Saturday, April 15 saw the 2017 Meat Axe Challenge Tournament held at the Palo Alto Club. The annual contest pits Berkeley against PALBC in a match-up that has almost the intensity and rivalry of the Cal-Stanford game, except that this is lawn bowling rather than football, so is a bit more decorous.
Long story short, although we fielded 6 strong Berkeley teams, all bedecked in the spiffy new Club colors, we were unable to hold on to the trophy that has hung on the Clubhouse wall these past two years. After two sets of six triples games (morning and afternoon), the overall result was 9-3 in favor of the spirited Palo Alto players.
Accordingly, we had to hand over the cleaver until next year when the venue returns to Berkeley, and, hopefully, the trophy returns to its rightful home.
With appreciation to all BLBC members who participated and to the Palo Alto Club, which, as always, organized a fine sporting event.
The Club held its 2016 Annual Meeting on Saturday, December 10, immediately followed by the very popular Holiday Lunch. Alas, a hoped for beak in the weather did not materialize and attendees had to forgo the usual post-prandial bowling match as the rain turned the green into a small lake.
On the business side, the meeting voted to reduce the fees charged several categories of “non-regular” members—namely, Dual, Associate, and Students over 18, and amended the Club’s constitution to loosen the definition of Associate Member. Certificates were awarded to 2016 tournament winners and cheers went up for Club members who had performed well at regional or other competitive events.
As has been the practice on recent years, lunch was a pot luck affair, with as broad and tasty a selection of dishes as one might expect in the Bay Area, from competing lasagna dishes to curry chicken to every kind of salad and, of course, one had to leave room for the plentiful desserts.
Despite the downpour, a good time was had by all, and we look forward to a vibrant and fun-filled New Year, hopefully with a renewed lease as we gear up for the Club’s Centennial celebrations in a few years’ time.
And a special thanks to the Hospitality Committee—Susan Jamart, Sarah Allday, Cathy Dinnean, and Ann Brillhart—who set up a beautiful festive arrangement in advance!
Jim Corr (skip) and Ray Francis (lead) took the honors in the BLBC’s 2016 Draw Pairs Tournament. The event was held on a lovely Saturday November 12, when “passing showers” in the forecast seem to have evaporated without touching the ground and the weather was pleasantly and unseasonably warm. Twelve strong bowlers were divided into six skips and six leads and then randomly matched to make up the separate teams. After three 12-end games, only two teams—Jim and Ray and John Hooper (skip) and Ann Brillhart (lead)—managed to win all three games, setting up a tough and spirited final. John and Ann started firmly, maintaining a lead until the half way point, but, as the shadows lengthened, Jim and Ray came back strongly to carry the day (or the evening as it was by then!). Congratulations to Jim and Ray and thanks to all participants, especially those who stayed on to watch and encourage the finalists!
The John Ogden Memorial Winter League is a fun but highly competitive tournament held each year during the bowling “off season.” John was a much-loved bowler, who, with his dad Woody Ogden (a US Bowls Hall of Famer), organized the tournament for many years. John passed away a couple of years ago and the tournament, originally the San Jose Winter League, was re-named in his honor.
This year, as before, the tournament attracted bowlers from all over the Bay Area, but Berkeley fielded easily the largest number from a single club, with almost a third—nine out of 28—of the entrants. And perhaps even more impressive, Berkeley teams ended up taking three of the four top spots.
The tournament, which was held at the Sunnyvale club, was organized as a 13-game round robin, there being 14 teams in total, and was played over three weekends in January. Unlike the last couple of years when the drought and mild temperatures made a bit of a mockery of the title, this year the event lived up to its billing as the Winter League. Rain jackets and extra layers were needed on the first couple of Saturdays, but the intermittent showers did not dampen the spirits of the participants or lessen their competitive urges.
At the end of two weeks, the top spot was held by Frankie Napoli (a joint Rossmoor and Berkeley member) and his partner Dave Peters (Rossmoor) with Berkeley pairs Shawn Roney/Rob Hoey and Jim Corr/Bob Schwartz in hot pursuit. However, on the final Saturday, Frankie and Dave’s hitherto stellar mojo left them (they had lost only one game up to that point) and they faded in the stretch. This allowed Shawn and Rob to edge into first place ahead of Jim and Bob by the narrowest of margins—one game point, gained when they held Ginger Harris and Janet Mednick (subbing for absent Mo Shooer) to a draw, while Jim and Bob lost to the same team.
In the final standings, Shawn and Rob placed first, Jim and Bob second, and Berkeley duo Erwin Vista and Ann Brillhart sneaked past Frankie and Dave with a come-from-behind run to snag fourth place. Third was taken by Mario Giorgianni and Ron Marier of San Jose LBC.
Congratulations to all the Berkeley bowlers, and thanks to all those who helped organize and maintain this event despite the fickle wintry season!
The Winter League is a favorite of those Bay Area bowlers who feel the need to keep their competitive juices flowing through the bowling calendar’s “off season.” Formerly the San Jose Winter League, it was re-named this year in honor of John Ogden, one of Northern California bowling’s “good guys” and who had been its long-time organizer before his passing in 2014.
At the start of this year’s tournament, members of John’s family were present to remember him, along with bowlers from the teams entered in the competition. John’s Dad, Woody, a US Bowling Hall of Famer himself, ceremoniously rolled the first jack to get the event off and running.
Over three weeks, the 14 pairs teams played an almost round-robin of 12 10-end games. After an uncharacteristically slow start on the first weekend, Jon and Tom Burnoski came through as narrow winners, tying with Berkeley’s Jim Corr and Bob Schwartz on games won (nine), but with a points differential of 98 compared to Jim and Bob’s 96. Larry Collaco and Marcus Zieno (San Jose) took third place, while the team of Frankie Napoli (Rossmoor) and Phil Grattan (Berkeley) came in fourth.
