Our new clubhouse completed Autumn 2020
Our former Clubhouse was a prominent feature in Queens Road
Remember those sunny days....
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Dear All

A slightly delayed update this time to enable us to include more news.


Clubhouse Rebuild

The best piece of news is that in the past few days Thame Sports Club has received the SODC Planning Control Certificate of Practical Completion, formally signing the building off as finished!

Last week the window blinds were fitted in the clubroom on windows and patio doors overlooking the bowls green and the newly laid tennis courts, in the small bar area by the main door and in the kitchen.  TillyNilly in North Street have been our suppliers.  We are continuing to add to the various fixtures and fittings required to make us feel at home in our new surroundings, but the building work is now complete and fully functional.

Jane Kimber and John Walker and their respective helpers (Jenny, Maire, Jill, Janet, Alfred and Ron) have machine washed and put away all of the kitchen and bar ware.  Norman Hyde, together with his apprentice labouring team of Barry, Ian and Chris have been beavering away to install shelving and other sophistications to personalise the new shed storage areas and ensure they are bowler friendly for next year’s activities.  

Then on 15th the Thame Town Council will be bringing back the tables, chairs and other bits and pieces they’ve been kind enough to store for us this past 13½ months.

As you know, the ladies and gents toilets by the main door have been open for players’ use for a couple of weeks.  Until now the main door has been wedged open but from now on we are to use the number pad on the door to obtain access.  That code will be 22345.

This code will get you into the entry lobby and ladies and gents toilets.  Other parts of the building are covered by an intruder alarm.  When the alarm is off we can get into the remainder of the building using the keypads on the doors in the lobby.  During the bowls season the alarm will be off during the day but during this winter, because of Covid protocol, it will be armed unless someone is present in the building from tennis or bowls for a specific purpose.

If any club member has yet to see the inside of the new clubhouse and would like to, please let Ian or Chris know and one of them will make the necessary arrangements with you.


On the Green

We have been very pleased indeed with how many club members have used the green this summer.  A totting up of the number of members both old and new who have booked a rink has truly exceeded our expectations at 74 and we’ve had another 5 guests playing too!  

And some of those 74 have been back many times over.  We think the ladies Jill Brooks, Marion Keal, new members Heather Hallchurch and Deirdre Page may be the ones who have used the green most, although Geoff Roynan and Keith Brooks might justifiably want to claim the title.  We sincerely hope Heather and Deirdre felt most welcome and that they’ve enjoyed themselves at Thame Bowls Club.     

Of course we had the Mixed Pairs Competition during September with Paul Costin and Gini Williams winning the Red League and Ade Kemish and Terri Blackburn winning the Blue League.  The final was due to be played at the weekend just gone when we had extreme wet weather and diaries and illness has made it impossible to subsequently fit the final in, so it will now be played next year.

Again we wish to record appreciation to John Walker, Jane Kimber, Gordon, Sharon Heafey, Adrian Wilcox and Maire and Ron for helping Chris and Ian with some of the daily morning set up and evening close down sanitisation procedures.

Many thanks also go again to Jesse Matthews, Barry Green, Ray Lewin, Terry Emberson, John Ashfield and Mike Sawyer for helping Chris and Janet with the mowing and maintenance tasks throughout this most unusual season.

Avonmore are due next week to perform the Autumn Maintenance and effectively put the green to bed for the winter.  

That being the case the green will close for play on Sunday 11th.  Sunday's weather looks dry and sunny so make the most of it!



The AGM was originally set for 2nd November as noted in the Fixture card, but at a Video Committee Meeting on Tuesday 6th it was resolved to delay this until late November.  Clearly we won’t be able to hold the AGM as we usually do, but we will write to all members shortly to advise how this will be organised this year and how we propose to enable everyone to raise proposals and contribute to the decision making.  


In conclusion

As we said above, we are delighted such a significant number of our members safely played bowls this summer on our green.  The green has played extremely well and all credit has to go to Chris and the Green Team for making that a reality.  And the Mixed Pairs Competition has attracted a lot of interest and most, if not all participants enjoyed the ‘edge’ and adrenalin of a friendly but competitive game. 

The Clubhouse as a building is now formally finished.  A lot of work now has to be done to enable us to use it during the winter as and when Government Guidelines allow.  Announcements will be made as soon as the necessary arrangements and permissions have been obtained, including the necessary Safe Bowls status to allow short mat to be ‘officially’ played in the clubhouse.

As before, any one of your Committee is very happy to discuss your concerns or answer any questions not addressed by this latest note to all bowls club members.  

We hope you all remain safe and well and, as always, we are very grateful for your support and understanding in these difficult times. 


Bill Giles OBE Chairman Thame Bowls Club and the Bowls Club Committee

Another update for you on the Thame Sports Clubhouse development and Thame Bowls Club, seemingly so soon after the last one!

Clubhouse Rebuild

The clubhouse project is close to the finish line but frustratingly a couple of things are preventing a full handover back to the Sports Club and the issue of a completion certificate from Building Control.

As mentioned last time, difficulties in obtaining building materials have now been overcome; the key issue now is completion of the work, the main one being the laying of paving slabs around three sides of the new building.  This job is nearing completion and our fingers are tightly crossed for the coming week.

We are also waiting for a couple of small jobs to be completed, the main one being some paint work.  Window blinds are on order from TillyNilly in North Street, but they won’t be fitted until all paint work has been done.

Since the last note, a small but perfectly formed team brought back everything from the container site over 2 days - thanks to Keith Brooks, Geoff Roynon, Ray Lewin, Barry Green, Colin Feltham, Chris Shannon and Ian Rutherford for undertaking this task.  The cooker, dishwasher and so on are now in place and the kitchen and bar items that were in storage are now in the shed waiting for final works to be completed so we can put them in the clubhouse.

Also, when we are given clearance to move everything in, we can get the tables, chairs and various other bits and pieces back from the Town Council store.

After that the next important step is to get the toilets available for use by both tennis and bowls members.  There are no immediate plans to hire out the clubhouse, but discussions will continue as to when and how we use the club during the autumn and winter. 

On the Green

Quite a few members have enjoyed being back on the green since it opened at the end of July.  The weekday 11:30-1:00 slot continues to be the most popular by far and we are delighted that the Rink Booking system is working extremely well. 

The sanitisation processes are straightforward and feedback suggests are well understood and appreciated, certainly all reports are favourable.  A note of appreciation goes to John Walker, Jane Kimber, Gordon Taylor, Sharon Heafey, Adrian Wilcox and Maire and Ron Duncan for helping Chris and Ian with some of the morning set up / evening close down arrangements.

Avonmore came to do their regular maintenance on Thursday 27th and confirm the green is in good nick.  Again, many thanks go to Jesse Matthews, John Ashfield, Barry Green, Ray Lewin, Terry Emberson and Mike Sawyer for helping Chris and Janet with the mowing and maintenance tasks.

Mixed Pairs Competition

It has taken some time to arrange, but following responses to Adrian Wilcox’s message, a Mixed Pairs Competition has been put together to round the season off with a little bit of extra fun for those who wanted to enter.  Unfortunately not everyone who put their name forward could be accommodated but they’ve been included as reserves should there be a need for stand-ins.  We have two leagues of five teams, so four games to be played, then a final between the top two league winners.  Each game will be 10 ends, three bowls each player.  Teams agree their best time to play, so that is why you will see a new option on the Rink Diary.  Everyone involved in this competition has received an email with full details of how it will work.  We will keep everyone informed of results via the website.

Club Finance

August has been another month when more money has gone out than has come in, despite some more sponsor money arriving to help out!  As ever we appreciate sponsor support and thanks to Graham Watson for working with them and getting the money in.  Our sponsors have their signage on our website, in our fixture card and of course have their boards around the green – please support them as they support us and better still, mention the Club when you buy from them.

In conclusion

It’s been a long haul.  It was 7th August last year when we started ‘Project Clubhouse Clear Out’ and the 31st August when we moved the last of the clubhouse contents out of the building to the container site.  As we said in last month’s note, Covid has been a considerable impact on the project and our playing season (not to mention our lives).

But the green is in good condition, and being well used, and so far as we know, everyone is ok.  

As before, any one of your Committee is very happy to discuss your concerns or answer any questions not addressed by this latest note to all bowls club members.  

We hope you all remain safe and well and, as always, we are very grateful for your support and understanding in these difficult times. 

Bill Giles OBE Chairman Thame Bowls Club and the Bowls Club Committee

Note to All Bowls Club Members 7th August 2020

Here we are with another update for you on the Thame Sports Clubhouse development and Thame Bowls Club.


Clubhouse Rebuild

The clubhouse project is suddenly cracking on at pace.  Last month’s delays have been in spite of considerable effort on everyone’s part dealing with difficulties obtaining building supplies and the manufacture of materials on order.

The main difficulties have been:

Supply of toilet cubicles and doors – these arrived Wednesday and allowed work to start again yesterday in the changing rooms and toilets. 

Kitchen sinks installation – the supply of the one remaining sink was resolved on Wednesday - the kitchen fitter came yesterday and all sink and tap units are now installed.

