Report 11th September 2019

Bowls England Academy Selection Event
Congratulations to Rhianna Russell who has been invited to attend the National Under 18 Youth Academy Selection event at Welford on Avon Bowls Club on Sunday 22nd September 2019. Well done Rhianna.

St Albans & District Ladies Bowls Association (SADLBA)
The finals of the SADLBA were held at Harpenden on Sunday 8th September with Rhianna Russell contesting the Champion of Champions final against a strong opponent from Kings Langley. Rhianna started slowly and soon found herself in arrears 0-4 but fought back to lead 8-4 after 4 ends. The strong form of Rhianna’s opponent saw her open up a commanding lead and at 10-18 down Rhianna had a real battle on her hands. A run of winning ends saw Rhianna draw level at 18-18 and after exchanging shots on the next 2 ends Rhianna secured a vital 2 shots to emerge victorious by 21-19. Congratulations and well done Rhianna on your championship victory.

St Albans and District Bowls Association (SADBA)
Finals day at Potters Bar saw two Welwyn & District finalists competing for honours. The first event of the day, with a 9.00 am start, was Jones Cup Final, a 2 rink contest that would be decided by the accumulative score of both rinks. The quartet of Barry Smith, Ian Kilford, Joe Festa and Alwyn Challacombe raced into an early lead and eventually secured a comfortable victory.

Over on the other rink the team of Phil Russell, Paddy Jones, John Brown and Mike Poole were engaged in a much tighter affair with the result not being decided until the last end where W&D just narrowly lost out. The combined rink scores were comfortably in favour of W&D and the Cup was secured. Congratulations to all the finalists and to those members that played their part by appearing in earlier rounds of the competition. 

Next up was the Triples final against Townsend St Albans BC. Jim Summerfield, Paddy Jones and Phil Russell were on the green for W&D and were in fine form. After establishing an early lead the lads never looked back and went on to win the trophy by 24-12 to bring an excellent day of bowls to a fitting end. Well done chaps.

East Herts Bowls League (EHBL)
Welwyn & District Bowls Club was the venue for finals day of the EHBL competitions. Our EHBL representative Stan Kenworthy, working closely with Jim McKeown and the host of brilliant and hard working volunteers who prepared the green, organised the food and ran the bar, did the club proud. W&D were involved in the Ranson Cup Final, another 2 rink men’s competition, where we were pitted against neighbours WGC. In a competitive match played in great spirit both W&D quartets got off to encouraging starts and an early lead was established which was maintained well into the second half of the matches.  Phil Russell, Chris Sherriff, Kevin Rylett and Mike Poole were able to keep their noses in front against some resolute bowling from their opponents and eventually went on to secure a 6 shot victory. Over on the other ring the WGC boys ate into the early lead that our rink of Barry Smith, Paddy Jones, Joe Festa and Alwyn Challacombe had built up and eventually were able to draw away to secure the rink victory. With the clubs achieving a rink win apiece the combined scores were in favour of WGC who were declared the cup winners. Congratulations to WGC and thanks to all the Welwyn & District lads for a great run in the competition. Overall a good season in the EHBL leagues with the Stags emerging as Division 1 champions and the Bucks and Harts enjoying good seasons.

Upcoming events
A reminder of 2 important events coming up this weekend for members to enjoy each other’s company on the green-  Ladies Captains Day on Saturday and the Dave Ratcliffe trophy event on Sunday. Please see notices on whiteboards in the clubhouse.

Best wishes and enjoy your bowling. Kevin

Report 3rd September 2019

National Competitions
The third week of the Bowls England National Championships was the stage for five Welwyn & District bowlers to represent Hertfordshire and to enjoy the Leamington experience. First up was Phil Russell contesting the Champion of Champions competition with a last 16 match against a formidable opponent from Worcestershire. Phil started well establishing an early lead only to be pegged back by the accuracy of his opponent. The players matched each other shot for shot with the Worcestershire bowler demonstrating the fiercest firing shot that most of us watching had ever witnessed. Despite Phil’s efforts his opponent gradually drew ahead to close out the game 21-16. A great run from Phil in a competition containing many high calibre bowlers.

