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Amersham Bowls Club

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20 September

A final catch up as the season on the green closes.

On 7 September we played a friendly match away to Potten End in very pleasant warm conditions. On our previous meeting Amersham won convincingly so it was clear the home team were out for revenge. The total score in the match fluctuated significantly and when we got down to just two rinks to finish those who had done the sums realised that Potten End were on the verge of victory, but the grandstand finish fell in favour of Amersham and we won 69-63. Top rink was Betty Steane, John Brooks and David Balderson.

On 9 September we had two matches. We played a highly enjoyable fixture away to Chesham Pioneers this morning winning on 2 rinks and drawing on one. It was impossible to separate the two winning rinks as both had the same shot and end difference so they are both top rinks: Norman Wilson, Ann Cambrook & Peter Bray and Meg Wilson, Brian Drew & David Balderson.

In the afternoon, we played a friendly fixture away to Kitcheners who were looking to revenge a defeat earlier in the season. It was a warm afternoon and with one end to go we were leading by 7 shots. Unfortunately, we saw a reversal of fortunes and Kitcheners ran out winners with the overall score being 63-65. Top rink was Neal Evison, Margaret Sherlock and Howard Brown.

On 10 September the men played a friendly match away to Gerrards Cross in glorious sunshine. We always expect a tough competition and this was no exception. Overall we lost 56-83, but we did win on one rink and draw on one. Top rink was Ian Attley, John Brooks and John Barber.

On 16 September in really quite wet conditions the Champion of Champions title was contested between Anne Begley and Jim Saunders. Despite the conditions a hard core of committed spectators witnessed a very high standard of bowling with Jim being victorious in the end.

And then to our final event of the season.............................

On 19 September we held the annual Chairman versus Captain match involving 6 triples and one pair. After poor weather for the previous few days, the afternoon produced warm sunshine and a tremendous finale to the season. I am sure that I would not be allowed to get away with an absence of comment on my own performance - well into the match I saw one of my woods disappearing across the adjacent rink and Jim Saunders taking great delight in announcing to the rest of the green 'Was that a wrong bias from our captain?" Indeed it was. The final result was extremely close with the Chairman's team wining on 4 rinks and the Captain's on 3 rinks. However, in terms of shots, the Captain's team just managed to win 107-100.

Top Rinks - Chairman - Pam Hunt and Dave Edwards, Captain - Phyl Choulerton, Diana Bassett and David Balderson.

It was wonderful to see 40 members turn out for this final event. The green played beautifully, the atmosphere was superb and I have to say the fish and chips were excellent!

Clearly there are many thanks to be passed on to many people and perhaps more of this at the AGM, but please note the following:

2 October - Bingo at the clubhouse 2pm

26 October - Club AGM

18 November - Club Dinner

Also, the green sweeping rota is now available in the clubhouse so please check your diaries and sign up for some sessions. Maintenance of the green is absolutely vital to keep the standard at its current level.

6 September

We have just received the final table for the Three Counties League which is on display in the clubhouse. Amersham came 5th out of 8 which is not a bad result given our early form in the season but does give us a target for next year.

Ray Cox seemed disappointed that I hadn't mentioned his claim to a club record. He managed to lose 15 ends in a row against Chess Vale. Now, this is not something that most people would want mentioned, but you know Ray, never knowingly undersold!!

And then there was Finals Weekend..........................

On Saturday 6th September, we had sessions in the morning and the afternoon. Whilst the weather remained dry, it was unbelievably cold. I don't plan to repeat all of the scores here, they will appear elsewhere on the website, but the two stand out matches for me were the Men's Triples and the Men's Novices. Both of these matches were decided on the very last wood of the very last end with one shot deciding the match. Incredibly exciting viewing for the good turn out of spectators!

It was such a contrast to turn up on a warm Sunday afternoon in beautiful sunshine. On this occasion the remaining 6 matches were all played at the same time (the Captain's Shield just started half an hour early) and it was so nice to see all of the benches full of spectators.

Apolgies for the repetition for those who were there, but I think I should take the opportunity to thank the many people for their support in making this event happen:

Elizabeth Gillott has put a huge amount of work into the preparation for the weekend and I am very grateful for her support.

Margaret and Eric Sherlock spent a whole morning guiding me through the arrangements for the Finals Weekend and how to deal with all of the trophies. In addition, they have both been incredibly patient with me in responding to numerous emails as I have been finding my feet as captain.

Many other senior members of the club (too numerous to list) who have provided guidance on some of the finer points I would have overlooked.

