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Introductory Notes for New Members

Affiliated to the Somerset Bowls Association

Welcome to the Club. We hope these notes will help to explain a little about the Club and the game of Bowls and we wish you a happy time as a member.

1. Club History
The Club was founded in 1980 with play commencing on the green two years later. The financing of the construction of the green and its surrounds was obtained from grants from various bodies and from interest-free loans from members. These loans have long been repaid but the annual cost of maintaining the green and the various buildings on the site is substantial. 
The annual subscriptions from members is not sufficient to cover these costs and various fund raising events are held during the year, some involving bowling and some purely social. Information about these events will appear on the notice boards in the Clubhouse.

2. Management
The Officers of the Club are detailed on your Fixture Card. They and a number of other members form the Executive Committee and all members of this Committee are elected at the Club’s Annual General Meeting held in October each year

3. Playing Activities
The bowling season typically extends from mid-April until late September. The Club participates in various local leagues. Some matches are Lady or Men only, although the majority of matches are mixed.
The Club runs a number of internal competitions for members run on a knock out basis as well as several all-day competitions organised throughout the season. These frequently include a lunch in the Clubhouse. On Friday afternoons at 2:00pm and Tuesday evenings at 5:45pm there are very friendly ‘roll ups’ and these provide the best opportunities for inexperienced players to learn the rudiments of the game.
Since 2010, a long weekend away tour has taken place involving a three-night stay in a hotel and games against four clubs in the area visited.
The Green is open every day of the season from 11:00am and members are free to come and practice on their own or with others except when a match is taking place. Typically matches do not commence before 2:00pm. Members are provided with a key to the main gate and the means of gaining access to the Clubhouse and surrounding huts will be explained.
4. Dress & Equipment
Flat-soled shoes are mandatory at all times when playing on the green to avoid damage to the surface. Regulation Bowls Shoes (available from Sports outlets) should be worn when representing the Club in competitive matches. Members are required to wear grey or white trousers or skirts when playing matches on the green. As a general rule ‘whites’ are worn for inter-club matches played before 6:00pm and greys for evening matches and internal competitions (Club Finals day excepted). Both the Ladies and Men have approved Club shirts that may be purchased through the Club and can be worn in competitive matches.
For roll ups (e.g. on Friday afternoon or Tuesday evenings) or informal use of the green the above dress code does not apply and smart casual dress is acceptable.
New members, unfamiliar with bowling will be given tuition and loaned a set of Bowls to practice. In due course it will be necessary for new bowlers to purchase their own set of Bowls and a Bowls bag. It is however best not to acquire the former until they are confident with the size/type of bowl that best suits them (Bowls vary in diameter and weight as well as bias). 
5. The Game of Bowls
Like many sports, the object of bowls is essentially simple and it can be played by almost anyone but to play consistently well requires determination, concentration and practice. The basic object of the game is to get your bowls closer to the jack than those of your opponent, on each end played with one point scored for each counting bowl. 
There are various books and videos available that can provide assistance in understanding the game and new members are encouraged to ask other Club members for advice, which they generally will be pleased to give. If you would like personal coaching, please approach a member of the Management Committee who will be able to make appropriate arrangements.
Everyone is encouraged to enter the internal Club competitions. Members do not need to find partners for Pairs and Triples matches since names are drawn out of a hat. Details of the draw for these competitions, including ‘play by dates’ are posted in the Clubhouse.
As far as inter-club matches are concerned, lists are displayed in the Clubhouse well ahead of scheduled dates. All members are encouraged to put their names down for such matches, irrespective of ability or experience. Selected teams will be displayed ahead of the matches, with as far as possible selection being done on an equitable basis so that everyone should get their fair share of matches. Once selected members are required to tick their names to confirm availability and where appropriate indicate their travel intentions. For away games, a number of cars will leave the Sports Club Car Park at an indicated time and there are always spare seats available. It is of course only fair that where possible members take their turn in providing transport for others. 

6. Assistance & Responsibility
The maintenance of the green and the surrounds is carried out by the members themselves. Accordingly the Club is very dependent on the assistance of volunteers to help both during and out of season. Members can volunteer their services to the Green/Maintenance Officer at any time and participate in Working Groups. 
At most inter-club home matches it is common practice to provide visiting teams with teas or suppers. Nominated members provide these refreshments and a rota system operates to ensure equitable distribution of labour. Accordingly each member will find himself or herself allocated along with another member(s) to organise these refreshments on one or two particular dates during the season.
Members also conduct general cleaning duties of the Clubhouse and changing rooms and volunteers are requested on advertised dates to undertake these tasks
The Management Committee is most grateful to all those who volunteer for these duties and encourages all members to do their fair share. 

7. Data Protection
Under the General Data Protection Regulations, that became law in May 2018, all membership organisations have a legal and moral responsibility to protect the data of their members. It is the policy of Somerton & District Bowls Club to seek permission from members to store and utilise personal information on a strictly ‘needs to know’ basis. Lists of members and their phone numbers will be put up in the Clubhouse and circulated to members to enable internal contact. E-mail addresses will be kept confidential, with e-mails being circulated by way of blind copy. Mailing addresses will be kept secure and only used to send correspondence and Club circulars to members. Members will be required to give written consent where any of their data is supplied to outside bodies 

8. Additional Points
It is important that the Club buildings are properly locked when vacated. This responsibility rests with every member and it is erroneous to assume that someone else will secure the buildings before leaving site. All members should make themselves aware of the location of keys and the lock up procedure. If in doubt, consult a member of the Management Committee
Club equipment should be returned to its correct place after use. Please ensure all equipment is returned and the shed is locked.  Club bowls should be returned to the location from which they were borrowed. Club equipment must not be removed from the premises.
Members should read the notice boards regularly. It is the intention to keep members up to date but this does rely on members reading the information provided. 
Members are requested not to smoke on the green or the surrounds.
Members of the Club may use the facilities of the Club, entirely at their own risk and by implication accept that the Club will not accept any liability for any damage to or loss of property belonging to members on club premises or its surrounds. In addition the Club will not accept any liability for personal injury arising out of the use of the Club premises.
As a member of the Bowls Club new members automatically become members of the Somerton Sports Club and their facilities are available for the use of all our members.

We would like to think that you will find us a friendly Club and we would encourage you not to hesitate to ask any member for help or advice about anything concerning the Club or indeed the game of bowls.