PRESIDENT'S DIARY 2017

Wednesday 16th August - For my final game in the Presidential programme a visit was made to the Penenden Heath Bowls Club celebrating their 90th year. For me it was a return to the green where I first bowled a wood in in the early 70's having been invited to join the KCOBC knowing nothing of the game. The return brought back fond memories of those early days and having been welcomed by President Sue Morley and members of the club the game was played under blue skies. It was a win for the P & C team but it was the hospitality and welcome from the home players that won the day and rounding off what has been a most enjoyable and memorable year as President. I am also indebted to the host club for their most generous donation to my chosen charity Cancer Research and for my personal gift of an engraved tankard. Words alone cannot express my appreciation for the support of the Officers and Council members throughout the year and for all players who have supported in Middleton Cup, Home Counties League and friendlies you have all given me a year to cherish. It is now off to Royal Leamington Spa for two weeks in support of the Kent representatives in the national finals.

Wednesday 26th July - Today we visited Sawbridgeworth B C for the county friendly encounter with Hertfordshire. With a game played under heavy skies we were lucky to stay dry throughout the match which resulted in a win to the home county 122 to 112 shots although a moral victory was claimed as we won on four of the six rinks. Again I must thank the Kent players for their commitment to these fixtures which remain an important part of the County calendar although it was disappointing to arrive one player short with a number of people having cancelled out in spite of previously having confirmed their availability. Thanks to those who did come in at short notice although with the number of badged players in Kent we should not be in this position.

 

Thursday 27th July - Today we faced the Kent Ladies in the annual fixture played off the mats

at Maidstone B C in order to protect the green for Sunday's County Finals where play commencing at 10.00 a.m. In what is always a keenly fought contest the men came away with a win to retain the Wells trophy. As President it was a pleasure for me to welcome ladies President, Sylvia to my own club with her executive officers and to be able to congratulate them on qualifying for the national championships in both the John's Trophy and the Walker Cup. It also gave me the opportunity to thank the club for the support given to me as the County President with particular reference to our green keeper and the ladies who work so hard to see we are well fed. Saturday will find me in West Ealing as Kent take on Middlesex in the home counties league with a return to Maidstone on Sunday for the County Finals where I will look forward to welcoming the players and supporters.

Monday 24th July - Having completed a week of quarter / semi finals in the county competitions with the third and fourth playoffs at Maidstone yesterday and with the Middleton Cup Quarter finals on Saturday it is now time to take breath. Firstly my congratulations goes to all players who have now qualified for the national championships at Royal Leamington Spa and I look forward to giving them my support. Congratulations on also reaching the County Finals to be played at Maidstone B C on Sunday 30th July with an all day programme. What of the Middleton Cup! to say I was a very proud President after the tremendous team effort produced by the players which will be published shortly at Egham on Saturday to overcome a strong Buckinghamshire team would be an understatement. I cannot thank the players enough for their effort in what was a closely fought game of the highest standard. I now look forward with confidence as we move on to Royal Leamington Spa for the semi final on Saturday 5th August where will again take on the might of Devon. My thanks also goes to those people who traveled to Egham in support of the team as your encouragement and enthusiasm is invaluable. See you in Leamington. Wednesday will see me in Sawbridgeworth for the County friendly against Hertfordshire.

Wednesday 5th July - Sandwich was the venue for today's county friendly with the KCIBA and with a deficit of 50+ shots from the pre-season indoor game the opportunity to reclaim the "wooden horse" was always going to be a difficult one. The game played under blue skies with the usual rivalry between the two Associations remained close throughout with the indoor association coming away with a 1 shot victory over the six rinks. So it is congratulations to Martin Groombridge, in his first game as Indoor County President and his team on their win and on retaining the trophy. (It would not have fitted in our trophy cabinet anyhow!!) Thanks must also go to the host club Sandwich for their support of this game with special mention of Diane and Gordon for providing such an excellent buffet. My thanks also to the officers and players of the KCBA for their support of this fixture with particular thanks to those who came in at short notice. With sixteen changes in the recent home counties league game from the original selection and changes in this game I do question players commitment to their County when having previously made themselves available for selection. It should be considered an honour to represent your county at what ever level - it certainly was when I was at the top of my game. 