Jim Saunders and his team for preparation of the green which has been excellent and all of the away clubs playing on it recently have showered superlatives on how well it has played.

John Brooks for acting as umpire for the weekend.

All of those who acted as markers/scorers for the weekend.

Jean Oldfield and her army of helpers for the teas etc. Forgive me that I cannot list you all.

Everyone who helped to set up and put away all of the equipment.

It was wonderful to see so many people at the green to support the bowlers and their encouragement was much appreciated by all of those participating. It was also fascinating and encouraging to see so many individuals involved in the finals. Across 12 finals we had 30 members participating which is a huge proportion of the playing complement. It is particularly pleasing to see some of our newer bowlers not only appearing in the finals but experiencing success.

It was huge achievement for every individual involved to reach the finals so I will not commiserate with anyone. Congratulations are due to everyone taking part and for those who didn't win on this occasion, I hope this strengthens your resolve to go that one step further next year.

We were also honoured to have Amersham Town Council Deputy Mayor, Mark Vivis, in attendance to present the trophies and we also appreciated that he remained behind to share tea and cakes with us afterwards and socialise with members.

If you haven't done so already, please put your name down for the Chairman against Captain match on Saturday 19th September. This is our grand finale for the season and looking at the noticeboard I think we are likely to have our best turn out of any event this year which will be great so let's finish with a bang!!

3 September

Since the last entry, we have had a spate of bad weather that has resulted in a number of matches being cancelled or cut short. We can't really complain as this is the first real impact all season. On 30 August we had the Ladies v Men match whcih is always a competitive battle and none more so than on this occasion. The men won on three rinks, the ladies won on one and two games were drawn but the overall score just fell in favour of the men 103-99. Top rink for the men was Colin Wills, Ian Lee and Jim Saunders. Top rink for the ladies was Sheila Barber, Betty Steane and Joy Spicer. This was a very enjoyable afternoon.

The Wally Theobald Trophy was held on the afternoon of bank holiday Monday and regretfully the weather stayed true to form with quite heavy rain the night before and all through the morning. However, despite a few drops of rain the afternoon proceeded without too many challenegs and a good time was had by all. Many thanks are due once again to Ann Cambrook for organising the event so efficiently. The lead fluctuated, but after a very bad start, Pam Sawtell and I managed to revive our fortunes with a high scoring finish to win rather unexpectedly. This was the first trophy I was involved winning at the club in 2012, at that time with Joyce Haslam who sadly passed away earlier this year. Pam's name also appears on the trophy as a winner in 2008 with Brian Haggerstone who many members will remember so this has acted as something of a reminder for both of us.

The men's match at home to Hazells on Tuesday 1 September was curtailed due to rain after only 10 ends. Amersham won 55-29 with top rink being John Culley, Colin Wills and Eric Sherlock. Then on the following day Amersham ladies played Gerrards Cross.The weather was very pleasant (sunny and dry), the green played extremely well and Amersham won by 6 shots (50 to 44) overall. Our top rink was Marian Hext, Elizabeth Gillott and Pat Barnard. 

On Wednesday 3rd September, I joined up with Ken Rye and John Barber and Sheila Barber to play in the gala day at Chess Vale whcih was great fun and very sociable with 24 teams taking part. We saw rain for a brief period but on the whole it was very pleasant. Regretfully, we can't report that we won the tournament (rather a long way from it), but a very enjoyable day.

We now head into Finals Weekend with matches on Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday afternoon. It would be wonderful to see a good turn out to support those taking part and it does look as though the forecast is quite good. We have just heard that Deputy Mayor, Mark Vivis has agreed to present the trophies on Sunday afternoon. Very good luck to all of those taking part and thank you in advance to all of those who have volunteered to carry out many of the vital jobs from providing teas to marking and scoring.

Please do keep looking at the noticeboards - we are still looking for more ladies and men to play in the Chairman versus Captain match on Saturday 19th September, the list of nominations is up for the posts on the committee for next season and you still have the opportunity to put your name down for the annual dinner to be held on Wednesday 18th November.

23 August

Immediately after the last blog we played a Three Counties league match away to High Wycombe. With the end of the season approaching, this was an important match for both sides and we knew that High Wycombe would be looking to avenge the defeat they suffered in the rain when we played at home. We were getting ready to start when we realised that we were one player short as May had not yet arrived. After a couple of calls on the mobile phone it was established that May was driving around the centre of High Wycombe. One of the opposition players very kindly provided directions and went out to make sure she made it to the ground. It turns out that she had made it to Bassetsbury Manor, literally just round the corner, but had headed the wrong way when leaving that club. It was jokingly suggested that we had a whip round to buy her a Satnav, but the joke was somewhat spoiled when she said that she already had one  but hadn't worked out how to use it yet!!

