The annual 2-Bowl Singles Event is a tournament unique to Berkeley, at least in the Bay Area. It offers a particular challenge, with little margin for error or correction, given the limitation on the number of shots available. This year’s event was no different. Andy Vevers, a relatively new BLBC member (but not a new bowler—San Francisco is his other club) topped a strong field of 12 players to become the 2018 winner.
Our new Tournament Director, John Hooper, experimented with the format a little, dividing the 12 participants randomly into three groups of four, with each group playing a mini-round robin in the morning. The rules provide that the top player in each group, plus the best second placed player overall, would proceed to the semifinals. All matches were played to 12 ends.
By lunchtime, Shawn Roney, Jim Corr, and Andy had emerged as winners of their respective groups and Rob Hoey was the best placed second player. The semis matched Shawn against Rob and Jim against Andy. Both semi-finals were close fought, resulting in a final match-up of Shawn v Andy. Well, the spoiler alert has already been given. Through the steady, consistent bowling he had shown all day, Andy pulled away and is this year’s well-deserved champion. Congrats to Andy and thanks to all who made the event run smoothly, not least our volunteer markers and the always-appreciated Hospitality Committee who made sure there were sufficient “goodies” to keep participants supplied with nourishment throughout the day.
Seasonally late rains had been washing over the Bay Area all week, and it looked like touch and go whether the annual Berkeley-Palo Alto Meat Axe Tournament would be rained out (as had PIMD’s Opening Day just one week before). But the weather gods relented at the last minute, albeit with an unseasonable chill in the air, allowing 5 Triples teams from each club, including several novices, to assemble on Berkeley’s green March 24 to renew this now vintage competition.
The conditions, however, did not hinder a morning of fine bowling all round, at the end of which Berkeley led by 4 games to 1 and looked comfortably in control. However, Palo Alto wasn’t giving up that easily. As the afternoon games finished one by one, Palo Alto took three of them, resulting in a 5-4 position in Berkeley’s favor as the crucial final game drew to a close.
When the skips took to the mat, Berkeley was up by three points in the game, but down two in the head with two excellent bowls by PA’s lead (and a novice), Rose Selby, sitting within inches of the jack. But Rose soon learned the eternal fate of leads everywhere as John Luster, Berkeley’s skip, rolled a perfectly weighted bowl to exactly the right place even closer to the jack and leaving Bud Birkenseer, skip for Palo Alto, few options. Despite valiant efforts, Bud could not dislodge John’s bowl, and the much-coveted trophy reverted to Berkeley again with a 6-4 victory on the day.
Palo Alto took the loss with graciousness and bold cries of “See you next year!” when they will have the home advantage. All agreed that it was good to get back on the green and looked forward to a highly competitive season–in hopefully better weather–in the months ahead.
[Contextual note: The Meat Axe Tournament between Berkeley LBC and Palo Alto LBC began in 1958 as a bowling equivalent of the “Big Game” between Cal and Stanford. One of several traditions surrounding that match-up is that the victors get to carry off the “Stanford Axe” at the end of the game and hold it for the coming year. We bowlers have carried on that theme with our butcher’s cleaver mounted on a plaque highlighting each year’s winner. While we don’t (yet!) have our own Wikipedia page, the trophy is cherished with no less intensity than its footballing archetype.]
You can never have enough bowling…especially in California. The 2018 PIMD bowling season has not started yet, but we recently held our John Ogden Winter League which is bowled over three consecutive Saturdays.
This was the first tournament hosted by the San Jose LBC since installation of their new carpet last year. Fourteen pairs hailing from all Bay Area clubs joined
in the fierce competition. It was a full round-robin with four 10-end games each of the first two weeks, 5 games on the last day of competition, and bowlers using just three bowls each.
The final ranking speaks for the quality of the players and play. The first-place winners were in first place throughout and never lost their lead, despite losing one game in the final week. The winning team consisted of veteran Frankie Napoli (Rossmoor) and our own – still a novice – Giulia Gallo (Berkeley). They came in with an impressive 11 wins, 1 tie, and just 1 loss.
Finally, Rob Hoey and Shawn Roney got third place, and other Berkeley bowlers did very well including the following teams:
Laile Giansetto & Dave McMullen
Jim Corr & Bob Schwartz (dual member from PA)
John Hooper & Cris Benton
Congratulations to one and all!
Last year, Frankie Napoli of Rossmoor Lawn Bowling Club, and also a dual member of Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club, reinstated the Rossmoor vs BLBC Challenge. We played two 14-end games. We were tied going into the afternoon. Three games were decided on the final bowl. Sadly for BLBC, all three bowls were delivered by Rossmoor teams giving them the trophy.
This year, BLBC once again entered four teams. Once again we would play two 14-end games. However, upon arrival at Rossmoor we learned they had eight teams. In the spirit of “good camaraderie and everybody bowls” we were happy to have two Rossmoor teams bowl for us.
Three all-BLBC teams won their morning games: Jim Corr, Cris Benton, and Bob Schwartz; Rob Hoey, Ray Francis and Jerry Knott and Frankie Napoli, Annie Brillhart and Erwin Vista. Team Ethan Bortman, Dave McMullen and Laile Giansetto were tied going into their last end. They lost the game by a fraction of an inch measurement.
