The Oddfellows extend Tournament Sponsorship until 2025
The Oddfellows extend Tournament Sponsorship until 2025
The Tournament Committee is very pleased to announce that our wonderful sponsors and good friends from the Southampton District of the Oddfellows will now be our Tournament sponsors until at least 2025. We are delighted that our longstanding association with the Oddfellows is to continue and are very grateful for their generosity, friendship and support of our Tournament over so many years
After the enforced two-year absence due to the awful Coronavirus Pandemic, we were absolutely delighted to finally be able to stage the 68th Southampton Open Bowls Tournament this year, and to welcome you all back for the traditional week of sporting but competitive bowls on the greens and fun and hospitality off them!
Fortunately, the bowling gods blessed us with a hot sunny week with only a couple of short sharp showers early doors, so it was a week for plenty of sun tan lotion and bottled water with the occasional ice cream treat.
The week began as ever with the traditional Opening Ceremony on Monday morning at Atherley, and Tournament Secretary Brian Hopper commenced with a request for all present to observe a minute’s silence in memory of all those who had lost a loved family member, friend or club mate during the Pandemic. Atherley President Kevin Smith then formally handed over the Green to 2022 S&DBA and Tournament President Lloyd Blackford of Pirrie Park, with Ralph Crump the 2022 Provincial Grand Master of our Sponsors, the Southampton District of the Order of Oddfellows bowling the first two woods of the week.
Play then commenced for the week and as ever there were a lot of quality games and the usual early surprising results on Monday. It was a case of the clash of former Champions in the Men’s and Ladies Singles, with 3 times Men’s Singles Champion Colin Thresher (Sports Centre) defeating 2013 Champion Jono Dalton (Popes Mead) 21-17, and in the Ladies 2015 Champion Lorraine Slater (Banister Park) defeating the defending 2019 Champion
Gina Le Long (St Saviours) 21-14. Defending Ladies Pairs Champion’s Chris Robinson and Janet Felgate (Meon Valley) also suffered an early exit at the hands of Leah Durman & Bridget May (Unattached & Banister Park) 8-24. In the Men's Pairs there were several close games, none closer than the extra end win 20-19 for Josh Davis & Ken Dow (Old Green) against Steve & Dan Spreadbury (Fleming Park) while in the Men's Triples Chris Andrews (Jersey) Jim Farmer (Atherley) & Dorian Bishop (Fareham) just pipped Dave Murray (Old Green) Martin Rowell (Fleming Park) & Gary Carter (Atherley) 25-24!
It set the trend for the week with some more outstanding games on Wednesday with Colin Thresher (Sports Centre) again playing another former Singles Champion in 2016 winner
Alan C Forrest (Fleming Park) who prevailed 21-19 in a very close high-quality game!
Two very close finishes in the Ladies Pairs that morning with Jean Garrod & Lyn Booth winning 23-22 against their fellow Mayfield Park duo of Pam Yeates & Jane Gould.
Non Lake (Atherley) & Gina Le Long (St Saviours) just edged out Karen Watkins & Sonia Watts (Mayfield Park) 22-21 and Gina sportingly commented afterwards that Karen's lead bowling was exceptional and that she dd not deserve to be on the losing side!
Thursday was another lovely day for the Men's Competition Quarter-Finals and Ladies Singles and Triples Semi-Finals with some high quality & exciting matches throughout the day.
Due to their involvement in the Ladies & Men's Pairs Last 8’s Quarter-Finals and possibly Semi-Final’s at Banister Park, unfortunately scheduled by Bowls Hampshire for Saturday 30th July and therefore clashing with our Tournament Finals Day, the Competitors effected, Pam Smith and Lorraine Slater (Banister Park) and John Keat and Colin Thresher (Atherley) and (Sports Centre), faced unwanted dilemma’s? They all eventually decided to withdraw from the Tournament Ladies Pairs and Triples and Men's Triples respectively at the
Semi-Final’s stages. The Tournament Committee sincerely thank them all for doing so and ensuring that all our Tournament Finals were able to be played. Likewise we thank
Lyn Booth (Mayfield Park) who having reached all three Ladies Finals arranged for Jackie Farmer (Atherley) to sub for her in the Ladies Triples Final.
