2016 - 2017 Club News
(Mid April 2016 to Mid April 2017)
All Items By Eddie Hawkins, Press Officer, Braintree Bowling Club
Aiden Neale, a member of Braintree Bowling Club, once again proved his true prowess as a developing bowler when he won the Elsenham B.C. Under 18 County competition. He had come through 3 rounds to take the trophy, winning 9 ends to 4.
This is a good indication of how Aiden has become one of the leading young bowlers in the County. Hopefully, his success will continue throughout the coming season and he may even succeed in gaining County honours as a young bowler.
Friendly - Braintree v Visually Impaired Bowlers (VIBE)
The annual friendly charity match with Braintree Bowling Club versus the Visually Impaired Bowlers team got off to a good start at Braintree's Clare Road venue, which eventually saw the home club running out winners on three rinks to one.
Unfortunately, the visitors were unable to field their best teams, as several of their top players were in Israel, playing and training in preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Para Olympics.
The skill of the partially sighted players present was astounding. Using just vocal instructions from their skips and a fine stringed guideline through the centre of the rink, they were able to judge distances, bias angles and weight, to bowl their bowls onto either the jack or just a few inches from this target. Anyone who has played bowls or is still a player will have the greatest admiration for such players.
Not only was this a pleasurable annual event, it also created much-needed donations for Visually Impaired Bowls England (VIBE). At the after match meal, both Captains praised the competitors for their sportsmanship and friendliness on and off the rinks. The VIBE Captain stated that Braintree Bowling Club had raised £192 for VIBE, which added to Braintree’s accumulated donations over the past competitive years, amounted to £980 for this worthy fund.
The first of the internal club competitions, the Tribble Triples was played on Sunday at the Clare Road ground, with 21 members taking part in this round robin triples competition. This trophy was named after one of Braintree Bowling Club's most successful players, Harry Tribble, whose bowling prowess came in the 1920s/30s and 50s.
Seven teams, playing 6 ends in the preliminary rounds of the competition, where then whittled down to a semi-final, leading to the final game being over 7 ends.
This final game was played between - Les Crow, Steve Gibson and Barbara Taylor who ran out the eventual winners with a shot difference of 10-2 shots against a team comprising of Martin Law, Jan Kodz and Dennis Taylor.
Picture: Runners Up (Standing), Left to Right - Jan Kodz, Martin Law and Denis Taylor, (Seated) Left to Right - Les Crow, Barbara Taylor and Steve Gibson
Ladies Top Club
With the new outdoor season in its early weeks, the ladies of Braintree Bowling Club, hosted a very strong Ladies team from West Mersey Bowling Club in the County Top Club Competition. This competition comprised of a Singles, Pairs, Triple and Fours match, which ended in 2 home rinks winning in the Pairs and Triples, but unfortunately, the Singles and Fours teams lost their respective matches, resulting in an overall shots victory for the visiting West Mersey Club who will now go onto the second round of this County competition.
The Home teams were as follows: Singles - Donna Law, Pairs: Rita Dodds and Roni Taylor, Triples: Danielle Gibbons, Olive Hawkins and Gill Costin, Fours - Sandra Mayne, Freda Laidlaw, Linda Butcher and Jean Baxter.
Every team member enjoyed this annual Ladies County competition and the team captains in turn praised both teams for their sporting conviviality. It was also noted that West Mersea Ladies had won the North West Essex Ladies League last season, which showed the true worth of the Braintree ladies results against such a strong County club.
Friendly - Braintree v Witham Mill Lane
On an ideal day for bowling, Braintree Bowling Club hosted their annual friendly match against Witham Mill Lane Bowling Club. As usual, this early season friendly match enabled all players to adjust to the variants of bowling on grass greens and was played with the traditional conviviality that is the basis of friendly club matches.
With home advantage, Braintree Bowling Club’s 5 triple teams finally ran out the winners, taking the honours on three rinks to Witham's victory on the other two, with the overall shots total in favour of Braintree Bowling Club.
Everyone commented on the immaculate condition of the greens at this early part of the season, which is a credit to the band of club volunteers who maintain the bowling greens at Clare Road.
Tony Allcock Trophy - 1st Round
Braintree Bowling Club hosted their 1st Round Tony Allcock Bowls competition at Clare Road on Sunday against local rivals, Bocking Bowling Club.
This competition is made up of two teams of four from each club, comprising of two Ladies and two Men over the age of 60 in each team. It is the combined scores of these two teams, after playing 21 ends that determines the winning Club.