Supply and laying of paving slabs – paving slabs started to arrive on site last week and slab laying started on Wednesday.

Now the kitchen sinks are dry fitted and the toilet cubicles are here, the toilet bowls can be fitted and the water turned on, hopefully sometime next week.  Then our contractors are on to the small jobs such as tiles and mirrors in the toilets, finishing off the skirting and benches in the changing rooms and general snagging work.  

Window blinds are on order from TillyNilly in North Street, but they won’t be fitted until all snagging work has been done (thanks go to Jill and Marion for their involvement here).

Since the last update we have a fridge/freezer for the kitchen, a display fridge for the bar area and mini freezer for the bar store.  The fire alarm is in and working and the intruder alarm is fitted but not yet ‘live’.

Those of you that have been playing bowls or seen the photos on the website will have noted works being carried out on the tennis courts neighbouring the new building.  New fencing is up and this will be followed by the laying of artificial ‘TigerTurf' that started this morning.  This is a Tennis Club project and separate from the Clubhouse rebuild which is a joint venture.

Given the delays mentioned above, we are now getting close to the time when we need to collect our various clubhouse items back from storage - we can’t do it until we are happy these items won’t get in the way of the builders.   We will be in touch with those members kind enough to offer their help when we know our builder is happy for us to move these items back in.


Re-opening the Green

We are delighted to see so many members enjoying the green since it opened on Monday last week.  In the first 7 days we had 36 rink sessions booked of the 84 available, so just under half occupancy, and that was with Sunday being very quiet. 

The most popular slot is 11:30-1:00 and surprisingly the afternoon session at 3:30-5:00 the least popular by far; maybe because that’s the hottest time of the day?  The weekend is not so popular so we may trim some of the Saturday and Sunday availability next week, maybe open for two of the four sessions only.

Please do book your rink.  If for any reason you do end up playing without booking, please let Ian Rutherford know in the unlikely event of the need to Track & Trace.  

Can we please remind you that hand sanitiser is there for you to use on arrival and when you leave?  Also, to use the sanitised mats and jacks for play and after play, put the used mats in the tray with disinfectant in and used jacks in the bucket with disinfectant in.

It is great to think the hard work of the greens team has now finally resulted in good use.  Again, many thanks go to Jesse Matthews, John Ashfield, Barry Green, Ray Lewin and Mike Sawyer for helping Chris and Janet with the mowing and maintenance tasks.

We have had a couple of niggly problems with the booking system but nothing that has stopped people getting the rink they wanted, when they wanted it (so far as we know).  Thanks for bearing with us on a couple of minor irritations; we have only one outstanding issue which the 3rd party software supplier is working on to resolve.  Thanks again goes to Phil Reed who has been masterminding the technical side of things. 

Not sure if the portaloo has been christened yet, but it is there if you need it!

Since we opened, Chris or Ian have taken it in turns to set up / close down the sanitiser arrangements every day, so if anyone local can be around first thing or at the end of play to volunteer to do this simple task, say once a week, please shout so these guys can take a break.  It only takes only 15/20 minutes.


Club Finance

July has been a good month with a number of our sponsors continuing to support us with funds by taking up the Club’s offer of a reduced deal to cover both this season and next.  We appreciate their support and special thanks to Graham Watson for working with the sponsors and getting the money in.


In conclusion

Given the many obstacles that have been put in our way, this feels like an encouraging moment.  The green is open and being used.  The clubhouse project is close to the finishing line and some of our sponsors clearly feel they wish to continue supporting us.  

Covid has been a disaster for the project, our lives, and our playing season, but we are determined to battle on through.

As before, any one of your Committee is very happy to discuss your concerns or answer any questions not addressed by this latest note to all bowls club members.  

We hope you all remain safe and well and, as always, we are very grateful for your support and understanding in these difficult times. 


Bill Giles OBE Chairman Thame Bowls Club and the Bowls Club Committee


Note to All Members dated 5th July

Here is the latest news of where your Committee is with developments and plans for your Club in the coming month.

We will cover the Rebuild first because to a great extent everything else hinges on its’ completion. 


Clubhouse Rebuild

The new Clubhouse project is going well in the challenging circumstances.  

The painters are more or less finished barring the need to do some final touches when other work has been done.

This week just gone and the early part of next the flooring is being laid – vinyl in the kitchen, toilet areas, behind the bar and carpet everywhere else.    

Those of you following updates on our website will have seen the kitchen has been installed minus the 3 sinks and taps we are chasing the suppliers for delivery and fitting of these.

On 1st July we had a new electric meter installed and an appropriate power supply for the new building to go with it.  Our electrical contractors are therefore in again to undertake further works and within the next 7 days the Fire Alarm and Intruder Alarm will be commissioned. 

The new storage shed is finished – this building has 3 sections, one for bowling equipment (mats, scoreboards, pushers etc), one for maintenance equipment (mowers etc) and finally the largest section for storage of what we do not need cluttering up the Clubhouse at any one time (for example excess tables, chairs, table tennis table, short mats and so on when not in use).  To save a considerable chunk of money on the cost of the new shed, thanks goes to Janet, Ian, Barry Green and Ray Lewin for spending many hours staining the timber. (Chris who is happy to admit he is useless at painting, tried to help, went to collect supplies and interfered a lot as well!)  The shed will need further coats of paint in coming months and we will need to organise some internal shelving and storage units.  We will hopefully enlist support from the members to make this happen. 

All of the fencing is now down and the Tennis Courts cleared of boards.

We have a list of further tasks, items and issues that need to be addressed to complete the project; these include blinds (although we have identified our preferred supplier, style and colour with help from Jill and Marion), electrical appliances, notice boards and display stands, honours boards and a number of other fixtures and fittings.  The Rebuilding Committee are working through this list over the next few weeks and although a few members are already involved, again we may look for some more assistance moving forward.

The main outstanding concern is availability of paving slabs for the surrounding areas of the Clubhouse.  Builder Matt Hawes has several hundred on order but the lockdown and huge demand from within the building trade and garden centres has caused a supply problem.  We are hopeful Matt’s order will be fulfilled week commencing 20th July and that the groundworkers will be available to do the work swiftly after that. 

By the time the Clubhouse is finished we will probably be allowed by law to open the bar and abide by whatever Government Guidelines are in place at the time.   Rebellion have contacted us already and are dying to supply us with beer, so hopefully it won’t be long before we can have a drink or two on the patio outside the main entrance.

The Sports Club are investigating contactless payments but costs may mean we have to defer putting that in just yet.  Cash is not ideal but we may have to revert to that method of payment in the short term.

Various Clubhouse items are still in storage and we need to plan how best to get these back.  Some of these items are heavy, like the cooker and dishwasher but some not so much, like items related to the bar and kitchen.  Any volunteers who are willing to help with this task please reply to this email.

Photos of Clubhouse progress continue to be uploaded on the website.  Please use the link below to take you to our website page where you will see a further link to the photos.  If you then double click on any photo you will get a brief update on progress. https://www.thamebowlsclub.co.uk/index.php/clubhouse-rebuild


Re-opening the Green

As we said in our Note of 11th June, we are making plans to re-open the green as soon as we can and we’ve had over 40 positive responses indicating that many of you cannot wait to roll up again in the fresh air.  

One thing we are required to do is introduce an off-site rink booking system that will avoid people having to travel to the Clubhouse and start touching pens, pencils, touchscreen and so on.  To do this we wish to trial a rink booking system that we can use online.  We know not everyone will be able to easily use online booking but we have a few ideas how we can make it work for everyone.  

As a first step we would like to trial the booking system over the next couple of weeks with around 10 members to make sure it meets our requirements – it should work ok because we know of other clubs that are already using it.  We will write to a few of you about trialling it for us in a day or so – it won’t be an onerous task.  Thanks goes to Phil Reed who has been researching what is available and will be masterminding the technical side of things. 


Our contractors Avonmore continue to do their monthly visit and Chris and the green team have been mowing twice a week or more.  Avonmore are happy that the green is in very good condition.

Again, many thanks go to Jesse Matthews, John Ashfield, Barry Green, Ray Lewin and Mike Sawyer for helping Chris and Janet with the mowing and maintenance tasks.


We also need to reclaim the bowls playing equipment that we are allowed to use from storage, acquire supplies of sanitiser for cleaning hands and equipment before and after playing plus various other things before we can get going. 


With everything else going on we could do with some help with all these arrangements, so please don’t be surprised if you get a call requesting some assistance!  Volunteers always welcome.


Club Finance

June has been a quiet month financially, with more money going out than coming in.  However, the advertising boards are back on display at the green and Graham Watson has contacted all our sponsors with the offer of a new reduced rate deal to cover both this season and 2021.  In this way we acknowledge the lack of exposure their boards have had this year and responses so far have been encouraging.


In conclusion

As before, any one of your Committee is very happy to discuss your concerns or answer any questions not addressed by this latest note to all bowls club members.  

The Committee hope you are all still safe and well and, as always, we are very grateful for your support and understanding. 


