Category Archives: New Bowlers

The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club welcomes all with a curiosity about the game. Come give it a try.

Free weekend morning lessons

Sunday morning now joins Saturday morning as the time to get out and learn to lawn bowl. Our coaches will be there at 10:00 am on both days, weather permitting, to show you the ropes. Nothing to buy, just wear flat soled shoes and bring a desire to enjoy some fresh air and have a good time. Better yet, round up a group of 4 to 6 and come as a group.


BLBC is at the corner of Acton and Bancroft.
BLBC is at the corner of Acton and Bancroft.

2015 Club Pairs Champs

Ten hopeful bowlers showed up to bowl in the BLBC Pairs Draw Tournament. Before drawing to see who their partners would be, they had to find out who would be skipping and who would be leading. Due to the small number of skips, I had to ask two bowlers who prefer to bowl lead to bowl skip instead. Both graciously agreed to take on the task. After the draw, the teams of John Hooper & novice Hugo Deaux, Lennon Hamilton & Sarah Allday, Cris Benton & Millard Long, Rob Hoey & Ted Crum and Shawn Roney & Ray Francis stepped onto the green. After bowling three 12-end games, the top two teams would bowl for the right to have their names on the Winners’ Board.

Sadly, we had an uneven number of teams, so one team had a bye in each of the three games. On a more positive note: Most of the games were very close. In the third game, four teams were in contention for the top two spots. Shawn & Ray bested Rob & Ted by one point in a very close match. The win put them in 1st place. Cris & Millard won their match against Lennon & Sarah with enough plus points to capture 2nd place. The rinks were changed and the two teams began the game. All four players bowled very well–no great surprise there! At the end of the game, Shawn and Ray prevailed. Well done Shawn and Ray!

An extra tip ‘o the hat to Ray. After 21 years, his name will now–finally, be on the Winners’ Board!

Huge thanks to Susan and Sarah for helping to organize the food and getting the club house ready for the tournament.

Shawn Roney and Ray Francis are 2015 Pairs Champions
Shawn Roney and Ray Francis are 2015 Pairs Champions

Young Bowlers Program a Huge Success

Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club initiated its first Young Bowlers Program in April. Twenty-three sixth graders (and one brave teacher) from The Berkeley School were introduced to lawn bowling. Club coaches set up four games of Triples and were on hand to help with learning how to bowl, to explain rules and strategy, and to ensure everyone had a great time. The student’s Physical Education teacher was on thegreen giving encouragement and watching their progress. The students were very enthusiastic and completely involved in the games. No slackers in this group! All the kids were awarded gold medals by their coaches. Our Club plans to continue the relationship with The Berkeley School as part of the School’s regular phys. ed. program. Who knows, maybe a future national champion is in the making?

PIMD Women’s Fours Team Wins Second at SW Open

Some of you will remember the PIMD Women’s Fours Team of Ginger Harris, Mary Scott, Cathy Dinnean and I won 1st Place in the 2nd Flight at the US Open last September. Well, the PIMD ladies were at it again at this year’s SW Open. The Women’s Fours Team of Ginger Harris, Judith Perkins, Mary Scott and I bowled our way into the Championship battle for 1st and 2nd Place!

On day one, we won two and lost two. That was just enough to move us into the 7th position of the Championship Flight. On day two, our first game was against the number two team, a very formidable opponent! After 14 ends, we were tied, so we had to play a one end sudden death play off. We won the toss, and I rolled a long jack. We won! In the second game we were bowling against Joanne Kluck, Angie Peet (also from PIMD) and two women from the SW division. I think it’s fair to say they were considered to be the PIMD favorites. Once again we were tied after 14 ends–but only because of a spectacular last bowl by Ginger Harris! They won the toss and rolled a medium long jack. We held it together and won. All of a sudden, we were bowling against the strongest SW team for 1st and 2nd place! (Joanne and Angie’s team went on to win 4th Place. Kudos to them!)

The SW team (Maryna Hyland, Heather Stewart, Jan Hargraves and Betsy Lauryssen) won the toss, rolled a short jack and won the point. Over and over, we kept them to one or two points, but they kept rolling those pesky short jacks. Finally, when we were down 1 to 12, we adapted and won the point. Ginger asked me to roll a long jack, and I did. Over and over again. We crept up until we were two points from tying on the 14th end. Would this be yet again another sudden death play off? Sadly, it was not to be. But we sure made the SW team work for their win!

My understanding is this is the first time in a long time that PIMD women’s teams made it to the Championship Flight. Well done to both PIMD Women’s Fours Teams!

SW Womens Fours 2nd Place Team
Judith Perkins (Vice-SFLBC), Mary Scott (Second-SJLBC), Ginger Harris (Skip-PALBC), Ann Brillhart (Lead-BLBC)

Provided by Ann Brillhart

Best Retro Sport, plus Solano Stroll

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.

BLBC PosterTo 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.

Berkeley NOVICE Rob Hoey is PIMD Open Men’s Singles Champ

What an accomplishment! Berkeley’s own Rob Hoey went into the PIMD Open Men’s Singles as a bona fide novice.

All he had to do was beat Larry Collaco in the opening game. And he did! I think many of us have had a taste of what Larry can bring to a match.

