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So 2015 was the year PARIBC came good, very good indeed, at Potters, with our teams providing 5 quarter - finalists, 3 semi - finalists and 2 finalists. If you now see all the gigantic 20ft by 10ft photos, (warning that some photo’s may scare and affect those of a nervous disposition!), that are up at the club, you can see for yourselves, the results of the club’s exploits during the week away. We need a bigger Potters display board and shelf! Hopefully the following, albeit very long winded, as per usual, (and grossly plagiarised from previous year’s reports, sorry but I have got writer’s block, not as painful as tennis elbow, but worse than golfer’s ball!), will give you an overview of the PARIBC 2015 tour to Potters. It is intended as a light hearted look at the week and hopefully it will be read and the comments taken, in the good natured manner that they have been given. If anybody takes offence, then please feel free to berate me at the earliest opportunity!
Once again, thanks to the extremely hard and tireless work of “Langley’s Leisure Ltd”, (managing directors, John and Doreen Langley), PARIBC enjoyed its fifth annual tour away at “Potters” in Norfolk in the penultimate week of May 2015. 67 brave, nay foolish, souls, (52 bowlers and 15 guests, June Clare, wife of Dave; Rosemary Clive, wife of Eric; Joy Cox, wife of Danny; Jane Edwards, wife of Kevin; Antoinette Hart, wife of Lew; William Lawrence, husband of Ann; Tony & Vera Murr; Brian & Trish Parker; Gloria Smith, wife of Mick; David and Fran Sutherland; Norma Thompson, wife of John and finally Tim Fletcher, who belongs to no one and who would have him anyway?!), descended on the Norfolk resort for a week of competitive bowling along with many other leisure pursuits and the chance to relax and unwind. Also up at the resort as the same time as us, were other PARIBC members Roy Alderson and his far better half Ann, (who managed to break the TV in the Jacuzzi in their room, don’t ask!), as well as Frank Collins and his good lady wife.
Dealing with the bowling itself, PARIBC had 13 teams of 4’s, entered into a 40 plus team tournament which this year for the first time was split into an 8 leagues competition. All 13 teams acquitted themselves well, (see details below of teams / results), and despite the losses, PARIBC came out with a high reputation for good bowls, but perhaps more importantly, a very high regard from, (nearly), all the other teams present and also with the non - bowling members of the public that were there on their holidays, for our very social nature and good fun during all the matches, both on and off the green, throughout the whole of the week. Thus a big pat on the back and well done to all players and guests for representing and promoting the club in a good light all week, it does count for a lot.
A = Bob & Marion Crowne, John & Doreen Langley. (Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0, Drew 0 = 8 pts).
B = Roy Baston, Jean Lacey, Joan McLaughlin, John Thompson. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 1, Drew 1 = 5 pts).
C = Dave Clare, Lew Hart, Tom & Christine Heward. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
D = John & June Clayton, Patrick O’Meara, Patricia Wells. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
E = Danny Cox, Jean Gulliford, Mick Pont, Dave Thorne. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
F = Trevor Bucklee, Eric Clive, Kevin Edwards, Jim Masters. (Played 4, Won 1, Lost 3, Drew 0 = 2 pts).
G = Malcolm & Lesley Clark, Ann Lawrence, Malcolm Whiffin. (Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0, Drew 0 = 8 pts).
H = John Bee, Jean Braithwaite, John & Bernie Mercer. (Played 4, Won 0, Lost 4, Drew 0 = 0 pts).
I = Dave & Val Cook, Mick Smith, Glynis Whatman. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
J = Dave Hood, Bill Howlett, Barry & Babs Tomlin / Brian & Trish Parker. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 0, Drew 1 = 7 pts).
K = John Brown, Chris & Sylvia Day, Ann Mayne. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
L = Trevor Bishop, Dave & Dot Elliott, Sue Smith. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 0, Drew 1 = 7 pts).
M = Chris Davis, Dave Fahy, John Lake, Charles Wells. (Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0, Drew 0 = 8 pts).
Unfortunately for Roy Alderson, he drew the very short straw and ended up forced to play with Tim Fletcher, because as usual no one from PARIBC wanted the worst bowler from the club in their team and I don’t blame them, so hard luck Roy! These two “played” as independent individuals along with two other bowlers from Chertsey, Surrey and had an enjoyable, if unsuccessful week on the green. The rumour that Roy took a bribe to throw the last match, against a PARIBC team is currently under investigation. It is taken as a given that Mr Fletcher always bowls badly and so there was certainly no need for a bribe for him!
