2015 - 2016 Club News

(Mid April 2015 to Mid April 2016)

All Items By Eddie Hawkins, Press Officer, Braintree Bowling Club


2015 April

Paul Costin - President of Essex Vice Presidents' Association

Paul Costin Vice PresidentMany honours and recognition befall the playing members of all sport clubs, but little is noted of the unsung members and officials who help to oil the wheels of their club, regional and international organised sports.

All sports people owe a lot to these volunteers, who in many cases are paying their sport back for the years they possibly or still are playing an active part in, as a competitor.

Braintree Bowling Club has many behind the scene personnel who fall into this category.  The ladies who make sure players are catered for during and after matches, run raffles and play in many of the club's teams as well as league, County and International competitions.

Where would the club be without an excellent ground ranger and team, who year after year present the players with a pristine playing surface to execute their skills upon.

Recognition for one such Braintree Bowling Club member, the Deputy Chairperson, Paul Costin, has come in the form of his election this year to be President of the Essex Vice Presidents' Association (EVPA), a position he will hold for one year.

After joining the Association in 2010, Paul became Junior Deputy President in 2013 and the following year was elevated to the role of Senior Deputy President.

The Association draws it membership from Bowling Clubs, Outdoor and Indoor, across the whole of Essex, so all of the positions are for EVPA as a whole, not part of the County. 

The criteria for membership is a proven record of service to the sport of bowls.  Whether as an officer on the County Outdoor / Indoor Associations, an officer with another or County Group, an officer at club level, an umpire/coach.

Paul’s qualifications for such a position are as follows:

  1. A National Qualified Coach - having coached over 100 people, some have gone on to represent their County
  2. National Grade Umpire - having officiated at both Outdoor and Indoor National Finals.
  3. Essex County Secretary for the Umpires Association - involves organising and allocating umpires for games in Essex including County Finals.
  4. An Officer of the Essex County Indoor Bowling Association (ECIBA) as Competition Secretary.

He is still an active playing member for Braintree Bowling Club (Outdoors) and Colchester Bowling Club (Indoors). 


2015 May

Elsenham Under 18 County Competition

Aiden Neale Elsenham May 2015Fifteen year old Aiden Neale, after only one year of bowling and the youngest playing member of Braintree Bowling Club, started his new outdoor season by reaching the final of the Elsenham Under 18 Open Bowls competition, taking the runner-up prize.

His progress through the competitions, brought about a first round victory over 10 ends with a shots score of 11-8, then he improved his game in the Semi-Finals with a resounding 19-1 shots victory to reach the all-important final.  This match proved to be a learning curve for young Aiden as his experienced opponent from Saffron Walden took an early lead with a 6-1 shots lead.  Aiden did not panic but brought his game under control to cut the deficit to 6-5 shots with two ends to play.  The more experienced player, Alex Rouse, then added another three shots to his score, finally taking the last end by 2 shots, giving a final total score of 11-5 shots.

The experience Aiden gained from the competition will obviously stand him in good stead for this coming season, not just against his own age group but also in the more Senior Club and County league games that he will surely play, at Braintree Bowling Club.

The future looks really bright for this young up and coming Bowls player and hopefully his achievements will encourage other like-minded young players, to join Bowling Clubs in their areas.  


Braintree Bowling Club National & County News

In the National Men's Singles, Martin Law was given a walk over, as his opponent was unable to play the itemised match in this National Competition.  Martin's wife Donna then joined him in the National's Pairs competition and they won after a close fought match, ending in the Braintree pair scoring 23 shots to their Silver End opponents, Ryan Mann & Jane Holland’s 19 shots.

Success continued for Donna Law, now with partner Rita Dodd in the Ladies County Unbadged Pairs, when they defeated a duo from Burnham Hillside B.C.

Braintrees Ladies Team for Top Club Comp. 2015In the Ladies County Top Club Competition played at Braintree, the Braintree ladies four teams comprising of Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours, competed valiantly against a very experienced Clacton Bowls Club team with the final result of 4-0 to the visitors.  This did not really reflect the excellent and dogged play of the Braintree Ladies.  Finally, this day proved to be a good learning curve for the less experienced players in the home team, whom I am sure enjoyed the day and in a match played in the traditional friendly manner of Bowls.

