Author Archives: Mikey Titcombe

Avon Bowls Club – Celebrating 100 Years!

Avon Bowls Club – Celebrating 100 Years!

Centenary celebrations are always an exciting time for bowls clubs and their members, and this year Avon will be the latest Wiltshire addition to the 100 club. It is a fantastic achievement to recognise, and all at Avon are looking forward to a busy calendar of events to allow them to celebrate accordingly. Additionally, this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the forming of the Ladies section of the club.

A brief history of Avon Bowls Club

In 1920, the house and grounds were purchased by the Avon Rubber Company for use as the Sports and Social Centre for the ‘social welfare of their employees’. It was to include indoor activities such as snooker, skittles and darts. In the grounds outside, there was enough room for tennis, cricket and bowls. The original founding of Avon Bowls Club could well have been earlier than 1922, if it hadn’t have been for an unfortunate fire significantly damaging Melksham House at the end of 1920. Work was ongoing on the rebuild throughout the entirety of 1921, and into early 1922. In July 1922, the formal reopening finally took place, with the celebrations including a cricket match against Devizes, a tennis tournament, and a bowls match against Melksham Town, which much to their delight up against one of the oldest and strongest clubs in Wiltshire, the Avon members won.

The initial bowling green consisted of 3 rinks and was crafted from an area of lawn adjacent to the house. 7 years later, this was extended to 4 rinks before eventually expanding further to a 6 rink green in the 1950’s. Initially, only a Men’s section was established, however with the popularity of Bowls growing, more and more women began to play the game and therefore in 1972, a Ladies section was formed which eventually amalgamated with the Men’s section in 2009.

In 1997 US Based Cooper Tyre and Rubber Company took over the Avon Tyres site. The bowls club became ‘Cooper Avon’. However, it became apparent over time that the new company were showing little interest in Melksham House and in 2011 it was sold to Wiltshire Council. In 2012 the club reverted to being just ‘Avon’ again and in 2014 it became Independent, with no links to the rubber company or the County Council. In 2018 it obtained a 5 year lease with a fifty year lease pending.

Plans for the Centenary Season

Captains John Crowder and Dawn Edwards, supported ably by the management committee, despite facing various challenges due to the ongoing work on the new campus and a renovation of Melksham House, have created a fantastic programme of events for the season, worthy of such a wonderful milestone. For any club, this level of activity can be costly, but a mix of membership subscriptions and innovative club fundraisers over winter months and during covid lockdowns have helped to ease the financial burden. In addition to this, Avon are being kindly supported by Poolman Patios, MDP Ltd South West Contractors, Leekes,  Avon Trophies, Farmhouse Inn Southwick, Co-Op, W J Bevans, SS Carpenters and Bradford Ltd  and Pelican.

The club got the bowls rolling on Saturday 16th of April, with club captains Crowder and Edwards hoisting the club flag, followed by a 6 rink opening match amongst members. The photo shows club members proudly displaying the new design club anniversary shirts. Avon now look forward to a very busy year, with additional Centenary Home Games already arranged during the season as follows:

Sunday 1st May – Pontypridd

Sunday 8th May – Holt

 

Sunday 5th June – Barbarians B.A

Saturday 11th June – Chippenham Park

Sunday 12th June – Bowls Wiltshire Mixed

Tuesday 14th June – Bowls England

 

Sunday 10th July – Swindon and District B.A

Sunday 17th July – Friends of Bowls England

 

Sunday 14th August – Pewsey Vale

Saturday 20th August – Blue Circle

Sunday 21st August – Supermarine

 

Congratulations to Avon Bowls Club on a fantastic milestone and all at Bowls Wiltshire wish them the very best with their ongoing celebrations!

Ladies National Pairs reaches Quarter Final Stage – Report

Bowls Wiltshire Ladies National Pairs Update – Competition reaches last 8!

With our representatives having been decided in the Fours and Triples, next up for Bowls Wiltshire Ladies is the National Pairs, and after 3 rounds of action, the competition has been whittled down to just 8 teams, and all 8 are representing different clubs!

The 4 qualifiers from the North side of the county who will head to Devizes on the 25th June to battle for national qualification consist of pairings from Purton, Chippenham Park, Highworth and Stratton Churchways. Alison Fail’s Purton duo have been pushed hard in their matches to reach this point, securing tough away victories over Babs Salter and Lynda Whittingham’s pairs, before securing a strong home victory over Deanne Davis in the last 16 to secure their quarter-final spot.