We won on 2 rinks but lost on 3, with an overall match score of 91-100, so it was a very commendable performance and the 4 league points earned may prove to be invaluable. Top rink was Norman Wilson, Joy Spicer, May Van Vuuren (just to get her own back!) and Howard Brown. This was Ray Cockerill's first match for the club so it was quite an initiation; we were both playing with Elizabeth Gillott and jim Saunders and after a very tense battle we were leading 14-11 after 17 ends only to see the lead erode over the last 4.

The Ladies Invitation Gala was held on Friday 21st August and it was clearly very successful all round. Congratulations to all involved and all who helped as a great deal of work goes into the day.

On Saturday 22nd August, we played a Three Counties League match at home to Chess Vale. We won on three rinks and lost on two, but were pipped on shots by 93-85 meaning that the league points were shared 6-6. This will move us up to 5th place in the league and it will be quite hard for those below us to catch up looking at the fixture list. Again, theerefore a very good result. Having said that we were so close to making it better. On my own rink we went 7 shots down twice, before clawing back to level at 13-13 with 3 ends to go, but unfortunately the great escape eluded us and we were thwarted. Top rink was Helen Murphy, John Brooks, May Van Vuuren (again!) and Jim Saunders. The opposing captain was very complimentary about the green so congratulations to Jim and his team whoe have worked so hard to bring it to its current standard.

On Sunday 23rd August, the weather forecast was dreadful and at 1.30 the heavens opened just as I was setting off for the green. By the time the opposition started arriving the rain had reduced to a steady downpour, but with the sky lightening with every minute that passed. As it turned out, by the time we started the rain had stopped and we didn't see another drop all afternoon. This was a very sociable fixture played in a good spirit with two very young ladies playing for the opposition which was a delight to see. Befitting such an enjoyable match the result was very close: 2 rinks each with a match score of 70-72 in favour of our visitors. Top rink on this occasion was John Culley, Elizabeth Gillott and Wendy Tindale.

We are now down to a very small number of games remaining for the rest of the season so please check your diaries to see where you might help. It would be particularly nice to see a big turn out for the Ladies versus men on Sunday 30th August.

16 August

The team sheets for the last few matches of the season have gone up on the noticeboard, which is an indicator of how time is moving on. 

On Sunday 9th August we played a mixed friendly at home against Aston Clinton in glorious sunshine but although Amersham won on 3 of the 4 rinks we lost overall by 2 shots: 67-69. Our winning rink  was Keith Leonard, Elizabeth Gillott and Ann Parker.

This was closely followed by a friendly home match to Stoke Poges consisting of 4 mixed triples. The opposition claimed that they had five new players in their line-up, but after the first few ends we were losing on all four rinks!! Fortunes gradually changed and the tide swung in our favour, but it seemed like hard work. On my own rink, we were 1-9 down after 9 ends and things were looking grim, but a run of form in the midlle of the match turned things around. Eventually, we drew on one rink and won on three with an overall score of 88-57. Top rink was Dave Edwards, Ged Putt and May Van Vuuren.

I was feeling slightly guilty for not being available for the men's match at home to Bassetsbury Manor on Thursday 13th August, particularly when I saw the forecast was for rain and possibly thunderstorms. As it turned out the heavens opened and the game was cancelled. I think I am right in saying this is the first match this season to be cancelled due to weather which is quite remarkable at this stage of the season.

On Saturday 15th August, we competed for the Langdale Cup in which I had some personal success. Many thanks are due to Ann Cambrook for organising as well as playing in this event. One very obvious feature of this event, however, was that we only had 12 members participating. This is a real disappointment compared to previous years and I hope we can encourage newer members to take part in these events in future as they are great fun and really good experience.

8 August

This has been quite an eventful week. On Saturday 1st August, we played Rickmansworth away over 5 mixed triples. We won on three rinks with Norman Wilson, May Van Vuuren and Howard Brown claiming top rink, we drew on one rink and lost on one rink with an overall match score of 86-59 to Amersham.

Sunday 2nd August was Bonanza Day which I couldn't attend myself as it was my grandson's christening, but the event was very successful with 8 triples contesting the prizes. Phyl Choulerton, Derek Ball and Ann Parker took the honours only just seeing off Heather Sears (who stepped in at the last minute), DIanan Bassett and Jim Saunders.