Braintree Teams in Top Club: 

Singles: Gill Costin, Pairs: Lynn Bottrill & Rita Dodd, Triples: Chris Beatty, Olive Hawkins & Pauline Green, Fours: Danielle Gibbons, Sandra Hearne, Linda Butcher and Jean Baxter.


National, County and Friendly Matches

The last week has been another busy period for Braintree Bowling Club members whom have been competing in the National and County games plus a friendly against a team of impaired bowlers.

Once again, Donna Law and Martin Law have been performing at the highest level with a win in the National Mixed Pairs winning by 5 shots against K. Moore and M. Wells from Radwinter Bowling Club.  This was complemented with a win for Donna Law in the County Unbadged Singles against D. Hood of Burnham B.C. with a 5 shot win.  Martin then matched his wife's success by taking the County Singles game after a tightly fought game against Kevin Cornwell from Tiptree, 23 shots to 20shots.

Another successful club member was Eddie Hawkins who achieved his first County Unbadged Single Handed success Away at Tiptree, by beating Kevin Cornwell by 5 shots, then followed this up with a win in the County Single Handed, at home, against Jeremy Welch of Dunmow B.C. with an 11 shot victory.

Braintree Bowling Pairs v Halstead PairsAgain, playing at home, the highlight for Eddie was playing alongside Keith Hunter in the County Pairs competition against a formidable duo from Halstead B.C., Pat Ashcroft and Roy Clements.  This was Keith's first year of County competitive bowls and his excellent play enabled the home duo to get a good start to their pairs debut, but their early 7 shot lead was eroded by their very patient and capable opposition.  At 11 ends, the teams were tied, then the Halstead pair took a 2 shot lead, which the home team replied to, by regaining the lead in the 17th end.  Keith and Eddie finally went into the final 21st end with a shot lead and after a very close head, added a further 2 shots, to come away the victors with 19 shots to 17 shots.  This was an admirable, sporting game of bowls, which was appreciated by both sets of players and the spectators.  Picture - Left to right: Keith Hunter & Eddie Hawkins (Braintree B.C.) and Roy Clements & Pat Ashcroft (Halstead B.C.

At the weekend, Braintree Bowling Club entertained a team of Impaired Bowlers.  This team consisted of blind, partially blind and amputee bowlers, many of whom had represented England in the Commonwealth Games and UK Bowling Championships.  After some well fought shots, Braintree B.C. came out on top of this very high level of bowling skills, in a friendly and compatible atmosphere.  Money raised at this function was donated to worthy causes in connection with disabled sportspersons.

Braintree B.C. versus Impaired Bowlers


Essex County Ladies Triples Teams

Essex County Ladies Triples CompetitionThe Braintree Ladies triple teams started their 2015 Essex County Competitions campaign with wins in both teams' opening matches of this new season.

Playing at home against a strong Great Baddow B.C.  trio, also having to contend with a strong squally wind, the Braintree team  composed themselves quickly,  under  the guidance of Skip - Pat Hart,  with lead Sue Jones and number 2, Lynn Bottrill  .  Apart from losing the first end, they continued the rest of the game's 17 ends with a leading score, taking their final winning tally to 21 shots against 13 shots.  This victory was especially gratifying as the team had had very little experience of playing together at this level of bowls and it was pleasing that each player, in turn, contributed to this well-earned victory.

While one team was winning at home another ladies Braintree B.C. triples team was playing away at Chelmsford against PML (Princess Marie Louise Bowling Club), gaining an outright victory with a score of 33 shots to 6 shots.  Once again, this strongly experienced Braintree team of Donna Law, Roni Taylor and Rita Dodds came through this round with every player contributing to this victory away from home.


Essex County Bowling Association Single Handed Competition

Martin LawLater in the evening, on home turf, Martin Law started his Essex County Bowling Association Single Handed Competition with a closely fought battle against R.A. Etheridge from Steeple Bumpstead Bowls Club.  

