2018 - 2019 Club News

(Mid April 2018 to Mid April 2019)

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


2018 April

Friendly - Men v Ladies 

Braintrees 2018 Ladies Gents Chairpersons Match

Braintree’s Men’s v Ladies Chairperson bowling teams, started their annual outdoor fixture on an immaculately prepared, pristine lush green. With four rinks taken up with mixed Triples and the greens only using short jacks to protect the early tender grass, plus the excellent weather conditions, it was an excellent opening to the new outdoor season for all the members taking part. 

Because of the unequal number of Lady to Gent members, the teams were mixed, which added to the enjoyment of the match. There was plenty of banter and mischievous remarks, mostly coming from the male members, which added to this friendly annual pre-season fixture atmosphere.

The outright winners were the teams representing the Ladies Chairperson, though the margin was by only a few shots. However, the main winner on the day was the ever-developing camaraderie between the players of Braintree Bowling Club.

Easter BunnyTo encourage new members and promote the game of bowls within the district, the Club are holding an Open Day on Saturday, 28th April at 11am at their club house in Clare Road, Braintree CM7 2PA (entrance between No. 29-30).  Any interested new or present bowlers can also get in touch with the Club's secretary, Richard Dodd - 01376 326142 or visit our website: - www.braintreebowlingclub.co.uk

As a prelude to this event, a few days earlier there had been a charitable event at the club for anyone interested in coming along to a Coffee Morning and a belated Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Bunny turned up to entertain the children and each child received an Easter Egg. The Macmillan Cancer Support were the recipients of the funds collected. 




2018 May

Ladies Top Club

Ladies Top Club 2018 

In this prestigious County Competition, Braintree Ladies Top Club drew at home to Dovercourt Bowling Club, which resulted in a very closely fought match.  The teams included ten players from each club, using 4 rinks for Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours, where the total of shots decided the eventual winners.  Unfortunately for Braintree, victory fell to the visitors who won on 3 rinks - Singles, Triples and Fours, with the Braintree Pairs team of Olive Hawkins and Linda Butcher taking the honours in their match.

The game was played in a friendly spirit on an extremely well-prepared green.  In fact, due to the quality of the Braintree Bowling Club's Green of 6 rinks, the Essex County Bowling Association have booked several Trial and Full County matches to be played at the Club over the rest of this season.  This is a "feather in the cap" for the green keeping team of volunteers who take pride in their work, producing probably one of the best greens in the County.


2018 June

Friendly - Braintree v Clacton IBC

Braintree v Clacton IBC 2018 

On a very fast green, more suited to Indoor Bowlers, the outdoor bowlers from Braintree found their home advantage diminished by their own club’s lightning quick surface.  It created a more even game, which saw the visitors taking advantage early on, while the home players found it hard to find the right weight for their shots, hence loosing many shots by bowling too long into the ditch. 

With six rinks of triples, Clacton took an early total shot lead overall, but this eventually changed by the end of the game, with Clacton winning on four rinks and losing heavily on two, giving the Braintree Team a home victory by 10 shots, with an overall score of 110 - 100 shots.

This was a most enjoyable day with a good friendly atmosphere and plenty of goodwill banter adding to this annual club friendly.


2018 July

Fixed Jack

Fixed Jack FinalistsOn a day more suited to having a nice long ice-cold drink in the shade of an exotic beach, Braintree Bowling Club held their annual Singles, 4 Wood Fixed Jack competition, an internal competition only for members.  It entails a round robin set up, where players play 8 ends, with the jack being placed at minimum length at one end and maximum length at the other end.  Shots are gained by bowlers trying to get as near to the jack as possible, without moving it.  If the jack is moved, then the jack is replaced back on its original starting point.  Because of the unusual low number of participants, there were 4 teams of 3 players who played each other to see who won their game by scoring the most shots.  Then in the semi-finals the winners of each team were drawn against one of the other winners, to go through to the final.

This type of competition brings out the best in players who are good at drawing the bowls close to the jack.  The spectators were not disappointed with any of the games, as each challenger produced some extremely tight heads throughout the whole competition.

The players who made it through to the semi-finals were, Carl Cheetham who was narrowly beaten by Eddie Hawkins and Tony Heales who was the victor in his game against George Carter.  After 7 ends in the Final game, the shot difference was too great for Eddie Hawkins to win the match and victory went to Tony Heales.  To make victory a little sweeter for Tony, it was his first ever Internal Club competition win.