The highlight of the week and probably of the season (and for some the highlight of their bowls career) was the visit on Wednesday 5th August of the Royal Hospital, better known as the Chelsea Pensioners. They turned up looking resplendent in their scarlet uniforms, many wearing their medals, posing for photographs with the mayor (Amanda Lamont) and the retired mayor (Liz Walsh). Both the Bucks Examiner and the Bucks Free Press sent photographers so do look out for them next week. John persuaded both Amanda and Liz to try out the bowls green with a couple of woods each. A few Pensioners remained in their uniforms and became spectators for the afternoon.

Once the photographs were over, the Pensioners playing removed their coats to reveal miltary style trousers, regimental belts and blue shirts. They had two lady players. Apart from a few spots of rain at one point, it remained fine throughout and the match was played in tremendous spirit with lots of noise and laughter. The result is really irrelevant as this was a social occasion and it certainly appeared that everyone enjoyed it. Particular thanks are due to Jean Oldfield and her rather large team of helpers who provided tea and coffeee at half-time and an impressive tea afterwards.

One of the lady players, Rita, was a larger than life character and gave Brian Spicer and his rink much amusement. However, I didn't escape her attention and just as I was poised to bowl on one occasion her dulcid tones carried across the green as she took great delight in declaring that she was going to fine me £1 for wearing 'black knickers'. I don't intend to debate the colour of my underwear in this article, but it was a gold-dust moment for the post match speech.

The Pensioners' President, Colonel Mark Baker, was generous in expressing his thanks for the afternoon, presented the club with a large book of photographs taken by a professional photographer over a year at the Hospital and invited us back for a return fixture next year.

This was a truly special occasion and one which we shall all remember with great fondness for a very long time.,

On Saturday 8th August we played a Three Counties League match away to Bassetsbury Manor in  heat and humidity. In advance, our opponents rang to advise they could not raise a full team and conceded on one rink immediately giving us 2 league points. On the day, we won two rinks and lost on two rinks taking the match 77-72 (before addition of the extra shots for the concession) and this provided 10 league points which were very welcome. The bare scores conceal the intensity and competitiveness of the match - all 4 of the rinks were decided on the last end and our two losses were only by 1 point each!

29 July

On Saturday 25 July the Stan Mills Cup was won by Kevin Dwyer and Liz Middleton, both new to the club this year so congratulations to them.

A day later the forecast was for heavy rain all day and it wasn't far wrong. We were due to play High Wycombe at home in a Three Counties league match. Jim confirmed the green was fit to play so we decided to continue. A few weeks ago I played at High Wycombe in a pairs match on the same evening as our ladies were playing a match; the green was very fast and we all lost quite heavily. So, just as I was a bout the leave the house I said to my wife: 'At least the conditions might favour us'. Not everyone was terribly enthusiastic about playing, but we got underway with the thought that we only needed to play 10 ends to register a result. As 10 ends approached I asked the opposing captain if he wanted to stop. I could see his eyes scanning the scoreboards which, at the time were in Amersham's favour so he declined the offer. After 13 ends we were losing on 4 rinks and winning on only 1 and even after 15 ends we were 7 shots behind. It was round about this time that I suggested to the High Wycombe Captain that we stop after 18 ends and he accepted. Suddenly, everything seemed to change and after 18 ends we had won on 4 rinks and the overall match score was 86-78 in our favour. Ten league points against a strong team was a very good result so thank you to everyone that survived the weather conditions!! Top rink was Ian Attley, Ged Putt, Margaret Sherlock and Pat Barnard.

On Tuesday 28 July, we hosted Potten End in a friendly match over 4 mixed triples. We won on 2 rinks and lost on 2 but the overall match score was 96-50 to Amersham. On my own rink we had the most unusual evening. Dave Edwards and Betty Steane were on fine form and everything seemed to run in our favour so we finished up with the most unusual score of 47-2 having only lost 2 ends.

The evening of 29 July witnessed our return C&T match at home to Chess Vale. We were hoping to avenge the previous week's heavy defeat. It was a fine evening, but as we approached 9.00pm the late was fading rapidly. Ken Rye, DIana Bassett and Jim Saunders defended our honour with a win, but unfortunately we lost on 2 rinks. We were making a late comeback on my rink winning 5 of the last 7 ends but time ran out on us.

22 July

I think the first comment I would like to make is an observation that we are now well over half way through the season! Where did that time disappear? The internal club competitions are now reaching crucial stages so really interesting to see how these are shaping up. 

Could I please urge everyone to look at the notices in the clubhouse advertising forthcoming matches. Due to holidays, illnesses and other commitments there have been a few instances recently where it has been hard work to ensure we could field a full side so we would really welcome more names on the list. These matches are good fun as well as good experience and no-ne should feel they are not good enough.

