club House for a buffet lunch to celebrate 50 years of membership for our beloved President John Mead. One of our longest serving members David Bendall reminded us, amongst other things, of the debt of gratitude that we owe John in his role as Greens Manager which has resulted in our green being one of the best in the County. Our Vice President Margaret Church presented a bouquet to John’s wife Sheila, while our Poet Laureate, Ian Tweedie presented John with a framed copy of a poem he had written for the occasion. Finally the Club Captain Beresford Parker presented John with the gift of a clock on behalf of the members. A lovely day, enhanced by John’s generosity in funding the bar, in honour of a lovely gentleman and a great servant of Keynsham Bowling Club.