Finalists - Eddie Hawkins (left) and Tony Heales (Right)


2018 August

Tribble Triples

Tribble Triples

Playing in very hot, energy sapping conditions, several Braintree Bowling Club members braved the elements to complete an internal club competition called the Tribble Triples. This competition was played on two rinks of 3 members playing against three other members. After these four teams had played, a further 4 teams played and this process was repeated once again until it was decided which two teams had gained the most wins and points to go forward to the final. 

The Finalists were: David Threadgold, David Grice and Rob Dolman who were beaten by Danielle Gibbons, Linda Butcher and David Hunt, with 6 shots to 5 shots over eight ends.


Club Charity Fun (Mad Hat) Day

Club Charity Fun Day

This was a weekend of competitive fun and fund raising for the players at Braintree Bowling Club. On Saturday 11th August, several players turned out for a Club Charity Fun (Mad Hat) Day to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Charity. Each player designed and wore a hat of their own choice while bowling on the greens. The hats varied from Swans, Top Hatted Rabbits to Tam-o'-shanters and various other designs. The competition was based on a Round Robin of four teams of fours, with the team winning the most games, plus their shots recorded taken into account, in the case of a draw. While playing, competitors were also fined 50p for any infringement that the umpire felt was inappropriate, i.e. hitting the jack, kissing the ladies, swearing and generally making a nuisance of themselves. This enabled the charity funds to be boosted, together with green fees and a raffle after a light meal in the club house.

The actual winners were Linda Butcher, Keith Rixon, Eddie Hawkins and Andy Beatty. The club also amassed a grand total of £300 for the Alzheimer's Charity.


Braintree v NWEBA Friendly

Braintree v NWEBA Friendly

Following on from the Club Charity Fun Day on the Saturday, the next day on Sunday, 12th August, 6 teams of 4 players competed against a strong North West Essex Bowling Association team in a competitive friendly match. This type of match gives regular club players a chance to meet and play against present and past County bowlers, thus hopefully enhancing their own game. NWEBA comprised of teams of men only, whereas the Braintree Bowling Club teams were comprised of both ladies and men.

The final result of the competition, over six rinks, was in favour of Braintree Bowling Club, who won by 108 shots to 102 shots, winning on 4 rinks and NWEBA on 2 rinks. The Top rink for Braintree comprised of the following players - Chris Long, Tony Heales, George Carter and Eric Hockley who won by 10 shots.

After the match, an excellent meal was laid out for the players by the hard-working ladies from Braintree B.C.


CMBL Pairs

CMBL PairsTwo of Braintree Bowling Club members, Roy Etheridge and Andy Beatty, gained the club their first major trophy of the season, winning the Pairs in the Central Midweek Bowling League's (CMBL) Essex Weekly News Shield Trophy. This final was played at Chelmsford B.C, where they beat Alastair Majewski and Paul Donley from Stock & Buttsbury Club by 21 shots to 16 shots.

The Braintree pair started off well with a 4-shot lead at the beginning, then added single shots to enhance their score. Gradually the opponents pulled back this advantage, making it a close nip and tuck game until on the nineteenth end, the Braintree pair once again scored 4 shots and then finally finished the match to run out winners of this coveted Trophy.


2018 September

Finals Weekend

With ideal weather conditions for bowling, the Club’s Internal Competitions Finals presented the players with every opportunity to show their true prowess as accomplished bowlers. They did not disappoint the spectators on both days, with some extremely close scoring games and ones that did not really reflect the competitive play.

Saturday's morning games brought about a very tight Hunnable Mens Singles game between two County class players, Graham Easterbrook and Roy Etheridge. This went right to the final end, with Roy taking the winning the shot to win the game 21 shots to 20 shots. On the other greens, hard-fought matches resulted in Josh Heffernan losing to Rob Doleman in the Mens Two Wood Singles and Jean Baxter and Gill Costin losing to Donna Fennelly and Pauline Green in the Joan Taylor 2 Wood Pairs.

Saturday afternoon saw Roy Etheridge and Vic Cole pair up to take the Random Pairs game against David Grice & Lyndon Hopkins. David Hunt fought and won a close game against Roni Taylor in the Keith Hunt Open (Sets) pairs and in the Ladies Random Pairs, Gill Costin and Donna Fennelly took the match against Danielle Gibbons and Nita Watson.