Martin was put under pressure in the early stages when his opponent took a substantial lead but Martin playing his usual calm, focussed and very precise game, finally out played his strong opponent to the winning 21 shots


Essex County's Ladies Pairs

The following day, Part Hart once again graced the hallowed green turf in the Essex County's Ladies Pairs.  Playing alongside her was Linda Butcher and together they battled the very stormy elements for two and half hours against another duo from Great Baddow B.C.  This time the visiting team gained their revenge from the previous Triples result with a margin of 11 shots.  The final score being Braintree B.C. 18 shots to Great Baddow's 29 shots. 



To end the Clubs topsy- turvy results in the North West Essex League (NWEL) and Individual Central Mid Week Bowling League (CMBL) competitions there was a final good result.  

After all three Braintree Teams lost their opening NWE games and one pair of Braintree Club Bowlers lost their 1st Round Pairs match against a pairs from Great Baddow, the only winners in the CMBL Pairs was Olive and Eddie Hawkins.  They had an exciting match against a duo also from Great Baddow B.C., Braintree B.C., winning with a final score of 18 shots to 15 shots.  Throughout this match, the Braintree couple had never lost their lead but the opposition gradually clawed their score back and with only two points between the two teams, going into the last end it was the Braintree pair who took a final point to win the match. 


Essex County B A against Cambridgeshire

Josh Heffernan Essex County v CambridgeshireJames Rippey Essex County v Cambridgeshire

Another Club honour this weekend came in the form of two young Braintree B.C. players being selected to play for the Essex County B A against Cambridgeshire, played at the Braintree Club, in Clare Road.

Firstly, it is a recognition that the club's playing surface is in excellent condition to warrant County matches.  Secondly, to have two young Braintree Club players, Josh Heffernan and James Rippey selected for the County, shows the quality of players that this Club can produce.  Both players have now played in the two opening Eastern Counties League games, against Hertfordshire winning 17 points to 5 points and adding another victory score of 18 points to 4 points against Cambridgeshire.   


2015 June

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions Donna Law

In the Champions of Champions, it fell to Donna Law to carry the individual honours for the Braintree Bowling Club in this major National Championship, which sees the best players from clubs throughout the whole country playing one another to proceed to the final.  

In Donna's case, she was drawn at home in the Essex C Area where she played Christine Kennedy from Brightlingsea in the Preliminary Round, taking the game by 5 clear shots.

Men's County Fours

The Men's County Fours competition on the same evening saw the Braintree quartet of Jack Mumford, Brian Taplin, Martin Law and Malcolm Stark take on a very strong Tiptree foursome which ended in a Braintree victory by 2 shots, 19 shots to 17 shots.


2015 July

Friendly Braintree v Clacton Indoor B.C

Braintree v-Clacton Indoor 2015 JulyThough the end result was a victory to Braintree Bowling Club in this five rink triples friendly match, against one of the best Indoor Bowling Clubs in the County, Clacton I.B.C, it also proved to be a bittersweet moment as the match as a whole was played in a competitive but friendly atmosphere which was a credit to both club.

Braintree eventually came out on top, with a victorious score of 86 shots to 68 shots winning 4 rinks, drawing one and losing one in this triples friendly.  It was also a good experience to encourage the newer members to outdoor bowls which is much harder to cope with due to the naturally different grass texture playing surface than that of the faster consistent carpet covering of the indoor game.

Braintree B.C. over the past winters, had experience of playing indoors at Clacton, which usually resulted in Braintree being completely outplayed because of the lack of playing on such a fast surface. In this recent friendly, the tables were turned as most of the Clacton players found the slower surface a daunting experience leaving their shots well short of the jack.  Though it must be said, as the games progressed, they began to claw back the score line as they adjusted to this alien surface.

Hopefully, this will become an annual event on the Summer Bowling programme, which again will enable Indoor players and Outdoor players to show off their prowess on the different surfaces.


2015 August

BENC, NWEBA, CMBL & Open Fours Competitions 

Over the past week, players from Braintree Bowling Club have shown their true prowess at different levels of the game of bowls. 

Donna Law 2 WoodThe Bowls England National Championships (BENC) at Royal Leamington Spa held over the past week became the debut outing for Donna Law as an Essex 2 Woods Single Champion. Donna had progressed through the County's early rounds of this competition playing at West End B.C., Colchester to gain a final place in the Essex County Women's Bowling Association competition to be played at Gidea Park.  