In the last 8 they will battle Becky Gale and partner of Chippenham Park, who have secured three victories en route to booking their place at Devizes, two strong wins away from home over Supermarine and Westlecot teams were backed up by a 10-shot win in the last 16, at home over Julia Hunt and partner of Wanborough.

Linda Young’s Highworth pairing have also faced some challenging matches in their early rounds, most recently in the last 16 securing a one shot victory at home over their Supermarine opposition. They also travelled to Westlecot in their second round match and secured an 8 shot victory over Linda Perfitt and partner.

The final pair to discuss to complete the North section qualifiers are Wendy Anderson’s Stratton Churchways duo. They opened their account for their campaign with a strong win away at Westlecot, and backed this up with a strong victory over clubmate Janet Willis, before eventually securing their place in the quarter-finals with a 7 shot victory at home over Yvette Maxwell-Darkes of Royal Wootton Bassett.

The 4 qualifiers from the South side of the county who will join the North pairings at Devizes to fight for the two spots available to Wiltshire at Leamington in the national finals are made up of teams from Box, Devizes, Amesbury and Avon.

Bev Lilley and partner of Devizes have been in fantastic form on their way to booking their place in the last 8. Playing away from home all the way to securing a place in the quarter-finals, hosted by their own club, they have recorded victories over Wilton, Amesbury and Box duos by 11, 17 and 9 shots respectively. They will now meet Wendy Anderson’s Stratton Churchways pairing who as mentioned previously have also been enjoying an excellent run.

Kathryn Yeoman has been enjoying a rich vein of form so far this season, having qualified in the National Fours and reaching the last 8 of the county in the National Triples. This form has continued into the Pairs, with three convincing away victories being recorded, 25-3 over a Downton duo, a 29-12 victory over a Trowbridge combination and a remarkable 28-3 victory away at Amesbury in the last 16. They will face Linda Young in the quarter-final at Devizes, who has enjoyed an identical start to competitions this season, also securing a spot at Leamington in the Fours and losing out in the last 8 of the county in the Triples.

The final quarter-final match up to discuss is a battle of the South between Ali Noyes of Amesbury and Marcia Easton of Avon. Ali and partner have built momentum from a closely-fought first round victory at home, 18-14 over opposition from Wilton, followed up with back-to-back 26-13 victories at home over opponents from their own club, and a pair from Salisbury. Marcia’s Avon pair have enjoyed 3 strong victories at home over opponents from Salisbury, Amesbury and Devizes to secure their place in the quarter-final line-up.

All 8 pairs will compete on the morning of 25th June, with the winning pairs battling it out in the afternoon for the 2 spots representing Wiltshire in the National Pairs at Leamington. Good luck to all involved!

Middleton Cup Match Report – Worcestershire 4th June

Bowls Wiltshire Middleton Cup vs Worcestershire 4th June – Match Report

In a repeat of last year’s opening Middleton Cup match and still in the new knockout format, Wiltshire travelled to the neutral venue of Barnwood in Gloucestershire to take on Worcestershire, looking to avenge last season’s disappointing defeat that eliminated us at the first hurdle.

Wiltshire came out of the blocks far quicker than last season, racing into a 35-22 lead overall after 5 ends across the board. Steve Snell’s quartet got off to a remarkable start, leading 14-0. The only rink trailing at this point was Graham Shadwell’s who trailed 8-2 to Harvey Griffiths.

The 10 end point in the match saw Wiltshire assert themselves further extending the overall lead to 28 shots, 66-38. None of our rinks at this point were behind and confidence across the green looked to be incredibly high. At 15 ends, the momentum had slowed slightly, but we were still maintaining a strong lead overall, extending from 28 to 29 shots. All rinks were leading at this point with the exception of Neil Collett’s rink who were locked in a tough battle with Richard Moule, trailing by just a single shot with 6 ends left to play.

However, the next 3 ends across the board would leave Worcestershire with a huge mountain to climb to get back into the game, as Wiltshire extended their lead to 43 shots. This was largely helped by Mike Snell and Graham Shadwell’s rinks scoring 8 and 7 shots respectively without reply.