Bill Giles OBE Chairman Thame Bowls Club and the Bowls Club Committee

Dear All

Re-opening the Green within the restrictions outlined in Supplementary Guidance for Lawn Bowls Clubs Approved by Department of Culture, Media and Sport

In the last update we mentioned we would let you have a copy of the guidelines, updates and advice provided by Bowls England to Clubs who decide they want to reopen their greens for members to bowl. The guidelines are being constantly up dated but the good news is that we are confident that we will soon be in a position to open the green for play within the guidance by Bowls England and adhere to the rules on social distancing.

As you know, our situation is complicated by the delayed completion of the clubhouse.  In the circumstances, building work is progressing very well, however even if everything falls into place, we do not believe the clubhouse will be completely finished before the 17th July.  There remain issues over the supply of materials because of problems with external providers and we are not yet sure if we will have a properly connected metered power supply to the building by then.  Only when the builder has finished will he be able to hand over of the site to the Sports Club.  As things are, we need functioning toilet and washing facilities to be able to safely start using the green.

Rather than list all of the detail provided by Bowls England, we attach copies of the latest guidelines and frequently asked questions for you to read.  We are also aware these are likely to change further any day as restrictions are eased - they have been eased once already.

Some of the key points are:

•  We have to devise and maintain an off-site booking system for rink allocation.

•  There needs to be a minimum of 20 minutes between allocated time slots to enable players to arrive/depart safely.

•  Clubs to communicate in advance with players to advise on social distancing requirements that are being applied on arrival at the club – for example not leaving cars until their allocated time slot. (In practice this may mean having someone being a Marshal for a morning or afternoon).

•  Only play on 3 alternate rinks (keeping an empty rink between rinks that are being played on).

•  Whilst the Government guidance would now enable triples play, the recommendation is we limit play to singles or pairs in order for social distancing to be more easily maintained.

•  Maximum of twelve players on the green or club premises at any one time (assuming some of the players will be from the same household – if not we will need to reduce the number of players attending the sessions).

•  Limited access for spectators may be considered as part of the plan for reopening. This will need to be handled within guidelines for numbers present and social distancing.

•  Limited Club equipment only can be made available and there needs to be robust sanitisation protocols in place. 

•  All Clubhouse facilities other than the toilet facilities are to be kept closed.


Lots to consider and the attached Guidelines and other communications provide much more detail.

So, whilst this is very positive news, hopefully you will also see that thought to planning needs to be given to how we can make all of this work in practice at our Club.

In addition, to make this run smoothly the Committee will require the support, cooperation and involvement of those who wish to start bowling again, at least whilst these current restrictions are in place.

As and when further updates from the Government and Bowls England are issued, we will compare them with the status of available facilities in the Clubhouse and accordingly adjust what we can offer.


So in summary, things are coming together well, the kitchen units were fitted yesterday – we are just waiting on the sinks and taps.  It was a busy day as the bar and kitchen shutters were also installed and the bricklayers were on site too laying 2 courses of bricks on the base for the shed.  We will put photos up on the website over the weekend.

And to top it off the green is in excellent condition thanks to the hard-working greens team and occasional specialist visits of Avonmore.


We know from members' passing comments that some of you keen to be able to have a roll up and we think now will be a good time to ask anyone who is interested to get going to let us know so we can estimate the likely take up.

Clearly we are aware not everyone will want to start bowling just yet, so to simplify it for everyone, would you please at this stage just reply to this email with a ‘YES' if you would like to use the green for a roll up as soon as we can get things going.

Many thanks for reading.

Stay safe. 

The Committee

As we reach the end of May, as promised here is the latest note from your Chairman and Committee on the latest position and actions we are taking regarding the Club.

We will cover the usual relevant topics below, but before we get to that we want to thank the members for their fantastic response to our call to support the 4th annual cycle of the 200 Club.  Ian has been flooded with all manner of renewal payments and fresh interest in participation to the extent that we expect to have all 200 numbers allocated and paid for before this week’s draw on Friday. This is very positive news for future finances when much of our income is being impacted by an absence of the playing activity that we rely upon for financial security, more of which later.  Although we knew our members could be relied upon to support our Club as always, we nevertheless wish thank you for helping us meet the target number.



The Government last week announced that facilities associated with lawn bowls along with many other outdoor sports and physical activities may re-open under very strict guidelines. The relaxation does not facilitate a resumption of competitive fixtures which are now cancelled until the beginning of August at the earliest.

There is better news about the progress of the Clubhouse and subject to further developments with Government restrictions we are still very hopeful that for those who wish to participate, we can enjoy bowling of some format before too long.


The Clubhouse Rebuild

Our builder Matt Hawes is back on site now that he can get hold of materials.  Since our last note the painter has been in, has finished painting the ceilings and has put a couple of coats of paint on the walls.  The electricians have put much of the lighting up.  Matt and his reduced and socially distanced team are now busy constructing the bar area and doing the skirtings, architrave and internal doors.  Meanwhile the external groundworks have started.

Kitchen units are due to be delivered week commencing 1st June and hopefully will be fitted the following week.

Sanitaryware and toilet cubicles are on order as are the floorcoverings, but delivery timescales of these are uncertain.

We continue to post photos regularly on our website and if you double click on any photo you will get a brief update on progress.  Use the link below to take you to our website page where you will see a further link to the photos  https://www.thamebowlsclub.co.uk/index.php/clubhouse-rebuild

Once the Rebuilding project has been completed and therefore toilets, washing facilities and the equipment sheds are complete and safe to access, we can implement procedures to allow members to start playing again within the very strict guidelines for safety we have been informed we must work to.


The Green

Our contractors Avonmore are now working again and a team of guys arrived in 3 vehicles last week to complete most of the early season treatment that had been delayed since March. They carried out the heavy work which removes all of the underlying “thatch” which impedes new growth and impairs the drainage and makes the surface “spongy” rather than firm for good bowling.  In addition they carried out new procedures which breaks up and oxygenates the soil deep down under the roots, this again helps drainage but more importantly encourages the grass to put down a deeper and stronger rooting system.

Chris has invited members of the mowing team back from their unpaid “furlough” and we are now mowing the green to an early season bowling level.  Chris and the team are of course working to sensible protocols and employing social distancing at all times, avoiding sharing equipment and sanitising this after use.  So many thanks to Jesse Matthews, John Ashfield, Barry Green, Mike Sawyer and Ray Lewin for coming back to help Chris and Janet with the mowing and maintenance tasks.

So the green is looking very good, a little browner than normal for this time of year, but hopefully we have not seen any long term damage from the delays to the normal early season routines. 


Re-opening the Green

We are hoping the Clubhouse with toilet facilities and kitchen plus the exterior work will be completed at the very least by the end of July if not before.  This will enable us to reclaim our furniture and playing equipment from storage, so long as we can figure out how to do this safely with social distancing and so on – this may prove tricky with a cooker, dishwasher and other heavy items to move.

Over the next week or so we will send you a copy of Covid-19: Supplementary Guidance for Lawn Bowls Clubs Approved by Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).  In addition, there is a further document covering practical issues on how to manage playing again safely and within existing social distancing guidelines.

At that time, we would like to sound you out on how many of you would like to use the green for roll ups, but more of that in our next note.

Clearly, over the coming weeks restrictions may be “loosened” if there is evidence the outbreak is now more under control, but meanwhile we can only work with the rules we have been given to support playing safely.


Bowls England and County Bowling

As advised previously, all National and County Bowling competitions have been cancelled.  Sadly, we are reminded that this past weekend we were due to play a celebratory game against the Friends of English Bowls to mark the opening of our clubhouse.


Club Finance

As we stated in our last note, we have ongoing costs for 2020 and an as yet unfinished building to complete.  Even though we have had an amazing response to Membership Subscriptions we estimate we could be £12,000 or more down on income this season due to a lack of bar profits, match fees, raffles, Friday League, sponsorship and other money-making activities such as club functions and hosting County games.

So, with regard to Membership Fees we are not thinking of making refunds but will review the situation later in the year, by the very latest at the AGM if not before, when we will have greater clarity to what degree we have been and will be able to participate in any activities between now and 31st March 2021.

If any member is suffering hardship or feels they wish to cancel membership of the Bowls Club we will have no hesitation in agreeing to refund their subscription.  If this is the case please contact our Treasurer.


In conclusion

As before, any one of your Committee is very happy to discuss your concerns or answer any questions you may have about this note or any other issues not addressed by this latest communication. Let’s stay in touch with each other at these most difficult of times.  It is still vital that we all need to stay safe and well and as always, we are very grateful for your support and understanding.

Bill Giles OBE Chairman Thame Bowls Club and the Bowls Club Committee

The Bowls Club Committee promised to communicate on a regular basis concerning the ongoing impact of the current crisis on the activities and implications for our Club and as we approach the end of April we thought it appropriate to drop you a note on the latest position and actions we are taking regarding the Club.


Thame Bowls Club Fixtures and Club Competitions for 2020:

Taking into account the current guidelines and advice, at this stage we are extending the cancellation of all organised fixtures through to the beginning of July. A decision will be made over the next two months on any further action that needs to be taken in the light of Government guidelines.

