ESMBA Summer Championship

Each year the ESMBA holds a Summer Championship ( this year held in Tamworth )  for affiliated short mat bowls clubs in England. The championship also doubles as a qualifying event for the ESMBA / TLH Top Club Championship finals held annually in Torquay, with the next event being held in May 2019. This year one club from Worcestershire competed  –  Churchill and Blakedown Short Mat Bowls Club  –  participating with a team of seven bowlers. These were  –  Terry Clifford  /  Richard Rose  /  Trish Clifford  /  Sandra Felton  /  Dave Grove  /  Garry Markham  and  Malcolm Saunders.

Churchill and Blakedown compete against Woolhope Club from Herefordshire, Old Stratford from Northamptonshire and Magic Circle from the West Midlands. The familiar format  of Singles/Fours  playing first, followed by Pairs/Triples took place resulting in five bowlers being involved in each session.

There was strong opposition, and Churchill and Blakedown in the group stage lost three of their four individual matches against Woolhope –  Richard Rose and Dave Grove, however, had a convincing 13/8 win in their Pairs match. The second club to play Churchill and Blakedown  –  Old Stratford  –   was very strong with Churchill and Blakedown losing their four individual matches. Churchill and Blakedown then went on to play  their third and final group match against Magic Circle from the West Midlands and won three of their individual matches in convincing form. Richard Rose won his Singles match  13/10,  Terry Clifford’s Fours team won 9/4 and Terry’s Triples team won 7/2.

After a very hot but enjoyable day, and in spite of early setbacks, but with an improved performance at the end of the day, Churchill and Blakedown were pleased that they had qualified for the Top Club Finals which will take place in Torquay in May next year.

ESMBA / TLH Top Club Competition 2017/2018

The ESMBA together with the TLH leisure resort in Torquay hold an annual English Top Club competition. There are two qualifying events held in July and January from which the top 16 clubs are determined to go forward to a finals competition held in Torquay in April/May each year. This year’s event took place over the weekend of 28th/29th April. Churchill and Blakedown short Mat Bowls Club qualified for this event in July last year.

Torquay 2018 001

Churchill and Blakedown bowlers participating in this year’s competition – Terry Clifford, Ian Davis, Trish Clifford, Alan Walters, Sandra Felton, Richard Rose, Malcolm Saunders and Dave Grove.

The preliminary stages consisted of four groups of four clubs with Churchill and Blakedown playing two clubs from Northamptonshire and one from Dorset. Although losing their first group Match ( 1 x singles, fours, pairs and triples), they went on to do very well in their matches with the other two clubs to finish second in their group. This meant that they were through to the last eight for the first time since they have played in this competition.. The quarter final knockout match was played against Southampton and with wins in the singles and pairs, but losing in the fours and triples, the match was drawn with the deciding factor being shot difference which did not go in Churchill and Blakedown’s favour. Although out of the competition at this stage the team were well satisfied with their overall performance throughout the tournament.

ESMBA National Finals 2018

The National Finals this year are being held at two venues  –  Tamworth on the 7th and 8th of April and Melton Mowbray on between the 12th and 15th April. The County is represented in all the National Finals competitions this year.

Mixed Fours  –  Tamworth  –  7th April.

The county had one team competing this year  –  Yvonne Payne, Richard Rose, Sandra Felton, and Richard Payne. The 32 teams from across England were divided between eight groups of four with each team playing three matches. Following the group stage, the top two teams in each group proceeded to the main knockout session with the third and four teams competing in a separate knockout session for the “Plate” cup. In the group stage Richard Payne’s team won one match and lost two and as a result came third in their group. After what they thought was a disappointing result they went into the plate competition with  increased vigour and went through three knockout stages in a convincing manner to reach the final. Their opponents in the final just had the edge over them resulting in the Worcestershire team being runners up. This was the first trophy that the county had received at a National Finals event since 2006.

