HISTORY OF THE SEVENOAKS BOWLING CLUB
THE FIRST 100 YEARS
SEVENOAKS BOWLING CLUB
Collated by Roy Dickenson
(1911 – 2001)
(2002 – 2011)
The earliest roots of the Sevenoaks Bowling Club go back to 1904, according to Mr W. Scothern, a Founder Member. In his address to the assembled company, on the occasion of the opening of a new six-rink bowling green, at Hollybush Lane Recreation Ground, on the 8th May 1929, Mr Scothern recalled the start of the Club 25 years earlier. He was, as far as he could ascertain, the only remaining Member, still with the Club, of those people who played on the lawn behind The Sennocke Hotel (Presently known as the Farmers) at Tubs Hill Station. The Club played on this green up to and including 1911.
Reference to a match played against Brasted, at the Sennocke Hotel, can be found in the Sevenoaks Chronicle for 1911, although match reports in the Local paper, prior to this date, were very rare. Sometime before the Second World War the bowling green at the Sennocke Hotel was converted to tennis courts, but these are no longer there – the area is now used as a beer garden.
Mr Scothern, referred to earlier, also mentioned an amusing incident when he played at The Sennocke Hotel bowling green. He and his friends arrived at the green one day, only to find a donkey tethered in the middle of the green. He also recalled that the game of bowls behind the Sennocke Hotel was played by candlelight at times.
In 1911, according to Mr Scothern, the players felt that, if they were to progress, it was time to break away from the licensed premises at The Sennocke Hotel and form a club. A meeting was held at The Lime Tree Hotel (Temperance Hotel), Lime Tree Walk, when it was decided to make a fresh start. The Sevenoaks Urban District Council had just taken over the Recreation Ground at Hollybush Lane and the club asked the Council to provide a new green inside this complex. Mr Frank Swanzy was appointed Club President and the Council duly provided a four- rink, bowling green. The small cricket pavilion, above the bowls green, was not in existence in 1911 but according to the Chronicle newspaper the Urban District Council invited designs from local architects. Presumably, the cricket pavilion was erected shortly after this, but it may not have been built until after the First World War.
It is interesting to note that when the Sevenoaks Bowling Club was formed and removed to Hollybush Close, the green behind the Sennocke Hotel continued to be used by a Sennocke team and was still in use in 1919.
Whilst it seems correct to say, that Sevenoaks Bowling Club was founded in 1911 it is quite clear that the club was not affiliated to the KCBA in that year. The inaugural meeting of the KCBA took place at the Angel Tonbridge on the 1st March 1911 before Sevenoaks Bowling Club was formed. Therefore, the KCBA was founded in 1911 but the Club records show that Sevenoaks B.C. did not affiliate to the County until 1912. This was the year when the Club first played on the new four-rink green at Hollybush Close. The founder clubs are listed in the Centenary Handbook of both Forest Hill and Bromley bowling clubs and Sevenoaks is not mentioned.
In the year 1912, the membership was quite small, but it was the early foundation, of better things to come, for, as recorded, Messrs. A. Fitt, W. Scothern, W.H. Chase and.
A. Simmonds won the Kent County Rink Championship in 1919. It is also interesting to record that Arthur Fitt was selected to play for England, whilst serving with the Club.
In 1921, W.H.Chase reached the Final of the Kent Singles, only to be beaten by F.Granville, of Margate.
Sevenoaks was first elected to the County Executive in 1920, and still held this Office, 80 years later, in the year 2001.
The original Pavilion had a thatched roof of Norfolk Reed and was built in 1927-28, being an open-fronted barn like building, with walls and ceilings lined with crested matchboarding, with what can best be described as a horse box, at either end which were used as dressing rooms. The tearoom, kitchen and cupboard like bar, were at the rear of the building. It was extremely hot inside during the summer. One of the Club’s members, Tom Marshall, was involved in building this pavilion in 1928 when he was working for a local building contractor by the name of Tye & Sons.
The Club continued to grow in size and the Council recognised the need for a full size green. A new six–rink green was formed on the lower ground to the east of the Pavilion. It was completed and officially opened by the Sevenoaks District Council in the presence of the Kent County Executive on the 8th May 1929, the Club winning the first game by ten shots. The then Hon. Secretary of Sevenoaks Bowling Club, Mr E.B.Jago, had the honour of opening the green on behalf of the Council, in his capacity as Vice-Chairman of the Sevenoaks Urban District Council. The Chairman of the Council was not available to undertake this civic duty.
In his address to the assembled company, Mr Jago, thought the Council, had two objects in view when it laid the green. Firstly, to provide a suitable green for playing bowls – the recreation of the ‘old and infirm’ of the District and, secondly, as an asset and a credit to the town of Sevenoaks. Mr Jago next thanked the President of the County Association, Mr A.W.Randall, for coming, saying that it was the first time the President & Executive had honoured Sevenoaks with an official visit. He hoped that, in the not too distant future, the Executive would consider the green suitable for one of the County matches. The greenkeepers at that time were Messrs Nevill & Gilham – who were applauded for their hard work on the green.
An interested spectator on the day was Mr Albert Simmonds, President of the Sevenoaks Bowling Club and founder of the Simmonds Hospital Charity Cup (Triples). He had travelled from the Isle of Wight to see the fulfilment of what had been a wish with him for 27 years – a Cumberland turf, full size bowling green in Sevenoaks. Mr Simmonds presented the Hospital Charity Cup in 1928. The Charity is still ongoing after 73 years and has allocated a considerable sum of money to the various local hospital charities during that time. The Competition is played in the form of knockout triples among players from neighbouring clubs in the Sevenoaks and District Area and is still very popular. The final was played at Sevenoaks for many years, until recently, when it was transferred to Holmesdale B. C
In 1933 Mr E.B.Jago, who had been the secretary at Sevenoaks for the previous two seasons was elected President of the KCBA.
The achievements of the club in its early days were impressive and included the following: -
1927 Gill Cup Finalists, beaten by Faversham.
1932 County Rinks Quarter Finalists (A.E.Fox, T.Zealey, E.C.House and W.J.Gypps.)
1932 Kent County Benevolent Triples Finalists ( A.E.Fox, E.C.House and W.J.Gypps )
Beaten by Margate.
1932 Kent played Hertfordshire at Sevenoaks and the Club entertained the County
1932 Hastings Open Tournament Rink Finalists (A.E.Fox, T.Zealey, E.C.House and
W.J.Gypps – Beaten by Kettering)
1933 Mr E.B.Jago became the President of the Kent County Bowling Association
and led them in a match against Bedfordshire.
1935 Kent County Benevolent Triples Finalists (J.Lorimer, T.B.Lawrence, and T.Pierce) Beaten by Deal B.C.
1937 Kent Singles semi-finalist (Percy Sinden)
During the 1939-45 war years the Club continued to function. The game of bowls went on as usual and was only briefly interrupted when a giant German bomber which crash – landed in close proximity to the green, during a Saturday night raid. Fortunately, it caused very little damage to the recreation ground. George Castle, one of the Sevenoaks bowlers, who was in the Local Constabulary, apparently escorted the three members of the crew to the Police Station. On another occasion, when German incendiary bombs landed on the green, without exploding, George was just in time to prevent Army personnel from digging unnecessarily large holes in the green to recover the bombs.
Once the War was over keen interest returned to the bowling club and the membership level was increased, but it was 1956 before any serious attempt was made to improve the facilities of the club.
The first project undertaken was to install Crittall Metal Wiindows and casement doors to the front of the pavilion. This was proposed by Bob Horne, the club’s Treasurer and he had great difficulty in persuading the Committee to agree to spend money on the Council’s property. It proved to be a turning point in the club’s history, being the forerunner of many such projects to improve the Pavilion and amenities over the ensuing years.
In September 1958 the club was indeed fortunate when the Sevenoaks Urban District Council appointed Mr Bert Stonley as greenkeeper. Bert came to the club from Culverden Tunbridge Wells, having worked on greens in the Tunbridge Wells area for many years. He had built up a well-earned reputation and was an expert in green maintenance. He was also known to be an excellent bowler.
Up to that time the club had not had a specialist greenkeeper, and as a result many clubs, especially those in Tunbridge Wells, had better greens than Sevenoaks. In a very short space of time Bert Stonley improved the Sevenoaks green. In fact, by the start of the 1959 season the green was transformed. In the autumn of 1958 Bert top-dressed the green with fresh soil and ruled the whole of it with a straight edge, thus eliminating the many runs that the club had previously experienced. With his expert knowledge of feeding, forking, brushing with the whalebone brush etc. and putting in many hours of his own time, he laid the foundation of the excellent green that the club has enjoyed ever since. The Sevenoaks Bowling Club is greatly indebted to Bert Stonley.
In 1958 after a great deal of deliberation and quite a lot of opposition, the club took the momentous decision to form a Ladies Section and immediately applied to the Council to re-use the old four rink green. Since the opening of the new six- rink green in 1929 the top green had been turned over to tennis courts. The original intention was for the ladies to play on the top green once it had been restored, leaving the men alone on the bottom green.
The Council granted the application for reinstating the old green, but the intended segregation did not take place, as, by the time the green was ready, the ladies had won the full support of the men.
The restoration of the top green turned out to be a mammoth task for the Members. The tennis courts had been enclosed with wire mesh supported on 10ft high steel angle irons. The Council removed the wire mesh and cut off the stanchions with an oxy-acetylene torch, leaving the club with some 40 concrete bases, each weighing about 1cwt, to be excavated and removed, prior to filling in the holes with spoil from the excavation of the new ditches. Bert Stonley re-turfed the green and replaced the ditches and banks. When completed the top green turned out to be a good bowling surface and the men were just as pleased as the ladies to have the use of it.
Sevenoaks is the only bowling club in this part of Kent to sport two greens. The members were very fortunate to be blessed with this good facility in such beautiful surroundings.
Up to 1958 the only approach to the top green was via. a flight of wooden steps some 3 feet wide. These were quite dangerous, particularly for older members. In fact one visiting bowler fell down the steps and had to be taken to Hospital for treatment.
The original fence which ran along the north side of the greens was very close to the Pavilion and Bert Stonley, with the permission of the Council, extended the boundary, to its present position, to allow access to the top green, via. a gently, rising footpath, on the north side. Bert’s son Tony built the brick steps on the south side of the Pavilion at a later date, to provide an improved access to the top green.
Bert Stonley planted the new hedges on the east side of the new green, and those next to the access from Holmesdale Road, on the north side,, where a small parking area was formed for the use of some of the more senior officers, like Ray Oake, the then secretary, and for deliveries to the Club.
Up until 1959, the ladies had had to use the Public Toilets below the cricket pavilion. This was rather impractical, if not embarrassing, especially for the tea ladies. Permission was, therefore, obtained from the Council to install a concrete ringed cesspool and to lay a drain to the rear of the pavilion to construct a toilet, with access directly from the pavilion. At the same time the Men’ Urinal was connected to the cesspool. This was an open top affair about 6 ft x 4 ft – surrounded on three sides by corrugated iron 5 ft high and enclosed by a small copse of trees. It was positioned about 10 ft away from the South side of the pavilion and originally discharged into a soakaway. Special mention is due to Reg Payne who played a major part in this project, along with some of the other members.
During 1959 – 60 permission was obtained from the Council, to a plan of alterations to the pavilion, drawn up by Percy Sinden. A number of the members then spent the Winter months working on Monday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings completely gutting and reconstructing the inside of the pavilion. Ted Cordery excelled in this project, especially in the decoration and the club showed its appreciation by making him an Honorary Vice President for Life. Stanley Berwick a much respected local builder and his Office Manager, Don Reader, supplied building materials as and when they were needed and all the Members involved derived a great deal of pleasure in their achievements. News of the improvements quickly spread across the County and coupled with the much-improved greens, thanks to Bert Stonley, the club’s facilities were much admired by visitors from other clubs.
These improvements were very much instrumental in Sevenoaks being asked by the Kent County Bowling Association to host the County Finals in 1961 – 65 – 69 – 73 – 77. Unfortunately, the drought in 1976 spoiled the green to such an extent that it had not recovered sufficiently for the club to stage the 1977 Finals.
To commemorate these efforts Mr Archie Rainey, who was President of the club between 1964 – 67, presented the club it’s the magnificent Honour Boards in 1961, which have been much admired by many visiting clubs. The records go back to 1911. It took a Sub – Committee several months to compile the evidence, much of which was obtained by trawling through back copies of The Sevenoaks Chronicle, with the valued assistance of the Chronicle’s staff. Mr Rainey also presented the Ladies Honour Board in 1962. Both boards were beautifully constructed in oak, in the workshops of Stanley Berwick.
In the Sevenoaks Bowling Club’s Golden Jubilee Handbook Bill Gypps made it quite clear that the club did not affiliate to the Kent County Bowling Association until 1912, yet the Honours Board presented by Archie Rainey, in 1961, shows the affiliation date as 1911. It is difficult to understand how this anomaly occurred, but the date on the Honours Board is incorrect!
When the Pavilion was constructed in 1927 it had gas lighting and the Club had to wait until 1963 before electric lighting could be installed. Alas, the nearest electric main was in Hollybush Lane, well over 100 yards away. However, after much corresponding with the Council and Seeboard it was agreed to lay a new supply along the footpath by Walthamstow Hall School and the cricket ground. This was to serve two new electric streetlights and the cricket pavilion, as well as the bowling club pavilion. The Club shared the cost with Sevenoaks Urban Council. The cost to the Club was £110 but on top of this the Club had to fund the cost of wiring the pavilion.
Some further honours leading up to the Golden Jubilee in 1961 include the following:-
1957 Maidstone Triples Finalists (M.E. Taylor, H. Stonley & R. Outram)
1960 Kent County Rink, Quarter Finals ( H. Palmer, P. Sinden, R. Watson & E. Wigmore)
Middleton Cup Representatives: 1934, W.J. Gypps; 1957, R. Outram, 1960, P. Sinden
In the club’s Jubilee Year (1961) It was represented by a Committee consisting of President S.V. Berwick, Vice President W.H. Miller, Hon. Secretary E.H.Sharp. Hon. Asst. Secretary M.E. Taylor, Hon. Treasurer A.F. Ames (Brother of the famous Kent & England cricketer Leslie Ames), Hon. Match Secretary R.E.Outram, Captain E.Reeves (General Foreman for Stanley Berwick), Vice Captains R.E. Outram & C.Smith)
KCBA Representative W.J.Gypps, Committee R.C.Chapman, E.Cordery, E.Goodman, B.Nye, & T.O.Marshall.
The Ladies Section was represented by President Mrs V.Jarvis, Hon. Secretary Miss E.M. Warwick, Hon. Treasurer Mrs K.Osborne, Captain Mrs B.Powell & Hon. Match Secretary and Vice Captain Mrs O.Green.
The club had a very full fixture list for both Men & Ladies and hosted the KCBA Finals as well as number of special events in order to celebrate its Jubilee.
As mentioned earlier, the Club had re – acquired the use of the top green, which had by 1960, been licked into good condition by Bert Stonley. However, the Membership was growing fast and it was decided that the Club should have two six rink greens. Permission was granted by the Council to extend the top green by 36 feet. This entailed digging into the bank at the far end, towards the cricket pavilion and required the excavation of some 900 cubic yards of soil.
This was a formidable task for a handful of keen club members to undertake and was executed on Saturday and Sunday mornings during the Winter of 1960 – 61. By Good Friday the banking had been successfully cut away leaving another 12 inches to be removed to allow for the thickness of the clinker, topsoil and turf. The club borrowed a JCB digger, driven by Reg Payne and a lorry from Stanley Berwick and removed the remainder in one day. One of the most popular members was apparently, Norman Miller. He had only just become a member and although he always arrived dressed in an immaculate suit and white shirt he worked wonders with a pick and shovel and was a constant source of inspiration to all the others.
The next item on the agenda was the provision of new changing rooms. Up to this time the home members had had to arrive early, to get changed and, be out of the changing room 20 minutes before the visitors arrived. They would then have to hang around afterwards until the visitors had departed from the changing room. The ladies also used this changing room on their match days.
In 1962 plans were drawn up by Tom Marshall (Clerk of Works at Sevenoaks urban District Council) and permission was obtained from the Council to build a Halls type timber building on a concrete and brick foundation. An estimate was received from Stanley Berwick Ltd for the erection of the building, including lining the walls and ceilings. This left the internal work to be done by the Members. The building was completed in a comparatively short time and the money was raised in three years to cover the expense.
Prior to 1961 the Club had a small score board, some 4ft x 3ft, on the South side of the green (next to the Putting Green) and the names and scores were marked in chalk. This was not very practical, as it could not be read from a distance. It was decided to have one similar to that at Aylesford Paper Mills. Percy Sinden drew the plans that were approved by the Council. Stanley Berwick donated the materials and it was built by a few of Members. John Crouch, who was a carpenter with Berwicks, was mainly responsible for constructing the oak framework, whilst Eric Reeves built the brick panels. In those days adhesive letters were applied with water but in later years these were changed to magnetic letters. These could be read fairly easily from the far side of the green. The rink – end number plates were purchased the following year.
In 1964, a member by the name of Roy King presented the club with a cheque for the sum of £400 to build a sun lounge onto the front of the pavilion. He and his wife made this gesture in appreciation of the welcome they had received, at Sevenoaks, and the happy times they had enjoyed there. Roy & his wife eventually retired to Eastbourne and joined the Saffrons Bowling Club, where they made a similar gesture to that club. When he passed away Roy also left a legacy to the Sevenoaks Club of £1000.
Roy King’s suggestion was to leave the entrance doors in line with the existing wood pillars and to push forward on each side of the entrance with two bays but after due consideration it was agreed to move the entrance doors forward in a straight line. The overall cost was £625, the Club funding the balance.
Mrs Vi Jarvis, was elected President of the Kent County Women’s Bowling Association in 1966. This was indeed a great honour for a Club of 8 years, and the Ladies Section purchased a gazebo (summerhouse) to commemorate the event. The Members erected the gazebo on the top green and the ladies did the decorating. Little did they know that it would be blown down onto the bottom green during the Hurricane in 1987. It was replaced soon after but disappeared altogether when the Indoor Club was constructed in 1990. Nevertheless, it served a useful purpose for many years and was particularly appreciated by the bowlers in the Saturday afternoon drives.
Eric Paterson (a local plumber) who was a Member for a short time, until he died, presented the Club with a Copper Weather Vane in 1968. It was pure copper and quite valuable at the time it was fixed to the pavilion roof. It lasted for thirty years before being overhauled, in the late 1990’s, by another stalwart member by the name of John Dawes. Unfortunately, it was removed by vandals in 2000 and had to be restored again by the indefatigable John Dawes.
The thatched roof of the bowls pavilion was a feature of the building when it was built in 1929, but in 1967 it was beginning to look as if it was coming to the end of its useful life. The club was starting to wonder what was to be done about its condition. The answer came in a rather unexpected manner. On the 4th July 1967 a Lt Commander Gothard was walking his dog through the recreation ground at 11.30 pm when he noticed smoke issuing from the pavilion roof, the thatched roof of which had been set alight by vandals. He promptly called the Fire Brigade before climbing on the roof himself to pull away the burning reeds. The firemen saved the building by removing all the thatch, leaving the pavilion roofless. Although several of the rafters were badly burned, tarpaulins were quickly placed in position to protect the remainder of the building.
It was not long before a new tiled roof, consisting of brown interlocking pantiles, was put in position to replace the old thatch roof. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise and the Club showed its gratitude to Lt Commander Gothard and his wife by inviting them to a bowls match and thanking the Commander Gothard for his prompt action, which surely saved the remainder of the pavilion and the changing rooms.
It is interesting to note that a similar thatched roof pavilion at Hastings, on the White Rock Greens was burned to the ground at about the same time. Unfortunately, many of the bowlers lost their bowls equipment on this occasion.
A further tragedy struck the club in September 1968 when severe local flooding caused the retaining wall and part of the top green, behind the pavilion, to subside – causing tons of soil and rock to be pushed up against the pavilion. Once again Bert Stonley, with the aid of his son Tony and a few other members removed all the debris and constructed a fine retaining wall surmounted by a new hedge,
In passing, it should be mentioned that the mild steel, ornamental coat hangers which are stationed around the bottom green, were made at Terry’s Forge (Old Post Office Yard) by the proprietor, Bill Pierce, and purchased by the club.
Throughout this period the membership of both the Men and Ladies Sections grew steadily and reached 100 men and 50 ladies.