On Saturday 18th July we played three mixed triples as a Chiltern & Thames (C&T) league match and three mixed triples as a friendly. Ken Rye, Margaret Sherlock and Howard Brown had one of those days when everything went right in the C&T and wone 24-4. Unfortunately, we were pipped on the overall match score 48-51. The balance swung in our favour in the friendly 51-38 with two triples winning by 7 shots: Ian Attley, Diana Bassett and Neal Evison along with Keith Leonard, Ian Lee and Ann Parker.

The following day we played a friendly match away to Rickmansworth Royal British Legion who groundshare with Rickmansworth Bowls Club. It was a hot and humid afternoon eased by a slight breeze. We won on two rinks and lost on two but our winning rinks were significant and carried us to a match win 75-61. Top rink consisted of Norman Wilson, Gayle Berrington and Kevin Dwyer. There was a bit of confusion at one point as to which triple was doing best as on Kevin's rink a 6 shot reversal just after tea meant that the gap in the scores between the teams closed very noticeably, whereas on my own rink the wind blew over the score suggesting that our opposition had gained 10 shots on one end!!

One member of the club described this blog as 'James Joyce without the sex'!! How could I resist the urge to put this anomaly right and the game against the Royal British Legion appeared to have provided some possible material. As the match progressed, May Van Vuuren's opposite number was referring to her as 'Darling' with increasing frequency inferring a level of intimacy that had escaped us up to this point. Suggestions that this was fuelled by cans of a well known beverage are unsubstantiated and pure speculation. On the grounds of health and safety, I would suggest that if you value your kneecaps you do not call May 'Darling'!!! Sadly, therefore, I cannot address the James Joyce comment at this point, this space!

On Monday 21 July, we played a three triples C&T match away to Chess Vale infamous for their all-weather surface. On two rinks we really struggled to gain any consistency, but Ken Rye May Van Vuuren (recovered from her experience at Rickmansworth!) and Jim Saunders fought hard to level the scores after 16 ends, but succumbed by 4 shots in the end. Chess Vale were deserved winners and we hope that we can redress the balance at least to an extent on the return fixture (only next week).

14 July

On Saturday 11 July we played a 4 mixed triples friendly away to Aston Clinton. Having been advised in advance that they had 23 players available for the game we were anticipating a hard time, but we won the match convincingly 73-53, winning on 3 rinks and losing on only 1. As it turned out it was the captain's rink that was top for us and I was ably supported by Carol Kelsall and Elizabeth Gillott. It cannot be a coincidence that Carol was on the winning rink once again! We so very nearly won on all four rinks. Eric and his team were 14-2 down when he asked John Culley to change his bowling action. I have to say the image I had in mind was of John bowling overarm, but I think we might have noticed if that was the case! They won 7 ends in a row and turned the position around to 14-13. At one point on the last end they were holding 3 but the opposing skip spoiled the story. Many thanks to Eric Sherlock, Peter Bray and Carol Kelsall for steeping in at short notice.

On Monday 13 July, we played a deferred Chiltern and Thames mixed match against Gerrards Cross away. The opposition had asked to delay the fixture as they had many players involved in national competitions so we knew we were in for a challenging evening. This was a very dull evening which included a light rain shower. We put up some stiff resistance and after 12 ends as a team we were only 2 shots down, but the final result was a 40-56 loss. Sheila Barber, Ian Lee and Jim Saunders claimed a draw on their rink and a very valuable league point so congratulations to them.

On Tuesday 14 July we played four mixed triples away to Stoke Poges winning 62-46. We won on two rinks convincingly and lost on two rinks marginally. Our top rink consisted of Dave Edwards, Brian Drew and May Van Vuuren. The two losing rinks were both decided on the last end so this was a very solid performance all round. Many thanks to Joy Spicer and John Culley for acting as substitutes at short notice.

9 July

On Tuesday 7 July we played the return Three Counties League match at home to Flackwell Heath having played the away fixture only a week before. We all suffered from wind on the day, or perhaps I should say 'the wind' causing visible effects on several woods as they proceeded down the green. I came off the green elated that the match had been won by 2 points only to find that an underhand tactic had been employed by one of our skips - ( I shall not name him but just hint that his initials are JS). On the scorecard for the last end where the opposition scored zero their total score was recorded as having changed form 14 to 12. Unfortunately, the Flackwell Heath skip had added the numbers correctly so we had to agree that the overall match score was drawn 91-91!! Top rink by a long way included Peter Bray, Elizabeth Gillott, Margaret Sherlock and Ray Cox.

