Ok, I understand
Cookie Notice: This site uses cookies. For more information, please see our privacy policy.

Royal Wootton Bassett Bowls Club


The Toucher

March 2019

Royal Wootton Bassett Bowls Club Magazine

Message from President – Hedley Bowen.

Hi everyone and a very warm welcome to the 2019 Outdoor bowling season. I hope you are all looking forward to it with as much enthusiasm as I am. As you will all know 2018 was yet another Year of unparalleled success for the Club. To the best of my knowledge the Club has never had 2 National Champions in the same year, what an achievement. To Kevin, Graham, Alan and Dave in the Men’s Senior Fours, and to Kyle, Mike, Dave and Steve in the Men’s National Fours, my heartiest congratulations, what an achievement!!!! I fully appreciate that success brings with it some challenges that we shouldn’t shy away from acknowledging. I understand the concerns expressed by both long serving and new members, regarding the influx of ‘Top Quality’ bowlers who are going to be selected ahead of existing members. Success is a double edged sword, on the one hand it makes the Club an attractive proposition for those ambitious bowlers who are seeking recognition at the highest level. On the other hand are the members who have made the Club what it is today, through displaying long standing loyalty, and the hard work associated with maintaining the Club’s needs outside of the Bowling Green. Plus those who are new, or relatively new to the game, who have the enthusiasm to want to play as often as possible. There is the underlying situation of those who want to play competitively, and reach the ultimate goals of National Championships, and those who play for the sheer enjoyment, coupled with those who fall somewhere in between those two categories.

It is a truism that it is an impossible task to try and please all of the people, all of the time, in any organisation. Some of the sharp eyed amongst you, who bother to read the Toucher will be saying, I’m sure this is almost the same as Hedley wrote last year


In the last Toucher article I wrote I gave it full blast, I let everybody know how I felt about the situation the Club had reached and finished by asking the members to write to me with their views about the situation as they saw it.


Out of a Club Membership of approximately 150, only one member bothered to reply. Let me say, I know that there are members who give their all to keep the Club moving forward, putting in hours of work each week and never making any fuss about it....they just get on with it!!!

To you all, my very grateful thanks for all the time and effort you put in on our behalf. There are many changes taking place this year, which will provide more opportunities for members to play in competitive games, I would ask you to read Dave Snell’s article, which will outline for you how selection will be made in Dave’s area of responsibility this season, in an open and honest way. I will state publicly that he has my full support in seeking to move us forward.Once again I will repeat myself, together we can make this Club even more successful.......but only if everybody accepts that we should all be involved in it’s evolution

Hedley Bowen.


Chairman’s Report- Ian Tanner.

Hi Everybody,

As memories of our very successful 90th anniversary season slip away, we are beginning to look forward to our fast upcoming 91st season – 2019. Opening day is 13th April – 2.00pm for 2.30.

Some significant changes this season are on the cards. We are entering the Wiltshire 3-Rink League for the first time. So we will be looking for the support of all the members to support the Club in fulfilling these fixtures. We have also reduced our weekend fixtures (in part to accommodate the 3-rink league) but also to ease the burden on fulfilling two friendly fixtures each weekend. So we are trialling one friendly fixture each weekend –Saturday one weekend, Sunday the next weekend. Please let the Committee know your views as the season progresses.

We have invited representatives from our grant providers (to let them see the fruits of their generosity) and our contractors and suppliers (to let them see the “finished article”) to Opening Day this year. We are also being presented with a plaque by Bowls Wiltshire in recognition of our achievements last season. So come along and be part of the celebrations.

I trust you all had a good winter and are looking forward a good summer of bowls during long balmy days and evenings over the next few months. The few spring-like days in February have given us a taste of things to come. For those of you who have not been up to the Club over the winter (shame on you), there are a few physical changes to be seen this year. One is that all the trees behind the veranda have been cut down, as a safety precaution (one of the Memorial Hall trees came down and just missed the clubhouse). Another is that the remaining three sides’ paths, banks and ditches have been refurbished to the same high standard as the car park side. I trust you will all approve. It was a Herculean task. As an example of just how Herculean it was – we are the first (and so far only) Bowls Club in the country to obtain a grant from Sports England (a tremendous feat). My grateful thanks go to Hedley, Colin, Mike and the rest of the crew for all their hard work and a job well done. The few outstanding tasks (the artificial grass and the resin finish to some of the paths) are both weather dependant, but hopefully, will be finished by Opening Day. One other thing associated with the new ditches. We are installing steps from the paths to the green at each corner of the green. This is the only official way to get on and off the green. Individuals choosing to step up from the green or down to the green by any other method do so at their own risk. You have been warned.

