I would like to suggest this was probably the happiest day for many a bowler who had been denied a good day out bowling with considerable enjoyment. As a club we were delighted to be able to put on such a happy day just 24 hours before the ending in England of the Government’s pandemic restrictions.
In January we made the decision to try to run this regular event but knew we would have to abide by any Government restrictions. Easier said than done as those restrictions changed time and again. We wrote to our regular contacts to ascertain whether they would be happy to enter a team as without their support at this early stage it would all be a waste of time. We were encouraged by their response.
Peter Lambert then started to set the wheels in motion but decided at this early stage that we could best meet the social distancing rules if the event was restricted to 12 rather than 16 teams. He constantly reviewed plans as and when the Government changed their rules. As we got closer to the date he took the precaution to check the legality of our event with Sussex Bowling Federation. Having got the green light we were all set to go.
The weather in the weeks leading up to our event had been very wet but suddenly it all changed a few days before our big day and hot sunshine prevailed with our ground preparation, on the day itself and clearing up after. We had glorious sunshine – if anything a bit too hot. What a fantastic day.
The 12 teams were able to get out and have a lovely day, playing a game they enjoy in good company, plenty of fun, good food and sanitised all day. Free tea, coffee or water all day to avoid becoming dehydrated. Once again, the teams were generous in their support by donating raffle prizes, and then supporting the raffle.
At the end of the day the final was played between the teams from East Hoathly and Cross in Hand and what a close final it was. Such fine bowling over the 3 ends final. With the score one shot each after 2 ends it was all on the last end. It was very close indeed needing the adjudicator to measure and determine which team had the one shot to win. It went in favour of Cross in Hand.
The presentation of the trophy had to be a little different. Although Vivien the daughter of Alf Sayers was present, she could only offer her congratulations to the winners leaving them to lift the trophy for themselves.
We were delighted to receive so many praises from the teams for putting on the event this year as many similar events and games had been cancelled. Such praise can only come after a massive effort made by club members to put it on. Well done even if totally worn out at the end of the day.
The voluntary effort by a few club members throughout the last 18 months ensured that the bowls club would be ready to continue to provide this valuable sporting facility, its perfect bowling surface, in its lovely surroundings, for the benefit of the village as soon as the restrictions were lifted.
The pandemic meant we lost all games and the funds these generate and any opportunity to operate any fundraising events in 2020. Maintenance of the green and the club meant the expenses continued but the income dried up. Whatever surplus we made on 18 July will help.
We are always looking for new members and support from our friends and our landlords the Nutley War Memorial Trust which provides the ground for our club. We will also be holding our other fundraising event, our quiz on 2 October in the Nutley War Memorial Hall.