So, the score was tied three to three.
BLBC continued to bowl well in the afternoon games. All four all-BLBC teams won handily giving us the victory!
Although none of the Rossmoor teams bowling for us won any of their games, we were very happy to have them on our side!
Congratulations to the bowlers who represented our club today!
Sixteen teams from around the Bay Area signed up to bowl in the Glenn Stewart (formerly called the Ed Arnold) tournament in Palo Alto today, and our club was well represented by 18 full and dual members. This tournament is unique because all bowlers play each position (lead, second and skip) for four ends.
- Team Shawn Roney, Ann Brillhart and Cris Benton for winning 3rd Place.
- Team Jim Corr and Giulia Gallo with help from Tim Christie (Palo Alto) for winning 4th Place.
- Team Ethan Bortman and Laile Giansetto with help from Bud Birkenseer (Palo Alto), for winning 6th Place.
And an extra round of applause for the rest of the BLBC bowlers who competed today: Sarah Allday, Cathy Dinnean, John Hooper, Jerry Knott, Dave McMullen, Frankie Napoli (dual member from Rossmoor), Mo Shooer (dual member from San Francisco) and Erwin Vista.
Rossmoor Lawn Bowling Club continues to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, this time at their 50th Anniversary Mixed Triples tournament, which saw twenty-eight teams from all over the Bay Area and beyond playing and celebrating the anniversary.
Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club was well represented. Three teams were comprised of all BLBC members; a fourth team had a dual member from our club.
The format of the game was a 14-end game in the morning and another 14-end game after lunch, with the top five teams on both greens would win money in both games.
Before each game began, bowlers on both greens enjoyed the always popular “spider”. (A bottle of wine for the bowler who ended up closest to the jack.) Also, prizes were given to the last team in both games who scored four or more points.
Team Rob Hoey, Shawn Roney and Annie Brillhart tied for 1st place in the morning game with an Oakland team, and won 2nd place in the afternoon game. Dual member Frankie Napoli’s team won 4th place in the morning game, and team John Hooper, Cathy Dinnean and Cris Benton won 4th place in the afternoon game.
The Bay Bridge Challenge between Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club and San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club started in 2013. San Francisco won the tournament four years in a row. On Sunday, September 10, Berkeley put an end to the SFLBC dynasty!
All three BLBC teams won their matches in the morning:
Team Jim Corr, Giulia Gallo and Xian Zhi Luo defeated Mo Shooer, Aaron Rezendez, and John Grimes (21 to 12).
Team John Hooper, Cathy Dinnean (subbing at the last minute for Gordon Wilson) and Laile Giansetto bested Andy Vevers, Ginger Harris and Rod Arriaga (14 to 6).
Team John Luster, Frankie Napoli and Annie Brillhart came out on top against Larry Collaco, Oscar Collaco and Sebastian Sciacca (12 to 11).
A tip ‘o the hat to John Luster. With his team down three points on the last end, and both teams having two bowls each within 6 inches of the jack, John put in three perfect bowls, creating a situation of three and a measure. After some very careful measuring, SF agreed that Berkeley were holding four for the win. A wonderful finish to a hard-fought game.
Whatever the SF bowlers had for lunch, it worked, as they came storming back in the afternoon, with two substantial wins. Fortunately, for Berkeley the last result of the day was a victory for John Hooper’s team over the SF team skipped by Aaron Mendez.
With that afternoon win, Berkeley triumphed 4 games to 2 on the day.
Berkeley bowlers competed at two regional competitions in August and one club tournament in early September not reported elsewhere on this site.
First, at the PIMD Mixed Pairs event on August 26 in Sunnyvale, Berkeley’s Giulia Gallo, partnered with Seattle’s Russ Leonard, took second place, missing the top spot by the narrowest of margins—a 9-10 loss to tournament winners Ian Harris (Palo Alto) and Zarka Popovic (Oakland).
On the following day, Giulia kept up the momentum—this time at the prestigious San Francisco Centennial Cup Invitational, hosted by SFLBC. This mixed triples competition always draws a strong field and along with Jim Corr (Berkeley) and Frank Matskyela (Palo Alto), Giulia again contributed to second place outcome for her team. The Berkeley-Palo Alto combo won all three games, but were surpassed by an all-San Francisco team of Robb Pawlak, Tom Raher, and Christine Raher by a slim points differential of 5 (points scored v points conceded). Not a bad weekend for someone who’s still a novice bowler! Two other Berkeley bowlers—John Hooper and Cris Benton, together with Tess Ball (San Francisco)—were “in the money,” taking fourth place in the event.
On Saturday, September 2, Berkeley held its own club Two Bowls Singles. An event that does not allow much margin for error and calls for precise drawing to the jack, this year’s tournament was held in unseasonably hot weather, adding to the challenge for all involved. Five players battled it out in a round robin format, with Shawn Roney taking the honors and getting to add his name (again) to the winners’ board in the clubhouse. Congratulations to Shawn!