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2023 Season Summary


The ongoing, first Saturday of the month social gatherings again proved a successful means of enabling Club members to meet and catch up with news during the early part of 2023. Prior to the start of the bowling season, Ann Kelly, who has been instrumental in orchestrating these gatherings, was offered, and accepted the role of Club President. She succeeded the outgoing President, Pam Grey who had done a sterling job in overseeing the Club through the post-Covid period.

During the pre-season months, the Working Party continued to regularly undertake site maintenance work in and around the Club buildings. Members, returning at the start of the season particularly noticed the orderly state of the facilities and the extensive amount of repainting that had been carried out. The installation of stone slabs around the shed area was particularly appreciated. At the start of the season, the Green was looking in pristine condition despite the adverse weather conditions in the early part of the year. The effectiveness of the moss control measures applied on the green was also noteworthy.

This year a new system to reimburse drivers carrying passengers to away matches was introduced and seemed to work quite well. The mileage dependant charges, passengers were asked to pay, only partially covered the drivers costs but it was felt important not to discourage members from putting their names down for away matches by imposing excessive charges.

At the start of the season in April, nine existing members decided not to join the Club, a number due to health and mobility issues. Among these were long-serving members namely Roy Porter, Freda Leitch and Ken Edmunds. We did however manage to recruit ten new members over the season. This was despite our Open Day, coinciding with a Family Day on the Sports Field, proving unproductive due to inclement weather. We did however attract a good number of visitors to our roll-up sessions and hope that some of these may join the Club in the coming year.

During the season, the Captain’s reported that in general good support for matches in the Wessex Mixed League and SW Somerset Ladies League was seen but less so in Friendly matches. The latter are intended to provide an opportunity for new and inexperienced bowlers to participate in Matches where the result is unimportant. It was noted however that many newer bowlers preferred to just participate in the casual roll-up sessions and were reluctant to play matches for whatever reason. This trend has been noted by many Bowls Clubs and is perhaps indicative of cultural change. The biggest problem for the Men’s Captain was getting teams out for the Saturday League matches where the Club was playing in Division 1 of the SW region for the first time. Overall, the bowling performance of the Club could best be described as fair to middling. The Club finished towards the bottom of the Wessex League, mid-table in the SW Ladies League and narrowly escaped relegation in the Men’s League as well as being knocked out of the Club County competitions in the first rounds.

Individual Club competitions were generally well supported by members and ran to schedule. The finals days produced some excellent matches. Congratulations to Mary & Dave Sutton who together were winners or runners up in seven of the eight events. Disappointingly the planned presentation dinner had to be cancelled due primarily to the chosen venue (Northover Manor Hotel) offering a limited selection of meals at elevated prices, compared to previous years. This resulted in many members choosing not to attend. We did however enjoy an evening at the Club at Somerton, hosted by the Club President, where an external caterer offered a reasonably priced buffet meal and the event was conducted in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Thanks were due to the efforts of Ann & Ray Kelly who had organised the Club Competitions and ensured this event was a memorable one.

Sadly, a number of persons associated with the Club passed away this year namely Stewart Lucas, Tony McDermott, Bill Clarke and Ray Nutt. Stewart died at the age of 100 and had served on the Management Committee years ago as Treasurer. His wife, Heather, who passed away some years before was also an active member of the Club and the Ladies still play a competition for the Heather Lucas Rose Bowl each year, this trophy having been presented to the Club by Stewart. He also very kindly left a bequest to the Club in his will.

A Bowls tour was organised this year In September, again being based in Torquay and playing friendly matches against local Clubs.

The Management Committee for the 2024 Season was elected at the AGM. Both the preceding year’s Club Captain (Ian Badman) and the Ladies Captain (Lynn Smalldon) stood down from their roles this year, having given many years of service. Toby Strang and Ann Kelly were elected in the respective positions. Otherwise, the composition of the Committee remained the same.