It was yet another good effort by all the 13 PARIBC teams, which ensured that we managed to get 5 teams into the quarter finals, namely teams A, G, J, L and M. Even those teams that didn’t make it any further said that they had had good games and were just beaten by better bowlers on the day………..and if you believe that last sentence then you are more gullible than I thought, ho, ho! However, even those PARIBC teams that felt that they didn’t perform in the first four group matches, it must be noted that even if they only won one game, this may well have stopped Oppo sides from completing a clean sweep and allowing PARIBC, as a group, to advance, so their minor success helped the overall picture for PARIBC. Team Hood (J) and Team Lake (M), were the unfortunate, but gallant losers, to depart at the quarter final stage, leaving PARIBC to provide 3 of the 4 semi – finalists, namely teams A, G and L.
Click for the Prince Arthur Players in Action pics
On last end of one of the semi - finals, with the Oppo needing 3 shots to force an extra end and the fact that the Oppo, from Tye Green IBC, (who win every year…………..but not this year!), were currently holding 2 shots, Doreen Langley and Marion Crowne, could not look, as the Oppo skip bowled his last bowl. They need not have feared, as he couldn’t change it and to tumultuous cheers, from a biased “home” crowd, PARIBC had one finalist, team A. In the other, all PARIBC, semi - final the Bishop - Smith - Elliott quartet, (team L), ensured they would have a “family” fun day out in the final, as they triumphed, only just, over team G, comprising Malcolm and Lesley Clark and Ann Lawrence and Malcolm Whiffin and again the cheers rang out from all those watching, congratulating the winners but also commiserating with the losers.
Thus it was an all PARIBC final, an internal local derby on neutral soil, (well neutral green at least), and poetic justice I suppose, in that it was to be played out between Team Langley, (John and Doreen Langley, Bob and Marion Crowne), who have run the trip for 5 years against Team Bishop, (Trevor Bishop, Sue Smith, Dave and Dot Elliott), who are taking over the running of the trip from next year. As such, it was the latter and new organizers, to be, who ran out winners, so many congratulations to them. But it was a closely fought final, with all participants from both sides, chipping in with some fine shots. Please speak with any of those who were there for a more detailed breakdown of how the final, (and other matches), panned out, suffice to say that the real winner out of it all was PARIBC, the club. The presentations were then done by the current EIBA men’s No 1 ranked player, Greg Harlow.
Click for the Semi Final and Final pics
As usual, away from the bowls, this is where the true spirit of the tour was fostered and nurtured, which meant that everybody, new, old and familiar tourists had a good time and managed to enjoy themselves, (I think / hope)? What follows are some details of life away from the green and how it was seen by yours truly. I trust all (dis)honourable mentions will hopefully be taken by all in the good natured way that they are intended and in the continued vein of the good humoured banter between all the PARIBC tour party, that was infectious. If you don’t get mentioned then you are lucky, but remember, there is always next year!
The evening meal, at which all PARIBC members seemed to scrub up well in their finery, brought numerous stories of bowls near misses, the joys of playing with and against straight woods and also tales of what others had been up to away from the bowling greens. After the fine food, the bingo sessions saw more PARIBC successes this year, but more of that later and then the social dancing that followed saw many a PARIBC member strut their stuff. As usual, June Clayton and Pat Wells proved that even with 3 left feet between them, they could still move, (almost gracefully), around the dance floor to the classic dances! And then the popular tunes were played and this saw quite a few up and bopping along and shaking what they had got. I will leave you with that image in your mind! There is a lot of building work and changes to the Potters complex currently going on and a lot has changed since last year, so I wonder what we will find when we venture back next year. A pity the ten pin bowling was out of action, but this aside, did not hopefully diminish from the enjoyment, with the evening shows up to their usual very high standard, although our numbers at the post - show drinks and midnight meal seemed to be down on last year, with only the hard core few out past the bewitching hour. Obviously the PARIBC tourist’s professionalism as bowlers, now taking precedent over late night revelries………….yeah right!
