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GO OUT AND PLAY!
FREE LESSONS SATURDAY & SUNDAY, 10 UNTIL NOON.

VOTED BEST RETRO SPORTS ACTIVITY BY READERS OF EAST BAY EXPRESS

Check it out!

We provide the equipment; all you need is flat bottom shoes. Just drop by.

Classes also available by appointment – Call Jim at 510 644 2249.

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Outdoor bowling on a bowling green is a classic sport that goes back hundreds of years and continues today in Berkeley. The retro sport we love is modern day fun out in the fresh air. Walt Disney was an avid lawn bowler.

Please, stop by and check out the action be it lessons or just to watch on Wednesday or Friday afternoon. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Already know how to bowl? Day use fees for lawn bowling are just $5 per day for Berkeley residents and $5.50 for non residents. Phone (510) 841-2174.

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Draw games for members and guests are normally held on Wednesday and Friday. Please arrive or call by 12:15. Games begin at 12:30. Spontaneous draw games, practice sessions, and special sessions have become quite common.

If you are interested in having your own special event at our facility, please contact us or drop by during one of the draw games. Our facilities can accommodate around 50 people for receptions, meetings, or team building events. We can provide bowling instruction or simply a rental venue with cooking facilities.

Map and Directions

Check out our tongue-in-cheek video for a quick look at lawn bowling Curling (without the ice) Check the links page for even more information.

BLBC is a proud member of PIMD (Pacific Intermountain Division) of Bowls USA.

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BLBC Wins 2018 Rossmoor Challenge on Home Turf

The BLBC “Rossmoor Challenge” is an annual match up of Berkeley bowlers against our friendly rivals on the other side of the Caldecott Tunnel. It is played in alternate years on each club’s green. This year, BLBC was firing on all cylinders. Under sunny skies Berkeley won by a score of 9 games to 1 (four triples matches and one pairs in the morning and the afternoon). Everybody from both teams had a great day, both socializing before the games and during the lunch break. We look forward to defending the “title” next year at Rossmoor.

Thanks go to all who participated as well as the hospitality crew of Sarah Allday, Cathy Dinnean, and Susan Jamart who made sure a fine spread was set up in advance.

BLBC 2018 Fall League

The results are in! After five grueling weeks–no, wait, everybody said they were having a good time…–the BLBC High-Low Fall League drew to a close Sunday afternoon. It was touch-and-go this past summer as to whether or not the tournament would even get off the ground, and we admittedly didn’t have perfect attendance throughout the five weeks of play, but a cordial group of fourteen bowlers managed to pull it off with no noticeable glitches. Since this was nominally a pairs tournament, a format was used which kept Skips and Leads separated into two divisions for scoring purposes. Because not relying on substitutes was an important goal, an interesting mix of alternative games was utilized when necessary. Everyone got on board to make it all happen successfully.

When the numbers were tabulated, both races turned out to be extremely close among the top three finishers. Lennon Hamilton held on to his tournament-long advantage in the Skips division for a narrow victory over a hard-charging Shawn Roney, who in turn squeaked past Dave McMullen for second place. James Judge had such a strong lead that his place atop the Leads division was all but assured even though he missed the finale, while Glenn Nunez barely edged out Cindy Moss for the final prize envelope.

It was a rewarding experience for me to direct my first tournament, made all the more so by the enthusiastic support of all the participants. Maybe we’ll try something like it again!

A few folks were missing for the obligatory final-day group photo, but you get the idea,

Glenn

PIMD 2018 Novice Tournament

Berkeley Hosts PIMD 2018 Novice Tournament—Jeff Schaper (Rossmoor)Wins

By Jim Corr

The PIMD Novice Tournament is always a fun event, and a chance to see potential future champions in the making as those new to our sport strut their stuff, some entering their first tournament at this event.

The 2018 contest, hosted by Berkeley LBC on October 6-7, was no exception. Twelve novices representing seven clubs competed over two days, with Jeff Schaper of Rossmoor LBC taking top honors. As a bonus, eight volunteer markers from five clubs helped keep the proceedings move smoothly.

On Day 1, each novice played three games in singles format. The goal: be the first to win 16 points. By the end of the afternoon, three bowlers—Rose Selby, Andrew Keeler, and Jeff—had won all three of their games, with Ian Cameron of Berkeley rounding out the top four after a nail-biting 15-16 loss to Jeff in the first match-up and a come-from-(well)-behind victory in the third game.

Sunday’s format was a round robin, played in very hot and windy conditions. Again, Jeff was on top form, edging out Ian (again) 16-14 in the first match and going on to register victories over Rose and Andrew, thus being the only bowler to go undefeated over two days. Congratulations Jeff!