TRIBUTE TO NORMAN MILLER
Eric Reeves, who compiled much of the information contained in this History of
Sevenoaks Bowling Club, in his document called ‘One Man’s Memories Over The Last 67 Years’, paid a special tribute to one of the club’s outstanding members. He said, that no History of Sevenoaks Bowling Club would be complete without mention of Norman Miller. A member whose good sportsmanship – his understanding of men and his desire to serve the club and its members made him an unforgettable person. From the moment he joined the club it was obvious that he was a leader of men. It was a pleasure to be in his company and he soon gained the highest regard of all the Members. In 1963 he was elected vice – captain and was club captain in 1964 – 65. He never attained great success as a bowler, but was honoured by the club when he was nominated to play for Kent against the South African Tourists in 1964. Norman became one of the few unbadged players to play for Kent. The South Africans presented him with a silver Springbok.
The County had deliberately chosen the Sevenoaks green in order that the South Africans could see the garden of England.
Norman Miller’s death in 1965 was a bitter blow to the club. His wife, Dorrie Miller presented the club with a set of tables and chairs in his memory. Dorrie Miller also presented the Miller Cup to the Ladies Section.
Many honours were won during this time in the County, Sevenoaks League, Simmonds Cup, Tunbridge Wells Tournament, Meritt Cup, Maidstone Triples etc. The outstanding ones are listed below.
1961 Percy Sinden won the KCBA Singles Championship.
1961 A. Shaxted, R. Chapman & J. Crouch won their County Badges.
1963 Tony Stonley won the KCBA Singles Championship
1963 Mesdames M. Hann, E. Cooper, B. Holness, & K. Osborne KCWBA Fours
1963 E. Reeves won his County Badge.
1964 J. Crouch, E. (Ted) Sharp, & J. Marshall won the Tunbridge Wells Open
1969 Mesdames M. Hann, S. Baker, & W. Aldridge were finalists in the KCWBA
1972 E. Wilkins (Maude Wood Winner)
1973 W. Aldridge, P. Bolam, E. Pearson & K. Osbourne (R.U. KCWBA Fours)
1973 E. Wilkins (Maude Wood R.U.)
1975 E. Wilkins (R.U. KCWBA Singles0
1975 D. Banfield, J. Crouch, W. Aldridge & T. Adams Kent County Fours Finalists.
1976-77 D. Banfield played in the Middleton Cup.
1977 B. J. Burt & Mac Roxburgh KCBA Pairs Quarter Finalists.
Also during this time Sevenoaks B. C. hosted the following prestigious games.
1962 Kent County Bowling Association v Hertfordshire B. A.
1964 Kent County Bowling Association v South African Tourists.
1966 Kent County Bowling Association v Middlesex.
1970 Middleton Cup Trials & KCBA v Northants B. A.
1970 Kent county B. A. v Middlesex (Middleton Cup).
1963 Sevenoaks B. C. v Hampshire Tourists.
1968 Sevenoaks B. C. v Northumberland Tourists.
1971 Sevenoaks B. C. v English Bowling Association Tourists.
When the Ladies Section was formed in 1958 by a nucleus of ladies from the Townswomen’s Guild, there were only a few ladies who knew anything about the game of bowls, so it took a while for them to build up a membership. They started with 13 members, and as the amenities improved, the numbers were increased from 35 to 40 and then 50 in 1970. At the end of the first year they had £3.75 in the account and 14 Members. At the end of the 1970 season the membership stood at 50 with £200 in the ladies account.
During this time the ladies donated various sums towards improving the buildings and to kitchen equipment. In 1960 further improvements were provided for the ladies in the form of changing room lockers and toilets. The ladies fixtures were included with the men’s lists.
The ladies played one match during their first year, against Holmesdale Bowling Club. In their second year they tried their luck in the County Competitions, but it was not until 1963 that they registered their first success. A fours team consisting of Mesdames M. Hann, E. Cooper, B. Holness and K. Osbourne won the Kent County Final! From then onwards, as far as the County Association was concerned, the Sevenoaks Ladies had arrived. They began to get requests from the County for the use of the green for County Matches and other County events. The ladies had one team in the Benevolent Triples in 1962 and again in 1964. In 1969 Mesdames M. Hann, G. Baker and W. Aldridge reached the Final.
Sevenoaks Bowling Club also celebrated its Diamond Jubilee 1911 – 1971 and ran a similar programme to that ten years earlier for the Golden Jubilee. The Officers of the club in 1971 were as follows: - President Frank Ames (Senior Vice –President KCBA), Vice – President Terry Jordan, Hon. Secretary Eric Reeves, Hon.Asst. Secretary Don Reader, Hon. Treasurer Ted Sharp, Hon. Match Secretary Reg Payne, Captain Bert Grimwood, Vice Captains Wally Cooper & Ted Cordery, Trustees Archie Rainey & Stanley Berwick, KCBA Representative Bert Grimwood. Committee Members were Bill Aldridge, George Else, Tom Marshall, Ted Hann, Bert Stonley and Ray Oake. The Jubilee Committee comprised of Ray Oake, Eric Reeves, Reg Payne, & Mesdames E. Cooper & D. Miller.
COUNTY PRESIDENT NO. 2
Sevenoaks Bowling Club was highly honoured in 1969 when the President, Frank Ames was elected Junior Vice President of the Kent County Bowling Association. He was the club’s second County President and held the office of President in 1971 – 72. E. B. Jago was the first County President for Sevenoaks in 1933. Frank Ames was a very popular President and served the County well during his term of office. Afterwards, he continued to support the County in various capacities and remained a stalwart member of both club and County. The club members, in honour of his achievements, erected a clock on the front of the pavilion.
In 1976 the club was honoured once more when Bernard J. Burt was elected as the Editor of the County Handbook and press representative. He relinquished the post of Editor at the beginning of the 1978 but not before he had made his mark by giving the yearbook a completely new image, which received acclaim throughout the County.
THE GREAT DROUGHT OF 1976
The previous year (1975) had been an extremely dry one and was followed by minimal rainfall during the winter. By the end of April 1976 the whole country was suffering from the most serious drought in living memory and there was little rainfall before September. By the beginning of the month of May the Local Authority had placed a ban on the use of hosepipes and the greens soon started to suffer. Gradually the greens turned from green to brown to yellow and started to look bare. It was a sickening sight. After all the hard work by the Greenkeeper it was tragic to see the greens deteriorate. At the time the Members did not believe the greens would ever recover.
In 1977 the Council appointed a new Greenkeeper, by the name of Bob Clarke, and this proved to be a blessing to the club. He tackled the almost impossible task of restoring the greens, with great enthusiasm. Up to the middle of July 1977 the bottom green was only used for matches and competitions, all other games being played on the top green. The County Finals were to be played at Sevenoaks in August but it became obvious that the green had not recovered sufficiently and the County was notified to this effect. The Finals were played at The Grove (Tunbridge Wells) that year.
By May 1978 the greens were once again in peak condition and the club expressed its grateful thanks to the Council and the Greenkeeper, Bob Clarke who had done a tremendous job.
LONG SERVING MEMBERS
The History of the Sevenoaks Bowling Club would not be complete without mention of Bill Gypps (Public Health Inspector with SUDC). He played his first game in 1923 and was still playing in 1978. He was also the first winning skip of the Simmonds Cup, which began in 1928. One only has to look at the Honours Board to see some of his achievements. In particular, he was President of the club from 1964 – 1967 and Hon. Secretary for 17 years. He was also County representative for 21 years.
George Castle was a Member of the club for well over 40 and was still playing in the 1980’s. Whilst George served on the Committee for many years, his most outstanding contribution was that he provided flowers for the dining tables for most of his time with the club and was fondly remembered by all those players who had the pleasure of knowing him. George Castle, who always wore a buttonhole himself and used to grow his own flowers, had a distinguished career in the Police Force after retiring from the Army. He was also a canny bowler who will also be affectionately remembered for prematurely kicking the bowls out of the head before his opponents had a chance to check the shots themselves. He was also a winner of the Simmonds Cup.
PASSING TRIBUTE TO SEVENOAKS
Eric Reeves, who should also be remembered for his contribution to the club including his record of the club’s history called “One Man’s Memories Over 67 Years” which has been included in these pages. Eric Reeves recalls the words spoken by an Immediate Past President of the English Bowling Association, when he spoke at Sevenoaks during the tea interval as President of the Hampshire Touring Team.
‘I have played bowls on many greens in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales but when I look at your lovely green and your marvellous facilities and survey this panoramic view of THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND I think this is the best!’
Eric Reeves, who was a General Foreman for Stanley Berwick Ltd, joined the club in 1951 and did yeoman service. He was Secretary for 12 years and was heavily involved with the alterations and improvements to the club. His hard work was rewarded in 1975 when he was elected President of the club, a post he held for two years.
BIRTH OF THE SEVENOAKS & DISTRICT MENS TRIPLES BOWLS LEAGUE.
George Else, another stalwart member of Sevenoaks Bowling Club, recalls, that he happened to be sitting next to Tom Marshall on a coach trip to a seaside bowls match in 1967 when the idea of the Sevenoaks & District League was conceived. Tom wrote to all the local clubs and arranged the inaugural meeting. From that enthusiastic gathering, of five clubs, the now thriving league was born on the 30th March 1968. The league began in that year with six teams. They were Borough Green, Holmesdale, Sundridge, Westerham and Sevenoaks who provided two teams (A & B). By the year 2001 the league had grown to 40 teams from 13 clubs arranged in five divisions with Sevenoaks providing six teams. Tom was the first Chairman of the league and George Else the first Secretary, a post he was to hold until 1995(28 years). He was also the Treasurer for the first ten years.
Between 1968 and 1989 Sevenoaks won the Sevenoaks Triples League on five occasions. They then went on to win nine titles between 1990 to 1999, missing out in 1994... The league was an exceptionally popular competition among the players. They looked forward to a competitive game of bowls, on a Friday evening, followed by a bread and cheese supper – some teams were criticised for making the suppers, unnecessarily lavish, at times, but it was generally accepted that this was a matter for the individual teams. Even so a great deal of pleasure was derived from the league. At its peak, Sevenoaks, with its six teams, fielded no less than 36 players, on a league night. In 2001 this trend began to reverse when Sevenoaks reduced its league teams to five, due to a sharp drop in membership.
The popularity of the Friday night league soon rubbed off onto the other members, including the ladies, and a Thursday Night Triples League (Mixed) was started within the club. This event is extremely popular among the members and has been running for many years. So much so that some of the Friday bowlers get in on the actas well. The latest idea is to have a fish & chips supper after the game.
There has always been competitive bowling but the last quarter of the Millennium has seen a large increase in this phenomenon. In the early days the players joined in the Simmonds Hospital Cup and arranged extra competition by going to the annual tournaments at Hastings, Tunbridge Wells, or Maidstone. In the winter they would look to indoor bowling at Crystal Palace, Chatham or Stone Lodge, where league bowling was played. As time went on the indoor bowls came closer with the new centres at Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Sevenoaks. All of these were running competitive leagues and competitions, as well as inter-club and county competitions.
Outdoors there has been a marked increase in the level of competitive bowling such as Holmesdale Pairs, Sundridge Singles, and Sunday morning triples at Bromley and Gravesend. Add to this all the County Competitions, The Natwest DoubleFours, Bert Cox Cup, Molly Cleggett, Travelsphere and The Belle Trophy and one begins to wonder how it is possible to find time for the “bread and butter of club bowling” on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday afternoon friendlies against other clubs. This is increase is clearly the major reason for the difficulties experienced in raising teams for friendly matches.
Some clubs are finding salvation in playing mixed bowls, on a regular basis but the increase in this desire to play competitive bowls could lead to the breakdown of outdoor bowling clubs, in the face of a falling membership and rising costs of green maintenance.
The annual dinners have formed an integral part of the club’s social calendar. It is not known how far back one must go, for the first event of this kind, without searching through the club’s records, but it has been a regular feature for the last 25 years of the Millennium. No doubt it was held in the Hollybush Lane on some occasions but latterly venues have included The Spinning Wheel (Westerham), Wildernesse Golf Club, Sevenoaks Rugby Football Club, Sevenoaks Community Centre, Hilden Manor (Hildenborough) and, for the past 10 years, Chipstead Sailing Club. The reason for the prolonged stay at Chipstead speaks for itself. It has proved to be an excellent venue for the annual dinner, which normally takes place at the beginning of December. At this time of the year the Sailing Club will have decorated the dining room and bar, ready for the Christmas festivities and the bowlers enjoy the benefit of the décor.
This is not to say that, they have nothing to do, in arranging these events. As with all such gatherings, someone has to organise the dinners and the club is greatly indebted to Ray & Babs Oake, Bernard & Margaret Burt, Brian & Gillian Evans and latterly Alan & Rita Doree, who have been mainly responsible for this work for over 25 years. Of course, they could not do this on their own and have been supported bands of stalwart members each year, to do the donkey work, plus all those people who were appointed to the Dinner Committees, during that time.
One of the pleasing features of these dinners is that the club invites the newly elected County Presidents and their partners form the KCBA & KCWBA, the Annual General Meetings of these Associations being held in November. The Sevenoaks Dinner is often the first of their official functions and they are given a good send-off on their respective presidential trails. After the dinner they are usually invited to present the club’s tournament trophies to the successful bowlers.
A history of the bowling club would not be complete without reference to the part played by the ladies of the club, who have given so generously of their time, in preparing lunches, teas, snacks etc., over the last 90 years. Without doubt, the social side of the game, in which the meals played a large part, has proved to be equally as important as the game itself and it would not have been possible without the magnificent input of the ladies. A good example of this effort was well demonstrated at the Invitation Days. On these occasions the ladies would arrange lunch and tea in two sittings, with no fewer than 120 men at each sitting, all without the least complaint. In those balmy days the ladies would not let the men anywhere near the kitchen, how things have changed.
Naturally, as the ladies became more interested in their bowling there had to be some adjustments to facilitate their needs. For example, the mid-game tea, in the men’s matches, was abandoned in favour of teas after the games and to save the ladies staying on to do the washing up, as they had always done, the men agreed to take it on themselves, after the match. There was little hesitation in accepting this arrangement, since the ladies were quite willing to stop doing the teas altogether. Thanks to them, however, the club has avoided the need to resort to outside caterers for 90 years. Whilst congratulating the ladies one should not forget that some of the men made a valuable contribution to the club catering, such as Ray Oake, David Cheeseman & Brian Jolley. Some of the names of the ladies, who spring to mind in this field, over the past twenty years, include Cecily Pateman, Doris Melsom, Margaret Hollands, Enid Foreman, Peggy Mitchell, Annie Houghton et alii.
By 1981 there was something of a sea change at Sevenoaks Bowling Club, there was no shortage of club spirit, but the average age of the members had risen considerably. The membership had also fallen to its lowest level for over ten years (131). The halcyon days of taking coach trips to the South Coast and, making a day of it, were gone for good and the piano that had hitherto provided an accompaniment to the clubhouse entertainment, after the matches was a thing of the past. Many of the old members had fond memories of the Woolwich Polytechnic matches that took place on the first and last day of the season. This fixture continued into the 1980’s but without the piano, and visitors were no longer required to drink the bar dry after the last match of the season, before going home. It is said that these events often went on to the early hours of the morning.
The early 1980’s saw a quiet period in the club’s development. In the middle of the decade, a few improvements were carried out to the club facilities. The cesspool drainage system had a disconcerting habit of overflowing at inopportune moments and had to be replaced with a main drainage connection into Holmesdale Road. Before this was achieved, however, Roy Dickenson had to write numerous letters to the Council, on behalf of the club, before the Council would move in the matter.
The Club’s bar was modified by Roy Dickenson and John Crouch to improve the stock area and glass washing arrangements and Bernard Burt, John Crouch & Roy Dickenson replaced all the kitchen units which had become obsolete. The bar at this time was between the kitchen and visitors dressing room.
The pavilion was not used, as a rule, during the winter months, apart from the Annual General Meeting, but Babs Oake, wife of Secretary Ray Oake, used to arrange watercolour painting sessions on a Wednesday morning. These were very popular among the members. Ray & Babbs Oake used to organise the Saturday afternoon drive and did so for many years. When they eventually gave this up it was taken over by Maurice Murch and his wife Joan. These two couples played a most important role in the life of Sevenoaks Bowling Club for over 20 years. The drives were much appreciated, especially by new members and those who were unable or not yet ready to play in the matches.
In 1980, George Else assisted Margaret Burt to start up a triples league for the ladies and eight local bowls clubs entered two triples, one of which played in the “A” Division, while the other participated in the “B” Division.
Margaret Burt‘s team was the first winner of the “A” Division in 1980. The fourteen-week season culminates on the first Monday in September with a Grand Finals Day, when the top team of Division “A” plays the top team of Division “B” to produce the champions for the year. At the same time, the second placed team in each Division plays – off for the third/fourth places. This league is still thriving 21 years later. The Sevenoaks Ladies have been among the top four teams on numerous occasions.
In 1981 Mrs Nellie Costelloe became President of the KCWBA and ten years later the Club was honoured to provide another President of the KCWBA in the form of Mrs Barbara Croucher, who was the third lady to represent the club in this capacity. Mrs Vi Jarvis was the first of the County Presidents from Sevenoaks.
Mrs Eve Tucker’s contribution to the KCWBA as Hon. Competition Secretary, over many years, should also be recorded.
69LAST DECADE OF THE MILLENNIUM
The last decade of the Millennium must be considered one of the most successful periods in the history of the club. There had been a gradual increase in the membership during the 1980’s culminating in a record number of 200 members (120 men & 80 ladies) by 1991. This was largely brought about by the introduction of a new eight rink indoor bowling centre, adjacent to the outdoor greens. Many of the 1200 indoor members joined the outdoor club. Among them were some 20 men who were members of Probus, an organisation for retired professionals and businessmen.
The membership may well have exceeded 200 but for the Committee taking the decision to cap the numbers owing to the lack of adequate changing room facilities.
Over the last twenty five years of the Millennium the club was blessed with many first class bowlers, who together with all the average bowlers, have contributed greatly in establishing Sevenoaks as one of the leading clubs in Kent and one of the strongest in the Sevenoaks district. Both men and ladies have always been well represented in the local competitions, such as the Simmonds Hospital Charity Cup, Sundridge Singles and the Holmesdale Pairs in addition to their commitments to their club and county.
In the club’s Men’s Singles Championship David Banfield won on six occasions, Wayne Cheeseman (3), David Slater (2), John Fenner (2), David Cheeseman (2) David Henning (2) and Bert Stonley, Bernard Burt, Mac Roxburgh, Roger Richfield, John Atkins, David Staples, Allan Chase and Jason Winter once each.
Eve Tucker won the Ladies singles Championship on six occasions, Edith Pearson (3),
Valerie Staples (3), Claire Jolley (2), and E. Wilkins, T. Daniels, Sylvia Gill, G. Robertson, Jessie Parish, Margaret Burt, Phil Smith and Jan Nash once each.
Few would disagree, with the choice of David Banfield (Mighty Mouse) as the most outstanding bowler in the Men’s Section during this period. David is arguably the best bowler, certainly the most successful one, in the club’s history. Apart from playing for Kent County Bowling Association in the Middleton Cup for over 20 years, during which time David was in the winning county in 1987, 1991 & 1993, he has represented Kent both indoors and outdoors in county matches and competitions on a great many occasions. He was President of the KCIBA in 1989 and became a KCBA Selector after managing the KCBA Under 25 team.
David Banfield has played in the Sevenoaks Triples League ever since it began in 1968 and must be considered to be the most successful bowler to play in the league. He has been the driving force behind the successes in the league enjoyed by both Sevenoaks and Borough Green, where he was a member from 1980 to 1986, during which time, Borough Green won the league on five occasions. David was undoubtedly involved in all of 14 occasions that Sevenoaks won the league, having a string of consecutive wins between 1990 and 1999, only losing in 1994. In addition to this Sevenoaks is the only club in the league to win both the First Division Championship and the Marshall Cup in the same year in 1992 & 1993. Sevenoaks completed a hat trick of wins by securing the Marshall Cup in 1994.
Of course, David did not achieve all this success on his own. He was ably supported by some of the club’s best bowlers, such as, David Cheeseman and his son Wayne who played England Under 25 in 1994-5-6-7 and Middleton Cup despite being troubled badly by a faulty hip, in his early days. Then there was Chris Winter and his son Jason, another successful Kent Middleton Cup & England Under 25 bowler – David Henning who won the County Two-Wood Competition and played Middleton Cup. In addition there was Tony Morgan, Michael Chapman, Johnny Johnstone, Bill Jones, Allan Chase, John McCarthy, Tony Griffiths, Clive Letherby (David’s son-in-law) and several others.