On a glorious summer's afternoon of Thursday 11 July, we palyed a home fixture to Marlow over 4 triples. The Marlow team turned up believing the match was billed for 14.00 whereas we believed it was due at 14.30. Subsequently, they advised us that their own fixture card said 14.30. However, due to commitments to ladies fixtures, Marlow turned up with 11 men and 1 lady without advising this position in advance. We had similar commitments for the ladies but still managed to field a full mixed team. There were some remarkable fluctuations in scores across all 4 rinks. Anne Begley's rink started off very tightly and after 11 ends the score was only 7 shots each. On my own rink, along with Valerie Garrood and Eric Sherlock we took an early lead which grew consistently and we seemed to be cruising to victory when we lost 7 shots on the penultimate end meaning we entered the last end only one shot ahead. With a single wood resting immediately behind the jack we were convinced our own rink was drawn when the Marlow skip obligingly crashed his final wood into the wood and jack combination sending the jack shooting off to the side of the rink. The outcome could have course of gone either way but thankfully fell in our favour and we took 2 to win the game. Overall, despite leading the match by 23 shots after 10 ends, the final score was 75-71 to Amersham generating a huge sigh of relief. Top rink consisted of Carol Kelsall, Neal Evison and John Barber - Carol seems to be turning winning rinks into a habit.

6 July

On Wednesday 1 July, when many of the population were staying in the shade, drinking Pimms and watching Wimbledon (or perhaps dreaming that they were), the intrepid men of Amersham Bowls Club took on the elements and the opposition in the Men's Triples Round Robin. This was the hottest day of the year, one of the most humid and also had a very high pollen count so a strong will was needed and we were exposed to the sun for the majority of 6 hours with only a short break for lunch. After 3 rounds of 5 (we had 6 teams in total), every team had lost at least one match so 4 teams were tied on 4 points. The outcome was actually decided on the very last end to be played. The successful teams going on to Finals Day were  John Culley, Ken Rye and Peter Bray (with 8 points) and Bernard Fletcher, Colin Willls and John Barber (with 7 points). Many thanks to Jim for switching the green round in advance and creating 7 rinks so that the U3A could play at the same time and also to John Barber for his assistance on  working out the pairings and rink allocation. It is really good to see relatively new members such as Bernard and Colin having the opportunity to experience finals weekend.

The weekend involved two very different games. On Saturday we played 4 mixed triples at home to Hemel Hempstead in glorious sunshine. The final result was very close with a loss by only 7 shots losing on 3 rinks and winning on 1. The top rink was John Culley, Elizabeth Gillott and Ted Choulerton. Many thanks to Wendy Tindale for taking part at very short notice.

On Sunday 5 July we played away to Berkhamsted and experienced virtually all four seasons in the course of the afternoon!!  Initially sunny, hot and humid, some dark clouds came over accompanied by a rather cool breeze which had players running off the green to find warm tops. In no length of time a small shower started and there was another pause while waterproof gear was donned. However, by the end of the game the sun and heat had reappeared. The green played consistently, but with huge swings so the home team being familiar with these characteristics got off to quite a fast start. In the end we lost on all for rinks with a total score of 52-107, but John Culley, Gayle Berrington, Ray Cox and Anne Begley came close to avoiding the whitewash with scores all level with two ends to go. The opposing captain caused some amusement when referring to Howard Brown (previously a member at Berkhamsted) as 'Old Howard'. Many thanks to Jean Oldfield for stepping in at the last minute and we also owe our thanks to a Berkhamsted member 'Gill' who helped us out as we ere one short on the day.

30 June 2015

We struggled in very warm conditions away to Wexham on Saturday 27 June in a Three Counties League match on a green that their own captain described as challenging. We won on 1 rink and lost on 4 with an overall match score of 91-115. Our one winning rink consisted of Ian Hunter (in only his second match for the club), John Brooks, Joy Spicer and Howard Brown. It looked like John Barber was heading for a hat-trick of consecutive top rinks following his return from holiday at one point leading 13-0, but the home team proved too strong in the end. I promised Jim Saunders that I would not mention the fact that he turned up grey trousers rather than the required white - His attempts to adapt a pair of waterproof white trousers with a 62 inch waistband proved to be more amusing than helpful. My comment after the match that the cakes provided were exceedingly good prompted the anticipated groan from the assembled audience (no prizes for guessing who they were made by).