Tuesday 4th July - today it was a visit to my own club Maidstone with the President & Council team by way of celebration in my Presidential year. I cannot thank the club enough for the efforts made in ensuring a successful day which I know was fully appreciated by my fellow officers and team members. The green is in an excellent condition and Dave and his team are to be congratulated. Whilst the P & C team came out as winners that was secondary in the context of the day for it was the friendship and the game of bowls that won. The game was followed by an excellent meal prepared by the Maidstone Ladies for which I give my sincere thanks on behalf of the County Association. Thank you Maidstone you did me proud and today will be alongside the highlights of an enjoyable year.

 

Thursday 29th June - today the President & Council team were welcomed by Wrotham Bowls Club for a four rink game. Played under cloudy skies the match remained close throughout with the President's team being the eventual winners by 3 shots. A good performance all round. The club are to be thanked for their hospitality and welcome and for the effort that went into ensuring the day was a success. A visit to the local hostelry was well received before moving to an adjacent room for a buffet supper. The club's donation from the raffle proceeds to the President's charity was very much appreciated. My thanks again to the Officers and members of Council for their support with particular thanks to those who answered Bill's needs late

Wednesday 21st June - Today, on what turned out to be the hottest day for many a year, the President & Council  team visited Tonbridge Bowls Club. Having been associated with the club as their Divisional Secretary for many years I was delighted to have been able to accept their invitation and have the opportunity to thank the club for their support of the Association and a willingness to host various county events. The day proved to be a great success although it was agreed to reduce the match to 18 ends with heat exhaustion becoming apparent. Whilst it was a win for the President's team this was of no consequence in the spirit of the game for as is normal it was bowls and friendship that triumphed. It was a pleasure for me to be able to congratulate the club on the condition of the green and for the maintenance of the gardens and to thank the ladies for an excellent meal. All in all a great day with final thanks going to my Officers and Council members for their continued support in making this a year to remember. A day off today with a hospitality visit to Lingfield races in the hope of building up funds for the rest of the season. My thoughts then turn to Saturday and our home encounter with Sussex at Marden in the Middleton Cup where the team will be looking to build on the success of the two previous games. All support is welcome with the game commencing at 2.00p.m 

 

Sunday 18th June - Sutton B C Surrey was the venue for today,s White Rose Trophy regional final (under 25doublerink) where Kent again faced Berkshire. In a keenly fought game with only 2 or 3 shots in it throughout the final result was a defeat by 1 shot and an obvious disappointment to all those involved. A result even harder to take by some of the players in their last year with the under 25,s as this is the third consecutive year the team has been beaten by 1 shot at this stage of the competition. These players did their county proud and with every game there has to be a winner and a looser - your time will come as you all have the ability to succeed at the highest level.

 

Saturday 17th June - Today we travelled to Suttons B C Reading for our second game in this year Middleton Cup series to face Berkshire. Having faced traffic congestion on route it was a relief when all members of the team had reported in ahead of the 2.00 p.m. start. Taking to the green the team started confidentially leading from the first end but with only an 8 shot advantage at 10 ends the game remained in the balance. A solid second half performance across all rinks led to an increase in the shot difference with the Kent team eventually securing a 130 to 92 shots victory a terrific result in the context of the competition. Winning on 4 rinks the team secured 18 points to add to the 16 from the earlier game as we now take on Sussex at Marden next Saturday who have 39 points from 3 games so a Kent victory will put the team in the driving seat in looking to reach the quarter finals. My congratulation and thanks to all involved in today,s victory brought about by skill, determination and a united team playing for each other. My thanks also to the reserves who travelled you are a vital member of the squad in support of the Team Manager, Steve and his assistant Fred who have difficult decisions to make with selection. Keep it going lads you are doing your President proud.
 