Remember that in 2018 we played well into October so we are still very hopeful that we can enjoy some bowling during the late summer with some form of competitive play to celebrate our return.


The Green:

Since the last update, unfortunately our contractors Avonmore have been “locked down” and unable to carry out the usual heavy and professional treatment they provide to us, although one of their team visited last week to fertilise which will help with the conditioning of the turf.

After discussion with the Committee, Chris Shannon has decided it would be best if only he cut the grass at the present time to avoid breaking any guidelines on social distancing etc. The good news is we are cutting to a reasonable height and watering on a regular basis and the green is looking very good in the circumstances. In addition Chris and Janet managed to cut the outside borders last week so they can now be kept under good control as well.


The Club House Rebuild:

Our building contractors are of course impacted by restrictions on work due to social distancing guidelines, but in addition they are also experiencing further problems with obtaining materials due to lots of building suppliers and manufacturers being either closed or operating a very limited production.

To summarise, the structural work on the building has been completed through to the stage of internal fittings and decoration and the layout and construction looks excellent – see photos uploaded regularly on our website using this link https://www.thamebowlsclub.co.uk/index.php/clubhouse-rebuild

What remains to be completed are the electrical fittings, all of the internal fixtures and fittings, the decoration, fitting out of the kitchen, bar, changing room, toilets and club room areas. The carpet and vinyl floorings are on order but awaiting delivery and installation. The kitchen supplier’s factory is closed and we are told the earliest delivery we can expect from them is 1stJune. Sanitaryware is presently unavailable. The scaffolding has now been removed which will allow us to make progress on the external landscaping, flags, drainage and construction of the replacement shed and equipment store. Hopefully some of this work will be progressing over the coming weeks, subject to the restrictions mentioned above. So still plenty to do and in short, we are not expecting the building to be completed now until the end of June at the very earliest; until then the site remains restricted and under control of the contractors for obvious reasons.


Bowls England and County Bowling:

As advised previously, all National and County Bowling competitions have been cancelled and this has now been extended to any Celebration Matches being planned for later in the season. Like us they are looking forward to brighter days ahead and their staff team is working on a variety of projects in support of clubs once the Government relaxes the restrictions and allows us to resume playing.


The Bowls Club Constitution:

Club finance is an issue we keep under constant review due to the current climate and unlike the Tennis Club, we generate much of our annual income from playing activities and Club usage, which raises some concern going forward. The Bowls Club Committee has therefore been exploring further opportunities to obtain additional grant funding not only to support our costs but to provide us with any additional funding we may need to complete additional Club facilities. To facilitate this we have needed to update both the Bowls Club’s Constitution, which was a little dated for current legislation and protocol and the Club’s 5 Year Development Plan. The new Constitution is based upon guidelines provided by Bowls England, but incorporates all of our traditional Club rules and practice that figured prominently in our old one. In the short term for expediency, it has been fully considered and informally “adopted” by your Bowls Club Committee, but as required we will have a formal discussion and vote on full adoption at the next AGM.

We will be emailing a copy of the document to everyone in the next week and it will be on the website very soon.


200 Club:

The annual Sports Club 200 Club cycle comes to an end this month and we will be holding a videoconference with some appropriate representative members across both playing clubs to make the April draw. The great news is that once again, through member’s contributions we will have again raised a profit of around £2500 to contribute to Sports Club funds and the Rebuilding project.

Ian will therefore be in contact in the coming week to sign you all up for another 12 months membership of the 200 Club so you can once again look forward to the excitement of your end of month windfall.

I know you all realise how important it is to maintain support for this very useful source of income which will be key going forward to support the costs of funding gap we will inevitably have once the new building work has been completed.

We know we will have some vacant numbers in the grid ready to offer to anyone who is waiting to join the draw – £24 will buy you a number in the draw for the next 12 months as Ian’s note in the coming days will explain.

Ian runs the 200 Club single handed so anything you can do to make his life easy would be appreciated.


Club Finance and Subscriptions:

As we stated in our last note, we have ongoing costs for 2020 and an as yet unfinished building to complete.

Our current decisions are as follows:-

Fees already paid for Social Events now cancelled – all those who asked for refunds have received them and enormous thanks to everyone who asked their money to be donated to the Bowls Club or Rebuilding funds.

Competition Fees already paid – As above, competition fees have either been refunded or donated where requested, for which many thanks.

County Competition Fees already paid – We are expecting these back from County in the coming weeks and when this money arrives we will make refunds to those few who entered County Competitions.

Membership Fees– In the short-term we are not thinking of refunding Membership Fees and we will review the situation later in the year when we have greater clarity on whether we will be able to participate as a Club in any activities between now and 31stMarch 2021. Initial thoughts are that we will review the finances towards the middle of the year and consider either partial refunds or the option of carrying part of this year’s subscriptions forward to pay for next year’s membership. If however members feel they wish to cancel their membership of the Bowls Club we will refund the majority of their subscriptions in the coming weeks.


Moving Forward:

We will continue to send out communications on a regular basis. Any one of your Committee is very happy to discuss your concerns or answer any questions you may have about this note or any other issues not addressed by this latest communication. Please make use of the Website where you can, but let’s stay in touch with each other at these most difficult of times.

Most importantly we all need to stay safe and well and we remain hopeful that we will all get together again before the end of the Season to celebrate our new surroundings and enjoy each other’s valued company and friendship.

As always, we are very grateful for your support and understanding.

Bill Giles OBE Chairman Thame Bowls Club and the Bowls Club Committee


Dear All

As promised we have now had some time to reflect upon the unprecedented events unfolding for us all together with the latest advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak and made decisions on what action we need to take regarding our Bowls Club for the foreseeable months ahead. There is understandably doom and gloom across most communications and whilst we are committed to being realistic we are trying to be hopeful in looking forward where possible.


Bowls England and County Bowling:

By way of background, Bowls England has cancelled in their entirety all Competitions for 2020 and in effect suspended all organised play until the end of July. The Oxfordshire Bowls Association are following suit; County competitions have been cancelled for 2020 and we expect news in the coming days that all other Men’s and Ladies County play will be cancelled until further notice. The Men’s League Competition for 2020 has been cancelled.

It is of course difficult to maintain these competitions without having an early start in the season, so these decisions were inevitable.


Thame Bowls Club Fixtures and Club Competitions for 2020:

At this Stage we are cancelling all organised fixtures through to the beginning of June; a decision will be made over the next two months on any further action that needs to be taken. All Club competitions for 2020 have been cancelled, but if circumstances improve and we can get back on our Green by late Summer, we will organise some form of competitive play to celebrate the return.


The Green:

It is very difficult to “mothball” a bowls green without incurring longer term damage to the surface, and it is our aim to ensure it is playable for when we resume bowling. To this end, wherever possible we will be maintaining the green and a small group of members will continue to mow and service the green as long as we are confident personal safety will not be at risk. We will continue to employ Avonmore to carry out the heavy and professional treatment required to keep the green in good condition – they have already told us they are happy to continue. 

Providing we can get the Green in the right condition to bowl, we will make a decision about whether we small group roll ups can be permitted. 

Clearly we will follow Government guidelines and advice on social gatherings and interaction with others and more information will be issued once the emerging picture has been clarified.  


The Club House Rebuild:

Completion of the project is now going to stretch into May at the earliest.  The builder, Matt Hawes is already 2 men down and our architect is in isolation with his wife on medical advice because she is unwell, though hopefully not with the Virus.  

Work to remove the scaffolding has been delayed which hampers further progress on the external structures.

Discussions are ongoing about the kitchen delivery date that has already been put back by two weeks to mid-April.  No date has yet been set for a survey by the kitchen fitters; that will be triggered by the delivery date.

The bar area was surveyed on Thursday morning by Howdens who will be supplying the shelving units.

We are almost there with the colour plan encompassing the carpet choice, vinyl flooring, wall, skirting, architrave and door paints plus the colour and design of the toilet cubicles.  

There are other issues outstanding that we are still working on like bar and kitchen area shutters, shed, landscaping and many others.

So we are making excellent progress with the Sports Club’s bright and shiny new building, but current events will now undoubtedly impact upon remaining aspects of the project.


Club Finance and Subscriptions:

We have discussed the thorny issue of finance and as everyone will realise we have already incurred costs for 2020 (the fixture booklets being one example) and as explained above we have ongoing costs and an as yet unfinished building to complete.


Our current decisions are as follows:-

Ø  Fees already paid for Social Events now cancelled – unless individuals have indicated they wish to donate these funds to the Rebuilding fund, Ian is in the process of refunding this money to members.

Ø  Competition Fees already paid – as above Ian will refund these fees unless you stipulate otherwise. 

Ø  County Competition Fees already paid – we are expecting these back from County in the coming weeks and if so, we will refund these to those few of us who have entered and already paid as above.