The thermometer in the car reached 30 degrees on the way to Flackwell Heath on Tuesday 30 June where we played a Three Counties League match. Many of us found the green almost as challenging as Wexham on Saturday and we lost on 3 rinks and won on 2 with a match score of 76-97. Top rink consisted of Sheila Barber (taking the honours from Jon on this occasion!), Ian Lee, May Van Vuuren and Howard Brown. On my own rink along with Dave Edwards, Linda English and John Barber, we went 9-0 up only to be pegged back after a couple of disastrous ends (a 3 and a 5) and entered the last end level pegging. A measure was required to determine that we won the last end by one shot. I cannot close without saying that Linda English (who was claiming a frustrating afternoon) delivered the winning shot!

I think I should also take this opportunity to compliment the ladies on a 62-30 win against Chesham yesterday. Also, I understand Ann Cambrook won the Chairman's Shield on Sunday, Ann has put a huge amount of effort into organising internal competitions this season and to win a trophy while involved in the organisation of the day is quite an accomplishment.

26 June 2015

On Tuesday 23 June, we had a somewhat frustrating result away to Chalfont St Giles in the Three Counties League only a week after our home fixture with the same club. The final result was an overall match score win of 107 shots to 87, but having lost on 3 rinks and won on only 2 the league points were shared 6-6. The frustration arises from how close we were to scoring 10-2 on league points. On two rinks we went into the last end leading, but fortune favoured the home team and both were reversed sufficently to steal the points. Our top rink by some margin consisted of Chris Russell, Colin Wills, Marian Hext and John Barber winning 27-8. This is Colin's first season playing competitive matches so I am really pleased to see him enjoy the experience of top rink.

On Wednesday 24 June on a very hot afternoon, we travelled to Court Park (near Hillingdon) and whilst we won 2 rinks and lost 2 the match score drfited and we lost overall 61-70. Carol Kelsall has played only a small number of games for club so far, but enjoyed being on a winning rink. I should also mention that this was Ian Hunter's first game for the club and we are delighted to welcome him to our pool of players. First of many I hope. Top rink for Amersham on this occasion was Peter Bray, Elizabeth Gillott and John Barber. We shall have to send John Barber on more holidays - he only returned last Saturday and skipped on top rinks in consecutive days. I hope the effect of his holiday has worn off by the time I come to play him in the Men's Championship!!

I am really pleased to see that more names have started to appear on the team sheets for forthcoming matches so thank you to everyone that has put their name forward. It is much appreciated!!

22 June 2015

We had a disappointing, but not entirely surprising end to the Bucks Cup against High Wycombe on 17 June, losing on 3 rinks out of 4 with a match score of 53-93. The one ray of light was an away win by the triple of Alan Ballard, Eric Sherlock and Kevin Dwyer so congratulations to them for holding out against stern opposition.

We had really struggled to ensure we had a full team away to Loudwater on Saturday 20 June, but a very creditable display all round saw us take 6 points to 4 in the Chiltern and Thames match winning on one triple by 10 shots and losing on both of the other triples by only 2 shots. In the Chiltern and Thames League 2 points are awarded for each wining triple and 4 points for the overall match score. The combination of Linda English, Alan English and Jim Saunders stole the honours as top rink winning 23-13. I was playing alongside Margaret Sherlock and Ray Cox and we came frustratingly close to turning things around - we had lagged for the majority of the match but 5 shots just before the end brought us within 1 shot of the opposition - On the last end we were holding 2 putting us in a potentially winning position until their number 2 curved a rather impressive shot through a forest of woods to spoil our afternoon!! We didn't have to put any money in the swear box, we were far too polite, but if anyone could read our minds we might just have been guilty of a few less than complimentary expressions. In the friendly match against Loudwater on the same afternoon we won 2 triples out of 3 with an overall match score of 56-34, with top rink going rather convincingly to John Culley, Pam Sawtell (a late replacement into the team) and Pam Hunt. There seems to be a trend of late substitutes performing rather well, but I am not sure it is a habit we should be encouraging!

Could I please continue to encourage you all to look at the forthcoming matches to see if you could support our efforts - we are still short of the required numbers on 4th, 5th and 7th of July so it would be great to see a few more names go down.

17 June 2015

It has been an eventful time since the last entry!!

We squeezed home by 3 shots against Wendover on 6 June 101-98, but losing on 3 rinks and winning on 2 meant the league points were shared 6-6 (We get 2 points for each winning rink and 2 points for the overall score). We also surprised Wexham  on

7 June winning 3 rinks out of 5 but sadly falling short on shots 92-112. This was the match in which Ann Cambrook, Gayle Berrington, Joy Spicer and Neal Evison went 18-0 up only to be pegged back to 20-20 and then finally winning the last end to take the game by 1 shot - very exciting. Anne Begley did her own impression of International Rescue, filling in as a substitute at the last minute. She had only just got home from Sunday lunch and was putting the kettle on when the SOS call was received and then played skip in the top rink of the day romping home 28-14.