Wednesday 14th June - Bellingham B C, a club I have not visited since 1999, was the venue for today's encounter with the County Patron's led by "Mr Patron" himself, Chairman Roger Dean. The game played on what was probably the hottest day of the year for bowls resulted in an 11 shot win for the President & Council team but this did not stop Chairman Roger claiming victory as his rink secured a 2 shot win over me. In thanking all players for their support of the game I took the opportunity to express my concerns over the demise of the Patron's Association in recent years and the unwillingness of members to make themselves available as Officers of the Association. With no support this could be the last time the P & C played the Patrons and it is not something on want on my record to say I was the last President to play them. I wish the sub-committee every good fortune in their endevours to restructure the Association and in finding support but at the end of the day it is down to us the bowlers. My thanks go to Bellingham for their preparation of the green and in the provision of the after match meal for without such clubs we would not be able to fulfill such games. My thanks also to those players who made themselves available for this game. 

 

Thursday 8th June - Holmesdale B C was today,s venue for County to entertain Bowls Hampshire in a County friendly match. With the game played under grey skies and gusting winds the conditions faced were challenging to say the least. However from the banter across the green everybody enjoyed the game which resulted in a comfortable win for the home side. It was my pleasure to present county badges to Mike Ruffhead (Orpington Excelsiors) and Carlo Azzopardi (Bromley Town) having both reached the latter stages of the Un-badged singles in 2016. My sincere thanks to the players who supported this game and in adding to the success of the day. As always we are indebted to the host club in making their facilities available and for their hospitality with special thanks to the ladies with the provision of the after match meal. It is now onto Sandwich this Sunday in support of the Balcombe Trophy game against Surrey with a 11.00 a.m start.

With the disappointed of the previous

 

Wednesday 7th June. days game at Sevenoaks B C having been cancelled due to the weather it was off to Deal B C for today's President & Council game. Three visits in three years for the Council team was unusual but with the game played under clear skies we were delighted to take to the green and with players travelling from all parts of Kent it confirmed the popularity of the venue. On behalf of Council I express thanks firstly for the invitation and secondly for the hospitality given to my players and visitors alike. The efforts in the preparation of the green were appreciated as was the meal put before us after the game. As I often state these games remain an integral part of the programme and we see it is a way of reaching out to clubs and to make them aware of the work that goes on within the Association and to come face to face with the Officers. I personally thank the club for the support of my charity and would be delighted to see them represented at the Annual Dinner & Presentation evening on Saturday 21st October. (Details have been circulated to all clubs so please support). Again my thanks to Deal and its members enjoy your season.

 

Saturday 3rd June- Today Kent faced Oxfordshire, at Marden in the Middleton Cup, the first of four group games. What a game this turned out to be and not one for the faint hearted with the Kent lads falling behind from the outset and showing a deficit of 17 shots at 15 ends which was soon to become 27 shots a few ends later. To the teams credit and with encouragement all round they began to pull things back to reduce the deficit to only 4 shots at the completion of the 15 ends. With skill and determination the team went ahead by 8 shots with the completion of 18 ends to then see the game out with a 6 shot victory netting 16 points to Oxfordshire,s 6. My congratulations to all involved in a great team performance as we now look forward to facing Berkshire at Sutton.s Reading on Saturday 17th June. My thanks again to Marden for their hospitality and in preparation of the green which was probably one of the quickest experienced by the players of both sides this season.

Thursday 1st June - A day to remember for the President and Council team at Marden played under blue skies. Having been associated with the club for nigh on forty years this was a game I was looking forward to. I was delighted Mick Collins was able to attend and to sit as the non-playing captain. Mick and his team made us extremely welcome by providing a first class green and hospitality to match. With the President's rink falling behind it was left for the rest of the team to secure the victory led by the rink of Micheal George Bannister who just fell short of a half century of shots. The club's contribution to my charity was  appreciated as was everything they did in making the day a success.. My thanks to my Officers and players for their support and commitment. It is back to Marden on Saturday for the opening game in the Middleton Cup as Kent take on Oxfordshire. All support welcome.

The President and Council next travel to Sevenoaks on Tuesday 6th June and with some players involved in the County Competitions, Bill Green is looking for replacements. Please contact him if you can help.