Ø  Membership Fees – In the short-term we are not thinking of refunding Membership Fees and we will review the situation later in the year when we have greater clarity on whether we will be able to participate as a Club in any organised bowling at all this year. Initial thoughts are that we will review the finances towards the middle of the year and consider either partial refunds or the option of carrying part of this year’s subscriptions forward to pay for next year’s membership. If however members feel they wish to cancel their membership of the Bowls Club entirely at this point in time, we will refund the majority of their subscriptions in the coming weeks. 


·    TO FACILITATE ALL REFUNDS - As you would imagine, our Bowls Treasurer Ian is heavily engaged with Club finance tasks at the moment as well as being a key player in the Sports Club Rebuilding Project Committee and planning. To facilitate the return of all monies detailed above he will need details of your banking arrangements (account name, sorting code and account number please) and then the Club’s bank account signatories can set up these payments and release them to you directly using the Club’s on-line banking facilities. If you prefer payment by cheque, please bear with us because cheques will need to be written, passed on to another for second signature then posted. 


Questions and ongoing Communication:

We will continue to send out communications whenever necessary and answer any other burning questions you may have that have not been addressed by this initial communication. We will continue to use the Website and the newsletters to update members – please make use of the website where you can.

Bill, Ian, Graham, Jill or Chris are very happy to deal with your calls and answer any questions you may have – remember this note is sent on behalf of your Bowls Committee as a whole – not just Ian who despatches the Group e mails on our behalf.  Their email addresses appear above.


Finally and perhaps most importantly:  

By its nature, many of our Bowls Club membership community can be regarded as in the high risk population group and it is important that we stay as safe as we can and look out for each other where possible, especially anyone we know who lives alone. Many of us will be looked after by neighbours, families and local helpers but if anyone is in need of help please contact anyone of your committee and we will do what we can to assist.

As we have shown in the past, we are a very resilient and resourceful group of individuals and hopefully we will all get together again before the end of the Season to celebrate our new surroundings and a very unworn and under-used Green. 

As always, we are very grateful for your support and understanding. Please do keep in touch. Let's work together to support one another through these unusual times.



A Year in the Life of Thame Bowls Club.

As your Secretary, I thought it would be a very useful and lasting exercise to record the tasks and efforts that go into making our Bowls Club function over a 12 month period from one AGM to the next in October. Hopefully I have tried to record and acknowledge the efforts of everyone who contributes to making the Club so successful and attractive to members. It is certainly a lengthy read, but I wanted to reflect the huge amount of effort and activity that needs to be generated to make the Club what it is. To recognise and if possible name all of the people who make these things happen and to celebrate the great number of successes we have during the 12 month period. I also think that sometimes we all take things for granted, happy to comment or be frustrated when some things go wrong, rather than reflecting upon the many hundreds of things that go really well!

I will start at the AGM in October 2017 – at this time of year the Green is “put to bed” when our turf specialist, Avonmore, carry out the Autumn maintenance programme, where they deep scarified, hollow core, then remove all cores and debris by power brushing. The green is then deeply slit all over and over-seeded with the specialist grass types that match our bowling requirements and are less susceptible to fungal disease and stress. The green is then top dressed to provide a new base for growth and resurfacing for the 2018 season.

Your skeleton green team then watch over the new grass as it becomes established, brushing whenever necessary in the mornings to remove excess moisture and dew which if left, encourages weeds and fungal disease such as fusarium.

From October to April we then play indoor carpet bowls on Wednesday’s and Friday’s and it is John Hurley who looks after the lion’s share of the organisation and competition elements of this indoor season. He recruits players, plans the games and teams, records the scores, calculates results and then buys and distributes the prizes on Presentation Night. Carpet bowls is great fun and full of banter, but it is always a friendly evening with the added attraction of John’s fabled meat draw each Friday. When John has been unavailable, lots of members have stepped in this year to help, Derek & Frances Goodyear, Norman Hyde, Jan Sargeant, David Holland, Richard Ramsey, Ron & Maire Duncan to name but a few. Wednesday is an informal practice night and on a Friday we play formal matches with competitive scoring! (I would urge everyone to come up and take part in the fun this Winter, there is a list on the notice board for members to sign up to compete for honours, or you can always come up for a drink, watch the bowls, have a game of cards and maybe win a joint of meat for Sunday roast).

As usual our aging clubhouse is vulnerable to the winter wind, snow and rain storms and last year we had leakages through both of the flat roofs at the back of the building. This caused damage to both the ceiling by the French windows, the now well worn carpets and the carpet bowling mat as well. But more seriously, the leakage damaged substantial parts of the ceiling, the carpet and decoration in the ladies changing room. Norman Hyde our key volunteer for premises work and maintenance liaised closely with Ken Bennell, the Treasurer of the Sports Club and the Committees to engage flat roof specialist to make repairs. As a result we eventually had the whole of one side of the buildings flat roof stripped and resealed. Norman later repaired, resealed and re-painted the ceilings in both the main room and the ladies changing rooms. Sadly all the flat roofs will remain vulnerable to any excessive weather conditions over the coming winter but we are holding off major expenditure in the hope that we are inching closer to securing the rebuild project next winter.

Come rain or shine the “sponsorship team” of Graham Watson and David Owens together with our Chairman Bill Giles, continue on the lookout for new board sponsors to boost our income. This year, through their persistence and energy, the team has managed to contract 7 new sponsors, increasing our number of sponsorship boards to an all time high of 24, which represents an overall value either by hard cash or services in kind of £3600.00 to the Club. In addition, the Rebuilding Committee negotiated a five year sponsorship deal with our solicitors, Lightfoots which provides £15,000 of income over this 5 year period. Graham Watson engaged our printer, MP-Printers to produce new signage for Lightfoots which are now displayed prominently on our two corner sites. The process was completed by Norman Hyde perched perilously on his ladder with drill and screws in hand – your green keeper hoping he didn’t fall off on top of me as I held the ladder steady. We even replaced the aging black welcome signage with a new brighter livery.

The boards do not make themselves though, of course and Graham Watson obtains suitable artwork from the sponsors then instructs the printers to produce the new signs. Graham then hands these over to John Hurley who constructs the frames in his garage and then the completed signs are positioned accordingly around the borders of our green. Graham Watson and David Owens clean and maintain the boards as does Graham Penn when the signs begin to show some wear and tear.

Over-winter and spring we carried out essential maintenance on the green surround and fixtures. Your green-keeper highlighted that there were quite a number of loose flagstones that needed replacing or re-mortaring for safety reasons. Again Norman Hyde was on hand to arrange this through one of his trusted contractors at “mate’s rates”.

The ditches soon get filled with topsoil and sand as the wind blows through over winter and Jesse Matthews, a stalwart member of the green team was on hand with brush and spade over a number of days to remove the debris and store it up for removal.

The close season is the busiest time of the year for the Fixture Secretary, a role which Graham Watson volunteered to take over this year from John Hurley, who had served splendidly for some years in the role. Graham has to liaise with the contacts from all of the 35 or so Clubs we play against, both mixed and ladies teams, then agrees dates, times, format and all other reciprocal arrangements. He then produces the bowling timetable which runs through from April to September, carefully fitting in all of the other Club competitions, league matches, County and other Guest matches, liaising closely with our printers to ensure the excellent member’s fixture handbook is accurate and available for the Membership Forum in March. Graham is at pains to point out that he could not have completed the task without the fantastic support and guidance he has received from Ian Rutherford, who helped him design and format all of the documentation for the printers and then proof read all of the documents before publishing took place. The fixture booklet is one of the most impressive in the County, containing details of all our sponsors, cost less than previous years and is a credit to Graham and Ian’s professionalism and commitment.

Over the winter period, our Vice Chairman, John Walker joined long time bar custodian Alfred Jochum in taking responsibility for managing all aspects of the Bar, liaising closely with the Catering Manager Jane Kimber, the Development Team and Club Captains. John and Alfred’s duties include weekly stock taking, orders from the brewery, weekly runs to the wholesalers and other suppliers to replenish stocks for not only the bar, but for catering, cleaning and all other basic club requirements. Over the winter, John and Alfred deep cleaned the bar and cellar areas, installing fresh equipment and throwing out many years accumulation of clutter. Room was made to accommodate a new freezer that Graham Watson purchased to facilitate improved catering arrangements. The bar has been updated with new glasses, fresh products and new ideas have been introduced to make each different event special.

Ian Rutherford then coordinated the installation of a new till to replace the ancient and misbehaving old one. The new till was paid for by a grant obtained from Thame Town Council through the informed and timely interventions of your Committee and the Sports Club. Ian researched the purchase, met with suppliers and has been the primary trainer and person who reprogram’s and updates the till. Alfred and John have worked very hard to ensure the extra capabilities the new till provides, benefit the Club’s stock control and profits, liaising closely with the Sports Club Treasurer, Ken Bennell who manages and banks the bar takings. John Walker has improved the quality and variety of products on sale through the bar and we will hope to build on this success going forward.

In early Spring it was apparent that the winter weather and general wear and tear had created the necessity for some repairs to the external plumbing and John Sear stepped up to mend some burst pipes and leakages, installing prevention mechanisms that should stop the same problems occurring this winter. We also replaced the hosepipe at the top of the green and installed two further hosepipes in other places to improve plant watering and irrigation of the green. John Sear also carried out repairs to the plumbing in the kitchen and bar area.