APPORTIONMENT OF DUTIES
In 1990 Roy Dickenson developed a new idea for apportioning duties on club match days, in order to get all playing members involved and to avoid complaints from the faithful few that they were the only people making a contribution. In its simplest form it consisted of four teams of six people. The first of these would be responsible for putting out the mats, jacks, scoreboard and flag before the game and clearing away afterwards, the second set up the tables and chairs for the meal and cleared away afterwards, including hoovering the pavilion floor, the third were responsible for the bar working and the fourth did the washing up. The duties were alternated for each match and if one was lucky one avoided doing the same duty twice running.
The system worked very efficiently since it was self-policing to some extent and tended to be over-manned. It has proved to be a successful system for over ten years, although it has been modified, in the light of experience by other captains such as Michael Chapman and Eric Mitchell. The biggest drawback has been the insistence of members, on house duty, to carry out the hoovering whilst our guests are still in the clubhouse.
MILLENNIUM LEAGUE (2000 – 2001)
Having declined to join the Millennium League, which began in the year 2000 Sevenoaks had a change of heart and applied to join in 2001. The league is played over four rinks, and can be arranged on any day, subject to agreement between the clubs involved. There are only a few registered teams in addition to Sevenoaks and include Tonbridge, The Grove (Tunbridge Wells), Ditton, Holmesdale & Maidstone. Additionally there is a knockout tournament with ten players to each side playing a singles/ pair/ triple and rink with an aggregate score. This should prove to be an interesting experiment. Sevenoaks made a wonderful start in these competitions by winning both the Millennium League and Cup in the first year that the Club entered. The cash prizes for these successes were gratefully received at a time when fund raising was an important feature of the club’s activities.
STEVE CRUTCHER – GREENKEEPER
The Sevenoaks District Council responsibility for the green maintenance still continues after 90 years but in the late 1980’s, as a result of Government edict they were compelled to put the work out to contract, in open tender. They had hoped to win the contract themselves, but were pipped at the post by the Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, who, it transpired, had under-valued the work. The new contractors began their work on the greens in 1989, after the previous greenkeeper, Bernard Lucas, had left the Council. Luckily, for Sevenoaks Bowling Club, this tendering error turned out very well indeed, as it introduced the club to the new greenkeeper, by the name of Steve Crutcher, and despite several contractual changes since, the Council have managed to retain his services for over 12 years.
Steve, who had had experience of maintaining greens in Australia, is a fine greenkeeper and has done a first rate job at Sevenoaks. He is, undoubtedly, the best greenkeeper at Sevenoaks since the days of Bert Stonley.
There were some differences of opinion in the early days, when the club were seeking a faster green, as it had been 20 years before, but these were soon overcome and Steve has tackled the challenge with great enthusiasm and dedication.
Apart from the wonderful condition of the greens, Steve is to be applauded for the manner in which he has kept the green surrounds and in particular the well manicured privet hedges that surround the greens.
He has managed to keep the greens in immaculate condition in spite of the fire or other vandalism, on the top green and the damage caused by bowlers from time to time.
The club and the Council are most fortunate to have the services of Steve Crutcher and long may it last.
The following are some of the honours enjoyed by the club: -
1981 Mrs Nellie Costelloe (President KCWBA)
1987 D. Cheeseman ( KCBA Badge)
1988 C. Jolley ( Maude Wood Winner )
1989/90 D. Banfield ( President KCIBA )
1990 P. Bowers & J. Evans ( KCBA Pairs Badge )
1991 C. Jolley ( Maude Wood Winner )
1991 Mrs Barbara Croucher ( President KCWBA )
1992 C. Letherby, M. Chapman, W. Cheeseman & D. Banfield
(R.U. KCBA Fours)
1992 V. Staples ( R.U. KCWBA Singles )
1993 C. Jolley ( KCWBA Badge )
1993 D. Henning ( KCBA Badge )
1993 M. Chapman ( KCBA Badge )
1993 W. Cheeseman ( KCBA Badge )
1993 H. Chapman ( R.U. Maude Wood )
1993 A. Morgan, W. Cheeseman & D. Banfield ( KCBA Triples Winners )
1994 A. Morgan ( County Badge )
1994 B. J. Burt ( President KCBA )
1994/97 W. Cheeseman ( England Under 25’s ) Also played Middleton Cup.
1995 H. Chapman, M. Dawes & E. Tucker ( KCWBA Badge )
1998 J. Winter ( Kent Under 25’s Singles Winner )
1999 J. Winter ( Middleton Cup KCBA Badge )
1999 D. Henning (Middleton Cup-After winning the KCBA Two-Wood Comp.)
1999 Ruth Small (Nat. Singles Champion – (Visually Impaired)
2000 Ruth Small ( Nat. Singles Champion – (Visually Impaired)
2000 J. Winter (Kent Under 25 Double Rinks-Inter-County)
2002 A Chase (President KCBA )
2003 J Talbot, K Pearce & E Mitchell - (KCBA Badges)
2003 Ruth Small ( Commonwealth Games Singles Champion (visually impaired)
2003 L Turner ( Sportsman of the Year – Cerebral Palsy H/C Players)
2005 Ruth Small ( Awarded MBE for services to Sport for the Disabled)
2009 Trevor Russell ( County Two-Wood Champion)
SEVENOAKS INDOOR BOWLING CLUB
The Sevenoaks District Council made the Indoor Bowling Club possible. Together with the hundreds of existing and new bowlers, who wished to play indoor bowls, as a winter pastime. Several of the Sevenoaks outdoor club members served on the steering committee for the indoor centre and continued to play a major part in its administration and development when the centre was opened in 1991.
Apart, from the boost to the membership, the indoor centre brought provided another blessing to the outdoor club, in the form of its car parking. Hitherto, the outdoor bowlers had to leave their cars in the Holmesdale Road car park or in Hollybush Lane. Both of these were about 100 metres from the clubhouse and the members and their visitors did not appreciate having to carry their bowls this distance. The indoor club was built on the site of the old putting green that ran along the south side of the greens. This meant having the new car park and entrance to the outdoor club, on the south side of the green. This was a wonderful improvement to the club. The loss of the gazebo on the top green was a small price to pay for the betterment derived from these changes.
From 1991 onwards many of the outdoor members joined the indoor club and took an active part in its activities, helping to administer the bowls and winning many trophies.
THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY
The club’s eightieth anniversary, in 1991, was celebrated and a slate coaster was struck with a motif of the club’s badge to commemorate the event. These became quite popular as they were presented to our guests during matches and also used to reward the highest winning rinks in matches.
It was recognised, by the club committee, in the mid-eighties, that consideration should be given to up-dating the Constitution in the face of a rapidly changing world.
In early 1990 the Sevenoaks Bowling club took the momentous decision to unify the membership. Although this was considered to be long overdue, Sevenoaks was one of the leading clubs in the county to take this course of action. Ever since the Ladies Section had been formed in 1958 the ladies had enjoyed little more than a second class status, even though they had paid the same subscription for a number of years.
A Sub–Committee was formed to look into this matter and to draft a new Constitution in order to convey equality to all the members. The sub Committee comprised Enid Foreman, the Ladies Section Secretary at that time, Roy Dickenson the Club captain, H. H. Brocklebank (Trustee) and Neville Hughes (Asst. Secretary).
Numerous meetings of the Sub – Committee took place until a new Constitution was formulated to present to an Extraordinary General Meeting at which they were approved, having been vetted by the club’s unofficial legal advisor Ralph Harwood.
The new Constitution was endorsed by the members at the next AGM and came into force in 1991. The approved arrangements provided for a General Committee, a Management Committee, a Men’s Section and a Ladies Section. The General and Management Committees comprised both men and ladies. Since the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer were open to any member it was a pleasing development for Mrs Enid Foreman to become the first Secretary under the new system. An office, which, she held for two years, during which time she carried out her duties in an exemplary manner. A few years later in the light of experience the Constitution was modified to reduce the size of the General Committee and to omit the Management Committee.
COUNTY PRESIDENT NO. 3
In 1992 the club was honoured once again when Bernard J. Burt was elected as the Junior Vice President of the KCBA. Bernard was indeed fortunate, as it was necessary to hold a ballot, as there were two contenders for this office, at the KCBA Annual General Meeting. The other candidate for the post was, none other than, the County Coach, Norman Evenden, a very popular figure in the county. It was a great pity that there had to be a ballot for this post, as both, were worthy candidates and had been good servants of the KCBA. Bernard went on to become Senior Vice-President in 1993 and held the office of County President in 1994. In 1996 he became the President of the Kent County Past Presidents Bowling Association and headed their tour to Felixstowe, Suffolk, a venue chosen by Bernard. He became Match Secretary to the KCPPBA, a post he filled, with enthusiasm, for five years, as well as continuing in his capacity as Press Officer for the KCBA. He was elected President of Sevenoaks Bowling Club in 1996 having been captain in 1975-1976 and 1983-1984 and secretary in 1990-1991. Bernard still had enough energy to take over as Secretary of the Sevenoaks Triples League, when George Else stood down, in 1996. Bernard was elected to the KCBA Council in 1974 and retired 25 years later.
Towards the end of the 1980’s the club made a concerted effort to redevelop the pavilion and changing rooms by replacing them with a two-storey pavilion. This was intended to provide access to the upper green as well as improving the view over the lower green. It was something of a pipe dream but the Sevenoaks District Council showed a degree of serious interest, by producing a set of drawings for the scheme, which, in the end turned out to be too expensive.
There was a brief period, after this, when the District Council tried to persuade the outdoor club to amalgamate with the indoor club and do away with the outdoor facilities. Fortunately this did not come to anything, at the time, but it is not to say it will not happen in the future.
As a result of these various negotiations the District Council came up trumps in 1994 and agreed to refurbish the present pavilion at a cost of £60-70,000. This was most fortunate for the club. The Council did a marvellous job and gave the building a new lease of life. The club benefited from the internal refurbishment by getting a completely new bar, kitchen, hot water system and new gas heaters, in addition to new decorations and rewiring. Whilst this work was being undertaken the club could not use the pavilion and had to play all their matches away in 1995. The committee during this period, under Sid Gamwells, the Secretary of the club at that time, is to be congratulated for its efforts in managing the club through the alterations.
It is interesting to note that the club was not on the telephone until 1986, when Alistair Irving kindly contributed a donation of £200 for this to be installed. It took 90 years for the club to acquire a dishwasher, which was kindly donated by Jean Slater in memory of her husband David. For some inexplicable reason the committee had declined an earlier offer. As usual it was left to John Dawes to install the equipment.
The club also benefited from numerous other improvements during the 1990’s including a green watering system, new seats around the bottom green, new ditches, scoreboard repairs, new weather vane, seating for the top green, changing room lockers, and improvements to and new honours boards. It is impossible to keep up with these improvements and whilst many of the members contributed to this work, in some way, one particular name stands out above all others. John Dawes has been a wonderful member of Sevenoaks Bowling Club. Apart from supporting the club on the playing front, on a regular basis, he has spent the last ten years doing all kinds of jobs for the club. Many of which have required a great deal of expertise and skill which John Dawes has provided in abundance, as well as carrying out the tasks economically, accepting little or no reward for his labours. The club owes him an enormous debt of gratitude.
DON FOREMAN – SPECIAL TRIBUTE
The club has been well served by a stream of excellent captains during its history but few have contributed more generously of his time and patience than Don Foreman. He took over as secretary in 1984 and did a first class job for three years before taking the post of captain in 1987, a post he also held for three years. The normal span for a club captain is two years but Don suffered with his health in his first year as captain and was permitted to do the extra year. By way of recognition Don was elected as president of the club in 1991 and continued until 1995, thus putting in a continuous period of eleven years. Don thoroughly enjoyed the friendships he found at Sevenoaks and, although, he was not a star bowler his contribution to the management of the club sets him aside as a fine member who acted in the true spirit of the game.
Of course, it is impossible to speak of Don Foreman without mentioning his wife Enid. They are an inseparable couple and Enid, in her own way, has contributed just as much to the club as Don. In addition to her hard work in the ladies section she became the first lady secretary of the club after unification.
LADIES NATIONAL AND COUNTY TOURNAMENTS
In 1996 the Sevenoaks Ladies won the Belle Trophy at Beckenham, Kent by beating Danson Park in a tournament with 12 players, in each team, making up singles/pairs/triples & fours. The Sevenoaks team comprised Claire Jolley (Singles), Margaret Dawes & Hilary Chapman (Pairs), Jan Nash, Joy Hyson & Rita Harwood (Triples) and Sally Burton, Eve Tucker, Muriel Marshall & Valerie Staples (Fours0. They reached the Final again in 1997 and narrowly lost to Bromley by four shots.
In 1997 the ladies reached the Divisional Final of the Mollie Cleggett Tournament and the Kent semi-final of the Travelsphere Tournament.
The ladies played in the Mollie Cleggett Finals at Sandwich in 1998 and finished third in the play off. This Tournament is played with double rinks and the Sevenoaks team comprised Claire Jolley, Sally Burton, Doris Chapman & Eve Tucker/ Margaret Dawes, Joy Hyson, Hilary Chapman & Valerie Staples.
In the same year Margaret Dawes, Eve Tucker, Hilary Chapman & Valerie Staples were quarter Finalists at Leamington Spa, Claire Jolley & Valerie Staples reached the Section finals of the County Pairs & Sally Burton the section finals of the Maude Wood Singles.
Once again the ladies managed to get to the Mollie Cleggett Finals at Hartley C.C. and finished third once more in the play-offs. The team comprised Claire Jolley, Jill Dickenson, Polly Cresswell & Hilary Chapman/Jan Nash, Joy Hyson, Doris Chapman & Valerie Staples.
By the end of the Millennium mixed bowling was becoming quite popular but most of the matches continued to be played within the respective sections despite the integration at Sevenoaks. In 1998 Jill Dickenson the ladies captain met up with an old Kent hockey friend, Jill Sellars from Folkestone Bowling Club, and as a result a series of mixed matches were arranged. The first of these took place at Folkestone in 1998 when Sevenoaks struggled in the pouring rain before the game was abandoned after 15 ends.(12 rinks). The return match at Sevenoaks was played over 10 rinks and Sevenoaks lost by one run. By the year 2000 the novelty seemed to have worn off and Sevenoaks won a 5-rink match at Folkestone. The fixture was not renewed.
There is no doubt that the wonderful facilities at Sevenoaks Bowling Club made it a popular venue for many of the prestigious events organised by the County Associations. The club hosted the KCBA Finals on numerous occasions between 1980 and 2001, as well as the later rounds in the Kent County Tournaments and Two – Wood Competitions, County Matches, KCPPBA and Past Presidents Games. The men played for several years against the KCWBA in a trial for the Johns Trophy and hosted the KCWBA Two – Wood and Benevolent Days.
One of the most popular features was the raised bank, in front of the lower green, surmounted by the clubhouse, which provided a tremendous view for spectators. The landscape beyond the green to the east, over farmland and Knole Park Golf Club was quite spectacular. Unfortunately, over the years numerous trees have been planted and as they reach their mature height they are beginning to blot out the hitherto, expansive view of the countryside.
COUNTY PRESIDENT NO.4
In November 1999 the Sevenoaks Bowling Club’s Treasurer, Allan Chase was elected as Junior Vice-President of the KCBA and became President for the year 2002. Allan is the fourth member of Sevenoaks Club to honoured in this way, although his father, Norman Chase MBE, who is now a member, served as President of the KCBA when he was with the Bromley B.C. in 1990. In the short time Allan has been with Sevenoaks he has been a first class committeeman and has made an excellent Treasurer since 1994 and served as captain in 1998-1999. His work as Treasurer has been particularly valuable in handling the club’s finances, through the pavilion refurbishment and during period of rising costs and declining membership. His budgeting system of the club’s accounts, since he first took over in 1994, has kept the members clearly informed of the club’s financial position, and helped to avoid any substantial increases in the annual subscriptions. Unfortunately, Allan and the Club are fighting a losing battle owing to the high rental expectations of the Local Authority. With a rent of almost £12000 per annum and a declining membership the remaining members are faced a substantial increase in subscription levels as the Club moves towards its centenary. At the end of 2001 the policy is to boost fundraising as well attracting further members.
The case of Ruth Small serves as a good example of the value of bowling to people in all walks of life. Ruth is blind but has managed to meet the challenge presented by playing bowls, in spite of her disability, and has succeeded by competing at the highest level. The Sevenoaks Bowling club is indeed proud of Ruth’s achievements.
Blind bowlers are graded according to their degree of residual sight. The grades run from B1 to B4. Totally blind persons are classified as B1, as in the case of Ruth, who has to wear totally blacked out glasses, for these events.
Ruth won the English National Association of Visually Handicapped Bowlers National Championship for B1 Ladies in Great Yarmouth in 1999 and again in 2000 at Gateshead.
In 2000 Ruth won the Gold Medal for B1 Ladies in the UK Singles, representing England, against Scotland and Wales in Newport, Gwent. These Championships are organised by British Blind Sports.
Ruth has been selected to play for England in the World Bowling Championships for Visually Impaired to be held at Girvan, Scotland during August 2001.
The UK Indoor Singles 2001 (B.B.S.) is to be held at Newport, Gwent at the end of April and Ruth has one more eliminator, in March, to decide if she will play for England in that event. A truly remarkable performance, by Ruth Small, who would be the first to admit, that she could not have succeeded without the help of he husband Jack.
Lawrie Turner is another handicapped bowler who has carried the England flag overseas. Lawrie, who had a serious car accident in 1952, and developed cerebral palsy, as a result, represented England in Australia in 1997. The trip was arranged by the International Organisation of Sport for the Disabled and played in the LB3 group and won a Bronze Medal in that class. He had only been playing for four years when he had his first trial and is going to play in the South African National Open Tournament in 2001. He has also been invited to play in the Robin Hood World Championships to be held in Nottingham in June 2001.
Lawrie found bowling in Australia very different to outdoor bowling in England. The greens were rock hard and fast: equal to the indoor greens over here, but he found the wind the most difficult problem with which to deal.
Despite the high membership over the last ten years, by 2001 it had receded to the 1981 level of 130. This was mainly due to lack of recruitment and players leaving to join other successful clubs in the area, coupled with natural wastage. There was also another phenomenon. Although the indoor club had brought benefits to the outdoor club, in the form of car parking and an early influx of members, the trend was starting to reverse. Many of the older players were becoming reluctant to play outside, when they could be enjoying the equable conditions provided by playing indoors in the summer. This, coupled with the increasing tendency among new bowlers, who started their bowling careers playing indoors in the winter, and then chose to remain indoors all the year round, rather than join an outdoor club. Despite this deficiency, the club continues to make strenuous efforts to raise their membership.
NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY (1911-2001)
The officers of the club, in the year 2001, when the club celebrated its 90th Anniversary, were as follows: -
President: Brian Jolley who joined the club in 1965 and is probably the longest serving member. He has served on the committee for many years and spent much of his time coaching new bowlers, having, himself qualified as an instructor and marker. Brian would, perhaps, be best remembered for his long service as Wednesday captain, a post he held in 1986 and again in 1991 until he gave up the year before he became President in 1999. In the year 2000, Brian generously presented Sevenoaks with a new club flag. Brian and wife Claire look after welfare and benevolent.
Vice-President: Eric Mitchell who has been a member for eleven years and eventually became captain in 1996-97, after two years as vice-captain under Michael Chapman. Eric has served on the committee for many years and apart from being a very successful bowler he has given generously of his time in organising the club competitions and ensuring that the trophies are returned each year for the annual presentations at the dinner. He is also a trustee of the club. Eric has also been responsible for looking after the rink allocation board, a chore he valiantly took over from the indefatigable Jim Robyns, who did the job for several years. One should not forget Eric’s wife Peggy, who has served the club well for several years organising the Tea Rota. She is also a neat little bowler, who tends to hide her light under a bushel.
Hon. Secretary: Ron Williams has been a member since 1991 and was elected to the post of secretary in 1997. He has filled the appointment with great dedication for the past five years even though he had a difficult act to follow. His immediate predecessors were Enid Foreman and Sid Gamwells, both of whom had given valuable service to the club over the previous seven years. This was a particularly busy time in the history of the club, whilst the pavilion underwent major refurbishment, in 1991-95.
Hon. Treasurer: Allan Chase joined the club in the early 1990’s, when his father Norman also joined Sevenoaks from Bromley B.C. Since then he has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the post of Senior Vice-President of the Kent County Bowling Club and is destined to become Sevenoaks’ fourth County President in the year 2002, thus following in his father’s footsteps. Norman Chase MBE was County President in 1990. Allan has also held the post of club treasurer since 1994 and has done a first class job of managing the club’s finances. He was also club champion in 1998, surprising everyone by beating the great David Banfield.