We had a unique and memorable result at Chess Vale in the Bucks Cup on 10 June. For those of you unfamiliar with Chess Vale, they have an artificial all-weather surface similar to an indoor carpet giving the home players a significant advantage. John Culley, Norman Wilson and Ray Cox won 28-8 which is a remarkable scoreline for this venue. I should also mention this was Norman's first match for the club after missing virtually a whole season having both knees replaced so he has become our own Bionic Man.

Our run of good results continued with a home win in the 3 Counties League against Chalfont St Giles on a scorching afternoon on 16 June. We won 3 rinks out of 5 plus a positive match score of 100-82. It was so nearly 4-1 on rinks. Norman Wilson (there he is again!), Peter Bray, Margaret Sherlock and Brian Spicer recovered from a significant deficit at one point staging an impressive come-back to level the game, but sadly just missed out on the last end!!

Please note that we are still seeking players for some matches coming up, so do look at the notice board and see if you might be able to participate.

16 June 2015

We played 3 mixed triples in the Chiltern and Thames league and 3 men's triples as a friendly match against Gerrards Cross on Thursday. We did unfortunately  lose on all 6 rinks but the standard of bowling by the opposition was very high.  It was Dave Plaskett's first game for the club I believe so he is a very welcome addition to our pool of players.

When I saw Kevin Dwyer arrive I was concerned that I didn't have him on my team sheet, however, it turned out he was playing for the opposition! 

Despite the result I feel I need to take heed of what appears to be the current jargon among the sporting elite and the sports psychologists advising them and 'take some positives' from what otherwise was a negative experience: First of all Ian Attley had kindly agreed to act as skip fairly late on, and on his rink along with Robin Eddy and Brian Drew they came the closest to sparing our blushes losing by only 1 shot so congratulations to them. From a personal perspective playing skip opposite Kevin was an interesting experience as Peter Bray and Margaret Sherlock will testify because he has an annoying habit of consistently of stealing points on virtually every occasion that the opposition are holding shots - however, on one end I did manage to turn a 6 shot deficit into a plus one shot position! Now, I know there are those of you who will think this was a complete fluke, but I would argue that this is what I was trying to do and it is on all of the other several hundreds of occasions previously that the luck has been against me and skill had to shine through in the end.

3 June 2015

Just back from holiday to find that our Bucks Cup match result against Marlow involved 2 wins and 2 losses, but unfortunately a loss on points overall. However, this is encouraging and we are moving in the right direction. It also sounds as though we were slightly unlucky in the Three Counties match at Chess Vale where things were looking positive for some time on 4 rinks, but in the end we lost on all five. For those unfamiliar with Chess Vale, it is a tricky surface to play on being an all-weather carpet effectively.

Yesterday, we played an evening match at Wendover in the Chiltern & Thames League in rather cold conditions winning on one rink and losing on two. On the one winning rink, a 1-12 deficit at one stage was gradually clawed back and the last end started with Amersham only 3 shots in arrears. When Howard Brown stepped up to the mat for the last wood of the evening, Amersham were holding three shots and the game was tied at that point. However, a perfectly weighted draw shot joined the rest around the jack and the game was won. We didn't have the energy (or perhaps the inclination) to carry Howard shoulder-high off the green, but it was a very enjoyable moment.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage members to consider putting for inter-club matches, particularly those that are designated as 'Friendly' as it is great experience their names down for inter-club matches, particularly those that are designated as 'Friendly' as it is great experience.

19th May

A very high-spirited and competitive  match on Captains Day between the men and the ladies resulted in a rather flattering victory for the men by 112 shots to 59. A pleasant but cool afternoon saw Brian Drew, Eric Sherlock and Neal Evison claim the top rink spot.

Despite a very poor weather forecast, we played a successful 5 mixed triples match at home to Kitcheners on Tuesday afternoon. With only one brief interval for rain, Amersham ran out winners 90 shots to 65 albeit that we won only 2 triples to Kitcheners 3. The deciding top rink for Amersham included Valerie Newton (in her first match for the club), myself and Kevin Dwyer  with the remarkable score of 31-2. I think there are three people from Kitcheners who will be sticking pins in Kevin's effigy after a near faultless performance! Within only minutes of the match finishing the heavens opened and heavy hailstones turned the green white.