Graham and Doreen Penn actively assisted your green keeper in early preparations for the season as did Mrs Shannon and grandson Jacob. Weeds and grass were removed from the paths and ditches and Doreen scrubbed down all the exterior window frames and sills to remove the algae and dirt that had built up over the winter period.

With the new season approaching fast, preparing the green for bowling was a key priority for the Club. After we had been brushing the green throughout the winter, the contractors visited three times in March and April to slit, deep rake, aerate, feed, treat and then over seed the green. Your green team commences mowing two or three times a week at a level of 6mm, reducing this over the weeks to 5mm and then 4mm as the grass strengthens and the growth thickens up. We cut in the mornings around 8am after brushing the green to remove the dew and moisture which prevents a clean cut by the mower. To complete the exercise takes around 11/2 hours with two people allowing time for cleaning the mower and swishing the green to disperse any clumps of grass cuttings shed by the mower. Along with your green keeper, the mowing team are currently, Jesse Matthews, Terry Embersen, John Ashfield, Peter Gibbons and Ray Lewin and we try to ensure two people are involved every time we cut for safety reasons and to make the task social and as labour efficient as possible. Having a second pair of hands to empty the cuttings, swish the green, direct the cut , help move the ramps, the markers, the steps and help with washing the mower down makes all the difference. The final step is to then make the coffee or tea, sit and put the world to rights. It is a lonely task for one person and takes almost twice as long. We lost four of the mowing team from last season and although Roger Mackriell is joining us next year, another 3 or 4 helpers would make a huge difference to the workload of the existing team.

In addition, the surrounding grass verges and the hedges need maintaining throughout the year and this season it has been down to the Ray, Ray and Ray team. Ray Lewin and Ray Chapple have cut the verges on a weekly basis as the season progresses, an easier job for two as the benches, tables and sponsorship boards need moving back and forth, which complicates what would otherwise be a straight forward, if lengthy task. Ray Plested is the demon barber who relishes wielding the hedge trimmer and the strimmer to keep the hedges in check. Ray has cut all the hedges twice this season, which has taken him four or five days in total. Graham Penn and I helped to gather up and bag the clippings when available and with Norman Hyde’s and Janet Shannon’s assistance we took trips to the tip when the brown bins were at full capacity. Doreen and Graham Penn have helped your green team to weed the ditches and the two Rays trimmed all the grass back from the flags again half way through the season. Next year, I propose we arrange the odd mid-season working party to blitz the hedges and borders (as we have done in the past) and this will take some pressure off the only guys currently involved this year.

As usual at the end of February, the new season’s admin paperwork has to be ready for our first formal gathering of the new season in March, the Membership Forum. Everyone gets an invitation containing renewal application forms, competition entries and details of other events planned for the new season, including the Friday League plans. Graham Watson has to have the fixture books produced by then and your Chairman and Secretary will have been churning out and amending the new season’s paperwork for weeks. The Treasurer waits in glee to collect the subscriptions to swell the coffers and the development Group think up some entertainment to liven up events. As usual this year’s Forum was well attended and went well.

The Green was opened on the 11th April and we had a good turnout for the working party on the previous Saturday when we put out all the benches, chairs, tables, and refitted the ditch mats. I arranged for a skip and we had a good tidy up and got rid of lots of clutter from inside the clubhouse and behind the shed. We also cut trimmed all of the grass verges round the green back to the pavement edges. Thank you to everyone who helped with this session which we managed to complete in about an hour and a half in view of such a good turnout.

In May, we entered the second year of Sports Club 200 Club, though in essence this is a combined initiative supported by both Bowls and Tennis Club to raise funds each year towards the Rebuilding project. Conceived initially by Ian, Ken Bennell and myself last year, Ian Rutherford has driven this forward relentlessly and we now have all 200 numbers sold and we distribute good prizes each month to the lucky winners. This initiative provides us with £2400 of income each year towards the rebuilding fund and again strengthens our applications for grant funding as it provides hard evidence that we are working hard ourselves as a Sports Club to raise funds towards the rebuild.

As Spring progresses, Graham & Doreen Penn together with their grandson, Thomas Tisbury got to work on preparing the flower beds and tubs ready for planting this year’s flowers. With some help from a short stout green keeper some overgrown shrubs were removed and taken to the tip. Once the weather had improved, Graham and Doreen then visited our sponsor and regular supplier, Penn’s Nursery taking delivery of this year’s plants and compost and then went about the formidable task of planting all these out in the beds and tubs surrounding the Green. I think that everyone would agree the flower beds are a credit to the Club and greatly enhance the attraction and appeal of the Club’s setting and this regular contribution by Graham and Doreen is appreciated by all. On top of planting out all the beds and tubs, the Penn’s then also watered, weeded, fed and cultivated the plants throughout the whole of the Summer period, lots of times watering twice a day as was required by the scorching Summer. Other volunteers covering the watering during their holidays included Ray Lewin, Maire & Ron Duncan, Sharon Heafey, Janet Shannon, myself and Jacob Shannon – aged three, though he also watered his granddad whenever possible! For some years now, Gerry and Barbara Barry have carried out most of the watering and maintenance of the flower beds, but understandably took some time off this year. It would be good if we could recruit a few volunteers to help with this task next season so we could manage a rota instead of it being a daily task for the same people.

As the season progresses, catering for Club events becomes a primary issue. Our Catering Manager is Jane Kimber who over the last two seasons has used her experience and skills to ensure we maintain our reputation across the County for good quality catering at all events. Over the season, we have hosted 5 evening League matches, 4 all day County events, together with several other events that have required provision of food throughout most of the day. Jane’s regular team of helpers, Jill Brooks, Jenny Lowe, Janet Shannon and Maire Duncan have supported, but many others have turned out as well to help on occasions. Marion Keal, Caroline Walker, Maxine Plested, Susan Dadson and Sharon Heafey, to name a few are some of the members who helped and I am sure there are others I have overlooked. Lots of our male members have stepped up as well to assist with the washing up. Jane’s team have also deep cleaned the kitchen and we have up dated the pots and pans to make best use of the new cooker. Over the year, Club Catering contributes approximately £1400 to club funding and we thank Jane and all of her support for making this such a successful aspect of the Club.

The Club Matches commence from early April and fall into several categories and formats:-

  • There are of course Ladies, Mid-Week and Weekend Friendly Matches of which we play over 55 in total. The Captains, Jill Brooks, Gordon Taylor, Les Canfield and John Walker, aided by their respective vice captains and regular stand-ins have to prepare selection sheets for the notice board, pick the teams, then communicate to those selected, often having to chivvy up and phone round to make up the numbers. On the day of the match they organise transport then make out the cards liaising with their opposing Captains, collect the rink fees and finally stand up and deliver the closing address and thanks to all. In between – they can have a game of bowls! Barbara Waters and Terry Emberson have been frequent deputies and our all our thanks to our Captains and deputies for their sterling efforts all season.

  • We play in Division Three of the Oxford & District Men’s League on most Thursdays during the summer, where 16 male bowlers play home and away against six other Clubs around the County. We are always looking for new bowlers to put their names down to play in this format as it helps bowlers to improve their skills and competitive experience. Many thanks to Les Canfield, our Men’s Captain last year, and his selection committee of Ron Duncan, George Andrews, Graham Penn and Robin Jenner.

  • The Friday League Competition takes place most Fridays commencing June and this competition provides an opportunity for at least 72 members to participate in the six 10 end triples matches we play each week. Everyone thoroughly enjoys this competition which gives our new bowlers an ideal opportunity to learn the fundamentals of playing in friendly competitive matches. Our Chairman, Bill Giles is the main powerhouse behind organising this competition every year with Maire and Ron Duncan organising us all on the day – many thanks to you three. Fridays are famous for bacon and sausage buns for which we must thank all the numerous volunteers who have taken their turns in the kitchen throughout the season (you know who you are). We must also thank Richard Ramsay, Norman Hyde and others for strong-arming us to fill all the numbers on the weekly money draw. The Friday League contributes over £1500 of funds towards Club funding, so we can thank everyone who participates for their part in making this such a success.

  • Throughout the season another key element of bowls play are the Club Competitions which are open to all members wishing to experience in and benefit from individual or pairs play competition. This year Robin Jenner stepped in at late notice to organise and run these competitions which climaxed with 12 competition finals being played at the Club early September. We thank Robin for the excellent work he carried out this year in the role and acknowledge the support he received from his wife Jill Jenner together with some technical support from Ian Rutherford and your Secretary. To round off these competitions, Robin, Jill, John Hurley, and a host of others then organised a very successful presentation evening where we celebrated the victorious bowlers who had played their way onto the honours board for this year.

  • To round things off, there are a number of additional Club Cups and Competition’s that are played for throughout the season. These cover the ladies, men’s and mixed sections and we thank Robin Jenner and Maxine Plested together with some help from your Secretary and others in organising and running these on the day.