The internal competitions resumed on Sunday morning with the continuation of some very close games, notably in the Ladies Novice's competition, which once again saw the finalists, Donna Fennelly and Freda Laidlaw, playing well above their novice status. The match was nip and tuck for the full game with Donna just edging a win on the final end. The Ladies Dyson Championship gave Gill Costin her second win of the weekend when she took on Olive Hawkins. Andy Beatty once again continued his good bowling run with a close win over Ian Rubens in the Mather Singles Handicap, while Vic Cole went down to Roy Etheridge in the Mens Veteran Singles.

The afternoon started off as the morning with close games. In the Mens Novices Singles, David Grice gained the vital winning shot against George Carter after over 2 hours play. Roy Etheridge claimed his third trophy win in the Daniel Robinson Self- Select Pairs with partner Chris Long, playing against Albie Ayres and Pauline Green. Gill Costin staked her claim to her third trophy, winning the Ladies Senior Singles against Nita Watson.

The longest match of the day was in the Loving Cup, which took over 3 hours to complete, with the winners Olive Hawkins and Eddie Hawkins taking the title against an extremely unlucky bowling couple, Danielle Gibbons and Carl Cheetham.


North West Essex Bowling Association (NWEBA) League Finals

Braintree Bowling Club had the privilege of hosting the NWEBA Finals at the weekend. With perfect weather for this annual event, the spectators were treated to some very close fought matches, with scores ebbing and flowing between the rival teams. The two finals, Singles and Triples, which involved players from Braintree Bowling Club were nail biting contests.

Martin Spencer NWEBA Singles FinalistThe Singles, involving Martin Spencer from Braintree B.C. and Adrian Papple from Silver End B.C., saw Martin take an early lead, but this was slowly eroded by Adrian until the 17th end, when the Silver End player took a two-shot lead (16 shots to 14 shots). Martin then tightened up his game to narrow the score, but was unfortunately unable to match Adrian's shots over the remaining ends and the Silver End player finished with 21 shots.

Success came in the Triples match against a very strong Bocking B.C. team, which again was a nail-biting affair. The Braintree three, Brian Taplin, Roy Etheridge and Josh Heffernan, battled their way through this eighteen-end competition to gain the winning shots on the last end. This was the third consecutive year that Braintree had been in the final, winning it in 2016, finalists in 2017 and champions once again in 2018.

NWEBA Triples Winners

Triples Team - Left To Right – Brian Taplin, Josh Heffernan, Roy Etheridge and Far Right, Andy Beatty (Substitute Who Had Played In An Earlier Round Of This Competition). 


Timber Trade Benevolent Society Bowling Competition

Whenever possible, Braintree Bowling Club open their greens up for charity games to benefit deserving Benevolent Societies. This was the case last Thursday when the Timber Trade Benevolent Society (Charity Registration No. 207734) held their annual Fours competition on the club's green.

There were 6 teams of 4 club teams, of which one was from Braintree Bowling Club, two of the clubs came from Suffolk, Avalon Forest B.C. and Boxford B.C., both clubs entering 2 teams, while the sixth team was provided by the Timber Trade Society.

The competition was run on a Round Robin basis with each team playing one another over an 8 ends game. This meant that each player would play 40 ends in total, which related to approximately 5-6 hours total play on the green. Fortunately, there was a break after two matches, followed by a Fish & Chip meal, then a resumption to finish the final 3 games, which in turn was followed by tea and biscuits and the presentation of the trophy and prize money. The scores were added up - 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and nothing for a loss. Every game was closely fought with many a yo-yo effect on the scores, but eventually Avalon Forest 'B' ran out the Winners with Boxford Bowls ' B' taking second spot.

Timber Trade Benevolent Society presentation

Presentation by Malcolm Cowley to Avalon Forest 'B' Team. David Francis is in the Back Line. 

The generosity of some of the Winning players was borne out when they returned their monetary prizes to the Benevolent Society, making a grand total of £250 for this charity, which caters for the welfare and health of past and present employees of the Timber Trade. 

Avalon Forest Team

 The Two Teams from Avalon Forest Bowling Club A & B Teams with the Trophy.

An appreciative vote of thanks for arranging this Benevolent Day, was shown to Malcom Cowley and David Francis, both members of Braintree Bowling Club.