Though local rivals, this particular match was played in a very sporting and convivial manner with both sides appreciating each other’s prowess on the rinks. The whole match swung in the balance as both teams worked hard to better their opponents’ positive bowls into the head, which accounted for the early upsets as both teams seesawed with their shot tallies.
Early on, one of the Away side teams took the lead on their rink while on the other rink, the Home side increased their scoring shots, nullifying any true leading club. This position carried on for the first 11 ends, when there was a reversal of fortunes on both rinks.
The whole match then became a tale of two contrasting halves, as one of the Bocking rinks gradually drew level then surpassed their hosts, while the reverse was happening on the other rink. This saw the total scores after 13 ends within a shot of one another, but then this became the turning point as Bocking tightened their game, increasing their final winning score on one rink to 11 shots while on the other, they kept the Braintree team to a winning score of 5 shots. This meant that Bocking won the match by 6 shots.
Fixed Jack Competition
With the present outdoor bowling season slowly coming to a close, Braintree Bowling Club put on its annual Fixed Jack competition.
This comprised of 4 Leagues of five individual members playing singles against one another, over six ends on the rinks, with one jack being permanently placed short at one end and a full-length jack at the other. The winners gain 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and nothing when they lose. If there is a points tie at the end of four games, then the amount of shots they have accrued will define the winner – the one who has accumulated the most differential shots.
Because the jack is in a fixed position throughout the whole match, the game is more suited to the astute player who can draw their bowl on to the jack, rather than trying to hit the jack. If the jack is hit, it is then replaced on its original mark on the green, hence the fixed jack.
With this type of drawing play, several experienced players became victim to this subtle, accurate bowling regime and were eliminated from the competition in the early and semi-final stages of the competition.
The finalists Martin Law and Richard Dodd, played their final over 8 ends, which saw Richard Dodd taking a slim early lead.
This lead was never taken away from him over the first seven ends, but on the final bowling end, he was hanging onto a 2 shot lead, which Martin Law clawed back to be level, with just one bowl left to Richard to deliver. Richard chose his line and weight to the nth degree, which saw his shot nestle between Martin's shot and the jack for the winning shot of the competition.
Picture: Richard Dodd (Left) and Martin Law (Right)
Club, League & County Successes
As Braintree Bowling Club’s outdoor bowls season draws to a close, the club teams and individual players will now start to reflect on their progress and success over the past six months of competitions.
One outstanding player this past season for Braintree has been Martin Spencer, who not only had an overwhelming success within the internal club competitions, but also showed his outstanding prowess, bowling at County level. Joining Braintree BC this season from Dunmow BC, he has introduced another level of quality play and ability, that has enhanced many of the present competing club player’s level of play.
In the internal club competitions, Martin Spencer, this weekend won all four competitions that he had entered, with one more internal match to be played next weekend. While in the Ladies competitions, Gill Costin proved herself the best club lady's champion bowler, coming away with two Winning trophies and a Runners-Up prize. It was also good to see players who have just been introduced to the club's championships, benefitting in playing against County class players and giving a good account of themselves.
The best matches on the day were in the Nicholls Two Wood, where prolific club and county champion, Martin Law, was given a very close game against Carl Cheetham, who has been developing into a very accomplished bowler over the two seasons he has been playing. The other game of note, came in the last competition of the weekend when Dave Hunt, a quality County player and his partner Olive Hawkins, who is in her third bowling competitive year, were beaten by one shot on the last end of the Self-Select Pairs, to Malcom Stark and Vic Cole, two vastly experienced County and National Competition players.
The results of the internal Club games played were:
RANDOM PAIRS - Martin Spencer and Keith Rixon beat Donna Law and Carl Cheetham – 28 shots to 10 shots
MATHERS CUP - Martin Spencer beat Ian Norgett - 26 shots to 14 shots
VETERANS CUP - Martin Spencer beat Andy Beatty - 22 shots to 10 shots
NICHOLLS/TAYLOR 2 WOODS CUP - Martin Law beat Carl Cheetham by two shots on the extra end after a drawn 21 ends (15shots each)
DYSON CUP (Ladies Champion) - Gill Costin beat Olive Hawkins 21 shots to 13 shots
THE LOVING CUP - Graham Easterbrook & Ronnie Taylor beat Paul Costin and Gill Costin - 21 shots to 16 shots
McCORMICK CUP (Ladies Novice) - Sandra Mayne beat Chris Beatty - 21 shots to 16 shots
KEITH HUNT CUP - Martin Spencer beat Josh Heffernan on the final 3rd round by 2 shots
NOVICES CUP (Gents) - Richard Dodd beat Barry Jowlett - 21 shots to 6 shots
SELF-SELECT PAIRS - Malcolm Stark & Vic Cole beat Olive Hawkins & Dave Hunt – 26 shots to 25 shots
SENIOR LADIES - Gill Costin beat Ronnie Taylor – 21 shots to 5 shots
(Picture - Sandra Mayne, Left and Chris Beatty, McCormick Cup)
Another area of success for the club was in the number of players who gained recognition at County and League representation level.