Men’sCaptain: Brian Evans who has been a member eleven years is in his second year in the office and has done exceptionally well under trying circumstances. In the face of a declining membership Brian has had to work very hard to ensure that the club honoured its matches and has not enjoyed the full support of all the members that he was entitled to. The club is extremely grateful to Brian and his wife Gillian for all the years they ran the annual dinner and for being instrumental in arranging for the dinner to be held at the Chipstead Sailing Club.
Hon. Section Secretary: Sid Gamwells who was secretary of the General Committee between 1994 and 1996 joined the club in 1991 and has served on the committee for much of that time with distinction, often with his wife Eileen who has been a keen supporter of the ladies section.
Hon. Match Secretary: Ralph Harwood a stalwart member of the club, together with his wife Rita, who has been leading light in the ladies section. With his legal background, Ralph has been of great assistance to the club during the unification process in vetting and amending the constitution. He has been match secretary for several years following on from David Cheeseman and David Slater, doing much of the unsung work of arranging the club’s fixtures behind the scenes.
Wednesday Captain: John Tuck is a comparatively new member who has quickly got into his stride becoming vice-captain to Peter Haden-Scott and then taking over the job himself. John has also taken over the post of treasurer of the Sevenoaks League in order to keep Bernard Burt on the straight and narrow.
League Representative: David Banfield – you cannot keep a good man down. Much has been, quite rightly, said about David and his reputation goes before him. Not satisfied with playing in the league for 33 years he is still there looking after the interests of the club – who is better qualified?
Ladies Captain: Gillian Evans is making a first class job of shepherding the ladies and made an excellent surrogate captain at the dinner in 1999 by making Jill Dickenson’s speech, when Jill had lost her voice.
Vice-Captain: Jan Nash who has turned out to be an excellent bowler and should make a first class captain. Very much involved with the steering committee of the indoor bowling club in the early 1990’s on behalf of the Sevenoaks District Council.
Hon. Section Secretary: Valerie Staples has been a member for the best part of twenty years and has learnt her trade well. She is a very competent bowler who has won many competitions during her stay at Sevenoaks, both indoors and out. Having won her county badge she has played regularly for the county and has represented the county in the Johns Trophy at Leamington Spa. Valerie’s late husband, David, was also a fine bowler who won many competitions in his own right. David was a true character and he is greatly missed by all that knew him. In addition to being secretary since 1994, Valerie is the County Representative for the ladies.
Hon. Match Secretary: Margaret Dawes has been a member for over ten years and has proved to be a first class lead bowler who won her badge and played for the county. Like Valerie, Margaret has played in the Johns Trophy at Leamington Spa.
Tournament Secretary: Joy Hyson has been a member for ten years and has always worked tirelessly for the club. Joy was ladies captain in 1994-95 and ha proved to be an excellent club bowler. She has given generously of her time to look after the competitions for the ladies and to ensure that the trophies are returned in a clean condition for the annual presentations. Joy has an acute sense of humour, if you catch her on the right day and is extremely artistic – and modest.
House: John Dawes is indispensable, a fact no one would dispute. It would be impossible to record all the things John has done for his club. Nor would one have the impertinence to suggest that he had ever done a particular job badly. It just does not happen. One of his latest innovations was to make new rink numbers and markers and bowl markers for both greens and they are beautifully made. John is a true artist and invaluable to the club as well as being a real gentleman.
House Supplies: EileenGamwells performs another of those unseen jobs, that everyone expects to be done, but don’t know who actually does them. She goes about her things quietly and efficiently and always has a smile for you.
Tea Rota: Annie Houghton is another of those real workers in the club, who is highly efficient and reliable when it comes to organising special catering events.
Bar: Roy Dickenson has been a member for over 21 years and first served on the bar committee in 1983. This is the fourth consecutive year he has served in this capacity and the third time as bar chairman. He is ably assisted by Mac Roxburgh, who is one of the longest serving members in the club, and John Atkins who has been a member for well over twenty years.
Francis Drake Fellowship: John Atkins has been issuing the Francis Drake Fellowship badges for at least sixteen years having taken over from John Crouch.
Press Officer: Steve Howell is a comparatively new member but has taken on a very important office in making certain that the local press get all the up to date information about the club’s activities.
Greens and Rinks: Brian Evans and Alan Doree are responsible for liasing with the greenkeeper and ensuring that the rinks are set out correctly for the various competitions.
Social and Dinner: Alan Doree and Rita Doree are continuing to organise the arrangements for the annual dinner. The 2000 dinner was an excellent event at Chipstead Sailing Club, especially the cabaret that followed the presentations. Tony Morgan, doing his Tommy Cooper impersonation was hilarious, as was Jill Perry with her Joyce Grenfell story and Joy Hyson, Gillian Evans and Annie Houghton taking off the Beverly Sisters. It was surprising that no one had a heart attack! The cabaret was continued at the dinner in 2001 with most of the original cast. Rita Doree made an appearance in an all singing, all dancing sketch about an ageing fairy. A good time was had by all.
The Committee has arranged a number of special events to celebrate the club’s anniversary as follows: -
6th May 2001 A Car Rally followed by a meal in the clubhouse.
24th May 2001 Sevenoaks v KCBA President & Council.
16th June 2001 KCWBA Two-Wood Competition
17th June 2001 KCWBA (Johns Trophy Trial against Sevenoaks Men)
19th June 2001 KCBA v Somerset County Bowling Association.
30th July 2001 KCPPBA v Banks Bowling Association.
19th Aug. 2001 Open Triples Tournament (Sponsored by Inplay)
SEVENOAKS BOWLING CLUB PRESIDENT
1911 – 1915 No record
1916 – 1920 F. Swanzy (SUDC Councillor)
1921 – 1931 A. Simmonds (Founder of the Simmonds Hospital Cup)
1932 – 1940 Rev. Hanson
1941 – 1943 H. Outram (Outram’s Sports Shop)
1944 J. H. Lorimer (Lorimer’s Office Supplies & Toy Shop)
1945 E. C. Howse (Solicitor)`
1946 S. F. Wood (Woods Bakery & Bakers Shop)
1947 E. P. Barton (Teacher Bayham Road School)
1948 J. W. Emery
1949 W. H. Miller (Pharmacist)
1950 – 1953 E. C. Cole
1954 – 1957 W. J. Gypps (Public Health Inspector – SUDC)
1958 – 1963 S. V. Berwick (Local Builder & SUDC Councillor)
1964 – 1967 A. G. A. Rainey (Chartered Accountant)
1968 – 1971 A. F. Ames (Structural Engineer – Redpath Brown)
1972 – 1974 T. A. Jordan (Bank Manager)
1975 – 1978 E. Reeves (General Foreman – Stanley Berwick)
1979 – 1982 H. E. Grimwood (Kent Policeman)
1983 – 1985 E. H. Sharp (South Suburban Gas Company)
1986 – 1990 R. Oake (British Gas – Showroom Manager)
1991 – 1995 D. Foreman (Solicitors Office)
1996 B. J. Burt (Print Representative)
1997 – 1998 R. G. Dickenson (Chartered Surveyor)
1999 - 2001 B. T. Jolley (Schoolteacher)
2002 – 2005 E. Mitchell ( Insurance Official)
2006 - 2008 M.J. Chapman (Bank Official)
2009 -2011 J.Tuck (Bank Official)
1911 – 1915 None 1911 –1916 None
1916 – 1920 G. Wood 1917 – 1923 G. Wood
1921 – 1928 S. F. Lewin 1924 - 1928 A. Tuffin
1929 – 1931 E. B. Jago 1929 – 1931 A. Beveridge
1932 – 1945 W. J. Gypps 1932 – 1938 E. C. Howse
1946 – 1949 T. Pierce 1939 – 1945 A. Beveridge
1950 – 1951 A. V. Catt 1946 – 1953 H. Goldsmith
1952 – 1954 R. Watson 1954 – 1956 G. J. Bone
1955 – 1956 G. J. Bone 1957 R. Horne
1957 - 1961 E. H. Sharp 1958 – 1960 S.C. Sly
1962 1974 E. Reeves 1961 – 1970 A. F. Ames
1975 – 1983 R. Oake 1971 – 1982 E. H. Sharp
1984 – 1986 D. Foreman 1983 – 1989 G. F. Best
1987 –1989 D. Slater 1990 – 1993 J. Pearman
1990 – 1991 B. J. Burt 1994 - A. Chase
1992 – 1993 Mrs E. Foreman
1994 – 1996 S. R. Gamwells
1997 - 2011 R. F. Williams
1911-15 None 1960-61 E. Reeves
1916-29 W. Scothern 1962-63 E. C. Cordrey
1930-31 E. C. Howse 1964-65 N. G. Miller
1932-33 A. E. Fox 1966-68 E. H. Sharp
1934-36 A. Beveridge 1969-70 R. Oake
1937 T. Lawrence 1971-72 H. Grimwood
1938 A. Phillips 1973-74 T. O. Marshall
1939-40 A. Anderson 1975-76 B. J. Burt
1941-43 J. H. Lorimer 1977-78 J. Adams
1944-45 W. Tebay 1979-80 E. M. Shepherd
1946-47 W. H. Miller 1981-82 R. V. Broadhurst
1948 E. C. Cole 1983-84 B. J. Burt
1949 W. J. Gypps 1985-86 D. W. Slater
1950 E. C. Howse 1987-89 D. Foreman
1951 W. J. Gypps 1990-91 R. G. Dickenson
1952 H. A. Bowden 1992-93 D. Banfield
1953-56 R. E. Outram 1994-95 M. Chapman
1957 A. V. Catt 1996-97 E. Mitchell
1958 E. Goodman 1998-99 A. M. Chase
1959 T. A. Jordan 2000-01 B. A. Evans
2002 -03 A Morgan 2004 -06 D Lewington
2007 -2008 E Mitchell 2009 - M. MacDonald
1958-60 O. Swift 1981-2 P. Bolam
1961-63 V. Jarvis 1983 P. A. Adams
1964-66 O. Green 1984-85 C. Pateman
1967-72 K. Osborne 1986 E. Pearson
1973-74 E. Pearson 1987 K. Middleton
1975-76 W. Aldridge 1988 M. Burt
1977-78 D. Melson 1989 J. Murch
1979-80 B. Oake 1990 E. Tucker
1991 S. G. Gill
( Position discontinued after amalgamation with Men’s Section in 1992)
1959 V. Jarvis 1977-78 B. Oake
1960-61 G. M. Powell 1979-80 P. Bolam
1962-63 O. Green 1981-83 C. Pateman
1964 J. M. Monger 1984-86 M. Burt
1965-66 K. Osborne 1987-88 E. Foreman
1967 H. Gypps 1989-90 P. Smith
1968-69 E. Pearson 1991-92 C. Pateman
1970 E. Cooper 1993 P. Smith
1971 E. Cooper/M. Hann 1994-95 J. Hyson
1972 M. Hann 1996-97 H. Chapman
1973-74 W. Aldridge 1998-99 J. Dickenson
1975-76 D. Melsom 2000-01 J. Evans
2002-03 J Nash 2004-06 J. Hyson
2007- 2008 H Chapman 2009-10 B .Ide
2011- H Chapman
1958-60 V. Jarvis 1983-88 E. Tucker
1961-66 E. M. Warwick- 1989-91 E. Foreman
1967-68 O. Green 1992-93 H. Chapman
1969-74 M. Vickers 1994-05) V. Staples
2006-08 J Cooper 2009-10 J Hyson
2010 -11 G.Manning
1959-60 D. Dunstan 1973-74 E. Cooper
1961-63 K. M. Osborne 1975 G. Bell
1964-66 D. Dunstan 1976-79 N. Costelloe
1967 J. M. Monger 1980-86 D. Melsom
1968-69 M. Lee 1987-90 S. Gill
1970-72 E. Pearson 1991 P. Smith
(Discontinued after amalgamation with the Men’s Section in 1992)
MEN’S COMPETITIONS (1912-2010)
1912 W. Hards 1956 A.G. Morrish
1913 A.H. Fitt 1957 R.E. Outram
1914 W. Scothern 1958 H.H. Palmer
1915 A.H. Fitt 1959 H. Sable
1916 J.W. Alstone 1960 R. Watson
1917/18/19 W.H. Chase 1961 M.E. Taylor
1920/21 B.R. Cordery 1962/63 A. Stonley
1922 W. Scothern 1964 R.E. Outram
1923 B.R. Cordery 1965 E.G. Hann
1924 W.H. Chase 1966 W.H. Cooper
1925 No Competition 1967 R.E. Outram
1926 W.F. Heard 1968/69 H. Stonley
1927 B.R. Cordery 1970 W. Aldridge
1928 E.C. Howse 1971 A.E. Benham
1929/30 J. Couser 1972 W.R. Payne
1931 E.B. Jago 1973 H. Sable
1932 E.C. Howse 1974 W. Aldridge
1933 A.E. Fox 1975/76 D. Banfield
1934/35/36 E.C. Howse 1977 H. Stonley
1937 W.J. Gypps 1978 D. Slater
1938 E.C. Howse 1979/80 J. Fenner
1939 W.E. Thornton 1981 B.J. Burt
1940 E.C. Howse 1982 D. Slater
1941 S.R. Comber 1983 D. Cheeseman
1942 S.F. Wood 1984 A. Roxburgh
1943 R. Watson 1985 D. Cheeseman
1944 A.G.A. Rainey 1986 R. Richfield
1945 E.C. Howse 1987 J, Atkins
1946 W.J. Gypps 1988/89/90 D. Banfield
1947 R. Watson 1991 D. Henning
1948 A. Wood 1992 D. Banfield
1949 R.E. Outram 1993 D. Staples
1950/51 P. Sinden 1994 W. Cheeseman
1952 W.J. Gypps 1995 D. Henning
1953 A. Wood 1996/97 W. Cheeseman
1954 H. A Bowden 1998 A. Chase
1955 P. Sinden 1999 J. Winter
2000 D. Banfield 2001 K. Pearce
2002 R. Stother 2003 D Henning
2004 D Henning 2005 D Henning
2006 D Henning 2007 D. Henning
2008 D. Henning 2009 K. Pearce
2010 M.McDonald 2011 T.Russell
FRANKLIN AMES (Over 65)
1968 R. Outram 1984 G. H. Tucker
1969 C. Alderman 1985 G. F. Best
1970 E. C. Jarvis 1986 C. Hall
1971 G. Oliver 1987 G. H. Tucker
1972 H. Stonley 1988 B. J. Burt
1973 G. H. Else 1989 C. J. Richardson
1974 W. Aldridge 1990 B. Jolley
1975 R. May 1991 J. Lawson
1976 H. Stonley 1992 J. Pearman
1977 L. B. Sims 1993 D. Chapman
1978 W. Aldridge 1994 C. Coleman
1979 J. W. Robyns 1995 D. Chapman
1980 R. V. Broadhurst 1996 S. Ellingworh
1981 H. Allen 1997 B. Akery
1982 C. Winter 1998 B. Akery
1983 H. Allen 1999 E. Mitchell
2000 F. Buss 2001 J. Hamill
2002 B. Martin 2003 S Gamwells
2004 P. Gorringe 2005 D Lewington
2006 E Mitchell 2007 E. Mitchell
2008 D.Lewington 2009 D.Lewington
2010 J.Talbot 2011 B.Wilkinson
1933 E. Martin 1967 W. R. Payne
1934 E. Harvey 1968 J. Crouch
1935 S. Comber 1969 H. E. Grimwood
1936 W. J. Gypps 1970 D. Slater
1937 H. Porch 1971 D. Banfield
1938 R. Hayward 1972 E. G. Hann
1939 A. C. Anderson 1973 A. F. Ames
1940 S. Comber 1974-75 D. Banfield
1941 E. C. Howse 1976 L. Hopper
1942-43 S. F. Wood 1977 G. Castle
1944 E. R. Barton 1978 D. Slater
1945 R. Watson 1979 B. J. Burt
1946 A. Beveridge 1980 J. Fenner
1947 A. Wood 1981 F. Parish
1948 Not Played 1982-83 R. Richfield
1949 F. G. Bigg 1984 R. Turner
1950 M. E. Taylor 1985 B. J. Burt
1951 R. E. Outram 1986 R. Richfield
1952 R. Watson 1987 J. Atkins
1953 F. Tooth 1988 D. G. Staples
1954 P. Sinden 1989 D. Banfield
1955 M. E. Taylor 1990 D. Tynan
1956 R. Watson 1991 J. McCarthy
1957 M. E. Taylor 1992 W. Cheeseman
1958 P. Sinden 1993 J. Johnston
1959 A. F. Ames 1994 D. Banfield
1960 E. C. Cordery 1995 D. Cheeseman
1961 A. Stonley 1996 W. Cheeseman
1962 E. G. Hann 1997 D. G. Staples
1963 E. Wigmore 1998 J. Egan
1964 R. E. Outram 1999 D. Henning
1965-66 E. G. Hann 2000 A. M. Roxburgh
2001 N. Williams 2002 R. Stother
2003 D Banfield 2004 A Doree
2005 T Russell 2006 J. Hamill
2007 T. Russell 2008 A. Doree
2009 T.Seabrook 2010 B.Wilkinson
1936 W. J. Gypps 1968 A. F. Ames
B. Dean M. J. Reeves
1937 T. B. Lawrence 1969 T. Shaftoe
C. Pierce E. A. Osborne
1938 A. E. Fox 1970 G. Oliver
E. Martin S. S. King
1939 not completed 1971 D. Banfield
1940 A. Beveridge 1972 D. Banfield
F. Vallins D. J. Roberts
1941 R. Hayward 1973 D. Slater
W. W. Manktelow N. Shepherd
1942 R. E. Outram 1974 H. Grimwood
P. Dowling J. Lock
1943 T. Pierce 1975 D. Slater
A. S. Dowlling W. Cooley
1944 W. H. Miller 1976 R. V. Broadhurst
G. Burr A. Highfield
1945 R. E. Outram 1977 D. Banfield
J. Arthur J. Mitham
1947 E. C. Cole 1978 B. J. Burt
E. Martin F. Young
1948 V. J. Clack 1979 B. J. Burt
W. Shoesmith D. I. Richards
1949-50 T. Zealey 1980 J. Atkins
S. Wells D. Cheeseman
1951 R. Watson 1981 G. Else
B. Holness D. Foreman
1952-53 R. Watson 1982 R. V. Broadhurst
J. Fisher R. Oake
1954 P. Sinden 1983 B. J. Burt
M. E. Taylor E. Russell
1955 A. Tooth 1984 P. Stone
H. Bailey H. Brocklebank
1957 P. Sinden 1985 P. Bull
M. E. Taylor D. Slater
1958 P. Sinden 1987 F. Buss
A. P. Shaxted L. B. Sims
1959 R. E. Outram 1988 R. Harwood
H. Sable K. C. Harrison
1960 R. E. Chapman 1989 D. Cheeseman
J. Crouch R. Gallup
1961 E. C. Jarvis 1990 B. J. Burt
E. S. Dunstan R. Aldred
1962 M. E. Taylor 1991 R. Richfield
E. A. Pearson J. Lewis
1963 R. E. Outram 1992 A. Cleaver
E. A. Osborne P. Stone
1964 E. G. Hann 1993 W. Cheeseman
K. L. Lancashire J. Talbot
1965 E. C. Jarvis 1994 D. Patrick
A. G. A. Rainey K. C. Harrison
1966 W. J. Gypps 1995 W. Cheeseman
L. A. Clemence M. Fiander
1967 J. Crouch 1996 A. Griffiths
E. Pattison T. Ketchin
1997 B. Jolley
1998 A. Baldock 1999 B. Shairp
J. Talbot D. Slater
2000 D. Lewington 2001 Brian Martin
A. Kemp E. Mitchell
2002 R. Williams 2003 J. Dawes
A Doree C. Cunnew
2004 A Baldock 2005 A. Cockfield
K. Pearce P. Boakes
2006 S. Strudwick 2007 C. Cunnew
K. Pearce T. Russell
2008 J. Atkins 2009 M.McDonald
D Lewington R.Wynn
2010 M.Curry & J.Dawes 2011 C.Cunnew & T.Seabrook
ROY KING TWO-WOOD (Section 1)
1968 W. H. Cooper 1986 J. Atkins
1969 B. J. Burt 1987 P. Bowers
1970 W. H. Cooper 1988 R. Turner
1971 H. E. Grimwood 1989 R. Richfield
1972 W. R. Payne 1990 D. Banfield
1973 D. Banfield 1991 R. Richfield
1974-75 W. Aldridge 1992 D. Banfield
1976 G. Best 1993 D. Henning
1977 J. Crouch 1994-95 D. Cheeseman
1978 J. Fenner 1996 C. Winter
1979 D. Slater 1997 A. Morgan
1980 G. Best 1998 not completed
1981-82 B. J. Burt 1999 D. Henning
1983 B. Jolley 2000 E. Mitchell
1984 R. Richfield 2001 D. Banfield
1985 G. H Tucker 2002 A. Morgan
2003 T. Russell 2004 A. Doree
2005 D. Henning 2006 T. Russell
2007 K. Pearce 2008 D Henning
2009 K.Pearce 2010 D.Henning
ROY KING TWO-WOOD (Section 2)
1968 H. W. Coldbreath 1985 W. Norburn
1969 D. Banfield 1986 H. Brocklebank
1970 D. Slater 1987 D. Henning
1971 R. Oake 1988 J. Lawson
1972 B. Jolley 1989 D. G. Staples
1973 G. Best 1990 R. Aldred
1974 E. Sharp 1991 W. Cheeseman
1975 J. Adams 1992 E. Mitchell
1976 E. G. Reeves 1993 M. Chapman
1977 S. Saward 1994 J. Egan
1978 J. Atkins 1995 E. Mitchell
1979 G. H. Tucker 1996 A. Roxburgh
1980 R. Chalkin 1997 J. Atkins
1981 V. Lane 1998 A. Roxburgh
1982 R. Richfield 1999 J. Atkins
1983 A. Irving 2000 D. Henning
1984 R. Turner 2001 B. Martin
2002 R. Harwood 2003 D. Henning