As always, events like this cannot be run without the contribution of many, including PIMD Tournament Director Bud Birkenseer, greenskeeper, Annie Brillhart, the markers, and, some might say most important (!) the hospitality crew who prepared the clubhouse and the green and supplied the coffee and tasty snacks for bowlers and spectators alike. Thanks to all.

BLBC 2018 4-Bowl Singles Champion Gareth Cole

2018 BLBC 4-Bowl Singles

The 2018 4-Bowl Singles Tournament was held on Saturday, September 22nd, on a beautiful sunny but cool fall day in the Bay Area. This year, we had twelve bowlers competing for the title, including the defending champion, Rob Hoey. This year’s format was three 15-point games, with a differential limit of ten points, and with the top four bowlers progressing to a semifinal and a final game.

By the end of the qualification stage, two bowlers, Rob Hoey and Frankie Napoli, were in first and second place respectively, each having won three games, and Shawn Roney and Gareth Cole, one of our newest members from Wales, joined them in the semi-finals, having the best points differential among those who had won two games.

The two semifinal games pitted Rob against Gareth and Shawn against Frankie. Both games showcased the great bowling skills of all four players and kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Eventually, Gareth and Frankie won their semifinals games, and battled against each other for this year’s title.

Again, the final game kept the club members very entertained by each bowlers’ shots. In the end, Gareth prevailed over Frankie with a beautiful yard-on shot that pushed Frankie’s shot bowl away from the head just enough to guarantee our Cymru representative the three points he needed to win the game.

Huge thanks to Laile Giansetto for bringing delicious pies for our breakfast, Ann Brillhart and Giulia Gallo for bringing muffins and other good food for the day, and to Ian Cameron, Glenn Nunez, Cris Benton, and everybody else who helped greenskeeper Ann Brillhart prepare the green for today’s games. Thanks also to Tournament Director Shawn and Ann, as Assistant Tournament Director, for making the whole tournament proceed smoothly, and to Glenn, Giulia, Jim Corr, and Andy Vevers, who marked the semis and final games.

Congratulations to all the bowlers who participated in this event today and especially to Gareth Cole, the 2018 BLBC Singles Champion!

Good-bye, Harry

If someone wanted to find Harry Gans in Berkeley, one only needed to try two places:  The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club or the French Hotel’s coffee shop on Shattuck Avenue – you’d find him at one or the other before long.  After not having seen Harry for several months, I recently decided to ask the staff of French Hotel if they had any news of him. They told me that Harry passed away around the 4th of July, with a memorial service at the French Hotel soon after.

Harry seemed to compartmentalize things:  never did the different streams of his life cross over.  Harry protected his privacy vigorously and most of us saw only what he allowed us to see of him.  He confessed some years ago to being in his late 80s (which meant he likely passed away in his 90s); he worked as a graphic artist; and as an illustrator he had several books to his credit, including a little PDF pamphlet that he co-wrote and illustrated that shows his dark sense of humor:  How to Survive Death (  http://wagele.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/book_how_to_survive_death.pdf ).  Harry also penned strongly opinionated letters to the editors of Berkeley papers.

Harry projected a gruff, misanthropic image; but — when you knew him — you found the shy, mischievous man who could be very sweet.  Harry showed his kindness with quickly, but skillfully, drawn cartoons given to people on a lark.  He saw humor in many things, and the gruff mask often gave way to a wry grin—if he liked you.  Harry also passionately disliked bullies, and felt no hesitation in barking at someone he felt crossed the line with poor sportsmanship or condescending behavior toward other people.

Harry came to bowling late in life, but he frequently bowled well above expectations.  Having started the game in his eighties, he did not have the gift of many years to hone it, but he made the most of his game and inspired younger bowlers to at least try as hard as Harry had to.  In bowling, Harry gave up the misanthropic act:  he knew that any bowler worthy of the name works for the good of the team and his club.  Harry never complained if he struggled to place his bowl where he wanted, and he never blamed others for his play.

In the clubhouse, Harry played in the monthly BLBC poker game, and everyone who knew Harry knew Harry’s game:  Texas Hold ‘em, high-low.  At the French Hotel coffee shop, the staff called him “Yo-yo,” because he liked to show off his yoyo tricks.

This link offers the full Harry Gans experience of a New Yorker talking about a New York institution:  Coney Island:  https://www.coneyislandhistory.org/oral-history-archive/harry-gans

Harry shared what he could of his life with the BLBC, and we are glad to include him as one of us – as a bowler.

2018 McLaren Memorial—Another Winning Showing by Berkeley

Once again, on August 11, the San Francisco LBC hosted its McLaren Memorial Mixed Triples tournament, named in honor of John McLaren, the gardener and landscaper responsible for the San Francisco park system in its earliest years, not least its most famous one—it was he who insisted the Golden Gate Park include three lawn bowling greens. In addition, he is said to have planted 2 million trees throughout the City’s parks.