OK, let’s move on. It’s Rob vs. Fred Anast in Game 2. Game on, Rob wins again.

So, if you’ve made it this far, facing Jerry Knott in the championship game shouldn’t be much of a hassle. Rob brought his A-game once again and surfaced as the 2014 Men’s Singles Champion.

Yours truly simply dropped the ball on posting this important bit of Berkeley LBC news. I’ve got excuses, but that’s all they are. What needs to be said to the world and to Robin Hoey is this – CONGRATULATIONS ROB ON A JOB WELL DONE!!!

There’s a signal for that!

One of the nice things about lawn bowling is the peaceful nature of the game! None of that incessant clatter of bowling pins and balls being launched.

Ann is asking that I move the jack 6-8" toward the center line.
Ann is asking that I move the jack 6-8″ toward the center line.

Ideally, much of the necessary communication between the skip and his/her team, can (should?) be handled with easy to see hand signals. The most common signals are exchanged during the centering of the jack when the lead stands on the mat and shows the skip which direction and how much to move the jack to get it on the centerline. Hands apart, above the shoulders, both held on the side of the body the jack should move indicate the direction and magnitude of the move. Hands apart, move it further; hands closer together, move it a little. Then, when it’s right, the well-known field goal signal.

Reporting the score is another thing best handled with hand signals. The lead or vice-skip reports the points to the skip on the other end of the green as follows: If your team scored 3 points, use your right hand to pat your left shoulder 3 times; If you team lost those 3 points, slap your thigh3 times slowly. In both cases, move slowly and try to be sure the skip is watching.

There are many more useful hand signals – seek them out. Use them whenever possible instead of hollering back and forth. If you really need to talk, the person in possession of the mat can visit to the head to see the situation.

 

Improving your delivery

The ‘perfect’ delivery may be a bit elusive, but let’s try to describe one. The bowler has taken the mat, examined the situation in the “head” [where the jack is], decided to bowl forehand or backhand, and has visualized the outcome. While all that was going on, s/he has recalled surface irregularities and whatever other conditions might have changed since the last bowl was delivered.

So, what constitutes a good delivery, aside from one that gets the bowl to the right place? Like most sports, the magic comes when the bowler can reproduce the delivery the same way each and every time. The pendulum-like back swing is controlled and smooth. The grip is firm and the bowl is properly aligned in the hand. Reproducibility is the magic word!

In the cartoon below, consider the two release points [at the circles that represent bowls]. In the upper release, the bowl is released at some elevation above the surface. The higher the release, the more energy is wasted by impacting the surface – THUMP. This undesirable habit is called “dumping” and is hard to reproduce time after time.

In the lower line, the bowl is released at the bottom of the arc, quite close to the grass surface. Little or no energy is lost to the collision of bowl and surface. Properly done, it’s almost silent.

Dumping graphic

Here’s an actual delivery by Jim Corr that shows his refined form.

Jim Corr delivering a bowl

So, to improve your delivery, practice bending your knee to get down closer to the green. Use your “other” hand to stabilize your stance by placing it on the knee you step forward with [the left one for a right-handed bowler], and release the bowl just above the surface. SWOOSH, not THUMP. And, of course, PRACTICE often, and THIMK 😉

 

Get a grip!

We all need a better grasp of the basics of our game. One of the first things you’ll do as a new student will be to find a bowl that fits your hand. The coaches will ask you to hold a bowl using only the thumb and middle finger of both hands around the large circumference. If your finger tips just meet comfortably, that’s the right size.

P1080177

Side view – a consistent grip aids delivery.

P1080176

Front view – Note vertical position of the bowl.

Sometimes a coach will give you a slightly smaller bowl as a beginner to enable a stable grip. How you hold the bowl will affect the way the bowl rolls once it’s released. In the photographs above, you can see one way to hold to bowl to maximize consistency. As you develop your skills, you’ll want to make simple things like the grip as automatic and stable as you possibly can.

 

Notes on the Green

New initiative: Let’s vary rink layout

The Greens Committeee has determined that, for the integrity of the green, bowling should adhere to a schedule of alternative directions on certain days of the week. Rinks need a chance to recoup in the areas where mats, bowls and feet are placed–typically two to six meters from the ditch. Please note the schedule below and maintain this schedule when bowling ladder games as well as draw games. In other words, you will need to be prepared to bowl east-west if that is what the schedule calls for on the day of your match.

 Set rinks to run North-South on:

Wednesdays
Saturdays
Sundays

 Set rinks to run East-West on:

Mondays
Tuesdays
Thursdays
Fridays

Upcoming Green Maintenance – April 5 & 6

It is that time again.  Phil relays:

We have asked Jose to plug and sand the green on Saturday April 5th.  This will adversely affect play for approximately a week. So, there will be no draw games scheduled until Friday April 11. Also, because of this, the birthday party scheduled for March will be postponed until April 27th and combined with the April party. We very much regret this inconvenience, but trust that you will understand that maintenance of the greens is a major priority.

So, the grounds crew will plug and fill the green with a bit of leveling flourish here and there. We will have sandy rinks for a few days thereafter. Now, where are those old bowls?