The Traditional Open Consolation Pairs commenced on Friday morning with four
Quarter-Finals played at Pirrie Park. In the main competitons at Atherley the remaining
Ladies & Men’s Semi-Finals were played with again some high-quality battles to reach the Finals. One notable Men’s Singles Semi-Final saw David Lawson (Southampton Old Green) who had defeated the much fancied Lee Croad (Ringwood) 21-9 in the Quarter-Final, forcing Michael Barrett (Eastliegh Rail) to produce his very best form to just edge David out 21-20, on a final end where both players had an opportunity to win the match, with Michael claiming a double to reach the Final.
The Ladies Singles Final was also played on Friday afternoon at 2.30pm, due to Lorraine Slaters involvement with the Bowls Hampshire Last 8’s on Saturday. Lorraine made the better start building a 9-5 lead at 8 ends, but Lyn Booth then won 4 of the next 5 ends to draw level at 11-11 at 14 ends. However, Lorraine then managed to halt her charge to reach the finishing line and secure her 2nd Ladies Singles Title 21-19.
All the remaining Finals were played on Saturday afternoon with a sizeable crowd of spectators enjoying the sunshine and the prospect of some close & exciting Finals.
The Finals commenced with the Ladies Triples at 1pm with a surpisingly easy victory for Joy Travers, Chris Robinson and Janet Felgate (Meon Valley) over Jackie Farmer, Sharon Smith and Jean Garrod (Mayfield Park) 25-4.
The Men’s Pairs Final at 1.30pm resulted in a very popular 31-11 win for Dickie Allen & Brian Bisson (St Brelades and St Saviours) as both have been coming to our Tournament from Jersey for many year’s!
It was not to be again for Jono Dalton & Paul Ward (Popes Mead) who as they did in 2019 again finished as Runner’s Up , this time with Michael Murphy of Popes Mead subbing for Paul who could not stay for the Final due a Top Club Area Final commitment in Surrey.
In the Open Consolation Pairs Final at 1.30pm the experienced duo of Keith Charbit Middleton & Dave Blogg (Sports Centre) came out on top 19-12 against Karen Watson and Sonia Watts (Mayfield Park)
The Men’s Triples Final at 2.30 was a family affair for the May’s as Father Paul May with Malcolm Holmes and John Mohindra (Banister Park and Sports Centre) defeated his two Son’s Liam and Charlie May playing with the experienced Nathan Durman (Banister Park)
In the Ladies Pairs Final at 3.30pm the Leah Durman and Bridget May duo (Unattched and Banister Park) after a slow start outscored Jean Garrod and Lyn Booth (Mayfield Park) for a 27-17 victory.
The Men’s Singles Final also at 3.30pm, was a classic “experience” versus “youthful enthusiasm” encounter with the wiley campaigner Michael Barret (Eastleigh Rail) taking on an in form Michael Comley (Banister Park) who was just 2 shots behind 11-9 at 10 ends. However, a determined Michael Barrett, seeking to make it 3rd time lucky after 2 previous Singles Final defeats drew on all that wiley experience to produce a 9 shot burst in the final 5 ends to clinch the Title!
The Prize Presentation Ceremony followed with Tournament Secretary Brian Hopper as ever thanking Atherley and our other Host Clubs, Pirrie Park, Banister Park and Southampton Old Green for the use of their green’s and for all the hard work of the Green Stewards, Green Keepers, Bar & Restaurant staff and Umpires and Markers. He then invited Oddfellows Provincial Grand Master Ralph Crump and Tournament President Lloyd Blackford to present the Trophies, Commemorative Awards and Cheques to all the Winners & Runners Up. Tournament President Lloyd Blackford then formally handed back the green to Atherley President Kevin Smith. In his closing remarks Brian Hopper referencing this year’s low entry numbers requested that all in attandance go back to their Clubs and encourage their men & lady members to enter our Tournament in 2023, as the future of the Event after 2023 depends on it and its now very much a case of “Use it or lose it”.
In conclusion, despite the low entry numbers, Brian and I managed to minimise the impact in scheduling the games and we were delighted that the usual sporting comraderie and fun Tournament spirit prevailed, and we hope to welcome back all our valued competitors in greater numbers for the 69th staging of Hampshire’s Premier Annual Bowls Tournament in 2023.
Kerry Clements – Honorary Assistant Secretary