2004 D. Banfield 2005 J. Hamill
2006 E. Mitchell 2007 J. Dawes
2008 Not Played 2009 R.Wynn
2010 M.McDonald 2011 J.Bassett
1998 D. Slater 1999 C. Winter
2000 D. Lewington 2001 J. Atkins
2002 B. Martin 2003 J. Tuck
2004 D. Lewington 2005 J. Hamill
2006 M. McDonald 2007 J. Barnacle
2008 D Lewington 2009 I.Gwinnell
2010 M.McDonald 2011 T.Seabrook
LADIES COMPETITIONS (1968 - 2010)
1975 E. Wilkins 1989 C. Jolley
1976 T. Daniel 1990 P. Smith
1977 E. Pearson 1991 E. Tucker
1978 S.G. Gill 1992 V. Staples
1979 G. Robertson 1993 E. Tucker
1980 K. Middleton 1994 V. Staples
1981 E. Pearson 1995 E. Tucker
1982 E. Tucker 1996 C. Jolley
1983 J. Parish 1997 V. Staples
1984 M. Burt 1998/99 M. Dawes
1985 C. Jolley 2000 J. Nash
1986 E. Pearson 2001 V. Staples
1987 E. Tucker 2002 V. Staples
1988 V. Staples 2003 D. Chapman
2004 S. Boakes 2005 M. Burch
2006 M. Dawes 2007 G. Manning
2008 G. Manning 2009 M.Burch
2010 B.Ide 2011 L.Wynn
1960 V. Jarvis 1981 P. Bolam
1961 K. Osborne 1982 C. Pateman
1963 M. Hann 1983 C. Jolley
1964 D. Miller 1984 P. Chandler
1965 K. Osborne 1985 E. Tucker
1966-67 O. Green 1986 M. Burt
1968 K. Osborne 1987 P. Chandler
1969 M. Hann 1988-89 V. Staples
1970 E. Wilkins 1990 M. Marshall
1971 W. Aldridge 1991 C. Jolley
1972 B. Pinchin 1992 A. Houghton
1973 G. Bell 1993 C. Jolley
1974-75 E. Pearson 1994 S. Cresswell
1976 E. Wilkins 1995 T. Makin
1977 E. Pearson 1996 V. Staples
1978 E. Tucker 1997 G. Evans
1979 E. Pearson 1998 J. Nash
1980 M. Burt 1999 P. Cresswell
2000 V. Staples 2001 M. Burch
2002 R. Harwood 2003 S. Boakes
2004 S. Boakes 2005 S. Boakes
2006 H. Chapman 2007 C. Jolley
2008 B. Ide 2009 M.Burch
2010 G.Manning 2011 B.Ide
KIT MIDDLETON TROPHY
1959 G. Powell 1967 G. Powell
L. Dowdall H. Thompson
1962 O. Green 1968 B. Oake
K. Wells-Brown I Strivens
1963 M. Hann 1969 B. Oake
H. Preston H. Thompson
1964 O. Green 1970 E. Cooper
J. Wyn Pugh D. Melsom
1965 O. Green 1971 B. Miller
E. Bertioli J. Beisiegal
1966 D. Miller 1972 B. Pinchin
D. London E. Visser
1988 M. Burt 1994 P. Smith
1989 J. Parish 1995-96 J. Hyson
1990 P. Smith 1997 E. Tucker
1991 E. Foreman 1998 S. Cresswell
1992 D. Chapman 1999 E. Tucker
1993 M. Marshall 2000 P. Cresswell
2001 C. Jolley 2002 M. Dawes
2003 S. Cresswell 2004 M. Burch
2005 N/A 2006 C. Jolley
2007 M. Burch 2008 J. Hyson
2009 D.Chapman 2010 M.Burch
1961 M. Lee 1983 E. Tucker
1962 E. Cooper 1984 J. Parish
1963 J. Monger 1985 E. Tucker
1964 B. Holness 1986 M. Burt
1965 E. Cooper 1987 C. Jolley
1966 E. Pearson 1988 S. Gill
1967 M. Hann 1989 C. Jolley
1968 G. Bell 1990 P. Cresswell
E. Murphy (P)
1969 G. Baker 1991 C. Jolley
E. Foreman (P)
1970 E. Wilkins 1992 P. Chandler
M. Marshall (P)
1971 B. Pinchin 1993 A. Lewis
B. Croucher (P)
1972 D. Melsom 1994 C. Jolley
M. Marshall (P)
1973-74 E. Wilkins 1995 V. Staples
E. Tucker (P)
1975-77 E. Pearson 1996 J. Dickenson
C. Jolley (P)
1978 J. Parish 1997 V. Staples
1979-80 M. Burt 1998 S. Cresswell
1981 E. Tucker 1999 J. Dickenson
1982 M. Burt 2000 V. Staples
2001 M. Dawes 2002 P. Mitchell
2003 H. Chapman 2004 M. Burch
2005 M. Burch 2006 J. Hyson
2007 H. Chapman 2008 H. Chapman
2009 H.Chapman 2010 G.Manning
2002 M. Dawes 2003 M. Burch
2004 C. Jolley 2005 C. Jolley
2006 C. Jolley 2007 Not Played
2008 G. Manning 2009 D.Chapman
2010 E.Mason 2011
1969 B. Oake 1974 E. Pearson
M. Lee P. Adams
J. Parish J. Parish
1970 J. Monger 1975 S. Gill
1971 K. Osborne 1976 P. Bolam
M. Lee K. Middleton
1973 B. Oake
1977 K. Middleton 1989-90 V. Staples
1978 E. Pearson 1991 P. Chandler
1979 G. I. Robertson 1992 M. Marshall
1980 S. Gill 1993 S. Burton
1981 E. Pearson 1994 P. Chandler
1982 M. Burt 1995 J. Hyson
1983 C. Jolley 1996 C. Jolley
1984 C. Pateman 1997 M. Dawes
1985 E. Pearson 1998 C. Jolley
1986 C. Jolley 1999 M. Dawes
1987 V. Staples 2000 H. Chapman
1988 E. Tucker 2001 M. Holland
2002 V. Staples 2003 M. Burch
2004 G. Manning 2005 C. Jolley
2006 A. Houghton 2007 J. Hyson
2008 M. Burch 2009 J.Briley
2010 L.Wynn 2011 B.Ide
1973 G. Bell 1987 P. Chandler
P. Quinlan H. Chapman
1974 E. Wilkins 1988 E. Tucker
P. Quinlan S. G. Richardson
1975 E. Wilkins 1989 E. Tucker
G. Robertson V. Willmott
1976 E. Wilkins 1990 S. Gill
S. Gill P. Cresswell
1977 J. Parish 1991 J. Budd
M. Urquhart V. Staples
1978 P. Adams 1992 M. Holland
E. Pearson B. Croucher
1979 M. Burt 1993 M. Evans
S. Gill H. Chapman
1980 V. Winter 1994 J. Hughes
M. Taylor S. Burton
1981 D. Melsom 1995 J. Cooper
P. Quinlan S. Cresswell
1982 J. Parish 1996 L. Wolstenholme
C. Jolley M. Marshall
1983 P. Bolam 1997 V. Staples
P. Chandler J. Cooper
1984 D. Melsom 1998 M Forsyth
P. Quinlan S. Cresswell
1985 R. Harwood 1999 T. Makin
S. Gill H. Chapman
1986 P. Chandler 2000 A. Houghton
J. Price R. Harwood
2001 J. Nash 2002 M. Lewington
T. Makin S. Cresswell
2003 R. Harwood 2004 J. Hughes
P. Wasley E. Tucker
2005 J. Hyson 2006 M. Burch
M. Dawes J. Dickenson
2007 B. Ide 2008 H. Chapman
J. Hyson L. Wynn
2009 B.Redding 2010 L.Wynn
1990 C. Jolley 1996 S. Burton
1991-92 E. Tucker 1997 P. Chandler
1993 V. Staples 1998 V. Staples
1994 S. Cresswell 1999 J. Nash
1995 M. Marshall 2000 H. Chapman
2001 H. Chapman 2002 P. Mitchell
2003 V. Staples 2004 M. Dawes
2005 S.Boakes 2006 G. Manning
2007 H. Chapman 2008 H. Chapman
2009 G.Manning 2010 J.Dickenson
1977 Miss H. Preston 1989 Mrs E. tucker
J. Adams C. Richardson
1978 Mrs K. Middleton 1990 Mrs R. Harwood
E. H. Sharp E. Cresswell
1979 Mrs P. Adams 1991 Mrs S. Cresswell
D. Banfield M. Murch
1980 Mrs W. Holman 1992 Mrs B. Croucher
A. Lott D. Henning
1981 Mrs R. Bootle 1993 Mrs P. Wasley
D. Cheeseman E. Mitchell
1982 Mrs M. Burt 1994 Mrs J. Nash
B. J. Burt J. McCarthy
1983 Mrs E. Tucker 1995 Mrs P. Holt
G. H. Tucker D. Cheeseman
1984 Mrs J. Price 1996 Mrs J. Hughes
R. Turner C. Winter
1985 Mrs C. Jolley 1997 M. Jordan
B. Jolley E. Mitchell
1986 Mrs M. Burt 1998 Mrs P. Mitchell
B. J. Burt D. Chapman
1987 Mrs C. Jolley 1999 J. Dickenson
D. Banfield P. Gorringe
1988 Mrs E. Tucker 2000 Mrs C. Jolley
M. Chapman G. Burch
2001 P. Mitchell 2002 C. Jolley
D. Lewington A. Baldock
2003 A. Houghton 2004 M. Dawes
E. Mitchell D. Lewington
2005 C. Jolley 2006 P. Mitchell
J. Dawes J. Dawes
2007 C. Jolley 2008 H. Chapman
T. Seabrook T Seabrook
2009 M.Burch 2010 A.Houghton
1998 M. Burch 1999 R. Harwood
2000 J. Hyson 2001 D. Chapman
2002 R. Harwood 2003 S. Boakes
2004 R. Harwood 2005 P. Mitchell
2006 G. Manning 2007 D. Chapman
2008 B. Ide 2009 G.Evans
2010 B.Ide 2011 B.Redding
PROFILES OF PLAYERS (Extracts taken from Sevenoaks News & Sevenoaks Chronicle, written by George Else and updated by Roy Dickenson)
Sevenoaks Bowling Club’s press secretary George Else, produced a series of personal profiles on members of the club, for use during the close season. His first choice was 80 year old BILL JYPPS
Rockdale resident Bill joined the Sevenoaks Bowling Club in 1923, and still enjoyed an active bowling life, both indoors and outdoors in 1975.
He is a well – known figure to all local businessmen, being chief public health officer to Sevenoaks UDC for 29 years and having spent 45 years altogether in local government. He retired in 1959 and in 1967 moved to Birchington from whence he returned, to live in Sevenoaks once again, in 1973.
So Bill is now back playing for his old club where he has given fine service over the years. He was secretary from 1932 until 1945, and was presented with an illuminated address, for his long service, in this capacity.
He was captain from 1949 – 1951 and reached the final honour of being elected President in 1954, an office he filled for four years. During this time, and for a record 21 years, he was also the club’s executive member to the Kent County Divisional Committee.
All the older members will well remember his prowess, as a fine competitive bowler; 1932 would appear to have been his finest year. It was then that he was a finalist in three great competitions, the Kent County Fours, The Kent County Triples and the Open Tournament Fours at Hastings.
He was selected and played for the county in the Middleton Cup competition in 1934. Also, his was the first name to be engraved on the Simmonds Hospital Cup when this competition was introduced.
His name can be seen many times on the club honours board, not only as Secretary, captain and president but several times as winner or runner – up in the various club competitions, which included the championship, the Heard Trophy, the pairs and triples.
Bill has seen the club grow from a membership of 24 in 1923 to its present prosperity of catering for 140 men & ladies on its full size greens.
He is on record as saying “We have the one of the best greens in the county and we are greatly envied. Our Ladies Section (Mrs Gypps is a prominent member) also deserves praise. It works well in harmony with the men’s and is a great asset to the club.”
TERRY JORDAN (1973)
It was easy to recognise Mr Terry Jordan as a bank manager, so” graciously” refusing his best friend the smallest overdraft. For “kindly,” “gracious” and “extremely clever” was this retired bank manager and these are the adjectives which come to mind when describing this quiet and perfect gentleman who has just retired as President of the Sevenoaks Bowling Club, the office he held for three years.
Terry had recently moved and together with his most charming wife was finding a new and exciting experience of village life in Riverhead. He had a daughter and a son, both married the latter being a top, senior civil servant with the Ministry of the Environment.
Terry started work at the Parr ‘s Bank in the City in 1913 and he still had one of the quill pens that he was given on his first day there. He had related how pumice powder and chamois leather had to be used to prepare the surface of the parchment, before writing with the quill pen. Parr’s Bank later became incorporated into the Westminster Bank.
As a quiet young man he served with Royal Marines during the First World War, mostly in the Mediterranean area. He joined Sidcup Bowling Club and became its match Secretary and when he left the club he was granted the “Freedom of the Sidcup Green”.
He was a member of the Banks bowling Association and played over 200 games for them. He participated in ten tours with the Association and played bowls in every county south of the Thames except for Cornwall.
Terry’s wife, Annie, also played bowls and represented Hampshire county ladies team continuously during the 30’s and in 1937 was the winner in both the county rinks and county triples. She lived to the great age of 97 and passed away in 1966.
Terry Jordan came to live in Sevenoaks in 1955 and joined the Sevenoaks club in 1956. He soon made his mark and was elected vice – captain in 1958 and was captain of the club in 1959. He went on to act as captain in charge of the Wednesday team for a futher nine years and in that capacity was always efficient and very popular with all the members.
He always enjoyed his bowls although he could not boast of winning many medals. He was proud to be a winner of the Simmonds Cup in 1957, especially as he had acted as Treasurer for that organisation for 14 years and had the pleasure of sending cheques annually to the local hospital charities.
Terry had a full and interesting life and in his earlier years had played cricket, badminton and football. He was keen on fencing and played a fine game of snooker. His main hobbies included silversmithing, cabinet making and bookbinding.
He believed that “ there was no greater game than bowls, as it could be enjoyed by all ages. Good fellowship was the essence of the game and the Sevenoaks Club had one of the best greens in the County. He enjoyed every minute of his time with the club.
Terry passed away on the 24th February 1975.
ERIC REEVES (1974)
Eric Reeves, is the new President of the Sevenoaks Bowling Club. He replaces Terry Jordan who has been a tower of strength in this capacity but who felt that at 80 he should give way to a younger man.
Eric has done yeoman service at the club as secretary for 12 years. In his initial address as President said, “that little did he think that when he joined the club 23 years ago, that one day he would hold the proud position of President”.
Eric had served as Churchwarden for many years at St John’s Church and is also respected at Stanley Berwick Ltd where he worked for 40 years and is a General Foreman there.
When he became President the Sevenoaks bowlers and their wives attended a gathering at the pavilion at Hollybush Lane to celebrate his appointment. In his welcoming address, after thanking the assembled company for attending on such a cold evening, went on to relate how the facilities at the pavilion had changed in his 23 years as a member, mainly through the unstinting efforts of past and present members. he went on to speak affectionately of several persons who had passed on and who he described as real characters.
Mrs Reeves was at the party. They had three children and three grandchildren. Their eldest son was a parson, living in Doncaster, the teen – age son would one day make a fine bowler and daughter, Rosalie, was the only one married.
Sevenoaks Bowling Club’s first honorary Vice – President, Ted Cordery, was one of the
hard – working body of men who transformed the old bowls pavilion into today’s fine structure.
It was during the closed season of 1957/58 that the transformation took place, from the old cresoted, open fronted barn. The members themselves carried out the change. Ted Cordery took charge of the décor and attended regularly with his paint pots between seasons and with the other dedicated few, kept the building in a delightful condition.
Ted was not only a painter and decorator, but being a member of the house committee for some years, he has been involved in building the units in the kitchen, at the rear of the building, and in the bar. For his services in this respect he was elected as the very first honorary vice – president.
Ted was born into a bowling family in 1904. Ben Cordery was an even better bowler than his son, having won his county badge, something Ted aspired to in his younger days but never achieved.
As a young lad of 16, Ted was often at hand, mowing the green or helping with the heavy roller, but it was not until 1950 that he became a member of the club and was captain in 1962 and 1963.
He still takes charge of the Wednesday team and is an efficient and popular leader. He was bar chairman in 1958 and continued to look after the liquid needs of the members for some years.
Some of the trophies that he won include the Rinks Challenge Cup 1954, the Heard Trophy in 1960, Outram Pairs runner – up in 1966 and the Simmonds Cup in 1968 and 1973. Ted was a successful league side in 1968 and has a plaque for the losing side in the 1971 final.
Ted started his career as a coach painter and was an apprentice with the late Mr Humphries at Caffyns. He continued this occupation in several places until 1934 when he became responsible for the maintenance work on the Wickenden Estate. During the war he did important government work with the Sevenoaks Department of the CRE, and was also attached to Headquarters, Home Guard.
The bowls club is also indebted to his wife Alice, who since 1954 has been providing teas for the bowlers on match days. In this many of the other ladies, including Ted’s sister, Mrs Flo Sharp have ably assisted her. Alice is one of the most popular persons attached to the club.
When George Else called on Ted at his home he would, quite often, find him in his greenhouse, for he was a very keen gardener and his small but neat garden would be a blaze of colour for most of the year.
Before the war he was a keen billiards and snooker player and took part in the tournaments at the Constitutional Club. He is a member of the Crystal Palace Indoor Bowling Green and plays there regularly. He regrets like many others, that there are no facilities for indoor bowling in Sevenoaks. He says, “If only one knew what a friendly and wonderfully relaxing game it was, one would, like me, wish they had started playing bowls sooner.
TOM MARSHALL (1975)
Tom Marshall was the first chairman of the Sevenoaks Triples League, when it was formed in 1968, in recognition of his efforts in forming the league with George Else. He would have held the post for much longer had he not insisted on changing the chairman each year, from different clubs. This took effect in 1970.
Tom was born in Tunbridge Wells in 1897, where his father had a building business. In his youth he was a keen swimmer and a member of Tunbridge Wells Men’s Swimming Club. He was in the team that twice won the water polo league. His daughter, who resides in Eastbourne, is also a fine swimmer and was chosen to swim for Kent. Before taking up bowls Tom played a good game of cricket and was a member of Tye’s team (Local Builders)
Tom married in 1922 and celebrated his Golden Wedding anniversary in 1972. His wife Gladys has assisted him regularly in providing teas for the bowlers after matches. They came to live in Sevenoaks in 1936.
He was a member of the league team in 1969 when they were runners – up, and again in 1971 when the Sevenoaks “B” team lost to the Sevenoaks “A” team in the final. His other accomplishments on the bowling green, since joining the club in 1952 include being winner of the Simmonds Hospital Cup in 1959 and 1963, Tunbridge Wells Open Triples winner 1964, club mixed pairs runner – up in 1965 and winner of the same competition in 1968.