2018 October

Awards Evening & AGM

Once again, the Annual Braintree Bowling Club Competitions Awards Evening was well attended, after which a fish and chip supper was followed by the Club's AGM.


The opening awards Self- Select Pairs Cup was presented by our sponsors Daniel Robinson & Sons, together with a splendid basket selection of Food and Wine for each competitor. The winners were Chris Long and Roy Etheridge who beat Pauline Green and Albie Ayres in a very tight game.

The interesting and encouraging prospect for the Club, was the increasing number of generally good club players receiving awards in the prestigious matches against more recognised Essex County Bowling Association and County League players. This bodes well for the future advancement for the Club within the Ladies and Gents sections. In fact, it was made aware in the Ladies section that next season, more Ladies would be entering in the County matches and they would continue their quest to improve their standing in the Ladies North West Essex League. It was also pointed out how noticeable the improvement of the Ladies bowling skills and confidence had reflected in the internal club competitions.

Success in the major bowling leagues, saw Andy Beatty and Roy Etheridge take the honours in the Central Mid-Week League (CMBL) and Essex Weekly News Shield Pairs Competition. Then both these bowlers joined Brian Taplin and Josh Heffernan to win the North West Essex League Triples trophy - Andy Beatty qualifying for a medal because he substituted in two matches. Martin Spencer achieved finalist spot in the North West Essex League Singles, putting up a tremendous fighting finish to go down by one shot to the winner.

Click Here to See 2018 Finalists

Annual General Meeting

With the Club’s centenary year in 2019, the members were made aware by the Chairperson, Andy Beatty, of matches that would be played against England Bowls, County BA plus several other prestigious opposition with hopefully every member of the playing section of the club having a part to play against these teams. Other memorabilia were also being looked at, which included a published book on the Club's 100 years History, special bowls stickers, pin badges and other related items to celebrate this momentous occasion in the club's history.

It was also stated by the Treasurer, Ian Norgett, that the Club, though financially stable, could find themselves spending far more money on the upkeep of our excellent playing greens. The possibility of having to repair or buy new equipment could reduce our bank balance quite considerably, so he proposed that our subscriptions be conservatively raised to help towards any possible increase of club’s expenses. This proposition was seconded and agreed by all members present.

Obviously, an increase in membership of the club would help considerably, together with the many other social aspects within the club, namely Indoor Short Mat bowls, Cribbage and Table Tennis during the Winter period. If anyone is interested in joining this friendly club, then please get in contact with the Hon. Secretary - Richard Dodd - 01376 326142.


2019 February


Potters Picture Gallery

To celebrate the beginning of Braintree Bowling Club's Centenary Year, twenty-seven club members made an annual visit to Potters Indoor Bowling Centre to take part in the competitive Indoor Bowling and Short Mat Bowls events, at the Hopton-on-Sea resort. This venue, which the club has visited over the past three years, is not only for competitive bowls, but is an excellent chance to build the ever-increasing camaraderie between all level of players at Braintree Bowling Club.

The speed and line required to bowl, familiar to indoor bowlers, initially had an impact on Braintree Bowling Club, which comprised mostly outdoor bowlers.  Notably, as the matches progressed, there was a definite improvement in everyone’s play.  Unfortunately, the five competing Braintree teams did not progress into the eventual last sixteen teams, made up of four teams of four playing 12 ends or one and a half hours, with the winners scoring the highest points and in the case of a draw, shot difference.

Fortunately, Braintree’s players found success elsewhere, in the many other competitive events, winning Gold medals in Archery, Rifle Shooting, Curling and Wellington Boot Throwing.

Thanks goes to Ian Norgett (Club Treasurer), for the everyday organising of teams throughout the whole week, and dealing with any problems arising during the short stay at this popular event. 

Bowling Teams:

  1. 1. Lorraine Wilkinson, Steve Wilkinson, Ian Norgett & Tony Heales
  2. 2. Olive Hawkins, Eddie Hawkins, Gill Costin & Paul Costin
  3. 3. Donna Fennelly, Joe Fennelly, Freda Laidlaw & John Laidlaw
  4. 4. Sandra Mayne, Sylvia Spratling, Ron Chivers & Keith Rixon
  5. 5. Bob Steele, Lorraine Barnes, Tom Rackley & Rebecca Rixon

Short Mat Bowler:    Gill Chivers.

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