Saturday 27th May 2017Maidstone B C was the venue for today's HCL match with Surrey as Kent looked to retain the title won last year. Although on the day the win was in favour of Surrey by 116 shots to 112 Kent did win on 4 rinks resulting in a points tally of Surrey 14, Kent 8. so all is not lost. For Surrey to beat Kent in recent years is a rare moment so obviously their President Derek took his opportunity at the meal to make the most of it and who would blame him for that. I was happy to let him have his moment confident my turn will come when we face each other in the Middleton Cup at Croydon on the 8th July. Played under blue skies the game witnessed some excellent bowling being closely fought throughout although for one Kent rink it was not going to be their day and it was on this that the match swung. "That is bowls" as we say from time to time. I am immensely proud of leading the Kent team and my thanks goes to all those players who give their support and commitment and for Steve as team manager in ensuring things are right on the day. My club Maidstone support me throughout and Saturdaywas no exception so thank you to all involved for your contribution in whatever area making the day one of success if I push the result to one side. As if often said bowls was the winner as I now look forward to the President & Council game at Marden on Thursday.

Wednesday 24th May. 

A journey to sunny Ramsgate was the order of the day and a visit to St Lawrence B C for the opening game for the President & Councils team. Having been warmly welcomed by the host club with a feed of sausage rolls / sausages the players took to the green with the usual banter and friendship and a desire to win. Congratulations goes to the host club with victory over the six rinks by 121 to 107 shots, no disgrace when facing the strength of the local club. My thanks goes to all Officers and Council members who traveled from all points of Kent in support of this game and particularly those who came in late to ensure we had a full team. St Lawrence is a club who throughout the century have given support to the County Association in providing 2 County Presidents and players of merit. To date as their recent records will show they have featured strongly with a number of County honors and in providing players for the Home Counties League and Middleton Cup teams. Their commitment to the Association is acknowledged and appreciated. A day to remember so my personal thanks to all who made it possible, my thanks for your hospitality and for your support of my charity.

Saturday 20th May

Having popped into Maidstone B C for a peep at our ladies John’s trial it was off to Aylesham & Snowdown for the season’s opener in the Home Counties League with a game against Sussex. On a well prepared playing surface the players faced tricky conditions in contending with a gusting wind. With the game equalling out over the early ends Kent found themselves 12 shots adrift at the halfway stage but with determination and skill the game ended in victory for Kent by 23 shots (18 points to 4). My thanks goes to all players for the commitment to the County and in producing a result of significance as we look to defend the title won last year. Same again next week lads as we take on Surrey at Maidstone.

My thanks also to the host club for the welcome shown to both teams and for their hospitality in ensuring the players and officials were watered and fed. My thanks also to Steve who as team manager was faced with finding a number at late replacements with players needing to drop out for their own personal reasons. So thanks must also go to those players with a commitment to play for their County.

Mid-week will see me leading the President and Council team out at St Lawrence B C for the first game in the P & C programme and I look forward to meeting up with the Officers and Council members who have made themselves available. Having been invited by the club it is a match which I look forward to and hopefully the sun will shine for us.

Wednesday 17th May

Today I travelled to Cambridge for the friendly encounter with Bowls Cambridgeshire at the Chesterton Bowls Club. Wet would be an understatement with persistent rain the order of the day and making the green unplayable. Being at Chesterton we had the advantage of an Indoor Green so it was agreed to move over with the co-operation of the host club. Whilst undoubtedly some of us were out of our comfort zone having not played indoors or having the woods to suit an enjoyable match ensued thanks to all players understanding and a willingness not to have had a wasted journey. The fortunes on each rink were mixed but remarkably the game ended in a draw 126 to 126 which considering all that had gone on was a fitting outcome.

Returning to the outdoor club house we were given first class hospitality by our host’s caterers after which it was my pleasure to present David Bloor from the Borstal B C with his County Badge having qualified in the un-badged singles competition. In fact it was a good day all round for David as he finished on the highest winning rink before walking off with a raffle prize.

My thanks on this occasion goes to all Officers, players and visitors who supported this game and for the manner in which they just got on with things when faced with such adverse weather. Without this support such games would not be possible. I now move on to the first of this seasons Home Counties League games on Saturday at Aylesham & Snowdoen B C so let us hope the sun has returned to our shores.

Middleton Cup Trialists 2017

Saturday 13th May - Middleton Cup Trial.