In the Senior County Games, eleven club members will have represented Essex over the past season. These members were: Malcolm Stark, Lyndon Hopkins, Martin Law, Dave Lee, Graham Easterbrook, Andy Beatty, Albie Ayres, Brian Taplin, Richard Dodd, Chris Long, Martin Spencer and Joss Heffernan. While in the younger age groups, 16 year old Aiden Neale, gained his County honours.
In the North West Essex Bowling Association, Olive Hawkins (5 games) and Eddie Hawkins (6 games) gained their NWEBA badges, While Jan Kodz, playing in his second representative season, gained valuable experience at this level.
Braintree Success Weekend
This past week brought about the most successful period in Braintree Bowling Club’s recent history, covering County Trophy honours, North West Essex League honours and a fifth individual internal club competition victory.
Thursday 15th September, saw Chris Long, Graham Easterbrook and Martin Spencer win the North West Essex League Triples Trophy against Radwinter. (Picture: Graham Eastebrook, Left, Martin Spencer, Centre and Chris Long).
Saturday 17th began with the final internal club competition, The Hunnable Cup, matching fellow club team players Graham Easterbrook and Martin Spencer, which ended with Martin Spencer taking his fifth internal club competition with a final score of 21 shots to 15 shots (Picture: Graham Easterbrook, Left and Martin Spencer).
Sunday 18th brought about success on the more elitist stage of competitions, the County Double Fours, with Braintree’s Double 4s bowls teams, comprising of:
Team 1 -Chris Long, Malcolm Stark, Brian Taplin & Martin Spencer
Team 2 - Rob Doleman, David Hunt, Graham Easterbrook and Josh Heffernan (Captain), becoming the 2016 County Champions in this Essex County Double 4s competition, with a close fought victory over Bournemouth Park Bowling Club from Southend, winning total score 37shots to 31 shots (Picture: Josh Heffernan).
This was the first time that Braintree Bowling Club have won this trophy, coming nearest in 1995 when ending up as the Runners-Up with teams comprising of two of the winning finalists from this weekend, Malcolm Stark and Chris Long, plus Dave Medlock, John Koegel, Vic Cole, Ray Covell, Colin Rowling and Roy Brown.
While this game was taking place, Braintree’s North West Essex League 'B' Team were winning their Division 'B' Grand Final at Witham Bowling Club against Saffron Walden Bowling Club, triumphing two rinks to one.
Teams comprised of - George Carter, Tony Heales, Jack Mumford, Andy Beatty, Barry Jowlett, Tony Butcher, Albie Ayres, Lyndon Hopkins and Graham Michaels.
These deserved culminating victories by all the participating members, show the depth of good bowling ability within the club, which in turn will surely encourage more members to participate in these Club, League and County competitions in the following seasons.
Awards Evening and AGM
Braintree Bowls Club’s Awards Evening and AGM evening was well attended with over 80 members and friends present.
This season, the men's section was dominated by the exemplary performance of Martin Spencer. Martin not only won 4 individual trophies, but was ably supported by Keith Rixon in the Random pairs, to bring Martin's grand total of internal trophies to 5.
Martin Spencer had joined the club this year with fellow club member Graham Easterbrook, after both had earlier success with Dunmow Bowling Club. Together, both players proved their prowess within the County and Regional League competitions, being new members of the club's successful finalists at this level of the game.
Graham Easterbrook also maintained his good form in the Essex County Two Woods, being just eased out of the Final in a tightly fought Semi-Final game.
The major trophy for the club came in the Essex County Double Fours where players, Chris Long, Malcolm Stark, Brian Taplin, Martin Spencer, Rob Doleman, David Lee, Dave Hunt, Josh Heffernan and Graham Easterbrook, brought home one of the oldest County Bowling trophies, winning it for the first time in the Club's history.
