A game full of good causes

BOWLS: THE valuable contribution made by bowls in supporting local and national good causes has always been one of the highlights of the sport. And in no way does that trend seem to be diminishing.

THE valuable contribution made by bowls in supporting local and national good causes has always been one of the highlights of the sport. And in no way does that trend seem to be diminishing.

Two forthcoming events on the local scene serve to demonstrate the generosity and goodwill of the bowling fraternity.

At the Sproughton Bowls Club, president Mike Snell has followed his predecessors by naming a charity for which he has set the target of £1,000, this being Leukaemia Research.

The figure of £700 has been raised so far and the target looks achievable with continued support. A charity tournament is held each year and previous good causes have included the Children's Hospice and Arthritis Research.

The Sproughton club is believed to have been founded in1912 although it has existed in two locations, formerly on land that is now Church Close, and since 1962 on premises in Church Lane.

The facilities now boast a new lounge bar, an extension to the clubhouse built in 1977. It is owned by the Sports Club but supported and worked upon by bowling members.

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Sproughton has hosted many top level federation events and currently extends good quality facilities to its members and visitors.

The green runs well under the guidance of Roy Mills, assisted by a loyal band of helpers, and brings pleasure to all who play in the seven federation and four EBA leagues, and the popular Tuesday and Sunday pairs tournaments.

At present the club has 81 members, the longest serving being Bob Game, and the youngest – one of my rising stars – Matthew Debnam.

The late Dennis Mee served on the club's committee for more than 40 years and was Suffolk president in 1986. In recognition of his efforts he was made a life member to the county.

The current secretary, Renee Stannard, was the ladies' county president in 1987 and has also served as a selector.

Norma Brown was appointed junior county president last year, and is one of the club's county title winners, having lifted the county senior singles trophy in 1986 and the Suffolk EWBA triples a year later, partnered by Margaret Ranns and Shirley Faiers.

In men's events, Brian Tubby won the county pairs title with Derek Parnell and then Johnny Morrison in 1978 and 1982 while George Bird and Doug Pooley were blocks and triples winners in 1983 and 1985 accompanied by Des Burley and Sam Saunders respectively.

The club has won the Junior Cup once and has twice been runner-up in the Senior Cup.

In 1994 Sproughton Ladies received the Victrix Ludorum Trophy and in the same year won the Suffolk mixed fours competition.

Affiliation to the EBA code in 1993 resulted in the club being finalists in the unbadged fours two years alter, the same season as the Mercury Shield was lifted.

The second feast of bowling that looks set to raise substantial funds for charity is the Harry Davey Memorial Tournament, arranged for Sunday, August 11.

The one-day event will see fours of any combination playing for trophies with all proceeds to St Elizabeth Hospice.

The Felixstowe and Suffolk Bowling Club extends invitations to those wishing to enter and hopes to make a bumper donation as a tribute to one of its most popular members of recent times.

Harry was a friend to many in the locality and an accomplished player, winning the Felixstowe Open Tournament Singles two seasons ago. His wife Hilda, and family will be present, playing in the event, and hoping that support will be generous during an enjoyable day for all.

Competitors will be guaranteed four games of eight ends for the entry of £20 per four which includes lunch. Refreshments will be available during the afternoon and dress will be greys.

Entries should be sent to Len Fordham, 4 The Lloyds, Kesgrave, IP5 2WH, telephone (01473) 631389.

I should like to thank Peter Wright for his point of view published in my column last week.

I tend to agree that some members of the bowling fraternity may rightly consider themselves as victims of ageism in sport, and I sympathise with his view that perhaps under 30s bowlers have a more widely publicised and very well managed mechanism in which to display their skills and advance their careers.

In truth, whilst we tend to hear a lot more of young bowlers these days, this may be because many of the junior initiatives are more recent, proudly acknowledged, and in the spotlight nationally.

In terms of ageism, it is true that the average age of national and county teams is dropping, but the general feeling is "if you are good enough you are old enough".

At the very highest level, players are bowling up to 10 hours a day, with demands of high concentration and a required level of physical fitness. I remember having to play three international test matches – singles, pairs and triples – all in one day, with the temperature in the high 80s most of the time.

Having said this, the indoor national selectors gained enormous praise and respect for selecting two new skips, John Wickham and Noel Burrows for the 1999 home international series: not just because both players were in their 50s, but because they are extremely talented players who fully justified their selection in every way.

Like top sporting establishments the world over, national and county associations, represented by their selection committee, have to build for the future, spotting potential, blooding it and introducing opportunities when deemed appropriate.

If they fail to do this, continuity is broken and generation gaps appear within squads.

Perhaps the most important facet of any team is the balance of its youth and experience, a blend in which the newcomers learn and benefit from the expertise and experience of their elders, and the experienced learn from the up and coming.

In answering Peter's criticism of the mechanism for over 30s, I feel that county associations would put forward their case that they have done much to cater for the needs of everyone who wishes to enjoy our wonderful sport. We now have more competitions for the various age groups, more combinations and formats than at any time before in the history of the game.

The associations and governing bodies would point out the mixed pairs and fours, the father and son, mother and daughter, junior, senior and over 55 championships. And more are on the way!

THE Suffolk County Women's Bowling Association finals were held recently at the Borough of Eye Bowls Club, the winners and runners-up going on to represent the county in the national finals at Leamington.

County secretary Margaret Lane told me: "Some very good bowling was watched by the many supporters were several results being by one shot only. It was also encouraging to see the new faces coming through, resulting in points being gained to receive their county badges."

Sue Williams was the worthy winner of the four wood singles as she overcame Marlborough's Ivy Butler in the final the score being 21-13.

A certain Gwenda Rednall again became the two-wood champion with a single shot victory over E Martin of Hadleigh the limited ends game, 17-16. This was a nailbiting game with the winner uncertain to the very last bowl.

Hadleigh made up for the disappointment of losing in a final when the pairing of S Poulton and J Saunders defeated the strong Marlborough duo of Shirley Allen and Ann Cable, again by a single shot margin. However, the latter made amends in the triples when they went on to take the title with a single shot victory over opposition from Ixworth skipped by E Sharpe.

The fours championship went to Hilary Hawes, Gloria Fordham, Jean Taylor and Margaret Insley of the Felixstowe and Suffolk Bowling Club who defeated a Debenham combination skipped by V Lanchester by three shots.

In the events played previously, Maureen Woods of Lowestoft Railway became the new Champion of Champions, Jill Lambert representing the Rookery was crowned the 55 and over champion, and the 55 and over pairs title was won by Brenda Hubble and Diane Spalding of Lowestoft Rail.

Congratulations to all the ladies who took part and good luck at Leamington.

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