Category Archives: Club Members

Membership has its privileges

Of note for Club Members

In this space, we hope to provide information to keep club members informed about upcoming events, parties, and tournaments plus information about the condition of the green or new member photos. Members are encouraged to check in here to get the latest news.

Open House Pronounced Success

What a great afternoon! Over 50 people dropped by the BLBC’s Open House and Neighborhood Bowl between noon and 4:00pm on Sunday, August 13, to learn about lawn bowling and give it a try. There was universal agreement that everyone had a great time, and several dozen visitors said they want to come back for more lessons.

Plenty of snacks loaded the main table in the club house, with the water barrel and paper cups on a table in the patio along with an ice chest full of bottled water. Pennants were strung on the club house roof and fence, and we moved the big “Welcome to Berkley Lawn Bowling Club” banner from the clubhouse to the front fence. Nobody walking by could miss it! We set up four rinks for adults and older children to practice on, with a separate area designated for children to play with carpet bowls. A half dozen coaches were on hand to explain the basics of the game, with a lot of allowance for stretching the normal rules as most people came in twos or threes and were not ready to form strict teams.

As always, an event of this nature could not be carried off without the enthusiastic participation of club members who designed the Open House fliers, saw to their distribution around the neighborhood and beyond, helped clean and reorganize the clubhouse from top to bottom and made the greens and surrounds look “spic and span,**” handled all aspects of hospitality and greeting of newcomers, and, not least, took on the job of coaching and conveying the fun inherent in our game. You know who you are—give yourselves a round of applause!

In the small world department, one visitor was recognized by at least three club members and five visiting bowlers. He’s a very capable, and delightful, plumber who operates under the title “Michael Your Plumber.” And all who know him will testify he deserves his 5-star rating on Yelp. His line:  “If this many people keep recognizing me, I’m going to run for mayor!”

**A special call out for Cris Benton, who created the unique new yellow rink numbers and white markers on his handy-dandy 3-D printer. It takes 3-4 hours to churn out each one.

McLaren Memorial Mixed Triples

The McLaren Mixed Triples is one of the “prestige” tournaments on the PIMD tour, being hosted each year by San Francisco LBC in honor of John McLaren, designer of Golden Gate Park who insisted the park include three lawn bowling greens, and the club’s first vice-president.

This year’s tournament saw a smaller contingent than usual sign up, but that did not mean it was any less competitive with 10 teams competing for the honors. As always, it was a tough tournament because each bowler plays each position (lead, second and skip) for four ends of three 12-end games. Only the top three teams win money.

BLBC club was well represented: of the 30 players on the green, ten were Full BLBC members and three were Dual members. 

Only three teams won all three of their games. Despite the cold and windy weather, Berkeley lawn bowlers did our club proud! Dual club member Frankie Napoli and his teammates (Arnie Barros and Angie Peet) took 1st Place, while the BLBC team of John Hooper, Cathy Dinnean and Bob Schwartz placed 2nd, and the BLBC team of Shawn Roney, Annie Brillhart and Cris Benton came in3rd.

Congratulations to all BLBC winners! 

(Author’s note: only one of the BLBC contingency apparently had the presence of mind to memorialize their performance with a team photo.)

2017 McLaren Mixed Triples: 2nd Place winners (l-r) Cathy Dinnean, John Hooper, and Bob Schwartz.

2017 BLBC Mixed Triples

On a beautiful first weekend of August, our club hosted the club’s annual draw mixed triples, and a party to celebrate the big renovation that our club went through this summer, thanks to Ann’s and Bill’s great efforts, and also with the help of many club members who contributed along the way.

Twenty one bowlers signed up to play in their preferred positions, resulting in few teams not competing one of their games, and getting an automated victory. The tournament comprised a qualifying session of three 10 end games, a semifinal game of 8 ends for the top four teams, and a final game with 8 ends. All teams bowled two games before lunch, and the third one afterwards: after the qualifying session, only one team had won all their 3 games, while the other three teams were 2-1 and 2 and a tie.

Families and friends started to arrive to attend the the bbq, and to cheer for the contenders of the two semifinal games that were under way: on one rink, Shawn, Millard and Keith, our new dual member from Sarasota, played against John, Ann and Laile; one the other rink, Jim, Des and Bill played against Rob, Cris and Leslie. Before the final, Erwin and Laile started the bbq and the spectators started munching while waiting and chilling. 

As one would expect, the final game between Shawn’s and Rob’s team was a great game, with beautiful shots and spectacular bowling on each side, which kept the spectators entertained and on the edge of their seats until the very end. Shawn’s team, which came in the final undefeated, took an early lead and kept it until the last two ends. Rob’s team was down 9-4, but the score didn’t discourage him nor his teammates, whom he led to score 5 points to tie, with one end to go. Shawn was still holding shot when the two skips bowled, but eventually Rob drew a shot that in the end, gave his team the victory by two points. 

After the tournament, we all then gathered inside eating sausages, salads and desserts that were kindly provided by many club members, and drinking beers and other liquors, enjoying our beautiful little club and nice conversations.

Thank you to all club members who have contributed to make this event such an enjoyable, fun and memorable day for our club, and many congratulations to Leslie, Cris and Rob for winning this year’s BLBC 2017 Mixed Triples. 