Tom served as captain in 1973 and 1974. He carried this duty well and his election was a fitting tribute for the services he had rendered over many years. Even before he thought of taking up the game, while acting as General Foreman for Tye’s of Sevenoaks, it was he who had helped to build the original pavilion in 1928. Naturally, he was at hand in 1958 to assist with the extensive alterations carried out by the members.
He served his apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner and learned all the facets of the building trade. He went on to become a building and maintenance inspector with the Sevenoaks Urban District Council and enjoyed the position until he retired in 1962.
During the First World War he joined the Flying Corps and later served the RAF in Civil Defence and was also a Rescue Instructor at the Regional Training School in Tunbridge Wells.
One of the most remarkable things about Tom Marshall was that he had lost an eye, when he was a young lad, when he collided with a door handle. Nobody ever mentioned this and Tom lived with the sight of one eye for the rest of his life. He did not let it affect him one bit.
Tom moved down to Sussex, in his later years, to reside with his daughter but kept his interest in the Sevenoaks League and attended the 25th Anniversary celebration of its foundation at Hollybush Lane. He presented a fine silver cup for the Marshall Cup Competition.
Tom passed away on the 28th July 1994 at the age of 97.
BERT STONLEY (1975)
Bert Stonley was born in 1906, in Tunbridge Wells and spent his first 52 years there. It was at the Calverly Grounds that he first worked on bowling greens and that was when that particular green was laid in 1923. He is extremely expert in re - levelling turf, and this he had to do at Calverly, then later transferred to Culverden Tunbridge Wells green and did the same fine job there.
He not only continued to grow in stature as one of the finest greenkeepers in Kent, but he enlarged the somewhat small Culverden green to full – size.
His reputation spread to Sevenoaks and in 1958 he was appointed Parks Superintendent to the Sevenoaks UDC. At this time, the Hollybush Lane green was in a poor condition. All the improvements that have taken place, since his arrival, to make this one of the finest in the county can be attributed to strenuous and diligent work put in by Bert Stonley, in those early days when he came to live in Sevenoaks.
His advice, and in many cases, his help, have been given to at least 14 local bowling clubs, regarding the improvement of their playing surfaces.
The Sevenoaks Bowling Club has been fortunate, inasmuch as he has not only improved their green, but he is a fine competitive bowler, and on his retirement in 1971, for his devoted services to the club, he was presented with an inscribed silver tankard and made an Honorary Life Member.
His prowess as a bowler is proved in the number of trophies he has won over the years. Club Champion in 1968, and runners – up in 1970, mixed pair finalist in 1969 and 1971 and mixed pair winner in 1970 and 1972 with Doris Melsom as his partner.
Heard Trophy finalist in1971, Maidstone Open Tournament finalist in 1959, runner – up in the NALGO competition in1964, Franklin Ames Rose Bowl in 1972, Sevenoaks Triples winner in 1966 and Simmonds Hospital Cup winner in 1959.
His son Tony has followed in father’s footsteps, having also taken up greenkeeping.
He learnt the job under his father at Sevenoaks and then went on to take charge of the then new green at Southborough and is now elevated to General Parks Foreman for Tunbridge Wells District Council.
Like father, all sports come easily to Tony, and he was Kent Singles Champion in 1963, he reached the quarter finals, no mean feat, in 1961 and the semi finals in 1973.
Bert Stonley was called up for war service in 1942 and was wounded twice at El Alemein. He still carries shrapnel in his leg and lost a finger from his right hand.
Having been captain at cricket and football while at school, he continued playing these and took up tennis as well. It was when he was serving in Egypt with the Eighth Army that he numbered among his many well-known sporting friends, Tom Finney, the Preston plumber who played on the wing for England, and Bertie Mee the Arsenal Manager.
Bert said: “After playing all kinds of outdoor sports and some 50 years working and playing on the bowling green, I am convinced that bowls is the best value for money,as bowls equipment lasts for many years. It is less strenuous than most games and one can play for seven days a week. The Sevenoaks Bowling Club is is by far the largest in this part of Kent, and with its excellent facilities and wonderful scenery across Knole Park it is no wonder the KCBA has chosen to play their finals there four times in the past twelve years”. He went on to say that his only regret was, that when Roy King was a member and was prepared to back an indoor green undertaking, support from the right direction was not forthcoming. Had this come about Sevenoaks would have the focal point for winter for some miles around.
BERT GRIMWOOD (1975)
Bert Grimwood, the new President of Sevenoaks Bowling Club is most worthy of this honour. Bert was captain of the club in 1971 – 1972 and had been the representative on the County Executive since 1969. In addition to these duties he is well known for his compassion and kindness, for the well – being of others, especially in carrying out his other office of sick visitor.
He was born at Stansted in Kent, in 1902 and married Rhoda in 1927. They have two sons. Dennis works for a helicopter firm in the West Country and Michael, who is an export manager, travels frequently to the Middle East.
As a member of the County Executive, Bert has played numerous games with them, including, on two occasions, being selected to play for Division 3 in representative matches.
This coming season he has been chosen to play against the KCWBA, the Lenham B.C. and The Grove B.C., Tunbridge Wells.
He has been a member of Sevenoaks for about 20 years, during which time he has been a winner of the Heard Trophy in 1969, Roy King Two – Wood in 1971, Simmonds Hospital Cup in 1971 and member of the winning league teams in 1969 and 1971.
Bert is an ex- policeman and played his first game of bowls in 1926. He was a member of the Kent County Constabulary team and toured Devon with them in 1956. He was captain of “E” Division in 1948 – 1949 and played in the rink that won the County Shield in 1948 and again in 1949.
He joined the police force in 1925 and served in Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham, before being promoted to Sergeant at Borough. He retired after 32 years service.
During the war, when at Borough Green, Bert had several exiting experiences. He said: “The Germans seemed to know when I was having my Sunday dinner. I would just sit down when the neighbours would shout that the parachutists were coming down, one would be in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. I would be in a quandary as to which German to collect first. On anther occasion, when I was returning from escorting an American convoy through my district, when I saw a Doodle – Bug hit a barrage balloon cable, in a field near me. It exploded and my motor cycle and myself finished up in the hedge.” Bert says of bowls:”we have the best club and green in this part of Kent and still have room for new members.”
RAY OAKE (1975)
The new Secretary, of the Sevenoaks Bowling Club, is Mr Ray Oake, who since joining the in 1963 has been one of the leading workers. To take on the secretarial duties, he has relinquished his other job as bar chairman, which he has done for four years. He has carried out these arduous duties most competently. His successor as bar chairman is Len Watson.
Both he and the club have been very fortunate, because his wife Babs Oake has always been a willing helper of her husband. This year she has been elected to the office of vice – captain of the Ladies Section.
Ray has also done yeoman service on the Dinner Committee and the success of the annual dinners in the last few years, can be attributed to him.
Ray Oake, 61, is a Chartered Engineer. He joined the gas industry in 1932 and is sales manager for the West Kent District of the British Gas Corporation. After 43 years service he has decided to retire this year.
He was married in 1938 and has two children, Roger and Heather. During the war he was engaged on emergency work for the Gas Industry, during the blitz. In 1944 he was transferred to the Admiralty Signals Establishment, working on radar.
As a corporal in the Home Guard Signals Section at Bexleyheath, he found himself on manoeuvres in Knole Park, but it was not until 1949 that he came to live here.
In his younger days he was keen on tennis and swimming but his only regret is that he did not take up bowls earlier. He joined the club in 1962 and was captain in 191969 and 1970. In 1971 he won the Roy King Silver salver in the Two – Wood Competition.
His hobbies include gardening, woodwork and black and white drawing. He means to devote more time to the latter, when he retires.
He has found bowls to be a very relaxing and absorbing game. He says: “Contrary to common belief, it is a young man’s game and I strongly recommend it to the younger generation”.
GEORGE CASTLE (1975)
George Castle, who was last a finalist in the Sevenoaks Bowling Club Singles Championship back in 1947, when he lost to Bob Watson, is the potential champion for 1974. Potential because George was unable to play on Finals Day in September due to an injured back and will have the opportunity of this premier honour, for the first time, when he meets Bill Aldridge, on a Sunday in May of this year. ( He was unlucky, as Bill Aldridge won the match)
George, 78, is now fit again and would show most of us up. Although a widower and living alone with all his household chores to do, he finds the time and energy for his chief hobby of gardening.
The hundreds of blooms that thrive in his small garden have got, to be seen, to be believed. It is George who provides masses of flowers to decorate the tables, in the clubhouse, on match days.
The bowls season starts in May and during this month George provides aquilegia and sweet william, followed by sweet peas in June and July and then, until the end of the season, tables are ablaze with all kinds of dahlias – his speciality.
George is a retired policeman of 25 years’ service. He started in Herne Bay, Bridge and Barham and came to Sevenoaks in 1937 as a Sergeant.
During the war, when a German bomber plane crashed landed, in the south corner of the bowling green, George was on hand, not to offer them the usual hospitality of the bowls club, but to escort the three uninvited guests to the police station.
On another occasion when German incendiary bombs landed on the green – and a few were unexploded – George was just in time to prevent Army personnel digging holes to recover the bombs. They were recovered by gentler means, and the green suffered only slight damage.
Retiring from the force in 1947, he became an inspector with the local Water Works and only retired completely in 1971.
His other hobbies were cricket, swimming and rifle shooting. Since joining Sevenoaks, in 1940 he has trophies for being a winner or runner – up in the Triples Competitions in 1944/46 and 1964, Red Cross Pairs 1944 and Rinks Challenge Cup in 1954.
He was in the Triple that won the Simmonds Cup in 1954, and was a member of the Sevenoaks team when they were Champions of the league in 1969.
It was George who proposed that the club should form a Ladies Section. This eventually came into being and turned out to be a real asset to the club.
George said this week: “Joining Sevenoaks Bowling Club was one of the happiest events of my life. I am now retired from paid work and have time to pause, to calculate and reflect over a thirty year period the enjoyment and pleasure from the game and the good fellowship and friendliness from other members. I have the memories of many good club members, now passed on, who gave the game their time and thought to make the club what it is today, second to none in Kent”.
(George Castle played on for over 40 years and passed away in his 90’s.)
BILL ALDRIDGE (1975)
Bill Aldridge is the Sevenoaks Bowling Club Champion. He claimed the title on Sunday 1st June 1975 when he defeated George Castle, 21 – 12 in the 1974 championship final, which was postponed last September. George, on the day, was no match for some good length bowling by the winner, and it was indeed sad that George could not pull off this trophy, as he is now 78 years of age and has never been successful in this major competition.
Bill Aldridge, on the other hand, was champion in 1970 and was also champion of the Holmesdale B.C. in 1960 and 1961.
He was twice pairs winner at Holmesdale in 1953 and 1957and since joining Sevenoaks in 1966, his other honours include Heard Singles finalist in 1970, Franklin Ames finalist in 1970 and winner in 1974, Simmonds Hospital Cup winner in 1973 and Two – Wood winner in 1974.
Whilst at Holmesdale he was captain for two years, in 1961 and 1962. Bill ha been playing bowls since 1950 and transferred to Sevenoaks because the green was nearer his home address.
He won his County badge in 1975 when he was a finalist in the County Fours. Bill retired from work in 1973 after 20 years at Fort Halstead and is now a prominent committee member at Sevenoaks and is captain of the Sevenoaks south league team.
Bill’s wife Wyn Aldridge is also a keen bowler and was captain of the Ladies Section in 1974. Bill’s other interests are Football and snooker.
FRANK AMES (1971)
Mr Franklin Ames, Sevenoaks Bowling Club’s President who is this year President – Elect of the KCBA has been a member of the club since 1955. Before turning to bowls, his main sporting interests lay in soccer, cricket and athletics, and for seven years he was a member of the Cambridge Harriers.
Mr Ames who lives at 11 Chipstead Park has gained a number of honours with Sevenoaks. He won the Heard Trophy in 1959, the pairs in 1968 and in 1967 was the losing finalist in the championship.
Since 1961 he has been treasurer of the Sevenoaks Club and President from 1968 – 1971.
He became well known, throughout the Sevenoaks area as secretary of the Simmonds Hospital Cup competition for eight years and he skipped the winning triple in that competition in 1957, also reaching the final in 1967 and again in 1968.
In a message to the members, in the forward of the club’s Diamond Jubilee brochure Mr Ames says: “It is an occasion when we should be thankful and grateful to the founders of the club. To all those members, past and present, who have made such great and successful efforts in building and maintaining a happy atmosphere of good sportsmanship and fellowship. Long may this continue”.
Frank was the brother of the famous Leslie Ames who played cricket for Kent and England. He was also President of the Kent County Cricket Club.
Frank passed away in April 1979.
GEORGE ELSE (1992)
George Else was born in 1908 and after a secondary school education he was employed in the grocery trade. After as a branch manager of the South Suburban Co – Operative Society at Worcester Park, Surrey, for ten years, he came to the Sevenoaks Co –Op the first week in January 1940 – the week that food rationing came into force during the Second World War.
As a matter of historical interest, this department store was situated on the corner of Bligh’s Road and the High Street opposite Bligh’s Hotel. The department at the time included drapery, footwear, men’s outfitting, grocery, butchery, greengrocery, bread baking and confectionery. In addition to this there was a coal wharf at the railway station.
About 1960, when self was being established as a modern way of food distribution, the building was changed to a supermarket, and until George’s retirement, in 1973, was the biggest and best food store in the area.
Things changed after his fortunate retirement, for new and bigger supermarkets arrived in the town, and in the eighties the Co – Op was forced to close down. The building was eventually made into several lock – up shops with Dorothy Perkins taking the corner site.
He was introduced to bowling by his next door neighbour, Reg Outram, who was a County Representative and a regular player for Kent.
George joined Sevenoaks Bowling Club in 1956 but was never a top class bowler, although, he managed to win a few trophies.
He was elected to the Committee in 1959 and served continuously throughout the years. He took on secretarial duties connected with the competitions and tournaments. Besides being Competition Secretary for the club, he served 20 years as Secretary of the Simmonds Hospital Cup competition and when the Angel (Tonbridge) indoor bowling green was opened in 1981 he served on the committee there as Competitions and Tournaments organiser. The Angel honoured him when he gave up in 1989, by being making him a Life Member of the Angel Indoor Bowling Club.
His other interest was writing and in 1970, or thereabouts, he contributed bowls news to the local press and gave some, much needed publicity to the sport. George continued as press officer for many years, but reporting mainly, on his beloved triples league, as Secretary.
After his wife, Kathleen died in 1980, and with his daughter, Judy, far away, in Somerset, the love of his later life was the Sevenoaks & district Bowls League, which the many friends he had made, in this connection, allowed him to carry on as its Secretary. George revelled in this post and apart from deriving great pleasure, from doing this job for 26 years, he was extremely efficient and dedicated to the work. He was very popular among the clubs playing in the League and continued in the post until 1996, when Bernard Burt took over the role. George was affectionately known in the area as “Mr Bowls” in recognition of his contribution to bowls. The League celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1993 and it is hoped that the Golden will be celebrated in 2018.
Painting was also one of George’s hobbies and he produced watercolour of the Sevenoaks Pavilion and presented it to the club. It took him four weeks to complete. He used to go down to the green every morning, in the early hours, to work on it.
George was 93 on the 6th March 2001 and is still looks after himself at 3 Robyns Way, Sevenoaks.
TIM ADAMS (1977)
The new captain of the Sevenoaks Bowling club, Mr Tim Adams, is looking forward confidently to the summer season and he hopes that there will be many new applications for membership as the club has vacancies for both men and ladies.
The season opens on 27th April with a fixture against Woolwich & Plumstead.
Tim stresses how important it is for the men to think of taking up this game as soon as their cricket and football days are over. The club would be pleased to welcome prospective new members and their ladies (or vice – versa) to an informal pre – season cheese and wine get together, at the bowls pavilion at the Hollybush Recreation Ground on Saturday 23rd April at 7.30pm.
Retired people, who have time on their hands, will find great enjoyment and comradeship on the green and in the club’s very fine pavilion.
The club has a fine coach in Bill Aldridge who, last year, did a really fine job with the new members, and the novices were grateful for his free tuition.
Tim Adams will be assured of good support from his two new vice – captains, Norman Shepherd and Ted Cordery and all the members.
He was born and educated in Sevenoaks and on leaving school started work as a carpenter and joiner with A. Tye & Co. Builders of London Road. Later on he joined Stanley Berwick’s in the same capacity.
While working for Tye & Co. he was persuaded to become a part time fireman, as the Fire Station was opposite the works, in Eardley Road and he also lived close by.
Tim was always first to arrive when the siren sounded.
When the war started in 1939, Tim became a full – time fireman, and competed 33 years service (11 being part – time)
He followed this by returning to his original trade, with the Urban District Council. Promotions came quickly and he retired in 1976, as a repairs and improvements inspector.
Tim joined the bowling club in 1966 and ha proved to be a consistent lead bowler.
In 1975 he was one of the team to finish runners – up in the County Fours final and went to Worthing for the English Championships, thus winning his badge. This was awarded to him when he played for the County against Middlesex in 1976.
DAVID BANFIELD (1975)
The Kent County team won the Middleton last year and this was their first success for 45 years. It is many years since Sevenoaks had a representative playing for the County, in this prestigious inter – county competition, but one of the club’s younger players, David Banfield, will this year be participating in the trial game at VCD Crayford, on Saturday.
David started playing bowls when he was a teenager, and is pleased to mention the late Ernie Edwards and the late Bill Jackson of the Sundridge Club who were his tutors.
He soon started to win honours at the Sundridge Club, where he played for ten years.
During that time he was twice winner of the special Captain’s prize, and in 1962 was in the rink which won the British Legion Fours, and was runner – up, in that same year, in the Simmonds Hospital Cup.
He won the July Cup in 1963, and in 1965 was runner–up in the Championship and winner of the club’s Handicap.
David joined Sevenoaks in 1967 and his successes have been continuous ever since.
In 1969 he won the Roy King Two–Wood, was runner– up in the Heard Handicap, and was a member of the winning Triples League team. He won a plaque as a member of the team, which were runners–up in the league the following year.
In 1971, he was again a runner– up in the league and was also Outram Pairs winner, Roy King Two – Wood winner and Heard Handicap winner.
He was the winner of the Outram Pairs again in 1972, runner–up in the Championship, and runner-up in the Simmonds Hospital Cup.
in 1973, he was again the winner of the Roy King Silver salver, and in 1974, he again won the Heard Trophy, and was skip in the Triple which was successful in the resurrected Triples Week Competition.
In 1972 and again in 1973 he was selected to play in the Inter-Divisional Kent County matches and represented Division Three.
Playing under cover in the winter months at the Crystal Palace indoor Centre, he has also made his mark, and for the past three years has represented his club the National Pairs and the National Triples.
In 1973 he received the Kent County Indoor BA badge, after appearing five times for the County. He has continued to be a regular member of the County indoor team and recently reached the semi-finals of the Kent Indoor Triples.
David, who was born at Sundridge, married in 1961 and he and his wife have two children, Sarah and Susie. David looks even younger than he is, and playing on the same rink as, the rather large, Cyril Nash, one day, Dave put a couple of bowls on the jack and one of the opposition turned to Cyril and said: “Your son’s a great little bowler, isn’t he.”
David has played most outdoor and indoor games, but he said: “I can honestly say, that there is no finer game than bowls. I really love the game, and it gives me enormous pleasure. It is a game that the young and old, the fit and the handicapped can play and enjoy, and also a game of great skill. Bowls is also a friendly and social game and the facilities at Sevenoaks are first class.”
David was to leave Sevenoaks Bowling Club in 1978 to join a Borough Green Bowling Club where he had many successes in the league and other tournaments, as well as continuing to play in the Middleton Cup and County Matches. Before leaving he had a few more triumphs at Sevenoaks. He won the Club Championship in 1975 and 1976 and in 1977 won the Outram Pairs once more.
On his return from Borough Green, some years later, he quickly returned to his old ways and won the Club Championship in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 2000 and the Roy King Two-Wood in 1990 and 1992. David also won the Heard Handicap Trophy again in 1989 and 1994. In addition to all these wonderful performances, David was runner-up on numerous occasions in all of the Tournaments.
David had an outstanding run with the County, playing in the Middleton Cup, continuously, for over twenty years and being in the successful teams in 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1993. His is a truly great record and he was rewarded in the year 2000 by being elected as County Selector for Division 3, as well as being invited to take charge of the Kent Under 25’s team.