On a connected front, like everything else in the Club the honours board does not update itself each year. For some time now after the finals each year, Graham and Doreen Penn commission the required lettering from a specialist company and then spend a couple of hours meticulously applying these transfers to the honours boards within weeks of the finals being played. We thank you Graham and Doreen for another of these seamless tasks that keep the Club on track.

In June, after much deliberation, we decided to invest in a commercial Dishwasher for the kitchen. Ian Rutherford sourced this through the same supplier as the new till and again the Sports Club Committee Chairman, Peter Bozier applied for a grant from the Town Council that covered 50% of the cost of this machine. Both the new dishwasher and glass washer in the bar require commercial water softener units attached to operate effectively. These units require recharging with salt and rinsing through at least once a month, a task which is carried out by your Secretary or Ian Rutherford.

Throughout the year we have held various events to entertain the members and raise funds for the Club or the Charities we work with each year:-

  • Timmsy’s Bingo – this traditional Christmas event was held in December and was thoroughly enjoyed by all those attending. Thank you to John & Ruth Timms, together with Doreen and other helpers who made this a successful fund raising event.

  • John Hurley’s Race Night – a traditional annual event held in November which spurns the sordid use of modern technology and has us all rolling dice, wearing jockey’s caps and cheering on your wagered metal horse as its jockey proceeds to negotiate it along the battered wooden race track and hurdles. Thank you to John Hurley for his invention and to Derek Goodyear, Chris & Janet Shannon, who took the bets, ran the tote, distributed winnings and managed the wagers on the night. The event was reasonably well attended and raised some useful funds for the Club – but it is great fun and we would welcome more attending this year please!

  • The New Pre-Season Dinner and Secret Auction – this was held at the end of March and was organised by the Development group consisting of Graham Watson, Mike Ralls, Ian Rutherford, David Owens and Phil Reed, who together with the some of their wives, Irena, Sue and Sandra who could make it on the night did most of the cooking and serving so that the attendees could all enjoy their three course meal. The auction prizes that had been accumulated by the developments team’s cold calling and visits were excellent as were the many raffle prizes donated by members. All in the entire event raised a profit of over £1145 for Bowls Club funds.

  • Community Stall in the Tuesday Market – we hired the Community stall in the market in April to recruit new members and invite people to come along to one of our three open days in April and May.

  • Sport in the Street – we had a stall at the Sport in the Street event held on a Friday in June – again to raise our profile in the community and to attract new members.

  • The Day Trip to Cheltenham – in June the Club hired a coach and had our traditional away day excursion and bowls match. This year we went to Cheltenham and 36 members and 5 visitors enjoyed the delights of the town before taking part in a 12 rink triples match against a local club. We must thank Ron and Maire Duncan for planning, organising and championing this event which is a great day out enjoyed by all who attend. Next year we plan to play against a club at Gloucester Docks which will provide us with easy access to the adjacent Retail Shopping Outlet Park as well. This should give members additional things to see and do as part of the day’s excursion and we would urge as many members as possible to come along to ensure we can put out sufficient teams to compete on the day.

  • Evenings to host visits from the Local Scouts and Thame Round Table – on two Tuesdays in mid-summer through liaison with the Development team we hosted visits from the local Thame Scout Group, followed some weeks later by a visit from the local Round Table members. Both wanted to try their hand at bowling, though the Round Table members spent as much time in the bar as on the green. On both occasions members volunteered to help chaperone and guide our visitors and specific thanks goes out to, Roger Mackriell, Susan Dadson, Jonathon Dadson, Janet Shannon, Bill Giles and some others I have no doubt forgotten, but thank anyway as you know who you are. Events of this type help build our profile within the local community, which not only helps with recruitment, but is also one of the aspects that continues to help us attract funding for the rebuilding project.

  • The Sponsors Evening held in Conjunction with the annual Ladies V Gents Club match in August – this was another very successful evening organised by the development group together with other key helpers. Food was organised and prepared by the development group and the very enjoyable event was attended by over 75 members, guests and sponsors.

  • Presidents Day – In August we held the traditional Presidents Day Competition and dinner and once again Les Canfield did us all proud with a very enjoyable days bowls followed by an excellent meal and copious amounts of wine to wash down the dinner. Les’s family, lead by our former Chairman, Russell handled the majority of the preparation, cooking and serving – not least Les who cooked umpteen fruit pies and peeled hundreds of new potatoes (he hates the skins apparently!). Thank you Les and the family for an excellent day enjoyed by the large number of members and guests who attended.

  • An Invitation Match for the Town Hall staff - In September we hosted the Town Hall staff who visited us for a team building and staff fun day. 16 staff from the Town Hall accompanied the Town Clerk, Graham Hunt and we mixed them up with 16 members to play a four rink match. This event cements our relationship with the Town Council, who are key supporters of our rebuilding project. They provided the cream tea everyone enjoyed after the match and the bar was kept very busy as everyone worked hard to drink their way through the generous kitty provided by the visiting management. Graham Watson handled the liaison for this event and Barbara Waters, Ken Calcutt, Les Canfield and some other senior members invested time to provide coaching to some of the staff in the previous week. John Walker rallied his bar team to support the post match celebrations which were prolonged.

  • The Blind Bowling Charity Event – held in September this year, this has become a regular event in our calendar and once again we worked in conjunction with the Thame Lions to host this charity event, which attracts blind and partially sighted bowlers from all over the South of England. 24 bowlers visited the Club to compete in an all day tournament. Ann Midwinter the Thame Mayor attended on the day to open the event and then present the trophies. By way of preparation our two partially sighted bowlers, Mary Pitman and Bob Gerhardt and club coach, Keith Wright had run workshops over previous weeks to train members on the techniques required to provide competitors with the information they needed to compete at this level. On the day a large number of members and family turned out to help Keith, Bob and Mary make the bowling possible and to help with the catering and organisation of this well attended event. Funds raised on the day, including bar profits were donated to the UK Blind Veterans and Calibre, the company that distributes books and videos for the Blind. Specifically, our thanks go out to, Richard Ramsey, Norman Hyde, Roger Blackburn, Rosemary Fletcher, Ray Lewin, John Sear, Susan & Andy Dadson, Roger Mackriell, Michael Zakaszewski, Gordon Taylor, Mike Ralls, Brad & Christine Liddle, Ken Bennell, Bill Giles, Chris Shannon, Les Canfield, John Walker, Jane Kimber, Jenny Lowe, Jill Brooks, Barbara Waters, Barbara Lewin, Maureen Giles and Sandy Webb. If I have forgotten anybody, please forgive me, but thanks to all who helped this event be so successful.

  • New Bowlers Evenings each Tuesday – throughout most of the season the development team have supported our new bowlers and extended an open invitation to anyone who has approached the Club to find out what bowls was all about. This has greatly improved our capacity to integrate new bowlers and their partners into the Club, making everyone feel welcome and comfortable to progress at their own pace and time. 26 new members have joined us this year and the feedback on our approach and hospitality has been extremely positive.

A highlight of the Tuesday events was the competition we staged over a three week period for the new bowlers, when they competed for the Paul Heafey Memorial Cup. No less than 16 new bowlers took part in this competition and I am confident that Paul would have been very proud of the steps we are taking to recruit and develop our new bowlers as a Club.

Lessons have been learnt from this year’s experience and one of the actions the Development Group has initiated is to arrange for six new coaches to commence training courses during October and November this year. This will give us more capacity to develop our new bowlers next year as well as increasing our ability to help anyone in the Club should they wish to seek support on any aspect of their game.

The development team involved this year in these Tuesday initiatives has been, Graham Watson, Mike Ralls, David Owens, and Ian Rutherford with fantastic support from Keith Wright on the coaching front. Others supporting these Evenings were Janet Shannon, Ray Lewin, Bill Giles and a number of other members who have been on hand to help steer things along.

I must also mention the daily/weekly/monthly activities that go on throughout the year to keep the Bowls Club functioning and successful. In business circles, these are known as boring but critical tasks that we all take for granted, but are essential to keeping any organisation functioning on track – all these tasks require volunteers to ensure they happen:-

  • The Cleaning – the Bowls Club provides a team of volunteers to clean the Clubhouse and we receive funds from the Tennis Club to complete this task. In recent years the number of volunteers has declined, which means others have to turn out more often. Richard & Maxine Plested , Keith Rouse and John Hurley have been on the rota this year but have had to drop out for various reasons and the current team are, Ron & Maire Duncan, John & Pat Wills, John & Ann Ashfield, Marion Keal, Jill Brooks & Jane Kimber, Ray Plested, Mike Ralls, Bill & Maureen Giles, Barbara Waters, Terry & Jackie Emberson. More volunteers would be gratefully appreciated as this activity generates £1500 for the Bowls Club.

  • The Bar – The bar would not function without the team who man it on a regular basis. The current team are Bill Giles, Terry Emberson, Alfred Jochum, John Hurley, Russell Canfield, Steve Silver, David Holland, Janet Shannon, Ian Rutherford, John Walker, John Sear, and on occasion Sharon Heafey and the regular go to stand in Chris Shannon. The Bar generates over £3500 of income for the Bowls Club so thanks from us all to John Walker and his team.

