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Fit for the Queen

The Gildredge Park Bowls Club Royal Platinum Jubilee red, white and blue bowls celebration on 3rd June 2022 was an event 'fit for the queen'. Members enjoyed some fun games of bowls, a right royal spread of sandwiches and cakes, tried their luck with a raffle and a tombola, bought hand made crafts and plants, and even guessed the name of the royal corgi.

  • Royal fact: Gildredge Bowls club was founded in 1920 and has seen the reigns of just four monarchs in over 100 years: King George V; Edward VIII; George VI; and Elizabeth II

Getting ready

Ros Pickering and her team did a wonderful job of preparing and running the day. Club members were down early to put out the bunting, prepare sandwiches, cut cake, set out the tables, organise the teams, and lay out the craft, tombola and other stalls. The Tombola was filled with over 50 prizes and proved popular. Members had generously contributed prizes, cakes, crafts, plants.

Photos: Clockwise from top left: Hand-made bunting by Marilyn Doust, owl pin cushions by Ros Pickering, Barbara Shaw looking after a plant stall, the winners medals ready to present, keen buyers at the craft stall, Ian Dixon showing his lung power.

  • Royal fact: King George V was a keen bowler. Members of our club actually held the King's Bowls when we visited the Royal Household, Windsor, for a match a few years ago

Playing and social members arrived around noon in time to look at the stalls and get ready to bowl.

Photos: From top left clockwise. Wilf Carter, Linda and Colin Couch, Joan Terry, Graham Barber

A toast to the queen

Photo: Members toasting the Queen with a glass of St Clement's cocktail before the games began. Depending on your phone/computer you may be able to get a full-size photo by clicking on the image.

Five fun games

The bowling tournament was organised by Andy Browning and Duncan Pickering. Before play started Duncan described the rules of the five games. Roving jack ,where the jack is not centred and players just bowls to it wherever it is ii) 4:3:2:1 where the closest four woods are counted in the same way as as our fixed jack competition; iii) jack last, the players all bowl and then the skip delivers the jack iv) short bowls removed, only bowls that are jack high or beyond count, and all short bowls are removed from the green, v) play the joker where the skip can choose an end to double their shots.

  • Royal fact: 1936, when the club was just 16 years old, was the year of the three kings. George V died, Edward VIII abdicated, and George VI became king in December

The teams

Twelve teams were formed, each of four players who bowled two woods. The teams were named for regal connections. Crowns, Monarchs, Royals, Nobles, Castles, Regals, Sceptres, Majestics, Palaces, Sovereigns, Windsors, and Corgis.

All the games were played in the right spirit and the five formats gave some fun and challenging ends. Unsurprisingly, a certain amount of competitive edge was around, and the measuring tapes were out in abundance. The match organisers were called to the green to settle questions of interpretation as the royal teams battled for ascendancy.

Photo: On the green. L to R Trefor Williams, Dorothy Bromiley, Brian Welfare, Chris Willing, Andy Roberts, Sandra McKay

  • Royal fact: in 2019 newspapers reported that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has become a fan of bowls after watching people playing from her window at Frogmore Cottage. The Duchess was so captivated she went over to chat to players from the Royal Household Bowling Club next door to her home on the Queen’s Windsor estate.

The tea

While the scores were being counted, almost 80 bowling and social members settled down to a sumptuous afternoon tea. A variety of sandwiches and home-made cakes adorned each table. Plates were soon cleared and refilled as the hungry players ate with a hearty appetite after 20 ends of bowls.

  • Royal fact: A bowling green has been a permanent fixture at Windsor Castle. Anne Boleyn was a bowler, as were Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. The late Queen Mary, and King Edward V, and King George VI enjoyed the game of bowls.

The royal corgi

Throughout the afternoon members had tried to guess the name of the royal corgi brought along by John and Gwen Mann. Entries cost 10p a go and a bottle of wine went to the winner. From Boris to George to Legless most of the names were far off. Chris Willing was the winner with a name close to the actual name of Buttons.

Photos: The royal corgi; Gwen and John Mann

  • Royal fact: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second is the Patron of Bowls England

The raffle

The raffle was for a single prize of a giant basket of edible goodies. It was won by Barbara Shaw.

Photo: Pat Bowker selling raffle tickets

The winning bowlers

Bowling organisers Andy Browning and Duncan Pickering calculated the results based on the total number of shots over the five rounds of matches. They presented special jubilee medals to the winning teams.

The winning teams (l to R): Brian Welfare, Peter Smith, Andy Roberts, Trefor Williams, Mike Holmes, Linda Couch, Eileen Harris, Alan Gribble

A final thank was given to Ros Pickering for leading the organisation of the event. Everyone had a lovely time and agreed that today had been a fitting tribute to Her Majesty the Queen.

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