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Middleton Cup Trial at Marden B C witnessing some excellent bowls from Kent's talented players. I thank all players for their dedication and commitment to the trial with special thanks to those players who came in late as replacements. The standard of bowls has left the selectors with a difficult task in finalising a squad of 28 players from the 48 players on show and whilst there will be disappointments at not being selected I would ask all players to appreciate the difficulties and accept the decisions made. My thanks also goes to my fellow officers for their support on the day and the supporters of the players who contributed to the overall atmosphere and the success of the day. My thanks to Marden B C and their members for their usual cooperation and hospitality in hosting such events. It will be my pleasure now to give support and work alongside the selected team, which will be announced in the coming week. We have the players to win it so let us do it.

My attention now turns to the mid week friendly with Cambridgeshire  at Chesterton B C and to meeting up with those players selected for the game. 

12th. March 2017

President Geoff Chapman welcomes the announcement of the Middleton Cup trial team and encourages all players to confirm their commitment to Steve Savage as soon as possible. In wishing Mick Collins a speedy return to good health, Geoff thanks Steve and Fred Haines for accepting responsibility to continuing the good work and team spirit built by Mick. There is no doubt we have the players to bring success to the County and go that one step further when reaching Leamington. Lessons have been learnt from the previous years which will hold us in good stead when challenging for honours. Having been fortunate enough to be part of the last winning team in Kent, Geoff says it would be one of his proudest moments in bowls to again get his hands on the trophy so let us go and do it.   

SUNDAY 23rd APRIL

This morning I attended the KCBA Patron’s AGM held at Maidstone Bowls Club and whilst the attendance was disappointing there remains a willingness for the continuance of the Patrons. However this will not happen unless other volunteers come forward to assist with the administration / match arrangements and a date of January 2018 has been set for a final decision. It would be very sad to see the demise of the Patrons as over the years they have provided a programme of matches for the enjoyment of its members and supported financially both the Under 25’s and the KCBA making a significant contribution during the Association’s centenary year.

Queenborough Bowls Club

It is for clubs to foster interest in the Patrons (full details can be found on page 50 of the diary) and for the KCBA as the parent body to offer its support in any way possible. It is down to us to ensure the Patrons can continue in 2018 so let all bowlers face the challenge.

In the afternoon I travelled to the Queenborough Bowls Club on the Isle of Sheppey to assist in the opening of their refurbished club house. Throughout the winter a dedicated team of members had worked to bring about significant changes and from stepping through the door it was immediately obvious what had been achieved. It was encouraging to hear the support they had been given by the local trading companies by way of materials etc. being donated and for the Mayor acknowledge the part played by the club in the community. Their membership remains healthy with the benefit of a club house that befits the 21st century. Congratulations to all concerned.

KCBA v KCIBA   Wednesday 19th. April

The seasonal opener against the KCIBA took place at Mote Park IBC on Wednesday. The game played in the usual spirit of high banter resulted in a convincing win for the KCIBA which has them looking to retain the annual challenge trophy. However all is not lost with the second leg to be played at Sandwich in July although it will take a mighty effort if the trophy is to be handed over to the KCBA. In acknowledging the defeat President Geoff paid tribute to the outgoing KCIBA President, Eddie Long who had guided the KCIBA through its 50 year celebrations in his inevitable style. Eddie has given much too both Associations for which he has to be congratulated along with his wife Jill. With his indoor season ending I am sure he will be able, with glass in hand, to look back on many memorable occasions.

As part of the after match formalities Geoff had great pleasure in presenting Ian Larkin of the Ashford Kent Rail club with his county badge with him having won this right by winning through to the quarter finals of the county triples. In receiving his badge Ian indicated this was the first for the club in the last thirty years.

In concluding Geoff reiterated his desire to see the KCBA return to a full dinner and presentation evening and having been given the support of Council he has arranged for Saturday 21st October with a four course menu and entertainment at Mote Park IBC for a ticket price of £22 including wine. Do not miss out tickets can be reserved by contacting Geoff. He also reminded all those playing outdoors of the opportunities for clubs to make financial gains from new sponsorships and for those members to ensure club secretaries are making known what is on offer.

As President I now look forward to a full season with much enjoyment, success and in meeting old friends and in making new.

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