Because of ongoing improvements to two of the greens, this year’s tournament was only hosted on one green, and the entry list filled up pretty quickly. A full contingent of 16 mixed triples teams of bowlers from all over the Bay Area and beyond competed in the usual “rotational” format that has been the staple of this tournament since its inception. Each bowler plays each position (Lead, Second, and Skip) for four ends.

And once again, Berkeley bowlers turned out in force and with winning results: of the 48 players on the green, 8 were full BLBC members, and 4 were dual members.

2018 PIMD McLaren Mixed Triples: 1st Place winners (l-r) Brian Stewart, Giulia Gallo, Mike McNorton

On top of that, only two teams won all three of their games—both with Berkeley representatives. Giulia Gallo and her teammates, Brian Stewart (Newport Harbor) and Mike McNorton (San Jose), took 1st Place, with 3 wins and 24 plus points, narrowly squeezing out the all-BLBC team of Shawn Roney, Annie Brillhart, and Cris Benton, who came in 2nd with 21 plus points.

Congratulations to all BLBC bowlers!

Runners-up Cris Benton, Shawn Roney, and Ann Brillhart

BLBC Dominates!

BLBC Bowlers Take Top Prizes in 2018 Regional Singles Tourneys

The weekend of July 14-15 saw the annual Singles Championship Tournaments for both men and women in the Pacific Inter-Mountain Division (PIMD) and Berkeley bowlers stood out in each of the events.

First up was the women’s event, a one-day competition on Saturday involving three matches in gusty wind conditions. Three Berkeley bowlers entered—and swept the board, taking 1st (Cathy Dinnean), 2nd (Ann Brillhart), and 3rd (Giulia Gallo) place.

The men’s tournament ran over two days, with three of Berkeley’s six entrants making it to the knockout round on Sunday—Cris Benton, Jim Corr, and Rob Hoey. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw meant they ended up playing each other, so they couldn’t quite emulate the women’s feat, but Jim Corr took 3rd equal place and Rob Hoey came out on top, beating Larry Collaco of Sunnyvale in a nail-biting final.

PIMD singles scoreboard
PIMD singles scoreboard

Rob initially ran up an early substantial lead (11-1) but Larry would not have it and steadily chipped away in small increments, to pull ahead to 17-14, with 18 points being the ultimate goal. But in a stellar final end, Rob put in four shots within a couple of feet of the jack and took the honors by the narrowest of margins, 18-17.

Congratulations to all!

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2018 PIMD Women’s Singles Championship (l-r): Ann Brillhart (2nd Place), Cathy Dinnean (1st Place), Giulia Gallo (3rd Place)

Berkeley bowlers in Day 2 of 2018 PIMD Men’s Singles Tournament: (l-r) Cris Benton, Rob Hoey (Ist Place), and Jim Corr (3rd= Place).

2018 PIMD Memorial Weekend Pairs Tournament

Today the annual Men’s and Women’s Memorial Pairs Tournament was held at the Oakland club. 
 
During a beautiful day on the green, six teams of men, and six teams of women played three  12-end games. Bud Birkenseer was his usual entertaining self as Director, and the Oakland club  laid out a selection of enticing snacks.
 
Berkeley was well represented by the seven members shown here, and we are proud to announce that there were major successes for the day; Berkeley won 6 of the 8 game prizes as follows:
 
Women’s First Place:  Cathy Dinnean and Leslie Engler
Women’s Second Place:  Annie Brillhart (and her partner Reggie Benares)
Men’s First Place:  Ethan Bortman (and his partner Bud Birkenseer)
Men’s Second Place:  Jim Corr and Cris Benton
and our newest member, Ian Cameron, won one of the three raffle prizes.
Our thanks to the Oakland LBC for hosting a very enjoyable tournament.

Our Berkeley bowlers shining at the PIMD Memorial Pairs tournament. Left to Right: Ian Cameron, Leslie Engler, Ethan Bortman, Cathy Dinnean, Cris Benton, Annie Brillhart, Jim Corr.

2018 PIMD Playdowns

The results of the 2018 U.S. Nationals Playdowns are in, and we are happy to report that our club has seen a lot of participation in both women and men competitions this year.

Most cheerfully, we are happy to announce that Ann Brillhart won the Women’s Singles Playdowns and will represent PIMD in Florida, in November 2018.

Additionally, our Dual Member Frankie Napoli along with his partner Tom Burnoski, won the Men’s Pairs Playdowns.

Good luck to one and all!

Frankie Napoli and Tom Burnoski

We promote the game of lawn bowling for the enjoyment of new and experienced players alike.