World's Women bowlers brave the elements
By Laurence Gale MSc
29 teams turned up at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa for the 10th World Women's Bowls Championships. The event took place from 3 September to 17 September. The fact that the tournament was held at all is solely down to the hard work and determination of the English Women's Bowling Association (EWBA).
Pauline Biddlecombe, the honorary chief executive of the EWBA was delighted with the response and support the EWBA received since stepping in to rescue the event last September. Pauline would like to thank all the patrons and donors who provided the main source of income for the event. In normal circumstances tournament organisers have four years to prepare Championships, allowing time to secure funding and resources for the event.
Due to the short notice the EWBA were not able to meet the deadline criteria for some funding opportunities, not even able to secure any funding from Sport England. Most of the funding came from donations from bowling members and interested parties. Each day the organisers were receiving cash donations for anything from £5-£1000 from individuals, clubs and counties. It is one reason why this year's event has been dubbed 'The People's Games' and 'Party in the Park'.
In July I visited Victoria Park to see how the preparations were going for the championships. (See link for previous article), which led to a further invite to come and view the greens during the event.
I arrived at the site early on Tuesday 14th September so I could see the morning green preparations and meet some of the teams when they arrived.
Graham Redfern, the Parks Manager for Warwick Borough Council, explained what maintenance works had been going on prior to and during the event. Two weeks before the Championships some star tine aeration and verti-cutting works were completed on all the greens and followed up with a light application of liquid iron feed to colour and strengthen them up.
Each day during the championships the staff have carried out a regular programme of work. On arrival they would cane the greens to remove any dew or debris prior to mowing and then mow the greens cutting at a height of 3mm. They would double cut the greens removing about two boxes of clippings each time.
Early morning mowing
Caning the greens to clear any any debris
Replacing rink lanes
On completion they would then cane again to remove any debris and check for any other surface deviations. The rinks would be reset for the days play, and the ditches cleaned of any debris.
After the day's play (about 6.00pm) the staff would remove the rink lines and mow one way to clean up the green, changing the rink mats and signs for the following day's play.
Glendale, the Council's on site contractor, supplied all the labour and staff and machinery for the Championships. Each day four greens staff were on hand to prepare the greens for the day's play, with an additional five staff employed to manage car parking and litter picking duties.
The weather has been quite a challenge for both greenkeepers and bowlers during the event. The hot spell during the first seven days of the competition affected the greens speed, and led to some debate about whether to water the greens. However, Graham decided not to water after seeing the long-range weather forecast that was predicting colder, wet weather during the second week.
The standard of play at the Championships was very high. Watching the morning's play I could appreciate the skill and tactics involved when playing bowls at this level.
Quality play depends on quality surfaces, and Graham and his team made a major contribution to a very memorable and successful Championships.
ENGLAND WIN FOURS & TEAM GOLD - IRELAND WIN SINGLES GOLD
FOURS FINAL - England bt Jersey 23-10
Jayne Christie, Ellen Falkner, Jeannie Baker and Amy Monkhouse (England) having shown their supremacy throughout the championships deservedly secured the Fours Gold Medal beating Chris Grimes, Gean O'Neill, Karina Bisson and Suzie Dingle ( Jersey). Jersey made double figures on the last end on what was a very one-sided game.
Bronze medals: Caroline Taylor, Linda Evans, Anwen Butten & Kathy Pearce (Wales)
and Susan Murray, Cecilia Smith, Joyce Dickey & Joyce Lindores (Scotland)
SINGLES FINAL - Ireland bt South Africa 21-9
Margaret Johnston (Ireland) the 2000 and 1992 World Singles Gold medallist had a convincing win beating Lorna Trigwell (South Africa), in very wet conditions, to take the title for a third time. Margaret was unbeaten in her ten singles games and was thrilled at winning the title for a third time and especially 'back to back'.
Bronze medals: Betty Morgan (Wales) & Margaret Letham (Scotland)
TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP - THE TAYLOR TROPHY
GOLD MEDAL - ENGLAND,
England team: Shirley Page, Jayne Christie, Ellen Falkner, Jeannie Baker,
Amy Monkhouse and team manager Mary Price
England retained the trophy by 'shots difference' with three teams finishing on 99 points. (Points are given for placings in the four disciplines and if equal on points at the end shots are taken into account.)
Silver Medal: Australia & Bronze medal: Wales
NEW ZEALAND WIN PAIRS GOLD MEDAL WITH SILVER GOING TO WALES
Sharon Sims & Jo Edwards (NZ) bt Caroline Taylor & Betty Morgan (Wales) 17-11
BRONZE MEDALS TO: Maria Rigby & Karen Murphy (AUS) and Clarice Fitzpatrick & Shirley Fitzpatrick-Wong (Canada)
SOUTH AFRICA WIN TRIPLES GOLD WITH AUSTRALIA WINNING SILVER
Trish Steyn, Jill Hackland & Loraine Victor (SA) bt Katrina Wright, Jenny Harrogan & Roma Dunn (AUS) 21-11
BRONZE MEDALS TO: Wendy Jensen, Val Smith & Marlene Castle (NZ) and Helen Culley, Andrea Stadnyk & Anita Nivala (Canada)
Further information and results can be obtained by calling the EWBA Tournament Office on 01926-452037.