David’s successes through the 90’s, in the Sevenoaks League for Sevenoaks were truly phenomenal. His teams won the first division on ten consecutive occasions between 1990 and 1999, a feat that is unlikely to be bettered, in the League.
Meanwhile, David had untold success in the Indoor competitions, including playing regularly in the Denny Cup sides for the County.
To top it all, he became President of the Kent County Indoor Bowling Association and captain and Vice-president of Sevenoaks Bowling Club.
It is hardly surprising, that David, with his diminutive frame, should, affectionately be nicknamed “Mighty Mouse” after all this success. As captain, when he rose to speak, at teas and dinners, the cry would go up, “Are you still sitting down, David”.
DAVID SLATER (1975)
The retiring Match Secretary of the Sevenoaks Bowling Club, Wally Cooper is leaving the town for the seaside, where bowls can be played all the year round. Wally Cooper has been a fine clubman as well as a fine player and a most methodical match secretary. The club is therefore, fortunate in having found a suitable replacement for Wally, in David Slater.
David only joined the club on 1970, but in those few years he has made his mark as a fine bowler and a good committee man.
David first took up the game of bowls when he was residing in Kenya. He became club secretary of a club he started up from scratch. He even helped sow the grass seed on the green.
He served on the Kenya Bowls Association Council and was appointed tour secretary for a visit to Zambia, and played in the triangular tests between Malawi, Kenya and Zambia.
In his first year with Sevenoaks he won the Heard Trophy and the Roy King Silver Salver. He was Outram Pairs winner in 1973, and runner-up in the in the 1974 Two-Wood event.
David Slater was born in Eastleigh, Hampshire and met his wife Jean when she was nursing in Uganda. They have three children, two girls and a boy.
David said: “ I find bowls an admirable balance of sport and sociability, the game being both casual and competitive or, very casual, according to how one wishes to play. The facilities at Sevenoaks are equal to any club where I have played, and I am sure that many more Sennockians would benefit from the fresh air and friendliness to be found there. As, like many other bowlers, I have played several other sports and still manage a few games of cricket each year.”
David went on to become captain at Sevenoaks from 1985-86 and secretary from 1987-89. He was club champion in 1978 and again in 1982 and narrowly lost to Bernard Burt in 1981. In 1978 he won the Heard Trophy again and in 1979 he won Section 1 of the Roy King Two-Wood. David had a habit of winning the Outram Pairs and was successful in 1973,1975,1985 and 1999. In spite of all his successes David never quite managed to get his county badge.
David’s main forte was his committee work for both the outdoor and indoor clubs. He served as the bowls member on the Sports Council for many years and in his last year with the club David was a most successful bar chairman.
He passed away in September 2000 after 30 years with the club.
BERNARD J. BURT
It would be almost impossible not to mention the irrepressible Bernard J. Burt (Past President of the KCBA). It is very much a story of “local boy makes good” for Bernard was born in Kemsing (when a village was a village) and he has always lived in the Sevenoaks area. He played cricket and football for the village (Eventually becoming a football referee) and was a member of St Mary’s Church choir for many years. He was a diligent worker from the very start and demonstrated this by his connections with the Kemsing Working Men’s Club, where he became Chairman and is now a Life Member of that organisation. He was also a Trustee of the club for several years with his good friend Mac Roxburgh.
Before joining the R.A.F. in 1940, he worked for J. Salmon Ltd, the printers in the London Road. He went to the Continent with the 2nd Tactical Air Force in 1943 and was promoted to Sergeant, before moving to the Ardennes, during Hitler’s last offensive. He was demobbed in 1943.
Back at home, he picked up his previous sporting ties and won Divisional Medals at football with Kemsing and helped Seal F.C. win the Sevenoaks Charity Cup.
Bernard married Margaret Reagan (Former A.T.S. Corporal) in 1949 and moved to Sevenoaks. They were blessed with two children, Robert and Sally.
In 1962 Bernard was persuaded to take up bowls by Eric Reeves and both he and his wife joined in 1963.
They both took to the game as though it had always been their sport and became good club members, each of them serving as captain of their respective Section.
Margaret was responsible for starting the West Kent Ladies League in 1980.
Bernard won all the club tournaments at one time or another-some more than once, but a question mark hangs over his win in the Franklin Ames over 65 competition as someone surreptitiously changed the age limit to 60 in that year.
When David Slater retired as secretary in 1989 Bernard took over this post in 1990-1991 and was ably assisted by Neville Hughes (Who was also secretary of the Simmonds Hospital Cup for several years) to deal with the paperwork.
Bernard was elected to the County Executive in 1974. His work included the re-design of the County Handbook and he also became County Publicity Officer, a position he relinquished in the year 2000, after 25 years service.
He was President of both the Sevenoaks Bowling Club and Kent County Past Presidents B.A. in 1966.
Never one to give up easily, he took over as secretary of the Sevenoaks Triples League when George Else gave up in 1996 and continues to hold this post with the valued assistance of Geoff Joyce from Tonbridge. As a sideline Bernard took over the job of match secretary of the KCPPBA, and is still in the post after five years.
Unfortunately, his wife Margaret passed away in 1989. This was a tragic blow to Bernard and it was such a shame that Margaret missed his time as President of the County. Nevertheless, he would be the first to admit that all the wonderful friends he has met through his church and through bowling have helped him immensely to “soldier on”
Not everyone has always appreciated Bernard’s extrovert sense of humour, and many found it difficult to understand whether he was being serious or not. This has led to some difficulties with some of his relationships but overall he comes out with a plus score.
He took it very well, for example, when, unbeknown to him, the stickers on his bowls were reversed at the Norwich B.C. on the KCPPBA tour of Norfolk. The following day, at County Arts B.C., when he was on the trial ends, he proceeded to bowl two wrong biases with consecutive bowls. This action brought a raucous response from the rest of the bowlers on the green, Bernard being the only one who did not know what to expect.
In the spoof book, presented to Bernard at the end of the tour, the first two pages were taken up with an explanation on how the big discs should be on the outside and the small discs on the inside, when bowling. It was Bernard who called his imaginary book “Bowls for Super Bowlers-by B.J.Burt!” and had been boasting about its publication all season. You can’t win them all.
BRIAN & CLARE JOLLEY
Brian Jolley joined Sevenoaks Bowling Club in 1965 and in the year 2001 is probably the longest serving member. He quickly proved himself as a useful bowler and keen club member, and it was not long before he found himself on the committee, a post that he filled for many years. Later on, Brian qualified as a marker and instructor and willingly gave up many hours of his leisure time in coaching new bowlers and passing them so that they could bowl on the bottom green. He also got involved with running markers courses, so that the club could increase its stock of qualified markers.
Brian will best be remembered for long service to the club as Wednesday Captain, an office that he took over from Jack Richardson in 1991. Few people have served in this capacity as long as Brian, who eventually gave up the job in 1998, when elected President of the club in 1999, a post he still holds in 2001.
His first action as President was to promote the idea of a new club flag, and paid for it out of his own pocket. It was available to celebrate the new Millennium. In addition to his other duties, Brian has also undertaken the task of Welfare Officer for several years, with the aid of his wife Clare, and this has been much appreciated by the club members.
Brian was born in Liverpool on the 7th May 1919, as an only child, and sadly lost his father when he was only four years old. He was educated at St Michael’s Primary School and Toxteth Technical Institute, before being employed in solicitors’ offices until the outbreak of the Second World War. Brian Joined the Royal Marines and served in the Far East, where by all accounts he had a tough time.
After the war he trained and qualified as a teacher at Sefton Park Training College in Liverpool, before taking up his first teaching post. This was at Kemsing Primary School in 1949, the same year that he married his wife Clare.
In 1954 he took up a teaching post at Sussex Road Boys School (Junior Section)
Brian & Clare have three sons. By 1956 Brian had become Head of English in the Senior Section of the School.
He retired from teaching in 1979 as a Senior Master.
Apart from bowls Brian’s other leisure activities include swimming, tennis, dramatics and gardening. He was instrumental in forming the Kemsing Gardeners Society and the Kemsing Dramatics Society. Brian also formed a Country-Dance Group with the Parent Teachers Association and helped to run the Village Library.
Brian’s wife Clare joined the Sevenoaks in 1979-80 after many years playing badminton and tennis and was very active on the competitive side. In 1988 and 1991 Claire won the KCWBA unbadged Singles and in 1993 won her county badge in the KCWBA Pair with Valerie Staples. She has since played each year in County games for Kent.
In her early yeas with the club Clare served on the committee and also as Vice Captain of the Ladies Section. She has been one of the stars for both Sevenoaks and Kent.
ROY DICKENSON (2001)
Roy Dickenson joined the bowling club in 1980 when Bert Grimwood was president, Ray Oake secretary and Norman Shepherd captain. The membership was quite low at that time and the average age of the members rather high. Nevertheless, it was not possible to walk straight into the men’s matches and one had to serve a probationary period on the top green, playing in the drives on Saturday afternoons. It was not to long before he managed to be selected for a match and then there was no looking back. Not the greatest of bowlers, Roy was soon appreciated as a good club member and was elected to the committee, serving on the bar and house committees in 1982. The following year he found himself vice-captain of the club under the great B. J. Burt, and served as league representative. He was also on the bar, social & dinner and house committees. Although Roy served a second year as vice-captain, he did not take over the captaincy, as expected, for personal reasons. During the mid-eighties he was involved in re-vamping the bar and kitchen with John Crouch and Bernard Burt, and was instrumental in getting the clubhouse connected to the main sewer, thus doing away with the old cesspool system. In 1990 Roy was elected captain after serving as vice-captain again under Don Foreman. He had also taken over the post of Division 3 representative on the Kent County Patrons Association committee, taking over from Ray Oake, and the job of county delegate, a post that Bernard Burt had previously held. Roy has been a member of the Kent County Past Presidents Bowling Association for 20years and has joined them on tour on several occasions.
In 1990 Roy was also a member of the steering committee for the new Sevenoaks Indoor Bowling Centre. During his time as captain he was a member of the sub-committee appointed to re-write the club’s constitution and integrate the ladies section so that they enjoyed the same rights as the men. The other members of that committee were Enid Foreman, H.H. Brocklebank and Neville Hughes, who was the assistant secretary at the time. Roy became president of the club in 1997-98 and resigned his position as league representative, Patrons representative and County representative in the year 2000. The only tournament in which Roy was a winner was the Sunday morning open fours run by Alastair Irving, on behalf of Scottish Woollens, in company with Alec Lott, Peter Stone and John Clarke from Culverden.
In 2001 Roy is still in the job of bar chairman, with Mac Roxburgh and John Atkins, after the sad loss of David Slater, last years chairman.
Born on a palindromic day in November 1932, Roy was born and bred in Sevenoaks.
He was, therefore, able to count many of the old members among his acquaintances, such as Ernie Barton, who was his English and History teacher at Bayham Road School, and who became president of the club exactly 50 years before him. Roy can remember the German bomber that crash-landed near the green, during the early part of the Second World War, and recalls going to inspect it on the following Sunday morning.
After leaving Bayham Road, Roy went to school at the Tunbridge Wells Technical School, first doing a two-year course in engineering and then as a plumber apprentice, on day release, for five years. He qualified as a plumber and heating engineer in 1953 and the joined the Royal Engineers, to do his National Service.
Leaving the army in 1955 he joined Haward & Partners and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1964, retiring in the early 1990’s as a Partner.
Roy married Jill Dickenson (nee Purdon) in South Africa in 1961. They had three sons, Michael, Neil and Stuart. His other interests included cricket, soccer, badminton and chess. Jill was ladies captain in 1998-99. She also played hockey for the East of England against the Australians, as well as being captain of Kent and a hockey selector.
PERIOD – 2002 -2005
This period of history could best be described as pivotal to the future wellbeing of the Club. Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) commenced its analysis of all sports activities to establish ways in which it could reduce its financial commitments to football, cricket, hockey and bowls (both indoor and outdoor). Over the previous 6 years the rent paid by the Club, which covered buildings also greens maintenance, had progressively increased from around £6,500 to £11,500 but was still c. £8/9,000 less than the Council’s outlay. Lengthy and protracted discussions took place starting on the basis that SDC required the Club to meet the total cost of around £21,000 by the 2004 season.
With the reducing membership the Club would have needed to more than double subscriptions to meet this target. At the end of 2003 our membership stood at 70 men, 35 ladies and 35 social members, the playing members paying a subscription of £80. We had to examine ways in which to overcome the problem, one of which was to manage the Club ourselves including having our own contractors for the greens maintenance. Other options included converting the top green into tennis courts or a putting green.
Self management appealed to us since, by enquiry, we knew the Club could almost halve the Council’s costs. This approach was proceeding well, with the Council’s blessing, until we found that the employment of our groundsman was protected by his Union, TUPE, and the Club would have to take over responsibility for his salary, sick pay, pension and any redundancy payment should this occur – a situation that in no way could be entertained by the Club.
Discussions then centred on reducing the playing area to the lower green and to mothball the top green. Our reduced playing membership over the years from around 180 to less than 100 with little prospect for any substantial growth in numbers led us to believe that one green was perfectly adequate and could, in the long run, make for a more enjoyable environment and fit in with our financial position. Whilst Club members would have to carry out some of the work e.g. daily rink movements and opening and closing the green this aspect would require a minimum of organising. Also our green would be large enough to convert up to 8 rinks to cope with the expected increase in usage. Play would be allowed from 10 a.m. each day instead of the current time of noon to help accommodate the additional play.
In November 2003 agreement was reached with SDC to continue with the existing contractors, KCC Landscapes, for a period of 7 years at an annual cost of £10,150 subject to members carrying out the small tasks mentioned earlier. A further meeting with SDC deliberated on the rent the Club should pay and it was agreed on a figure of £5,500 in 2004 rising by RPI in each succeeding year. A 10 year lease was agreed with a review after 5 years. The saga continued well into 2005 when KCC Landscapes left the scene. Sevenoaks Direct Contracts were awarded the contract and SDC agreed to recommence the 10 year lease with the Club from the 2005 season.
Club social activities increased considerably. The inspirations of Alan Doree and Tony Morgan in producing quiz and bingo evenings, Rita Doree and Sheila Blunt organising ‘slim and trim’ and ‘ pamper’ events , Joy Hyson’s ‘bring and buy’ sales and the car rallies organised by Valerie Staples and Ron Williams have all added funds for the Club and enjoyment for its members.
The introduction of a cabaret to our annual dinner and presentation of awards evening has featured for a number of years. These have produced hilarious evenings courtesy of the participating members who found they had many hidden talents (other than bowls!)
It is of continuing interest that Roy Dickenson has extracted further information on the background and origins of the Club. He reports as follows:-
“It is clear from all the evidence available that the game of bowls was played on a green immediately behind what was known as ‘The Sennocke Hotel’ (was The Farmers – now demolished and to be redeveloped) at Tubs Hill Station around 1906. Whether that club was called Sevenoaks or Sennocke is not known but either name could have been used. In extracts from the County handbooks it was referred to as Sevenoaks in 1909 and Sennocke in 1910. In1912 both Sennocke and Sevenoaks are included and the Sevenoaks entry refers to the ground being located at Hollybush Lane, Sevenoaks, as it does again in 1919. It seems as if the Club could have played under the name of Sevenoaks or Sennocke in the early part of the century. However, there are no Club records to indicate how this Club was formed.
In May 1929 the President of the KCBC, Mr AW Randall, opened a new six-rink green at Hollybush Lane and at that ceremony there was the only remaining Founder member of the Sevenoaks BC, a Mr W Southern. The report in the Sevenoaks Chronicle reads ‘Mr Southern responded for the Club in reminiscent mood recalling the start of the Club, 25 years ago- he was, he believed, the only original member with the Club when they played on the lawn behind a public house (Sennocke Hotel) and one day they found a donkey tethered in the middle of the green. They even played by candlelight at times. These conditions remained until1911 when it was felt that if they wanted to make progress they must break away from a licensed house. A meeting was held at the Lime Tree Hotel when a fresh start was made. The SDC had just taken over the Hollybush recreation ground and the Club asked that a green should be provided, which was done, and a Mr Frank Swanzy was appointed President’
. Since that time the Club has turned out several good bowlers, including several County bowlers and an International”
Although the foundation of the Club seems to have taken place in 1911 the new four rink green was not available until 1912 when the Club became affiliated to the Kent County Bowling Club.
Apart from Roy’s valuable contributions it was established during the 2005 season that Sevenoaks BC (not Sennocke) played matches against both Tonbridge and Westerham Bowling Clubs in 1906 – these matches are recorded in the minutes of both these Clubs – this suggests that Sevenoaks BC should have been celebrating its centenary in 2006!
Under the Captaincy of Tony Morgan and Wednesday Captain John Tuck, for the 2002/3 seasons the Club enjoyed 2 years of excellent bowling and the Club had an ever increasing number of men entering County and National competitions with reasonable success. Alan Doree, John Talbot, Keith Pearce and Eric Mitchell were each awarded their County badges and Laurie Turner was elected as 2003 County Sportsman of the Year for Cerebral Palsy disabled persons.
David Lewington became Captain for 2004/5 & 6 and John Tuck continued as Wednesday Captain through to 2006. Our successes in the Millennium League & the Trophy competitions continued in all these years the Club winning the League in two years and the Trophy in 2005. Prize money was £450.
The Sevenoaks & District League remains very competitive and attractive to the men and 5 teams have been fielded each Friday evening. Sevenoaks remains as the prime team in the 1st Division with Knole and Hollybush (the latter winning promotion from the 4th Division to the 1st Division in successive years). Raleys and Acorns participate in the 3rd & 4th Divisions respectively. Individual Captains are appointed for each team and are responsible for the administration and selection of their teams.
Early in each season the men play against the KCWBA when the ladies are preparing for the National Johns Trophy. This not only gives the ladies a good testing workout, it also demonstrates to the men that the standard of play by the ladies is excellent and very competitive. In the nine years of this fixture the ladies have won every encounter!
We have been experiencing an annual increase in the number of County and representative games being played on our green. This has mainly been due to the influence of Past County President Allan Chase (who is also our long suffering Treasurer). These matches bring considerable revenue to the Club albeit members have to work hard to cater for such events. At this stage it is appropriate to mention Annie Houghton who has organised not only the very onerous task of match teas with support from the ladies, also the cooking and presentation of meals to County and representative teams visiting Sevenoaks. She also regularly cleans the Clubhouse and dressing rooms.
Club competitions are always a highlight of the season culminating in the finals at the beginning of September each year. Keith Pearce secured the men’s Championship in 2002 whilst David Henning had a double win over Tony Morgan for the 2003 title plus the Two-Wood trophy. David continued to hold onto the Championship in 2004 & 5 and will no doubt feature in future finals. The custom of the Club is to present first time winners if competitions with a special blue ‘social tie’ and during this period no fewer than 9 ties were awarded.
Among the successes of the Ladies Section are the achievements of Ruth Small, the Clubs blind bowler. She is assisted by her Husband, Jack, and has won numerous County and National competitions for the blind and partially blind bowlers. Her ultimate award came about in 2002 when she won the Gold Medal in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Her various triumphs have been recognised with the award of an MBE in the 2005 Honours List.
The Ladies agreed to join the Millennium League in 2003 alongside the men. Whilst success has not yet come the ladies hope for better results in the coming years. Social activities have been on the increase with the men and ladies combining their efforts commencing each year with the wine & cheese party and continuing through the season with whist drives, BBQ’s, Finals Day dinner and end of the season soup lunches.
Success for the ladies has been considerable, including:-
Molly Cleggett Cup (2002) – Joy Hyson, Eve Tucker, Margaret Dawes, Clare Jolley,
Jan Nash, Polly Cresswell &Valerie Staples.
KCWBA Unbadged Singles (2004 Maude Wood - Sue Boakes
KCWBA Benevolent Triples (2005) - Clare Jolley, Geraldine Manning & Sue Boakes.
KCWBA Two-Wood (2005) - Sue Boakes, following which she went to Leamington Spa for the All England Finals.
Tunbridge Wells League (2003/4/5).
During this period three major factors became apparent which could affect the fortunes of the Club, viz.
(1) the growing introduction of more indoor bowling facilities
(2) the ever increasing average age of membership
(3) the unification of international bowling organisations
The outdoor game in the western hemisphere with its variable weather conditions has, no doubt, altered players attitudes towards personal comfort of play. When, occasionally, summer conditions of sunshine and warmth prevail the outdoor scenario takes a lot of beating not only for the open air atmosphere also for the challenges which a grass green poses. Unfortunately, such ideal conditions do not
occur as frequently as we would like resulting in a gradual migration by aging players moving into the indoor arenas. Due to changing social habits the outdoor game is not securing enough young entrants into the game to balance the average age of club membership. An examination of differing age groups within the outdoor clubs of Kent reveals an overall imbalance which has the effect of declining willingness to take on the responsibilities of club officials e.g.= captain, president, secretary etc by senior members who, no doubt, have carried out these duties many times in the past.