  • Club House and site maintenance – Norman Hyde looks after all of the routine maintenance that requires doing around the Club. If Norman can’t do it – he knows someone who can.

  • Looking after the Hirers – hiring the Club House not only generates income for both Clubs, but it also provides evidence supporting our application for grant funding. Ken Bennell one of our members on the Sports Club Committee looks after the needs of all our current hirers. Ken is also the Sports Club treasurer and looks after all of the finances and banking associated with the building.

  • The Sports Club Committee Meetings – these take place around eight times a year and our representatives are Ian Rutherford and Bill Giles. Our representatives ensure the needs of the Bowls Club are given priority and attention.

  • The Rebuilding Committee Meetings – these meetings usually follow on from the regular Sports Club meetings and Bill and Ian are joined by Chris Shannon, Peter Gibbons and now David Hickman as we approach a critical stage in the decision making and planning process. It must be mentioned that Pete Bozier, the Chairman of Sport Club and Tennis member has worked tirelessly over the last 18 months or more to drive the rebuilding project on and get us as close as we now are to achieving our goal.–

  • The Website – Ian Rutherford has revitalised the Club’s website which had not been updated for 12 months. The website has been regularly up dated with articles and news of interest, including Mike Ralls’s weekly match reports. Ian and Irena Watson have taken regular photos to update the Gallery. The members section of the website also has the up-to-date contact details for all of the Club members, unless they have asked for these to be withheld. Ian has also ensured that links between the bowls and Sports Club website exist – he has also been instrumental in developing the Sports Club website as well.

  • The Clubs Finance’s – For Fourteen years now, our Treasurer Keith Wright has taken care of the banking, bills, expenses, cheque issue, payments to suppliers and balanced the books for the Bowls Club. It is frightening to think how many bundles of cash he has processed over this time for rink fees, raffles, matches, shirts and whatever. He dutifully produces the accounts each year for the AGM, but this year will be his swan song as he passes the baton over to Ian Rutherford, providing you vote for this at the AGM of course. I know you will all join me in thanking Keith and of course the power behind the throne Beryl for the fantastic job done over the last 14 years!

  • Communications – This year we have vastly improved the quality and content of information available via the club website. Mike Ralls has submitted a weekly report to be published in the Thame Gazette. Work is ongoing to further develop this and it is envisaged that the role of responsibility for the web pages will eventually pass to another development team member, Phil Reed.

  • Bowls Club Committee Meetings – your committee meets at least 6 times a year to discuss all of the current issues regarding the Bowls Club. Minutes are produced and placed in the green folder in the Club for all to see.

  • And finally back to the AGM – the story turns full circle as we return to the AGM, which all your officials work hard to produce the reports you will hear on the night.

I am sure I have missed out some important activities from this 12 month story, but I hope it sums up the immense amount of effort and work that goes into running this wonderful Club of ours!

If this has been a story, your Chairman and Secretary are probably the co-writers and Directors of the Drama. Bill and I are involved in some of the activities detailed above on most days, if not doing – then pulling the strings or nudging here and there to make sure everything is being planned and delivered on time as required. We like to moan, but we love it really.

In conclusion, I hope I have firstly managed to explain how much effort and activity is needed to keep the enterprise that is Bowls Club functioning as we all enjoy. Just as importantly I hope I have managed to mention everyone by name who contributes the energy and lubrication that makes this enterprise or “machine” working. If I have missed anybody out, I am very sorry – please tell me so I can add your name to the list. If you do not yet figure in the story but would like to, we need more members to contribute whenever they can to keep the machine working and upgrade for better performance in 2019.

Thank you all for reading this far if you have made it.

Chris Shannon

Hon Secretary TBC.


Thame Bowls Club is a very happy and successful club and whilst many bowls clubs are losing numbers or going out of business we still have well over 100 members.

We’ve had a very busy season when we hosted 3 county matches which, apart from giving us valuable revenue, ensures that we continue with the great reputation as a club that the county enjoy coming to. Not only do they play on one of the best greens in Oxfordshire but are guaranteed food and drink served at the highest standard and I must again thank everyone that helped to make them a complete success. Both Ruth, who looked after the county matches, and Jane whose team produced the wonderful dinners for the Men’s League matches. They will be a hard act to follow in 2018 but hopefully next year they will not have to be followed because we will try and persuade them to do it all again.

The success of the club depends on its volunteers and we are well blessed in this club with many people getting involved but I need more especially for cleaning. At the moment we have eleven groups of cleaners but I would like to make it up to 20 then everyone would only have to clean once a month at the most. I have a sheet here with the names of those who already clean but I need many more. I will pass the sheet around and would love to see a few extra names on it please.

We have 14 bar staff in the summer months-could do with a couple more and we do less than one shift a month in the winter and no more than twice a month in the summer. There is also a sheet being passed around for you to put your names on.

Consider the annual revenue the club gets from the volunteers. Cleaning-£1500, Bar £3000, Advertising Boards £2500 and Friday League £1500. A grand total of £8500. All achieved by volunteers some of whom multitask-how much easier it would be if just a few more came forward to help.

We also made £160 on the Waitrose Community Matters. Also a large article and pictures for Sport in Profile magazine who asked to use Thame Bowls Club as a good example of how the elderly kept fit and healthy and photos of the club and selected members which will be shown worldwide so all in all you can see we have a great club and we should all be justly proud of it. And the most exciting thing of all is the number of newer bowlers who are eager to continue to help the development of the club over the coming years.

Bill Giles OBE

Acting Chairman

Thame Bowls Club

In the Oxford and District League 2017 Season, the Thame Bowls Club Men’s team won all 12 of their games to finish top of Division 4. 

The winning margin of 19 points was a record, a magnificent achievement, led by Captain Paul Heafey.

Some of our bowlers are pictured here on Presentation Night:

Standing: Bill Giles, Leonard Grimshaw, Trevor Copley, Robin Jenner, Mike Ralls, Les Canfield, Ken Calcutt, Ron Duncan, John Timms

Kneeling: Matt Canfield, Paul Heafey, Chris Shannon, Ian Ruthrford


Front Row: Marion Keal, Jill Brooks, Barbara Waters, Maxine Plested, Caroline Walker, Shirley Foster    

Back Row: Sharon Heafey, Christine Liddle, Maureen Giles, Maire Duncan, Frances Goodyear


On the 4th September 2016 Thame Lions Club with Thame Bowls Club (Chairman Bill Giles of weather fame) organised the first ever event for Oxfordshire Blind Bowling Competition.

Thame mayor with Lions players... 24 contestants from bowls clubs around the area, all with varying degrees of sight impairment, took part.
The event was opened by the Mayor of Thame, Linda Emery and all contestants were presented with medals; sponsored by a member of the Bowls Club, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire Richard Venables.
The winners were Mary Pitman and Sarah Marshal and were presented with a plaque to recognise their win. Sarah is a member of the England Blind Bowling Team and will be playing in the International Competition in South Africa in March.
The uniform that the team is wearing was sponsored by Lions and the Lions logo is proudly displayed on the shoulder.

The money raised on the day equal to £2000 will be split equally between Blind Veterans and Calibre Audio Books
The Club President PDG Lion John Savell said that the event was considered a great success by all parties particularly the bowlers themselves.
Because of the success and the willingness of the Thame Bowls Club to support the event it is likely to become a yearly competition.

The committee consisted of Brain Dickety, Bill Giles OBE, Keith Wright, John Savell, Ken Bennell, Sandy Seckington, Roger Blackburn and Peter Carter; Ken and Sandy wore dual hats as members of Thame Bowls Club as well. Bill and Keith are from the Thame Bowls Club.
Left to Right, Cllr Emery (Mayor of Thame), Bill Giles (Thame bowls and retired BBC Weatherman),
Lion President John Savell of Thame and District Lions - Presenting trophies.


To help Thame Bowls Club celebrate their 90th Anniversary, bowlers representing "Friends of English Bowling"came from all over the UK to play a 6 Rink Mixed Match at the Queens Road Bowling Green. The "Friends"were founded in 2005 and their aim is to raise funds for Bowls England to help to promote the game throughout the country. They have so far raised over £300,000 to help bowlers of all ages to enjoy this ever-popular sport.
In glorious weather the "Friends"were welcomed by Hazel Westcott, Thame Bowls Club President and Club Captain Vic Brooks and after lunch a very friendly but competitive bowls match took place.
Played in wonderful spirit the game produced some very close scores on several rinks with only a 2 shot advantage going to the visitors over 4 of the rinks. However, two of their strongest rinks overcame the Thame Bowlers by some 30 shots giving the "Friends"an overall victory of 102 to 135. 
After the evening meal attended by Adey Lloyd, President of Bowls England, the Captain for the day, Marcia Pearce, thanked the Thame Club for their hospitality and presented gifts to all those members who had helped to make the day a tremendous success.
Thame Bowls Club and members of Friends of English Bowling before the game.
May 2011... Mike Bushell & Natalie Melmore visit Thame Bowls Club
April 2010... Thame Bowls Club's Recruitment drive
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Sunday, 3rd of July 2022