In the Final, she met Sue Wild of Rainham B.C., taking the match with a score of 14 shots to 10 shots.  This final pair qualified to go to the BENC representing Essex as A & B players.  Not only did they have the honour of playing for their County, the recognition as a BENC competitor enhanced their personal standing in the National Bowls rankings.  

Unfortunately, Donna was knocked out in the first round by K. Leader (Sawtry B.C. Huntingdonshire) after a very close match which went to the final end with a score of 17 shots to 14 shots.  K. Leader reached the Nationals Semi-Final, which gives a true reflection of Donna's achievement at her first National Championships.


Chris Long Malcolm Stark NWEL Semi Finals


In the North West Essex Bowling Association's Pairs competition, Chris Long and Malcolm Stark, two very experienced players from Braintree Bowling Club reached the Finals of this prestigious Pairs Competition by beating a pairs team from Halstead B.C. in the Semi-Finals.

To reach this stage of the competition they had to win their allocated 'B' Section, which comprised of 3 rounds against some very strong local club opposition.  They now await to hear who they will be competing against in the Final.


Braintree B Team Winners of CMBL League 5


Both the Braintree B.C.  'A' and 'B' team won their respective Central Midweek Bowling Leagues.

The 'A' team came out top of the Division 4 while the 'B' team won Division 5.  This will enable the growing number of new players to gain valuable experience against some of the strongest clubs in the County.

Picture - Braintree B Team Winners of CMBL League 5


Open Fours Winners
The Annual Open Foursomes was played at Braintree B.C. on Saturday.  It was well attended by several strong club teams throughout the County.  

The final was over 9 ends which resulted in Braintree's team, comprising of Donna Law, Martin Law, Jack Mumford and Josh Heffernan winning the trophy by beating Ilford B.C. by an unobtainable 9 shots margin at the end of the 8th end, after a very close scoring opening 3/ 4 ends of play.

Picture - Left to Right: Jack Mumford, Josh Heffernan, Donna Law, Martin Law


2015 September

Braintree Club Competition Finals

Once again the outdoor bowling's season is now coming to its end, heralding the completion of internal club competitions for all its members.  This was such a matter at the weekend, when over a period of three days Braintree Bowling Club finalised their internal competitions.  These competitions brought together many experienced and competent bowls players within the club. Though, the natural elements were in favour of some good bowling, the drop in temperature saw many of the 30-40 spectators wrapped up in warmer clothing to combat the cold.

The club followers were not disappointed with the standard of skill shown by the participants as there were some very close games, although the score line does not always reflect the true run of the game.  Eleven matches were played over the three days with single games dominating most of the matches followed by pairs in which the Club's sponsor - Daniel Robinson - had an interest as the provider of one of the trophies.

Jean Baxter Danielle Gibbons McCormickThe weekend started on Friday when, in the only game of the evening, the club's chairman, Andy Beatty, won the Veterans cup against an experienced opponent, Lyndon Hopkins. 

Saturday saw the completion of five other single games, plus two pairs matches.  Several senior players were matched together in these single matches, notably in the Hunnable Cup which was won by Josh Heffernan over Martin Law.  The Dyson Cup saw Donna Law beat Gill Costin in a very close game, then Gill Costin went on to beat Olive Hawkins in the Ladies Senior Cup.  

Both Novices Singles, Ladies and Gents were on the programme, with Danielle Gibbons taking the Ladies Novice trophy against Jean Baxter and Keith Hunter running out the winner against Carl Cheetham in the Gents Novices cup. 

Donna Martin Ian Rob Daniel Robinson


The two pairs matches, which saw the club's sponsors (Daniel Robinson) Self-Select Pairs Cup going to Martin and Donna Law against worthy opponents Rob Doleman and Ian Rubens.  Next came Josh Heffernan's trophy win in the Open Pairs with partner Ian Norgett against Keith Rixon and Andy Beatty.