Below  –  The county team with the President of the English Short Mat Bowling Association having received their runners up trophies in the Plate competition.

mixed fours photo esmba2018

Over 55s  Pairs  –  Tamworth  –  8th April 

This was the first Over 55s Pairs event to be staged by the ESMBA. Having won the County title Malcolm Saunders and Richard Rose  represented the county. There were 32 entries from across England at Tamworth where the event started with eight groups of four teams playing in the round robin stage. Malcolm and Richard’s group included teams from Oxford, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Although Malcolm and Richard played well and felt that they could have had success at this stage,  their opponents seemed to have the edge with the result that Malcolm and Richard did not reach the main knockout stages. They then lost their first round match in the knockout stages for the “plate” Trophy.

Under 18s  –  Tamworth  –  8th April.

Finlow Hunt, the county’s Under 18s champion represented the county in this year’s National Finals, During the day he received the county shield, which was presented by Richard Rose.

Finlow U18s shield 001

Finlow enjoyed success in the group stage of the competition winning two of his three matches. This meant that he finished in the top half of his group and proceeded to the main knockout stage. Unfortunately he lost in the first of the knockout matches but overall must have enjoyed his experience in this closely fought competition.



Singles   –   Melton Mowbray   –   12th April.

Johnathon Smith) faced stiff opposition at Melton Mowbray with total of 64 bowlers competing in this year’s competition. Johnathon’s group matches included bowlers from  East Sussex, Hertfordshire and West Midlands. Johnathon lost his first two matches in the group stage but went on to win his final match against the West Midlands opponent by 9 shots to 8. This was not sufficient, however, to enable him to proceed to the knockout stages.


Pairs   –   Melton Mowbray   –   13th April.

Richard Payne and Johnathon Smith together with Tony Kilgour and Mark Bourne were Worcestershire’s entries into the National pairs competition this year. Again this was in the usual format with 64 teams competing with each team playing three matches in the round robin series prior to the knockout stage. Richard and Johnathon won their first match by 14 shots to 4 against a team from Norfolk but unfortunately lost their two other matches to finish third in their group. As a result they did not proceed to the knockout stages. Tony Kilgour and Mark Bourne lost their three group matches and they also did not proceed to the knockout stages.


Fours   –   Melton Mowbray   –   14th April

County teams this year were  –  Yvonne Payne/Richard Rose/Cayman dredge/Richard Payne playing against teams from west Midlands, Dorset, and Northants in the group stages.  Anne Hough/Pete Foster/Sandra Felton/Avis Beddow played against teams from Oxford,  Hampshire and Kent. they faced stiff opposition and lost their three group matches and did not qualify for the knockout stages. In their group matches Richard Payne’s team beat Doset by 8 shots to 7, beat Northants by 10 shots to 7, but lost to West Midlands 6-12. With four points from two wins they came second in the group to proceed to the knockout stages. They were drawn against a team from Hampshire who went on to win scoring 9 shots to Worcestershire’s 6.  –  Quite a close match.


Triples   –   Melton Mowbray   –   15th April

The county was represented by two teams this year  –  Anne Hough/Pete Forster/Avis Beddow (winners of the county title) playing in the group stage against teams from Buckinghamshire, Suffolk, and Somerset. The second team representing the county was  Richard Rose/Trish Clifford/Terry Clifford, who played in the group stage against teams from Kent, Cambridge, and Essex . Both teams did not make it to the knockout stages of the tournament.


County v Gloucestershire – 11th march 2018

This second leg of the Two Shires Trophy competition was played away at Gloucestershire’s home venue of Churchdown. The first leg , played in January, resulted in a convincing win for Worcestershire by 29 points to 11. The county went into this second leg match requiring 12 points to secure their first win for the two Shires Trophy, which was first contested in 2015.

The county struggled in some of their early matches, but did particularly well in the Fours. Both Fours teams  ( Jenny Gibbs/Anne Hough/Avis Beddow/Terry Clifford  and  Belinda Gibbs/Chris Allen/Alan Walters/Cayman Dredge ) won both their matches. With a win in the Pairs by Sandra Felton and Richard Payne the county had five wins ( 10 Points ) and with 2 bonus points added the county achieved the 12 point target they needed to win the competition by the narrowest of margins.