Steve Prentice - Around the bowls greens

Suffolk's first home Eastern Counties league match against Herts at Ipswich BC, resulted in a narrow 116-110 (6-16 on points) victory for the visitors.

Suffolk's first home Eastern Counties league match against Herts at Ipswich BC, resulted in a narrow 116-110 (6-16 on points) victory for the visitors. Overall the management team were disappointed to lose this match, especially after clawing back an early deficit to be leading by 8 shots with just a few ends to play. The host club really rose to the occasion providing excellent hospitality, whilst the green was well prepared and up to Middleton Cup standard. With the first Middleton Cup match being against Norfolk, at County Arts BC, Norwich, on Saturday, 7 June the selectors will be meeting on Wednesday evening and it will be interesting to see who represents Suffolk in their first match.

My profile this week is Roger Simpson, who has a lifelong association with Suffolk bowls. Born and bred in Shotley, Roger started bowling as a child with his uncle at Shotley Rose BC, he won the Suffolk EBF under 25's singles in 1973 and the Mixed Pairs with wife Ann in 1980. After moving to Ipswich he joined Newton Rd BC and then California BC before swapping over to Norbridge BC, where he has won the 2 bowl triples with Justin Sims and Chris Bright. A self employed painter and decorator, Roger has been a leading light on the Suffolk EBF executive and the Ipswich Area (Area C) committees for many years and enjoyed being Suffolk EBF President in 1996, a task he carried out with his usual quiet efficiency. After playing over eighty games for the county he is now a county selector, chairman of the Daniels Charity Cup, plus EBA secretary and captain at the successful Norbridge BC. The whole Simpson family are dedicated to bowls, his wife Ann and daughter Emma are established players and four year old grandson Joe is making rapid progress. After losing in several Semi finals, Roger's great ambition is to win an EBF National final. Roger can always be seen on the big occasions watching intently in the background and absorbing the whole picture, his contribution to local bowls is immense.

I was talking to a few other club captains after a recent match and we were discussing some of the feeble excuses we have had from people calling off from matches. We agreed the best one was the person who called me and said 'I'm sorry I can't play in the game on Saturday, as it is the dog's birthday' - I was speechless! Have you heard of any better ones?

Terry Swift now has the WEB site for the Suffolk County Bowls England (EBA) up and running. You can enter the site on, however access is not yet available via a search engine. As it is updated you should be able to follow progress of all the leagues and county competitions, plus a whole raft of other current useful information. Incidentally it is nice to see that local clubs are beginning to establish their own web sites. Is there someone out there who can offer the service of building web sites for clubs, if you are please contact me as I intend to promote this subject in future issues.

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After a recent league game I was chatting with Bourne Vale's team captain Sam Macro and it is refreshing to see an enthusiastic youngster taking on this challenging role. The club was originally Churchmans BC and was founded in 1936 by employees of the cigarette factory which was located behind the South Stand goal at Ipswich Town's Portman Rd stadium, the name was later changed to John Player BC and subsequently to Bourne Vale BC when the factory closed. They have 32 members and they currently have four league teams (2 EBA and 2 EBF). The club is happy to receive new members, either experienced or new bowlers, if you are interested please contact me and I will put you in touch with them.

On behalf of everyone connected with local bowls I would like to congratulate Mark Royal for his wonderful performances in the World Indoor Bowls tournaments over the winter, lifting himself to number six in the World Bowls Tour rankings. In November he announced his arrival on the world stage when he was beaten in the final of the Scottish International Open by Andy Thomson and he then reached the quarter final of the World Indoor Championship, where he was defeated by Billy Jackson. However he established his place amongst the world's best with a superb victory 7-5, 11-6 over world number two Greg Harlow in the Welsh International, at Llanelli, in February. Mark we are all very proud of your achievements and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Mark's WBT commitments rule him out of the first Middleton Cup against Norfolk, but he will be welcomed back for the remaining games against Herts, Hunts and Essex. I must also mention Ipswich's Phillip Last who qualified for the World Indoor finals at Potter's and put on an impressive display when he beat Scotland's John Carswell in the first round. Hopefully this taste of the big time will spur him on to improve his world ranking of number fifty.

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Peter Buesnel from Framlingham Castle BC is organising an informal bowls holiday at the beautiful Athena Beach hotel, in Paphos, Cyprus, from 11 to 25 March 2009. This includes 14 night's half board accommodation and the flight from Gatwick. The bowls will consist of 4 mixed fours matches against island clubs, one or two internal competitions roughly on the basis of bowls on alternate days. The hotel also organises casual games. Dress is informal - anything white can be worn. The cost is £795 based on two people sharing a room. For further details contact Peter on 01728 688665. Sounds great to me!


Sproughton BC will be holding Open Tournaments on the following dates. Tuesday Afternoon 2 Wood Pairs on 3&17 June, 1&15 July, 12&26 August and 2 September.

All start at 1.00pm. 2 sessions. Cost £5 per Pair including Tea & Biscuits.

Open 3 Wood Pairs on Sundays, 1 June, 27 July, 31 August and Saturday, 13 September.

Start at 10 am. 2 Sessions Cost £6 per Pair. Details from: Margaret Garnham on 01473 742771.

Kesgrave BC, 4 bowl pairs Tournament, Saturday, 2 August, £7 per pair, BBQ and refreshments available, details from Martin Milbourne on 01473 625956.

Kesgrave BC, 3 bowl triples tournament, £15 per block - includes two course lunch, details from Joyce Fisher on 01473 626075.

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