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.
Jon Burnoski, a member of the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club, triumphed against top bowlers from across the nation at the US Lawn Bowling Association’s National Championships in San Diego on Sunday. In doing so, Jon, who is 18 years old and a freshman at Skyline College in San Bruno, became the youngest lawn bowls singles champion in US history and the first from Northern California to take the US crown in 14 years.
The four-day tournament pitted representatives from the USLBA’s eight regions against each other in a round robin format in which each bowler played one game against each of the other contenders. Jon represented the Pacific Inter-Mountain Division, which includes Northern California, and won six of his seven games. His final points differential of 39 edged out former national champion, Bob Schneider of the Central Division, by five points, a razor-thin margin in this tournament.
Jon has been bowling competitively for about 10 years, and this was his fourth time at the nationals. His brothers, Josh (15) and Matthew (12), are also successful at the sport, all of them trained by their dad, Tom. All are members of the Berkeley club. Not so coincidentally, on Sunday Tom was bowling one green away from Jon — in the National Pairs Championship, with partner Jon Yee who comes from the Palo Alto Club. (Tom and Jon came in sixth in their event.)
“This is a fantastic achievement,” said Geoff Chandler, President of the BLBC. “It’s a great boost for the club as well as a huge personal success for Jon. It illustrates what we have always said — that far from being a pastime for “old folks,” lawn bowling is truly a game for all ages.”
Jon is now being mentioned as a potential member of Team U.S.A., representing the U.S. in international lawn bowling competitions. “It is a wonderful honor, of course,” his dad says, “but the reality is that international tournaments involve considerable expense, well beyond the means of a college student. We will have to see whether there are individuals or organizations out there that would be willing to sponsor Jon’s international career.” by Jim Corr
When yours truly looked up and saw the lineup Palo Alto brought to the party on Sunday, I knew it would be a real contest. I mean, these guys are good! But, we had the green in shape thanks to extra effort from the greenskeeper; it was mowed, rolled and just dry enough to play well. The morning refreshments provided by Nikki, Susan, and the Mackey’s were tasty. When Howard Mackey called us to assemble, it was still a little chilly but assemble we did.
And, lawn bowling really is for all ages. In the photo below, 11 year old Matt Burnowski is with 86 year old Howard Mackey. Matt played vice for his dad, Tom.
It didn’t take long for it to heat up. In the first game, I saw at least four ends with Palo Alto right on the jack and, when we returned the favor, the opposing skip sent the jack two rinks to the left to burn the end. When that game ended, my team fell short by four points. Several other Berkeley teams hadn’t fared much better. We broke for lunch well behind in the game.
After lunch, the weather and our bowling perked up. By the end of the second round, we had pulled into the lead. Only five games remained to be played. As that last game was about two thirds done, someone came up to say that it wasn’t going well and I really needed to pull out a win. Good Grief- I’m bowling against Bud Birkenseer! No pressure. Well, we managed to pull it off. When Bud moved the jack to take five points, we countered by drawing to the jack to take it back.
When Bud and I started the game, he said, “Let’s have some fun!” I don’t think we could have had a better game; good bowling, good weather and we got to finish it all off with Drumstiks ice cream.
So, at the end of the day, BLBC’s Geoff Chandler held onto the Meat Axe Trophy while Palo Alto’s Ginger Harris prepared the “We Lost” version for a trip back to Palo Alto. Palo Alto will be ready for us when we travel to Palo Alto next summer. But, for now, the Meat Axe will hang in the Berkeley clubhouse for another year.
After the past few days/weeks of rain, today was a wonderful change. When I got to the green at 7:30 this morning, there wasn’t even much dew even though the temperature was under 50! After some setup activities, other “worker bees” appeared and, by nine, 42 bowlers from around the Bay area accumulated. Our consummate hostess, Barbara Mackey, had the clubhouse ready for the crowd. There were balloons, candies, jellybeans, peanuts, fresh strawberries, bagels and cream cheese, etc. The Joint was looking pretty darned festive!! Barbara – thank you, thank you, thank you.
But this was a bowling event and Barbara’s husband Howard had everything arranged. There would be three games on seven rinks with each person having a new team each game. At around, 9:30 the action began with the first game. Then came lunch – we gathered around the table and just had a good time chatting with old friends and making some new ones. But this day was about the bowling.
After lunch came two more games, each with different teammates. At the end of each game, every player’s score was tallied. In the end, every player was a separate entity and anyone could win one of the cash prizes.
Oh, yea, we did break between game 2 and 3 for an ice cream break. But the day was about the bowling. As fate would have it, two of the top Berkeley bowlers were at the top of the list and, when it came to the third game, the draw had them facing each other. Nikki Schrager and Jim Corr and their teammates faced off on rink one. It was a close game all the way to the last end. Jim was up 3 and Jim was at the mat trying to break up a cluster of points. His shot veered off to one side and that left Nikki holding three points with one bowl to go. A hush fell over the crowd (almost), as Nikki rolled her final bowl. OMG! She did it; she scored the fourth point to garner the win in that final game.
For the day, Nikki was the #1 money winner. Congratulations, Nikki.
As for me, I came in in the middle of the pack and won’t have to worry about where to spend my winnings. I do, however, get to enjoy the rewards of a great day of lawn bowling. Please come an join us!
We’re so fortunate here in the Bay area. The weather is great and you can practice even during the winter months. Try using two sets of bowls and alternate between short and long jacks. If anyone needs a little extra coaching, talk to one of the coaches – Ted Crum, Ray Francis or Jim Corr.
There are many other drills that you can use to improve your game!
We’ve been out of club pins for a while but the wait is over. Ted Crum has brought in a supply of shiny new pins. They are available at the club house for $5.00.