Next up was the Triple of Alwyn Challacombe, Kevin Rylett and Paddy Jones. Drawn against opponents from Yorkshire, the lads got off to a slow start and soon found themselves in arrears. The Yorkshire team came to terms with the challenging rink quicker than we did and built a substantial lead by the half way stage. A brilliant six on end twelve, with Paddy trailing the jack into the ditch, sparked the Welwyn boys and the deficit begun to shrink. Roared on by supporters from our club and other Herts clubs the Welwyn triple  gave it their best shot but it was not enough and they eventually succumbed to the better team 21-14. It was a magical experience , as everyone who had been to Leamington before had told us it would be, and we were presented with our Championship badges that will serve as a reminder of our day at Leamington.

Finally it was the turn of our octogenarian Mike Poole to contest the latter stages of the Men’s Senior Singles Competition. Mike was pitted against a former runner up in the competition from Devon who was touted as a possible winner of the title. Falling behind in the early stages Mike showed all of his customary resolve to dig in and fight back delivering some great bowls in the process. In what turned out to be a long, energy sapping match, lasting twenty six ends, Mike’s opponent bowled some telling woods towards the end of the match to eventually secure victory 21-15. A great effort from Mike in reaching the Leamington stages of the competition losing out to an opponent who would go on to reach the final. Phil, Mike, Kevin, Alwyn and Paddy would like to thank everyone for their support and goodwill messages which were greatly appreciated.

The final day at Leamington saw the final stages of the Amy Rose event, a team competition for young bowlers representing their county. Rhianna Russell was selected for Hertfordshire Hawks who were pitted against Northamptonshire for a place in the quarter finals. The Northamptonshire side proved too strong for the Herts team securing victory and then going on to remain unbeaten and be crowned champions. Congratulations to Rhianna on her selection for the Herts squad.

County Competitions
After qualifying for the Men’s South Divisional Finals W&D were drawn against our neighbours WGC in the semi-final. The morning match was a two rink affair with the winning team decided by the combined shot count over the two rinks. After a tough encounter W&D emerged victorious and moved in to the final against Harpenden after lunch. The afternoon face off was hard fought but Harpenden proved too good and won on both rinks to secure their place in the County finals where fours teams from North, East, West and South of the county will do battle. Well done and thank you to the lads that represented us so well – Barry Smith, Phil Russell, Paddy Jones, Keith Phillips, John Brown, Ian Kilford, Joe Festa , Mike Poole and Ian Whitcombe.

East Herts League
The Stags had a busy few days in the last week of August securing EHBL victories over Bishops Stortford Ospreys, Hertingfordbury and Buntingford Bulls to claim the league title after finishing runners up for the past two seasons. A loss in the final game against Datchworth deprived the team of their unbeaten record for the season. The Bucks lost out to Sele Farm but their recent good form has ensured a mid table finish for the season. Not so good news with Phil Russelll and Paddy Jones narrowly missing out in their EHBL Pairs semi-final match against opponents from Ware. A reminder that the club will be hosting the EHBL finals day on Sunday 8th September commencing at 10.00am and your help and support on the day will be appreciated – please contact Jim McKeown for further details and see the programme of events displayed on the club noticeboard. The club will be represented on the green in the Ranson Cup final, a two rink men’s team event.

SADLBA
An excellent win for Rhianna Russell in the semi-final of the Champion of Champions event securing victory 21-20 after fighting back from 11-18 down.
Rhianna now takes her place in the final which will be held at Harpenden BC on Sunday 8th September.

SADBA
The SADBA finals day takes place at Potters Bar on Saturday 7th September with the club being involved in the Jones Cup final, a two rink team competition and the men’s triples with Phil Russell, Jim Summerfield and Paddy Jones looking to secure the trophy. The programme of events is displayed on the noticeboard in the clubhouse and on our website. Have a look at the attached Finals Day Programmes for more details

Welwyn & Hatfield League
The Woods finished their season with a good win over BSP gaining the full six points to move towards a mid-table finish. Alwyn and Val Challacombe and Jenny Hart won their triple 20-14 whilst Cyn Blakes, Ian Whitcombe and Chris Read eased to a comfortable victory 28-6.

Royce sent the following message to his Wanderers team: Well done for all of your efforts  to keep the Wanderers in Division 1.I hope all of you will put your names forward to play again for the 2020 season. We  have the building blocks for a higher position in the league in 2020. Word is Roman Abramovic is happy with Royce’s management of the team and there are no changes planned.

Friendly
A three triple friendly against Harperbury resulted in defeat by 49-36 with Bette Phillpott, Don Ellis and Les Page leading the way for Welwyn. We are now entering the last month of friendly matches so please do support your captains by putting your name down to play in the remaining games.

Best wishes and enjoy your bowling. Kevin

Also: Check out what happened on Captain’s Day