Category Archives: Club Members

Membership has its privileges

BLBC Had Company Today

Today was a special day at Berkeley LBC! Twenty-seven employees of a prestigious local firm were guests at the bowling club today as part of a team building exercise. They brought a splendid lunch and a desire to have fun.

The real purpose of this news item, though, is to applaud the efforts of one BLBC member who has taken the lead in events such as this one. Ann Gardiner is one amazing person. In the last four days, she has been the primary force for two hosting events at the club and participated in a major club-on-club tournament. This was a larger-than-ordinary task that could not have been pulled off without the right mix of leadership and hard work.

After the guests finished their lunch, the five “coaches” present had to introduce a lot of guests to lawn bowling quickly. But how does one do that? No problem for Ann. She had each person pre-select a bowl of the appropriate size to identify their set of bowls and set up the intro. Then, to my surprise, she had them form two parallel lines on the green facing her. She gave a simplified set of instructions and explanations about the nature of lawn bowling and the mechanics of delivering both the jack and the bowl. Immediately, one person at a time delivered a practice bowl to a waiting coach who then rolled it back. The neophyte bowler picked up the returned bowl and reported to an assigned rink where coaches were ready to direct a game of triples.

The amazingly efficient double line format streamlined the training and underlined just how important people like Ann Gardiner are to this (or any) organization. The next time you see Ann…say thank you.

Now it’s obvious that Ann didn’t do the whole event herself. Lots of other folks chipped in; Susan J., Jim C., Erwin V., John H., Millard L., and Dave R. all help set up, coach, and/or take down.

Now that’s teamwork. Let’s hope our guests did some team building too.

The Meat Axe Tournament

Temperatures in the high 80’s were predicted for Palo Alto on this sunny September morn. So, rise with the sun we thought. Get there early and get the feel of the green. Well, some of us did any way. We pulled into the parking lot by the Gamble House and parked at 8:30 – a bit too early.

Gradually, the clubhouse came to life and we all enjoyed the bagels with lox and tomatoes. Fresh fruit, coffee and OJ; yum! Thank you, Bonnie, for all the hard work.

A few practice bowls gave everyone a feel for the green. It was fast so we Berkeley bowlers would have to turn down the power a little to get full control of our shots. And then, the bell tolled. Front and center, bowlers. First, the Pledge of Allegiance, then it’s time to draw a chip and report to your rink to face the challenge.

In my case, a familiar face stood ready with his team. Eleven other skips faced a similar situation. They and their teams were ready. It was on, this 56th annual match for possession of the Meat Axe. At the end of the first round of six matches, Palo Alto had won four matches to our two. Lunch!

Anxious to proceed, I started rolling a few practice bowls and the afternoon match began. But, alas, it wasn’t to be. Palo Alto repeated the morning’s performance and the day ended with them winning eight of the twelve games. So, we needed to pass the Meat Axe back to the other side once again.

Congratulations, Palo Alto; well played. See you next year on our turf. What fun!
Palo Alto Takes the Axe And we take home the consolation prize.Reluctantly Geoff Accepts the Plaque

Frankie Napoli Wins Two Bowl Singles

There was a little mist in the air when fourteen souls showed up this morning for the annual two-bowls singles tournament. Tournament director Gary Knox arranged for three preliminary twelve end matches to find the top four bowlers for more bowling after lunch. In the end, it was Phil Grattan facing Frankie Napoli in the final match. At the tenth end, victory was out of reach and Phil resigned the match. Congratulations, Frankie on your second tournament win of the 2013 season.

Thanks to Gary for another well run event and to Ann Gardiner for the snacks.

The final tournament of the year will be for our novices in another singles event.

BLBC Honors Howard & Barbara Mackey

The Board of the BLBC voted unanimously earlier this month to revive the Club’s Distinguished Service Award to honor Howard and Barbara Mackey, husband and wife team who have given twenty years of commitment to the Club in a wide range of activities. Barbara, who passed away last December, had served on the Board of the Club in various capacities over the years, had achieved national umpire status, and was an assiduous “social secretary,” working regularly to decorate the clubhouse and lay on a welcoming spread for many tournaments and club social activities. She was also an informal coach to new bowlers, especially, but by no means exclusively, to new women bowlers. Howard has served as President, has been greenskeeper, remains Inter-club Tournament Director organizing popular events like the Berkeley Jamboree and other tournaments on the PIMD calendar, and is one of the Club’s representatives on the PIMD Committee. He is also currently the Club’s Singles Champion! Club President Jim Corr presented the award to Howard at the PIMD Mixed Pairs Tournament held at the Club on May 10, 2013.

From all of us at Berkeley Lawn Bowling, a giant THANK YOU!

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.

Berkeley lawn bowling prodigy, 18, is national champ

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.

Berkeley’s own Jon Burnoski is 2012 Singles Champion

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

Berkeley retains the Meat Axe – year two!

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.

Mow it and they will come…
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.

Birky’s form

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.

Berkeley Jamboree was a huge success

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!

Practice makes perfect…

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!