Sidmouth bowler Sussie Bonnell makes progress in County two-wood after win at Budleigh

Sidmouth bowlers in home action

Sidmouth bowlers in home action - Credit: Archant

Bowlers have two favourite topics of conversation - bowls and the weather - and there’s certainly been plenty of both to talk about this week, writes Susie Bonnell.

The Sidmouth ladies had lots to celebrate for they won first round match in the National Top Club.

Entertaining a strong Crediton side in the four discipline contest, the Sidmouth ladies were certainly on top form, winning on all rinks, taking them through to the next round.

Next up in the competition they will play away at Torquay where they will no doubt hope for a repeat performance.

That Thursday, June 1, Top Club win was followed, the next day, by a second round tie in the County Over-55s. This was a match played out in squally winds and rain against a Madeira side that took the honours.


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On a busy Friday, that had been the morning action and, in the afternoon, thankfully in much drier conditions, Sidmouth Blues entertained Honiton in an Exeter Over-50s League match and ended their winning streak by losing on both rinks!

Saturday saw the Sidmouth rinks filled with their own bowlers playing in the club’s mixed pairs competition.

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This first round left some unpredicted winners and losers - with the winners looking forward to the next rounds. What’s more, much to the delight of all concerned, the rain held off!

Sadly, Sunday saw a sharp change in the weather and to conditions that were less than ideal for the County two-wood ladies’ singles competition played at Budleigh Salterton.

Sidmouth sent three of their ladies to play in this competition. Lady bowlers are certainly made of strong stuff and there is no room for anyone to be worried about their hair or make-up - as Sunday proved, when the heavens opened and rain fell for most of the day, making bowling very difficult!

Sidmouth and Honiton were delighted when the two ladies getting through to the next round were from their clubs - Susie Bonnell for Sidmouth and Carol Binmore for Honiton.

Next on the bowls calendar for Sidmouth was a fixture with a touring team - Ashcombe Park, who were ending their tour with a game against Sidmouth on Monday afternoon.

They arrived early to have a buffet lunch and set out to enjoy a good game of bowls, fielding seven rinks.

As is the tradition, they stopped at nine ends to partake of a delicious Devon cream tea - but, once again, the heavens opened and rain most certainly stopped play!

Captains, Mike Borst, for Sidmouth and Gordon Sansom, for the visitors, decided to cal, it a day on the bowling front.

However, it didn’t stop all the bowlers thoroughly enjoying their afternoon - with the tea prolonged and the bar getting good use, the tourists left happy that they came.

Sidmouth were winning on all rinks up to teatime - with the top rink skipped by Valerie Newnham, ably assisted by her team, Ralph Brooks, Chris Radburn and Bert Hague.

Monday evening saw a 6pm start for a re-arranged Grace Matthews competition meeting with Madeira (the previous date had been cancelled due to dreadful weather).

Fortunately, the rain had mostly blown over, leaving the bowlers with a breezy but more or less sunny evening.

Sadly, Sidmouth ladies did not win enough of the five disciplines to secure a place in the next round so will have to wait another year to try again.

With a late finish and the wind picking up in gusts along with some showers, everyone was glad to get home and warm up!

Undaunted by the previous evening’s defeat, two ladies’ rinks travelled from Sidmouth on Wednesday to Crediton to play in the second round of another major competition - the Interclub - against North Devon-based Bradworthy.

Sidmouth got off to a good start - particularly with one rink picking up a six on the third end.

However, in a big turnaround, Bradworthy ladies had moved into a three shot lead on the 19th end.

On the 20th end, one of the Sidmouth teams picked up a three and the other a two.

This all meant that, going into the final end, there was all to play for. In what proved to be a nail-biting deciding end, both Sidmouth skips came in for shot, clinching a Sidmouth win on both rinks - the final score resulting in a 47-42 overall success for Sidmouth and with it, a place in the third round.

Let nobody think Bowls is a game for the faint-hearted! It helped that a pub lunch was in the offing for the return journey home - with good cause to celebrate - plus it didn’t rain.

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