Sunday brought about some excellent competitive bowling with three single matches and one pairs.  The weather which was now much warmer and sunny, obviously brought out the best in all the competing bowlers, as there were few shots between any of the opposing players.  In the Nicholls/Taylor Two Woods - Martin Law beat Dave barker by one shot and in the Keith Hunt Open Handicap Dave Hunt took this match against John Gill by seven shots.  The third singles, the Club Open Singles, was between two progressive Essex County players - Josh Heffernan and James Ripley which saw Josh Heffernan claim his third victory of the weekend.  The Club Finals finished on a very high note when in the Loving Cup pairs, Gill Costin and Paul Costin held Donna Law and Martin Law to a 21 shot last end shoot out.  The final outcome was victory to the Laws who took the final end by one shot. 

Photos - Jean Baxter (left) and Danielle Gibbons (right).  With Sponsors Logo - Rob Doleman and Ian Rubens (left), Donna & Martin Law (right). 


2015 October

Awards Evening and AGM 


Donna  Martin-Daniel RobinsonWith a good turnout of approximately 90 members and friends, the evening commenced with the Annual presentations for members who had been successful throughout the past Summer Outdoor bowls season.

Ian Rubens-Daniel Robinson

The evening saw several new members being presented with prizes and the more established, experienced players finishing their season on a high with some of the more coveted awards.


Pictures - (Top) Martin Law and Donna Law, (Left) Ian Rubens, all receiving the Daniel Robinson & Sons (OUR SPONSORS) Self Select Pairs Trophy from representatives of the Sponsor’s business.

There was also some memorable results for individual members at National, County and Regional League & Cup competitions.

In the National category, after winning the Ladies Individual Two Bowls County title, Donna Law represented Essex at the National Finals at Royal Leamington Spar. This was her debut outing in this competition at National level and earned her a worthy County Badge.  In the North West Essex Bowling Association Pairs Competition, Malcolm Stark and Chris Long took this trophy, while in the Central Midweek League, Braintree's 'A' team won the Percy McDonald Shield for the 4th consecutive year. The team comprised of:

Team 1 - Donna Law, Richard Dodds, Phil Deal and Clive Dickens

Team 2 Martin Law, Rita Dodds, Adele Long and Chris Long

Both the 'A' and 'B' Braintree teams won their individual leagues CMBL to gain promotion. In the open competitions, Braintree won the Open Foursomes and many other club players made progress and gained valuable experience in their individual County and Regional League competitions.

This part of the evening was followed by a supper after which the Chairman, Andy Beatty called the members to order to commence the A.G.M.  During the individual reports, there was continual praise for the ground Staff, under the leadership of Ken Chine, who had work hard throughout last winter in preparing a green fit to have County matches played on. It was hoped that several more volunteers would come forward to lighten the load of the present team of volunteers.

Financially the club was in a good position even though there had been quite a few withdrawals for vital green and kitchen equipment. The treasurer, Ian Norgett, assured the members that the financial health of the club should grow over the next twelve months and there had been a great interest in new members joining the club.

Both the Ladies Captain, Part Hart and Men’s Captain, Graham Michaels thanked all the participating playing members for their support throughout the season. The Chairman Andy Beatty thanked Danielle Gibbons, Web site manager, for the excellent format and layout which kept everyone informed at the touch of a button. Press releases had also kept the general public informed of club successes and the availability of the resources the club has to offer locally.

Probably, the only downside to the proceedings was the absent names and nomination of members to take up vital administration positions on both the Men's and Ladies committees.


2016 April

Indoor Bowls - Braintree v Clacton

Braintree v Clacton Indoor 2016 AprilFacing one of the Counties most successful Indoor Bowling Clubs, Clacton Indoor B.C., Braintree's outdoors players opened their pre-season warm-up with this annual match at Clacton.  Trying to come to terms with the speed and wide arching bias of the indoor greens, was to be the main priority for the visitors. Once self-confidence and awareness of the exceptional run of the bowls was conquered, the Braintree players began to get into their normal pattern of play and gradually clawed their way back to decrease the large shot deficit between the two teams.

As always, this really was more of a social outing and just a friendly warm up, complimented by the host teams benevolence and friendliness in putting on this annual event.

One consolation is that there is a return match outdoors at Braintree B.C. in August and traditionally the outdoor bowlers gain their revenge over the predominately indoor players.

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