The week started off on a bad note for club captain Trevor Bishop as he was arrested, (later released without charge!), for arson. His attempts to make toast, at the hotel, he and several others were staying in after travelling up a day earlier, led to fire damage of the whole of the ground and first floors, with half of the Norfolk fire brigade called out to the scene. Luckily his week would end on a much better note, but he was told in no uncertain terms that he could only have cereal and prunes for the rest of the trip and this was based not only on health / safety issues but for weight reasons as well! This incident had no detrimental effect on his team mates with far better half Sue Smith, calmness personified as ever. Surprisingly, Dave Elliott this year managed to avoid breaking any drinks glasses or even dropping any trays of brandies and beers he had bought. But he did get confused at the difference between oranges, peaches and apricots, meaning that his breakfast times were approached with some trepidation. Should have stuck to prunes like the son in law! Meanwhile Dot Elliott let the pressure get to her when at the end of her quarter final, despite winning and progressing, she went off for a cuddle with Greg Harlow and picked up and walked off with the loser’s goody bag thinking she had won it and it had to be wrestled off her to be given to the actual losers.
Due to the Novo virus that had caused health problems earlier in the year at Potters, it meant that health and safety issues were stressed even more. So much so that bowlers are no longer able to undertake the usual pleasantries like shake hands or even kiss. Blimey that is the only reason why I come on these holidays, so may have to reconsider my position if this is now stopped! Unfortunately Dave and Val Cook were struck down with a bug on the Wed evening and with Potters taking no chances, they were confined to quarters. However, maybe it was a bit over the top for Potters to set up a 3 mile quarantine zone and paint black crosses on the windows of their chalet, as well as putting up “Unclean, keep away” signs on the door! But glad to say they are both fully recovered now. Although to their credit, Dave and Val said it had nothing to do with them sharing a table with Trevor “Trousers” Bucklee! And speaking of said gentleman, (fashionably resplendent in a pink shirt and pink jumper), on the last night he was the hero as he came to the aid of a lady who had fallen on the way out of the theatre. Whilst others headed for the exits and literally walked over her, he went to her aid and assisted her before she was treated for a badly bruised elbow by the onsite first aiders. Well done Mr Bucklee you are a star! Although, rushing over and ripping your shirt off, putting the women in the recovery position and administering the kiss of life seemed a bit much for a bruised elbow, but well done, never the less!
Jean Braithwaite was also taken ill on the last night, but she too has made a speedy recovery back to full health, whilst another tour member in the wars was Joan McLaughlin, who took a nasty tumble on the green during the week, but luckily she was okay and to quote a well - known phrase, in a nice way, “she is a tough old bird”! So much so, that she was up and wanting to carry on bowling straight away but was ordered to rest. We can confirm her previous night’s intake of 7 double Bailey’s, (which were on special promotion), had nothing to do with her fall! Also after last year’s health problems it was good to see Marion Crowne, Ann Lawrence and Chris Day here this year and able to bowl. Although by the way he bowled, perhaps Chris will be back to the hospital for surgery on his other knee, after his good lady, (and captain), Sylvia has had a word or two and finished with him!
Thanks are due yet again to John Mercer who was the unofficial tour photographer and his efforts can be seen elsewhere on the website. The pictures taken by the official Potters photographers of all the PARIBC bowlers in action, showed many in unnatural poses more akin to being in severe agony as they delivered a bowl. Also, the very simple task of getting a group photo taken, (Gloria Smith where are you?!), once again turned into a major event but the patience of Mr Mercer saw the task get completed and if you look closely enough, I’m sure you can spot your club favourite with a smile or two on their faces!
This year it was good to see the nice people winning at the evening bingo, namely Sylvia Day and Trish Parker, (and you thought these lovely ladies had quiet and demure voices………….not when their winning numbers came out!), especially after that rowdy PARIBC bunch that won last year, oh hang on, I was in that crowd! As per last year, the group lottery syndicate for the various lottery draws throughout the week, failed to bring in any wins, no change there then! And speaking of matters financial, in the nightly “bingo / envelope” competition the main winners were Trish Parker, June Clayton, John Lake and John Thompson, thus proving that money goes to money, with others also benefiting and profiting, by winning smaller amounts. If only the other smaller prize winners could pick the right envelope then they would have been better off.
And talking of other lucky “wealthy” ladies, then mention must be given to Jean Lacey and Ann Mayne. Jean Lacey has a knack of always winning on the machines and good luck to her, as she always seems to emerge with a profit. Who says other half Roy Baston, only wants her for her money?! But he is out of luck anyway, as it is soon spent on footwear. With most women it is handbags, but with Jean it is bowls shoes, oh well, each to their own ho, ho! Meanwhile every day I was in the shop getting my paper, so behind me was Ann Mayne, who was cashing in her winning lottery scratch cards by the handful! So well done to her, but surely she could spare 10p for a cup of tea for a poor impoverished thin old beanpole of a bowler? But no matter how hard I begged, no loose change was thrown my way. Even offering to show Norma Thompson my scratching’s was met with a stern refusal and every time she declined and my charm of buying her a scratch card with my last £1, had no effect. So what does a man have to do?!