Eventually, Wiltshire would see out the game with a 34 shot overall victory and no losing rinks to secure our place in the next round. A very good all-round team performance, with a fantastic team spirit on display. We will now face Devon at the neutral venue of Chew Stoke BC on Saturday 18th June.

Well done to all involved!

Rink Scores:

Kyle Anderson, Mike Richards, Graham Hatherall and Steve Snell beat G Burbridge 20-19

Tom Warner, Wayne Simmonds, Wayne Snook and Mike Snell beat J Oliver 22-15

Andy Blake, Tom Pittuck, Dave Godwin and Russell Francis beat R McCaughtrie 22-16

Dave Snell, Andy Moore, Mel Biggs and Scott Edwards beat S Poyner 20-13

Adam Bolwell, Nick Revell, Neil Yeoman and Graham Shadwell beat H Griffiths 26-13

Paul Kistle, Craig Hatherall, Neil Smith and Neil Collett drew with R Moule 17-17

Ladies National Triples Report

Wootton Bassett and Trowbridge Westbourne secure next places at national finals

Another ladies competition reached its conclusion yesterday, with the last 8 teams in the county battling it out at Box to bag themselves one of the two available spots at Leamington for the end of season National Finals.

In the top half of the draw, we saw trios from Amesbury, Westlecot, Box and Trowbridge Westbourne contest the first spot. The first encounter saw Ann Humphries, Janice Bull and Janice Rowe take on Ann Haunton, Lynda Whittingham and Lucy Smith. The Westlecot trio had been involved in the latter stages of the fours, just narrowly missing out on qualification, so they were out to go one better today. Unfortunately though, the Amesbury triple had other ideas, and managed to secure a victory to put themselves one win away from the national finals.

Our next match-up pitted Jean Collier, Debbie Shadwell and Kathryn Yeoman of Box against Bhel Poole, Janice Costley and Yvonne Fitch of Trowbridge Westbourne. Having all recently qualified for the finals in the national fours and being on their own green, the Box triple would have been feeling confident heading into this match, however their opposition produced a very strong display to defy the odds and advance to the Semi-Final, where they would face Amesbury to determine which of these sides would go on to represent Wiltshire at Leamington at the end of the season.

In the bottom half of the draw, trios representing Highworth, Royal Wootton Bassett, Chippenham Town and a second Box side took to the green to contest the second spot at Leamington. In the first match in this section, Maggie Jordan, Jo Hicks and Linda Young took of Highworth took on Patricia Murray, Bev Williamson and Charlie Godwin of Royal Wootton Bassett. Just like the aforementioned Box triple skipped by Kathryn Yeoman, the Highworth trio were all involved in one of the fours that recently secured a spot at Leamington, so they would have been full of confidence heading into this. However, it was the Royal Wootton Bassett trio that thwarted their momentum, securing the victory and advancing to the crucial, high stakes afternoon match.

The final match of the morning session involved a trio from Chippenham Town consisting of Michelle Jackson, Viv Baskerville and Barbara Land taking on the second Box trio competing, comprising of Trish Meek, Hazel Cousins and Mary Newman. The Chippenham Town combination had recorded an impressive run of wins over stiff opposition to reach this stage, whilst the Box trio survived two trips to Amesbury, where they recorded a strong opening win, then survived a tough battle when they returned there in their previous round. In this case, it was the Chippenham Town triple that continued their fantastic form and secured their place in the Semi-Final later in the day, where they would battle the Royal Wootton Bassett triple.

Onto the Semi-Final matches, and in the top half of the draw the triple skipped by Janice Rowe took on the triple skipped by Yvonne Fitch. Both triples had been on a run of fantastic form to reach this stage and served up a great battle, but it was the Trowbridge Westbourne triple who continued their quest for national glory and secured their place at Leamington with a strong win.

In the second half of the draw, Barbara Land & co of Chippenham Town took on Charlie Godwin’s Royal Wootton Bassett triple for the other spot available to a Wiltshire trio at Leamington. Again, this was a great battle between two strong sides, however it was the Royal Wootton Bassett combination that managed to come out on top and secure their national finals spot.

Congratulations to both teams, next up for Wiltshire Ladies is the National Pairs, which is now in full swing!