Figure 1 – Winning team (l-r): Rob (skip), Cris (vice) and Leslie (lead).

BLBC Represented at National Night Out

National Night Out (NNO) is an annual neighborhood get-together, celebrated in blocks and neighborhoods across the nation each August 1. Its aim is to strengthen communities, including through improved police-community relations.

This year, BLBC bowlers joined our neighbors and new partners the Friends of Strawberry Creek Park (FSCP) for food and fun in the Park which is situated just a couple of blocks from the club. FSCP is a citizen-organized activist group that has worked closely and consistently with City departments in recent years to improve facilities in the Park and in the neighborhood more generally.

The gathering was not just an occasion to advertise the Club but also to get to know our neighbors better and do unashamed lobbying for their support, which many were willing to provide. We successfully gathered another 30 or so signatures to add to the application recently lodged with Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Commission that the club be granted landmark status as its about to enter its tenth decade in West Berkeley. We also buttonholed the Deputy City Manager who was there to represent the City of Berkeley and explained to him the issues surrounding the long drawn-out process involved in the renewal of our lease on what we would consider fair and reasonable terms. He listened carefully and said he would familiarize himself with the matter in greater detail.

And a number of fliers were handed out for the upcoming (August 13, 12-4pm) Open House and Neighborhood Bowl.

Thanks go to Laile Giansetto, Ann Brillhart, Cris Benton for helping with set-up and staffing our table as well as the several other BLBC members who showed up to lend a hand.

BLBC Members (l-r) at National Night Out: Jim Corr, Erwin Vista, John Hooper (with the latest in “bowl” design), and Giulia Gallo.

PIMD Mixed 2×2 Fours

A very tough, but also a very fun day of bowling at Palo Alto in the PIMD Mixed 2×2 Fours.

Eight teams played four 8-end games with a break for lunch after the second game. Only the top three teams would win money.

Three teams had members from our club, two of which were all Berkeley (listed in order to play below):

– John Hooper, Cathy Dinnean, Sarah Allday and Cris Benton
– Jerry Knott, Bob Schwartz, Annie Brillhart and Leslie Engler
– Bud Birkenseer, Ethan Bortman, Tess Ball and Laile Giansetto

The only two teams that won all three games had to play each other in the last game in a battle for first and second place.
Congratulations to team Larry Collaco, Joanne Kluck and Angie & John Peet for winning 1st Place.
A well deserved round of applause for team Rod & Rita Arriaga and Cheryl & Al Minvielle for winning 2nd Place.
Congratulations to BLBC team Jerry Knott, Bob Schwartz, Annie Brillhart and Leslie Engler.

League of Women Bowlers

Our first annual “League of Women Bowlers” gathering was a casual pot-luck dinner for the
girls of BLBC. We had such a good time lounging in the clubhouse with our wine and food that
we never even got out the door onto the green. We all know each other better now, and agree
that this event must be repeated at least once every year. We missed those of you who couldn’t
make it, but we certainly hope you will be able to join us next time.

Our women bowlers enjoying dinner and conversations

2017 PIMD Fives Tournaments

Fourteen members from the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club participated in Saturday’s PIMD Women’s and Men’s Fives tournaments at San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club.  It was a very good day for our club!

On the Women’s green, our very first ALL-Berkeley Women’s Fives team (Cathy, Leslie, Annie, Sarah and Giulia) won 1st place!
Just as delightful, over on the Men’s greens, Frankie’s team also won 1st place!
To sweeten the day’s results: Our all-Berkeley Men’s team (Bob, Cris, Jerry, John and Shawn) won 2nd place!
Also on the green and bowling well for their teams were our own Laile, Millard and Mo.
Finally, we all owe our thanks to Annie, Millard, and Sarah for returning to Berkeley and watering the grass after their long
day of bowling.
Well done everyone!
Left to right: Cathy, Leslie, Ann, Sarah and Giulia

The Meat Axe is (Temporarily) on Leave

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.

BLBC Team sports their new Club colors ahead of the 2017 Meat Axe Tournament in Palo Alto.

2017 Opening Day

Sixteen BLBC members bowled at Opening Day at Rossmoor LBC: Cathy, Giulia, Laile, Sarah, Susan, Bob, Cris, Des, Erwin, Gordon, Jim, Phil, Ray, Rob, Shawn and yours truly.

As always, Rossmoor LBC did an outstanding job of supplying food, beverages, decorations and three lovely greens! Before bowling commenced there was a “spider” on each green. Three lucky bowlers would win a bottle of wine. This was a gift from our club to Rossmoor to help them celebrate their 50th year. I guess it was only fitting that all three winners belonged to Rossmoor LBC! (Cathy and Sarah wrangled greens one and three. I wrangled green two. FYI:  A bottle of wine for Cathy and me, and a six-pack of beer for Sarah as thanks for wrangling….:-)

Five BLBC members won money:  Sarah, Cris, Phil, Rob and Shawn. Congratulations! On the lighter side:  Giulia and Rob each won a flower and balloon centerpiece….one winner at each table. (Rob graciously gave his win to Ginger Harris. Nicely done!). On top of that, everyone was given a pin celebrating Rossmoor LBC’s 50th Anniversary.
The PIMD 2017 lawn bowling season has officially begun. Let’s hope our little club has another big year! 

Holiday Cheer at BLBC

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!