In the North West Essex Bowling Association Triples, Braintree had a winning team comprising of: Martin Spencer, Chris Long and Graham Easterbrook. In the Pairs, Graham Easterbrook and Martin Spencer took Runners Up spot, playing alongside one another.
In the North West Essex Bowling Association League, the Braintree 'B' team won their B League, thus earning them promotion to the higher echelons of this prestigious league.
In the Ladies section, Gill Costin proved to be the foremost player, closely followed by Roni Taylor and Olive Hawkins. Between the three of them, they won seven trophies.
Gill took the honours by winning the Senior Ladies with Roni Taylor taking the runner-up spot, Gill won the Dyson Cup (Ladies Championship) against Olive Hawkins.
Gill continued her success with her husband Paul in the Loving Cup, where they took the winning spot against Roni Taylor and her partner Graham Easterbrook.
Olive Hawkins added two other trophies to her collection by taking the Ladies Monday Roll -Up award and the runner-up prize in the Self Select Pairs with her partner Dave Hunt.
It should also be mentioned that Sandra Mayne, in her first year of individual competition, won the Ladies McCormick Cup, which is only for novice players, in a closely fought match against Christine Beatty.
Other personal achievements gained over the Summer season were as follows:
Aiden Neal gained his Eastern Counties Under 30s Call Up
Martin Law was given his Eastern Counties Flash
Olive and Eddie Hawkins were awarded their North West Essex Badge for representing the NWEBA in at least 5 matches.
There was also success Indoors, when the Club were Runners- Up in the PDQ Trophy which is for Outdoor Clubs playing against one another in an Indoor environment. This covers quite a number of clubs in the whole of Essex and is noted as one of the major trophies for Outdoor Bowling Clubs.
These successes are the 'Shop Window' of the Club, bringing about the recognition of players and teams to the community, but as it was pointed out by many of the club officials who spoke of the club's achievements, we should not forget the work that goes on behind the scenes by club officials themselves and more so by the green keepers.
The green keepers have the thankless job of bringing the greens up to spec., so that County games and internal games are played on the very best possible playing surface. This they have achieved, under the guidance of Green Ranger, Ken Chine, a loyal member of the club for over 20 years, who is being honoured by the County Bowling Association for his loyalty to the club with a trophy in recognition for all his hard work. On behalf of Ken’s green keeping crew - Rob Jones, Jan Kodz, Keith Hunter, Peter Caraway, Brian Todd, Ernie Sutton, Henry Edwards, Tony Heales and Rob Doleman and the rest of the club members, we all echo the words of everyone who sung Ken's praises.
BACK ROW (left to right) - Rob Jones Jan Kodz, Ken Chine, Keith Hunter, Peter Caraway.
FRONT ROW (left to right) - Brian Todd, Ernie Sutton, Henry Edwards, Tony Heales, Rob Doleman
The evening ended with the Treasurer, Ian Norgett and Chairperson Andy Beatty confirming the club were in a healthy financial position. They thanked everyone for their support throughout the season and encouraged further support over the next twelve months.
Ken Chine's County Certificate of Merit
At the recent Essex County Bowling Association Awards evening, one of Braintree Bowling Club’s long serving, unsung heroes, Ken Chine, the club's Green Ranger, received his County Presidents Certificate of Merit, for his services to Bowling as a member of Braintree Bowling Club over the past 10 years and more.
Ken has had many duties within the club’s managerial posts over the years and is now stepping down from his major role as Green Ranger.
Members of his own club, together with the County Bowling Association, appreciate all the hard work that his team and himself have attributed in maintaining an excellent playing surface, which is recognised by not only other visiting clubs, but the County Bowling Association who use the rinks for several of their friendly and competitive matches throughout the outdoor season.
Ken is the first Braintree club member to receive this prestigious President’s Award of Merit, but the sixth member of Braintree Bowling Club to receive a County Services Award to Bowling since its inauguration in 1988.
In the County's Bill Willis Awards - Past winners are:
1993 - W. Cowell & S.D. Jobson
1996 - E.S.E. Gill
1998 - B.C. Wyatt
1999 - L.G. Dalton
In the County’s Presidents Certificate of Merit
2016 - Ken Chine
The photograph shows Ken Cline (left), being presented with his President's Certificate of Merit Trophy from Essex County Bowling Association President, Pat Finney.