Jon (left) and Tom Burnoski, first place 2015 John Ogden Memorial Winter League
Cris Benton, a Berkeley novice (less than two years’ membership), won the 2014 PIMD Novice Tournament going undefeated over two days of bowling at the Oakland Lawn Bowling Club. Both he and Rob Hoey, another Berkeley novice (and the current PIMD Open Singles Champion, a stellar achievement for a “newbie”) were undefeated on Saturday October 18 and proceeded on Sunday to the round robin final stage along with Lucien Salyk of Oakland and David Peters of Rossmoor. Each match involved unlimited ends with the winner being the first to accumulate 18 points.
In the first Sunday game, Rob played Dave in a 3+ hour game that was tight. Rob fell behind early but battled back right up to the end. Then his luck turned and Dave came through for an 18-16 win. Meanwhile, Cris prevailed 18-8 against Lucien, who had home green advantage.
In the second round the Berkeley duo faced each other in an exciting match in which Cris’s early lead was gradually pulled back by Rob and a further surge by Cris was again chipped away until it was a 17-17 tie. On the final end, Rob, well-known for his mat strategy, had the mat and placed the jack at maximum depth. After his last bowl, and with Cris having one final shot, Rob held two convincing points and the head was such that a draw shot would be tough. Cris resorted to what he describes as “a Hail Mary” and ran the jack into the ditch for the win. In the other match, Lucien defeated Dave 18-14.
In a relatively quick third game, Lucien was successful against Rob, leaving the possibility of a three-way tie—and the need for a further play-off—if Dave were to beat Cris. A very tight and long struggle that stretched into the gloaming saw the outcome poised on a knife edge with the score 17-16 in Dave’s favor. However, despite the gathering dusk and despite wearing sunglasses (not anticipating such a long day, he had forgotten to bring his regular glasses), Cris managed to get three bowls within a foot or so of the jack, thereby offering an inviting target! Dave drove his last bowl at the head, but a slight nick on one of the bowls in the front diverted its path just enough to leave Cris’s three in place and the title his.
Congratulations to Cris and well done to all the novice participants!
Berkeley members John Hooper (skip), Cathy Dinnean (vice), and Wilfred Wong (lead) took first place to win the SFLBC Centennial Cup, beating a large field of twenty teams from all over the Bay Area.
San Francisco provided a beautiful day in Golden Gate Park October 5 for the annual tournament, which is open to all PIMD members, and which celebrates the founding of the oldest lawn bowling club in the USA. The sixty bowlers enjoyed an enticing spread of coffee and bountiful snacks before heading for the greens and playing three 12-end games. The mood was high, and everyone enjoyed the competitions and the friendship. Berkeley was represented by five full members and two dual members.
At the end of the day, only two teams had won all three of their games, and when differential points were considered, the Berkeley team edged out a Palo Alto team by the very narrow margin of three points. As a result, they will get their names engraved on impressive trophy (see photo). Bowlers from the other clubs were generous with their congratulations, and SFLBC ended a great day with more gustatory delights.
The BLBC is proud to announce that it has been awarded the 2014 Best Retro Sports Activity in the East Bay by the East Bay Express, the free weekly magazine of news and culture. We owe this achievement to the hard work of all who have contributed to the maintenance and promulgation of the Club, not least Dave Rockhold, who insisted we publicize our “retro” appeal, Cris Benton, who devised our snazzy new website that has drawn a lot of viewers, and Ann Brillhart, who has managed the campaign to get groups and companies to use the Club as a venue for parties, team-building sessions and so on. They have been ably assisted by many others, especially those who have devoted hours to coaching newbies, both “walk-ins” to our Saturday and Sunday lessons, as well as the groups, sometimes 50 or more who have enjoyed the Club’s facilities.
To further publicize our status, we have had local graphic designer, Ian Ransley, create a great new Club poster (pictured), which will be prominently featured at our booth for the 40th Annual Solano Stroll on Sunday September 14. The Stroll is one of Berkeley/Albany’s “must” events of the year—a mile long festivity that includes food, music, fun stuff for kids, and many local non-profits. We will be in a prime location—just outside Andronico’s near the north end of Solano Avenue. Members are encouraged to show up (no need for “whites”), lend a hand if you can, but especially bring a non-bowling friend.
The booth will be set up around 9/10am and will be staffed throughout the day until the close of the Stroll at 6pm.
Saturday, May 17 was a fine and a pleasant day for bowling and saw 14 members turn out for the highly competitive annual singles tournament. Ably directed by Ann Brillhart in her first venture as Tournament Director, the preliminary round consisted of three 8-end games, randomly drawn. At the end of the morning, only Jim Corr and Ann herself had won all three of their games. They were joined in the semifinals by Cris Benton and Erwin Vista, who topped the 2-game winners on points differential.
Semifinalists Erwin Vista and Jim Corr
Semifinalists Ann Brillhart and Cris Benton
In the Corr-Vista match up, Erwin won a close victory 7-5, while the other semi was an even tighter game. Tied 6-6 after 8 ends, Ann came out on top of a sudden-death 9th end to head into the final. The excellent bowling she had shown all day was evident as she raced into a 5-0 lead after the first four ends. But the unflappable “Mr.” Vista kept his cool and pulled it back to 5-5 going into the last end. Three great bowls on or within a foot of the jack by Erwin were enough to lay claim to a superb come-from-behind victory and the 2014 BLBC Singles title. Congratulations to Erwin and thanks to all participants!
Singles champion Erwin Vista .
The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club promotes the game of lawn bowling for the enjoyment of new and experienced players alike.