Meanwhile, Kevin Edwards had promised his good lady Jane, a lovely romantic week away. However when Kevin discovered that there was a massive branch of Tesco just down the road which was open 24 / 7, all thoughts of love went out the window as his work role kicked in and he spent his days playing bowls and his evenings and nights checking on deliveries, etc., leaving his good lady, Jane to her knitting. So much for the romantic time he promised her, ho, ho! He has said that he will make it up to her with a 3 weeks all inclusive cruise to the Caribbean in August. Sorry if I’ve spoiled the surprise Kevin by announcing it here?!
As usual the U.N. sent over an army of peace envoys ready for when Mr Dave Hood “upset” opposition players and guests, as has been his want over the last few years. However this year after a couple of incidents, (nothing to do directly with Dave, or his aiming point, this time, I hasten to add), and actions and words were said, perhaps in the heat of the moment, it was the big man himself who stood in to act as peacemaker and negotiator to try and calm things down and sort the situation out.
Now talking of Dave Hood, oh and food in the same sentence, as you do, then after last year’s disappointment with portions, Dave was back on form this year, with his puddings being served in the giant metal baking trays that they use to roast the spuds and vegetables and the pictures prove it. Continuing the food theme, as a treat for the journey home, Dave Hood took the PARIBC President, Jim Masters, (and fellow traveller Bill Howlett, affectionately known as the PARIBC gnome), to one of Dave’s favourite high class restaurants that he frequents on a daily basis. Thus after 80 odd years, Jim visited a McDonald’s for the first time ever and was mesmerised by the “laminated notice board menu of dream meals”! (He even got to meet Ronald McDonald, who he promptly gave an application form to, for him to join PARIBC!). Forget a McFlurry, it seems a McPres and / or a McGnome is the food to order! For next year, Dave has promised to take them to all to a Wimpy and a KFC to complete the set!
In the various short tennis matches, Pat Wells was in her element, as her, (not tall), size came into play, much to her advantage, as she had the men running all over the court. Worst affected was John Clayton, who for a man of his age should have known better. His good lady June said the last time she had seen her beloved John this red faced and puffed out, was about 30 odd years ago……………now how old is their son………oh yes, in his early 30’s! Thanks June, that is more than enough information! Still good to see the Claytons, (who now apparently own half of Somerset!), back amongst their old PARIBC bowling muckers and both still on top form. Meanwhile trasher of rooms, (it will keep!) and bandit, (in every sense), John Lake said he had never played tennis before, yet had all the shots and deft touches? And a bit like his golf, “so how do we play this then?”, as he wipes the floor with his opponents, me thinks there are many strings to the Lake bow, (and I thought it was ox bow lakes, a joke there for all you geography buffs!), which you need to check before you challenge him to anything, especially if money is involved! And speaking of Mr Lake, this year, during the close season, the original PARIBC bowls “dream team” led by John, had picked up Dave Fahy on a “Bosman”, (to replace the Sussex bowls seller, Peter Britton), but they still fell at the quarter final stage. John predicted a big push next year, but felt the team needed tweaking, perhaps bad news for Chris Davis and Charles Wells, who are currently both out of contract. Meanwhile yet again, the high pitched whistling from the latter’s hearing aid attracted all sorts of land and sea wildlife into this Norfolk coastal area for this week, ensuring that the area was overrun with naturalists and their cameras, able to photograph many a rare species!
On the last night, Tom Heward, unwittingly became the star of the evening stage show as he was roped in to play a part in the comedy routine. It was fair to say he died on his feet…………..quite literally because this is what he was asked to do for the part, but the show review critics felt that he could have brought more passion to the character and told him not to give up his day job! However wife Christine was already on the phone to the BBC seeing if there were any vacancies in upcoming programmes. On the first day of the trip, Tom had spilt a whole pot of coffee and 4 toasted tea cakes over Christine, thus forcing her to have to buy two new white bowls shirts and two new pairs of greys. So perhaps Tom was not cut out to be a performer, as his juggling and acting skills are certainly not up to scratch. The jury is still out on his bowling skills! Click for his debut performance!
