In this strange time of Covid-19, the Henley-on-Thames Bowling Club has managed to keep its members on the green and enjoying the game of lawn bowls. Although they haven’t played any other Clubs this season, they have been playing regular games of Singles and Pairs, both of which have been relatively easy to play whilst maintaining social distancing. They have even experimented with Triples and, despite having four players at one end of the rink, by playing across the green instead of to the river, they were also able to maintain that 2m gap quite easily.
This season the Club have attracted eight new bowling members and to introduce them to existing members and the etiquette of team bowling, the Club decided to start a Spoon Drive competition (also referred to as Spoons) on 21st August on Saturday afternoons. This is normally a Triples competition but was played in Pairs to make social distancing relatively easy and members enjoyed socialising afterwards with drinks on the patio.
There were 8 teams of Pairs drawn from a hat by Captain Andy Scott but tweaks were made so that a team wasn’t just made up of novices.
Each game was 4 ends and the winners moved onto the next numbered rink and the losers stayed on the rink they had just played on. In a normal season teams would play 3 games in a session but a Saturday afternoon allowed players to play 4 games to give everyone at least 2 hours of entertainment at a sport they love.
On the 21 August, the winners were Brian Duddy and Peter Borsberry with Derek Gillespie and Keith Lawrance in second place.
On 5 September, the winners were Theresa Dombey and Frank Powell with Trish Jones and Gill Robins in second place.
On 12 September, the winners were Keith Lawrance and Joan Edwards with Derek Gillespie and Steve Isaac (new member) in second place.
On 19 September, in the final event of this season, the winners were Jackie Handley and Angie Isaac (both new members) with Janni Coates (new member) and Gill Robins in second place.
All four events were held in glorious sunshine and this Saturday, our bowling experience was enhanced by the lovely concert music coming from the Mill Meadows bandstand, provided by the Orpheus Sinfonia who had been booked by the Henley Choral Society.
After the four events, Keith Lawrence came out top of the league table but with so few games and restricted numbers for each event, the Club decided not to award any trophies this season.
On Saturday 12 September, the Club had an extra treat in store, their member Bill Mundy (famous miniaturist), presented the Club with a watercolour of Club memorabilia (see below). The painting features typical lawn bowling items as can be seen below. The painting took Bill over 300 hours to complete and it’s amazing that he also found time to come bowling in the week. It will hold pride of place in our Club house and on the day, all thanked Bill for his generous contribution.
The season has now come to an end and on Monday this week, the Club’s lawn maintenance specialists Avonmore Associates came to relay the green for next season. The earlier the grass seed is put down, the greater chance the players will have of having yet another wonderful lawn to bowl on.
Finally, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee would like to say a big thank you to Maurice Robins and Colin Ward who have prepared and maintained the green which has been truly delightful to play on this season. Thanks must also be expressed to Jeanie Davies, Club Secretary, Kevin Browne, Membership Secretary and Barrie Davies, last year’s Champion of Champions for putting so much effort into cleaning the equipment, setting up the green and making sure members stay safe by adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions.