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HQ Gildredge for Eastbourne Open Tournament

Gildredge Park Bowls Club was headquarters for the 93rd Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament from Sunday 9th to Friday 14th July. The Mayor of Eastbourne (Cllr Candy Vaughan) opened the Tournament on the greens of Gildredge Park BC, welcoming the visitors to the town and wishing all of the participants a successful week.

Photos clockwise from top left: Anita Dixon and Bob Hapgood discussing the next shot; action from the mixed triples final; spectators massing for the singles final; Tony Ryan (foreground) and Ellen Strevens (background) playing in their pairs matches.

Tournament matches were held at Gildredge Park, Eastbourne Saffrons, Hampden Park, and Motcombe bowls’ greens. Most of the matches were at Gildredge which saw play every day leading up to all the semi-finals and all the Finals. Finals day saw plenty of spectators along with Mark Royal’s Jack&Bowl bowls equipment company who set up shop with clothing, bowls, bags, and accessories ( Finals day was graced by the presence of the Tournament President Vince Smith and the Mayor of Eastbourne who presented the trophies.

Photos L to R: Some spectators appreciating our new sun umbrellas work just as well against rain!; Derek Box and Arthur Strevens watching a match; tournament umpire Terry Boniface

It was an honour for our club to be chosen as headquarters this year. The week went very well. Our efforts showcased the club and added to our reputation as a well-run, great club with excellent facilities. The Open also helped the club’s finances with brisk business in the kitchen and bar. Visitors and bowlers were very pleased with the facilities, the catering, the organisation, the car parking, and the greens. One visiting bowler texted us “an amazing job all week. Thank you“.

Photos clockwise from top left: Ian Dixon in charge of all the results; Tournament President Vince Smith and Organiser Mike Taylor enjoying a deserved break; the bowls shop attracts early customers; yet another sausage sandwich off the production line; the kitchen with Gildredge members and the array of home-made cakes on the counter; bread pudding was popular.

With such a large event there was bound to be the occasional hiccough (such as a burst water main just outside the club!). But our members always rallied round and most of the visitors didn’t even know of any complications behind the scenes. A massive thank you must go to our 40 plus members who helped make the Open such a success. Members helped before the event through the planning group and greens’ preparation. And then during the event, members helped from car parking to furniture, from making cakes to marking, from repairs to the bar rota, and more. We are also grateful to tournament organiser Mike Taylor from Eastbourne B.C. Mike was endlessly helpful, calm, and supportive about all aspects of the arrangements for our tournament HQ.

The results: A tournament report and full results may be seen on the Eastbourne Open website

Congratulations to all our Gildredge bowlers who entered. Nine of our bowlers reached the semi-finals or finals!

Photos L to R: Some of the trophies lined up for the winners; crowds gather in the clubhouse for the prize-giving; tournament organiser Mike Taylor announces the results

In the Mixed Pairs Ellen Strevens and George Murray became the Open Champions with a commanding win over the Westborough BC pairing of Eileen and John Kellum by 25-6.

Photos L to R: Mixed pairs winners George and Ellen; Men's triples runners-up Andy, Chris, and Rob. Trophies presented by Mayor of Eastbourne (Cllr Candy Vaughan

In the men’s pairs Tony Ryan and Roger Plant (Leicester) reached the semi-finals.

In the men’s triples Jo Doust, Roger Plant (Leicester) and George Murray reached the semi-finals. Rob Ramsden, Chris Antiss (Knighton Victoria and Andy Albon (unattached but formerly Gildredge park) reached the final but lost a closely-fought match 14 – 16 to Eastbourne team of Barry Kenward, Jack Wilson and Martin Biggleston.

In the mixed triples Anita Dixon, Bob Hapgood, and Russell Calderwood reached the semi-finals.

2024 sees 100 years since the first Eastbourne Open. Headquarters will be at Eastbourne (Saffrons). Gildredge have already been invited to be headquarters again in 2025. Club member are strongly encouraged to enter next year. Watch out for details and support over the next few months.

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