As usual your correspondent will talk to anybody, (yes he is that desperate for friends!), and so it was good to catch up with some of the people from the other clubs we have met during previous years and renew old friendships and also to make new friendships. And as said earlier, it was nice to hear people from other clubs comment on the good social atmosphere that seemed to abound from our tour party, regardless of the time, day or night. No doubt there was much more than this that went on but all in all, it was a good social week away, with an excellent group of people, who nearly all seemed to gel and get on with one another and whose inhibitions, at times, were lost amid the holiday atmosphere, (the amount of alcohol consumed also helped), which was a good thing as people relaxed and let their hair down, well those who still have hair left!
This was PARIBC’s fifth year at Potters and the 2 main directors of the usual organizing company, “Langley’s Leisure Ltd”, namely John and Doreen Langley, have decided to step down and take a well - deserved rest. And there is simply no truth in the rumours that “LLL” had gone into liquidation, nor that the FBI were investigating them for fraudulent behaviour, along the lines of their current enquiry into the dodgy goings on at FIFA, although John has had his computer taken away. Something Doreen is glad of as she now gets to see him more! The hard work they have both put in over the last 5 years is unbelievable and has ensured the club has a very good relationship with the Potters resort and thus is in a good and stable position for future trips. So much effort by them goes on behind the scenes with things like monies, accommodation, communications with Potters, etc., etc., which we don’t see, but this ensures that all we have to do is turn up and enjoy ourselves. Without this, then the tours would not be the success they have been and continue, to be. From the original tour of 30 odd people five years ago to currently pushing up to over 70 odd people, (emphasis on the word “odd” here, ho, ho!), proves their continuing popularity, as they go from strength to strength and thus a very big thank you is due to John and Doreen. In appreciation of this year’s efforts the tourists presented John and Doreen with an engraved trophy, as well as giving them tickets for a day out on the Kent and East Sussex preserved steam Railway, with an on board meal thrown in, (not literally!). Many thanks are also due to all those who drove and gave lifts to others to / from Norfolk. (See presentation to LLL)
The PARIBC tour party also made a presentation of a small gift to Tim Fletcher for all his, (so called), efforts during the tour. Although very, very, very, much appreciated, (especially the winning lottery scratch cards, but don’t tell Norma!), it is a bit of an embarrassment as all he does is collect money off people, hassle them for his dodgy scams and walk around talking and boring people to tears and then he gets a presentation and thanked for doing it. Something definitely wrong there me thinks?!
The new firm that has taken over the running of the Potters trips is headed up by Trevor Bishop, but with all the hard work done by company gofer Sue Smith. They trade under the name “Bishop Smith Excursions”, (“BSE”), with the tag line, “You don’t have to be mad to travel with us, but it helps”. Although they are currently in dispute over this company name and tag line, (which may have to change), after numerous and ongoing complaints, from the farming community, stretching back to the early to mid - 1990’s! Look out for posters up at the club, as well as on the website for details of next year’s trip, or speak directly with Trevor and Sue if you fancy going to Potters next year and please inform any fellow bowlers, currently outdoors.
Finally, as for your correspondent, well as usual he enjoyed himself no end and enjoyed everyone else’s company. Whether they enjoyed his company, (and his legs!), is another matter indeed, even more so after reading this! However one blessing for all the others on tour is that he continues to be kept away from the main party, with his accommodation getting ever closer to the main beach at Lowestoft, some 6 miles away and certainly well away from the main complex! Hurrah and long may that continue say 66 other people along with everyone else who was staying at Potters this week! Who doesn't have to be mad?
Looking ahead, hopefully next year’s sixth trip will be even better supported? If you fancy going then speak to any of the people who have been before to get their views on the place and to perhaps get a more balanced view, (both good and bad points), rather than all of the above, but as they say, the more the merrier. In 2011 we took 35 people, in 2012 we took 52, in 2013 we took 57, in 2014 we took 64 and this year we took 67, so the new tour operators have a very hard act to follow in order to maintain the year on year increase in numbers, but me thinks they may well do it. And who knows, sometime soon we may be looking at having a touring party numbering well over 3 figures. When that happens, then last one out of the PARIBC building, please turn the lights out for that week! Thus roll on 2016!
Kind regards, your correspondent,
THE THIN MAN.
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PRINCE ARTHUR BOWLERS GROUP
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PRINCE ARTHUR QUARTER FINALISTS
PRINCE ARTHUR SEMI FINALISTS
PRINCE ARTHUR FINALISTS - RUNNERS UP
PRINCE ARTHUR FINALISTS - WINNERS
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