As a Club we have seen the premature departure of a number of older players to the indoor clubs due to the combination of adverse weather conditions and subsequent slower playing surfaces. Various recruiting drives and advertising have not produced any worthwhile increases in membership whereas the indoor facilities have increased throughout the county with a potential more attractive to newcomers to the game simply because of its 12 month a year availability.
Following international agreement to unify the many worldwide associations, on the 1st January 2008 the existing English Bowling Association with its counterpart the E.W.B.A. were swallowed into the newly formed control of ‘BOWLS ENGLAND’
The full effects of this change are yet to be felt but over the next few years the development of the combined men’s and ladies game will emerge – and if it is, hopefully for the best.
A lot of responsibility is placed on Club captains and in 2008 Hilary Chapman & Eric Mitchell concluded their second terms of office in this position. The contributions of both these members over many years have helped sustain the prominence of Sevenoaks Bowling Club throughout the district and County. The ladies celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2008 and it is appropriate that Hilary’s and Eric’s annual reports to the year end A.G.M are registered in this history to give an example of the workload and total involvement by all captains, past and in the future.
“Summer 2008 marked an important milestone for the Ladies Section, our 50th anniversary, a cause for some celebrations. These started in May with a very successful invitation day, when we welcomed friends from many clubs. Our visitors thoroughly enjoyed a champagne reception, followed by a delicious lunch and
then a happy (but cold) afternoon on the green, before returning to a transformed clubhouse for afternoon tea. An excellent day! In August we had a reunion lunch when we welcomed back to the club many of our former players. Once again we enjoyed champagne and another delicious lunch prepared by Annie Houghton and many helpers. This was a wonderfully happy occasion and greatly appreciated by everyone. A very big thank you to all the ladies and gentlemen who worked so hard to make these days so successful. Our final event was an outing to Lingfield Park races which was much enjoyed by all those that went.
Alongside all these events we still managed to complete our bowling programme with varying success. We played 19 matches, winning 8, losing 10 and drawing one. Seven mixed games were played of which we won 5 and lost 2. Overall 4 games were cancelled, all by our opponents. We reached the third round of the Molly Cleggett, lost in the first round of the Belle Trophy and were, once again, runners up in the Millennium League……….
This year several ladies are retiring from the Committee, all of whom have contributed to the smooth running of the Ladies Section, Julia Cooper as Secretary, Gillian Evans thanks for all her ‘sensible’ guidance to me, Clare Jolley for running the competitions and to Betty Redding for a constant supply of tea and biscuits! Sadly, we must say goodbye to Clare Jolley who is retiring from outdoor bowls. We thank her for her many years of contribution to the Club……..
Heres to the next 50 years!”
“Whilst the weather wasn’t ideal it was quite remarkable that only one match was cancelled during the season. The revisions we made to our schedule of matches e.g. predominantly ‘triples’ and the restriction to one match only at weekends, had a significant effect on the response by players putting their names down for matches, also in simplifying the Captain’s workload.
For the first time, in a number of years, we have seen an increase in club membership and, towards the end of the season it was pleasing to see some of these playing in matches and being drawn towards the Sevenoaks & District League. It is up to us all to ensure these new members are encouraged into all club matches, competitions and other activities.
Weekend games saw the Club win 18, lose 3 and draw 1 – of the mid-week games 10 were won,5 lost and 1 drawn – overall , with National & County competitions included our record was, played 48, won31, lost 14, drew 2 with one cancelled – a very commendable achievement. It is only when you consider that the men crammed in 48 matches into a less than 5 months season that the workload of the Captains is realised and the support of the players appreciated. To date we do not have a Wednesday captain for 2009…… it would be refreshing to have a volunteer(s) mid-week captain – or perhaps two or three of you would like to assume the role as a committee, taking it in turns to captain the side (food for thought?).
Mike McDonald will become Captain in 2009. He has more than proved himself over the past two years as Wednesday Captain. David Henning is proposed as Vice Captain and will have special responsibilities directed to team selection and organisation of National and County competitions. He will be assisted by Trevor Russell and it is hoped that the efforts of these two senior players will produce improved results for the Club. This spreading of responsibilities will, I hope, release Mike to concentrate on all other matches.
Unfortunately we had to close the green early to enable extensive maintenance to be carried out. This involved deep tining, the introduction of new grass seed, top dressing coupled with fertilisers and necessary weed and moss control elements. The timing of the work was ideal and the weather enabled rapid germination of the seed and you can now see the excellent results this work has achieved. It is hoped that we will have not only a more even surface to play on also a progressively faster surface.
The Club’s Centenary will be celebrated in 2011 and various events and matches will be arranged during that season including games against KCBA (which body will also have reached its 100th birthday in 2011), Bowls England & The Royal Household at Windsor Castle. The Committee will be looking for additional ideas from members to help make 2011 a memorable year………..”
The year started with the appointment of Mike McDonald and Barbara Ide as men’s and ladies Captains respectively and John Tuck as President following Michael Chapman’s period in that position. Long term officers Allan Chase (Treasurer) and Ron Williams (Secretary) continued in their respective posts. During the year Ron had to have a leg amputated but he is striving to adjust to this misfortune and his enthusiasm for continuing as Club Secretary is encouraging.
Unfortunately, the Club had to record the deaths of 3 long term members – Alan Kemp, Alan Doree and Brian Shairp. All of them had contributed in many ways to the success of the Club and will be sadly missed.
In preparation for the Club’s Centenary the Sevenoaks District Council authorised a complete redecoration of the clubhouse and dressing rooms and this was completed in December 2009. The Club is very grateful to the Council for not only this work also for the care of the green. Our green keeper, Steve Crutcher, is in attendance throughout the year not only cutting and fertilising the green – he also trims the considerable hedging which surrounds the premises and maintains all the grass banks and pathways. He organised the extensive work on the green in the autumn of 2008 which produced significant improvements for play during 2009.
Since 2003 the Club has continued to enjoy a very favourable rent and we are now more than halfway through the ten year lease. Efforts have been made to secure the written contract with the Council but this has not been forthcoming. Early in 2009 a meeting was held with Jim Latheron, the Property Manager of the Council, following the receipt of a lease contract. Jim has always been a supporter of recreational facilities in the district and the result of the meeting was to offer the Club a 25 year term commencing at the existing rent of £5,500 subject to an annual increase adjusted by the rate of inflation. The new document is still awaited but it is hoped to be formalised soon.
Highlights of the year included the winning of the County 2-Wood Championship for the second time by Trevor Russell and the achievement of Geraldine Manning in reaching the finals of the National Over 55’s Singles Competition. In the Club competitions the winner of the men’s Championship Singles for the past 6 years, David Henning, was beaten by Keith Pearce. The Ladies competitions were dominated by Mary Burch – winning the Singles Championship, Handicap and Mixed Pairs whilst Doris Chapman won through the Kit Middleton, 2-Wood Plate and the Ladies Pairs. Finals Day was, as always, followed by a dinner in the clubhouse. This dinner has been Annie Houghton’s personal contribution to Club members as a thank you for their companionship through each year – it always consists of a 4 course meal prepared by Annie – long may this ritual continue.
Additional games were played as normal. Firstly the re-introduction of the Men versus the Ladies enabled the men to draw up the rules of play but in their determination to win they overlooked the guile of the ladies in the interpretation of the rules, and lost!
The Sevenoaks & District League always leaves a void at the end of its fixtures in mid-August. David Lewington came up with the idea that our four teams consisting of c.28 players amalgamated to form separate President’s and Captain’s teams, for matches to be played over the 4 weeks remaining of the season. The success of this format has resulted in similar games to be played annually.
Preparations for the Club’s forthcoming Centenary celebrations in 2011 were enhanced by members putting forward their own suggestions on both Club matches and social events for the forthcoming year. Included in these are matches against both County and International sides also a visit to The Royal Household at Windsor.
The Captains for the men and the ladies will be having an extremely busy time in the co-ordination of all the Club’s activities for next season and it is opportune to include their reviews for 2010. Firstly, Mike McDonald outlined his successes and failures followed by Barbara Ide’s on her good fortunes.
And so another season flies by in what seems to be no time at all. In terms of results the year was a strange mixture. Of 28 Club friendlies twenty were won and 8 lost, whilst of 7 Millennium League matches only 2 were won against 5 losses consigning us to 6th place in the League. Interestingly, 5 of these games finished all square on rinks won. 3 fixtures were cancelled by opposition teams and 2 new mixed fixtures were introduced. Another mixed fixture versus Cliffe B.C. will be played for the first time next year. The number of mixed triples games has now increased to 11 in a season, this type of fixture has proved very popular with our players and we are hoping to play 6 triples in all such games in future.
Club representative teams had good runs in the National Top Club and Two Fours competitions, winning 3 games in each before suffering narrow defeats to Maistone in both. Additional successes were in reaching – although losing – the Divisional Semi-Final of the Bert Cox (County Two-Fours) and the Final of the Millennium Trophy.
In the Sevenoaks & District League Knole were placed 4th in the 1st Division (and were runners –up in the Marshall Cup) after a blanket finish where 5 points covered the top 4 places. In the same Division Sevenoaks came 7th and will revisit Division 2 next year (again). In finishing 3rd Hollybush missed promotion from Division 3 by just 3 points, whilst Acorns failed to repeat their previous year success and lanquished in 9th place in the same Division.
Changes to the Jubilee Trophy and Enterprise Cup competitions were generally welcomed and definitely successful. Congratulations to Alan Cockfield in his first season as Tournament Secretary who, admirably assisted by his counterpart from the Ladies Section, ensured the efficient organisation and smooth running of our internal competitions. For 2011 a new trophy is being introduced and will be awarded to the player who achieves the greatest success across all competitions (points awarded for each win in each). The more competitions you enter the greater your chances of success.
Our membership numbers are showing an increase and due tribute is paid to Brian Wilkinson whose efforts, together with those of Jill Dickenson, in this area have been both indefatigable and successful.
We now look forward to 2011 and our Centenary celebrations. On the playing front the extra matches have been arranged to supplement our normal fixture list.
Ladies Section – Captain’s Report
2010 has been a very successful year with fantastic weather. The sun shone early in the year so the green opened early but by the time we played the first match it rained! However, we played on and no friendly matches were cancelled during the season. We played 20 friendly matches, winning 12 and losing 6, one more win than last year. Two matches were cancelled by the opposition due to insufficient players. At times we had low numbers available but so did the opposition and they mentioned it first so no one knew we were short. There were 10 mixed matches and we won 7 and lost 3. In the Mollie Clegget competition we lost in the 1st round by just 2 shots and in the Belle Trophy we lost in the 2nd round having had a very convincing win in the 1st round. We dropped to 3rd place in the Millennium League this year but the Oaks came 2nd in the Tunbridge Wells League and the Hollies dropped to 3rd place in that League. The team in the West Kent League improved their position. The match against the men was played in pouring rain to 12 ends. They managed to play better in the rain than we did but how much remains a mystery as the scorecards were soaked at the end.
There were some individual successes. Peggy Mitchell with husband Eric won the Flitch Trophy at the 40th Anniversary of Southborogh B.C. coming through 5 round robin encounters involving 23 other couples, then winning the semi-final and Final. There was a hot-shot scored in the match against Petts Wood B.C. by Janet Butler, Peggy Mitchell, June Briley & Mary Burch. Geraldine Manning went through to the Divisional Finals in the Maud Wood competition and was narrowly beaten on the last end. Geraldine and I went through to the Divisional Finals in the Ladies Pairs competition and lost by one shot. Disappointing, but it was a thrill to be there.
We were delighted to welcome a number of new members this year and thank Jill and Brian together with other helpers for arranging a Fun Day and then supporting the new players with coaching lessons. We look forward to the new members joining in the matches and competitions next season.
I would like to thank the ladies on the Committee for their work and to Annie and her team for the food they provided on several occasions. Thanks also to Clare Jolley who has marked for the Club and individuals throughout the season.
Thinking about 2011 we are planning a pre-season meeting again to arrange the tea rota and the provisional date is 31st March at 3.00 pm. This will be confirmed but please keep it free. Finally a thank you to you all for all your support again this year. I’m now handing back the Captaincy to Hilary and wish the Club all the best for its Centenary Year.
A Near Miss - 1940
Going back some 70 years ago a piece of Club history has recently come to hand courtesy of the Sevenoaks Chronicle and their correspondent Bob Ogley. The article read as follows:-
‘When a huge force of Junkers 88’s missed their rendezvous with their fighter escorts on September 27th 1940, the German pilots foolishly decided to press on to London unprotected. Hurricanes and Spitfires were scrambled to meet them and, like a pack of hounds, cornered a dozen bombers and picked them off one by one. On this Friday afternoon there were plenty of people in Sevenoaks High Street watching the dog fight above. One of the German bombers, singled out by the fighters, suddenly nose-dived towards the town. An eye witness described how the Junkers machine suddenly became a raging inferno and was seen to be heading towards the town. The plane narrowly missed a house in Knole Paddock and then appeared to blow up in mid air. Quickly it crashed to the ground…………… one engine crashed into a field between Seal Hollow Road and Hollybush Lane recreation ground and the rest of the plane finished near the putting green. Red hot pieces of the plane fell on the Sevenoaks bowling green burning many patches in the turf. Play was later possible on four of the six rinks…………. ‘
The picture below depicts a typical scene on the green during a County match and described by Bob Ogley as follows:-
‘can you imagine that happening today? A burning enemy aircraft just a few yards away, police, firemen and wardens everywhere and yet play continues in an important
Bowls match. I don’t have a picture of the bowls club in the war years but here is one taken about 25 years later’
The Club’s Centenary Year - 2011
The year started with a bit of a ‘bombshell’ when in January, when the economic stresses of the world had taken its toll, the Sevenoaks District Council decided ( along with countrywide Councils) that the financial restrictions placed on them forced a total review of funding to local sporting facilities, including the bowling club, as from 2012.
As will have been seen earlier in this history, SDC had previously attempted to release themselves from the responsibility of maintaining the buildings and green but the threat was averted after consultation with the Club’s officials. However, as a result of this current approach by SDC, during 2011 various meetings took place resulting in the Club agreeing to it taking the full responsibility of maintaining the green, surrounds and hedges whilst the SDC would continue to maintain the clubhouse and other buildings plus continuing to pay for the insurance. They also agreed to present the Club with all the greens maintenance equipment. This arrangement was very generous of the SDC particularly as for the next 25 years a peppercorn rent of £1 p.a. would be payable.
Having settled the basis on which the Club would be operating from 1st April 2012 the planning of this new venture by the Club resulted in considerable work for Allan Chase, Michael Chapman and Eric Mitchell, the latter being responsible for interviewing many contractors to obtain tenders and costings for the maintenance of the green and hedge cutting ( the latter normally requires 3 cuts each year ). In an endeavour to reduce costs it was agreed that male members would maintain the grass surrounds and general maintenance of the complex.. The resulting costings and plans were presented to a special members meeting held in October and were approved. Maintenance costs for 2012, resulting from these efforts were estimated at c.£5,500/6,000 – this compared to the previous rental of £5,500 paid to SDC.
Apart from the Club’s usual friendly and competitive games special matches were arranged. These were against:-
July 6th – Sidcup B.C. who also were celebrating their centenary.
July 14th - Bowls England comprising 6 rinks with one lady in each rink.
August 7th – Royal Household within the confines of Windsor Castle.
August 23rd – Kent County Bowling Ass. Patrons.
August 30th –Kent County Bowling Ass. who also were celebrating their centenary
September 2nd – Combined Sevenoaks League Team
Photographs from some of these events appear later in this history.
Centenary Luncheon – 6th November 2011
This event concluded the year’s special celebrations with 106 members and friends present and was held at the Donnington Manor Hotel in Dunton Green. Club President John Tuck opened the lunch, as follows:-
“ Welcome to this historic occasion as we celebrate the Club’s centenary and all the finalists achievements in this notable year. My thanks to all the officers and members who supported the Club so well in completing such a busy programme, including those involved in today’s luncheon arrangements. I do hope you will have fond memories when you look back over the events of the past season.
For those attending for the first time, hopefully this will be the first of many occasions as we go forward into a new era in the running of the Club.
On behalf of the Officers I wish you all good health and we look forward to seeing you on the green in 2012”
Toasts were offered to the K.C.B.A. and Sevenoaks B.C. by Mike McDonald (Men’s Captain) and responded to by Mick Collins (Senior Vice-President, KCBA) following which Hilary Chapman (Ladies Captain) proposed the toast of the KCWBA and Guests responded to by Carol Tillman (Vice-President KCWBA.) following which both County Officials presented the trophies won by members during 2011.
The Sevenoaks Chronicle, courtesy of Bob Ogley, printed a double page article summarising the history of the Club together with a half page photograph of the clubhouse describing ’its pristine green and great facilities’. Whilst the article repeats the majority of the history already recorded Bob concludes by saying
‘the Club has come a long way from that pub green down at Tubs Hill with the donkey and the candlelit matches. May I congratulate one of our best organised Sevenoaks clubs for the fun it has given to so many over 100 years’
Captain Mike McDonald thanked the men for their support in helping him accomplish all match commitments during the season, in particular the ‘hard core’of 16 who made themselves available for all the centenary matches and friendlies.
The Sevenoaks League provided excitement for the Knole and Sevenoaks teams, the former losing out to Holmesdale in the last game finishing second in division One and the latter grateful for other favourable results to finish top of the Second Division.
The Club’s performance in the Millenniun league was better than normal, finishing third. The outstanding achievement of the season was the success of David Henning, John Talbot, Keith Pearce and Trevor Russell in reaching the County finals in both the Triples and Fours – then proceeding to Worthing for the National finals in the latter competition.
Mike concluded his review by saying ‘by having a brief look forward to the 2012 season that what with the withdrawal of funding by SDC we are sailing into uncharted waters, but I am confident that we can look forward to many more years of happy bowling at Sevenoaks B.C.
It was sad to record, in the latter part of 2011 the loss of two of our senior playing members. Both had served the Club so very well and had contributed to its successes. Graham Burch, who produced a form of aggressive bowling in between sucking on his pipe and Peter Haden-Scott, a past Wednesday Captain, Both will be missed.
Ladies Captain Hilary Chapman commented that the ladies had a busy but enjoyable season having won 50% of their games but that mixed matches had produced a higher ratio of successes. Competitions had been boosted by many late entries which were ably catered for by June Briley, in her first year as Competitions Secretary. In County Competitions Geraldine Manning had once again flown the flag for Sevenoaks, achieving runner- up in the Officer’s Cup and reaching the Divisional finals both in the Maud Wood Cup and, with Barbara Ide and June Briley, in the Triples Cup.
Hilary thanked Annie Houghton and her team of ladies for their catering efforts during the Club’s Centenary celebrations. All meals were well presented and our many National and County visitors went away very satisfied.
Jill Dickenson spent many hours in arranging the Club’s “Fun Day” and the subsequent coaching of new members with such success. Ably assisted by Brian Wilkinson and others the new members, from last season and this, have benefitted greatly from the encouragement and friendship demonstrated by Jill and her team.
In October the ladies lost two dear friends, Valerie Staples and Gillian Evans. Both had played for Sevenoaks for many years and were staunch supporters of the Club. Gillian had been Lady Captain and, with husband Brian, ran the whist drives to raise funds for the Club. Valerie had played bowls with Sevenoaks and for the County for many years and was a long term Ladies Secretary for the Club
THE FUTURE – 2012 AND THEREAFTER
This ‘History’ is only a potted version, although by its length this can’t be easily justified!
It is not possible to accurately assess the total number of playing and social members that have passed through the gate and onto our green(s) over the 100 years of the Club’s existence. The number of matches played, the successes and achievements, the laughs, the curses etc. is impossible to itemise but these have always been in the spirit of the game of bowls which we have all learned to love and enjoy.
With all the happy memories of the first 100 years of activity the success of the Club in 2012 and beyond will initially be in the hands of the undernoted principal Officers together with all Committee volunteers. We hope these and successive officers ensure Sevenoaks Bowling Club’s continued strong presence in County and National bowls.
President Eric Mitchell
Vice- President Jill Dickenson
Men’s Captain Mike McDonald
Ladies Captain Hilary Chapman
Secretary Barbara Ide
Treasurer Allan Chase
SEVENOAKS BOWLING CLUB v ROYAL HOUSEHOLD
(Bowls used by King George V)