Mike and the maintenance team – the unsung heroes – have again undertaken a huge amount of unannounced work during the winter to keep the Club (your Club) in the tiptop condition we have come to expect, and again, a great big “thank you” to them from me, the Committee and you the members.

Before thoughts of bowling in the warm sunny days ahead begin to fill our minds, please be aware that, as always, several working parties will be required to “tart up” the ravages of winter. Please keep your eye out for requests for volunteers and lend a hand when you can. Colin F will be sending out requests for volunteers, as and when required. Please respond positively when the call comes.

Once again our bingo sessions have been a great success. Richard and all the bingo crew have done a wonderful job in keeping our members and the wider community entertained throughout the dark wet and chilly autumn and winter Monday and Friday evenings, and kept our funds healthy during our quiet income period.

​Once again, I must also congratulate Sally and team for the presentation evening, Dave E and team for the Christmas Day and Mothers’ Day Lunches and Graham and Joe for cooking for all 3, all the helpers “on the day” who sell raffle tickets and tidy up afterwards and man the bar. Thank you all – you, as always, have made these three events highlights of our closed season. Andrew has again prepared another full and varied season for us to enjoy. It was more complicated this year, as he had to incorporate all the Wiltshire 3-rink League fixtures into an already busy schedule. I hope you will make as full a use of our programme as you can. Talking of the season ahead, we still have no Bar Manager. This is likely to have some serious knock-on effects during our bowling - eg no beer, no bar staff. The task is not onerous – drawing up bar staff rotas, co-ordinating the ordering and delivery of supplies and end of month reporting. It does NOT require the Bar Manager to be in attendance every time the bar is open. So come on folks, with over 100 members, surely we have one member willing to take on the job. You will be surprised how grateful the members will be.

Finally, enjoy your bowling in 2019. I hope to see you all at Opening Day.

Ian Tanner

Secretary’s Report Colin Foster

Another winter has passed and everyone is coming out of hibernation. Richard Buckland, Michael Martin, Harold Jones and Tony Butwell looked after the bingo and bar Assisted by Bernie Baker. Unfortunately, there were no function’s other than Christmas and Mother’s Day meals. With no Skittles or Quiz Nights, takings from the bar were considerably down on previous years and some cask beers had to be written off. I have watched the renovations progress slowly during the winter and am pleased to see the various changes that have taken place. We hope that the green improvements will be completed this week {25 29 March 2019} A couple of the changes will affect most members. The steps to the changing rooms have been removed and the entrances to the club house one of which is now a built-in ramp. The shed which holds the pushers and the big shed now have a step down into them and the entrance heights are now lower. The entrances to club from the car park do not change to much but the steps start with a short ramp and the full ramp is due to be resurfaced with a non-slip material, so please be aware of the changes.

For all this to happen a big thank you to Hedley Bowen for his tenacity in obtaining the grants and to Ian Tanner and Sue Reeve for making sure the money came in. We have had several members leave at the end of last season and we wish them all well at their new clubs.

Good news for the ladies as they have attracted three full and a junior to join, so I hope everyone will make them welcome. The club still needs a bar manager, so please contact the committee if you would like to volunteer It might not be as hard as you think. Thanks to the volunteers who have shown up to help with the different jobs that have come along but with a club the size of ours we shouldn’t have to rely on the same old faces so get involved. We all want to play bowls.

I wish you all good luck in the various leagues and competitions that you have entered.

Colin Foster

Bowls Manager’s report Chris Cheesley

I would like to start by welcoming the new members to the club that have joined since my last letter, as I have said before you have joined an exciting club that is both competitive and socially strong. The season ahead of us promises to be an exciting one with teams and individuals competing in international events, National, Wilts, S&D, & club competitions and added to this our debut season in the mens 3 rink league. We set the bar very high in the last 3 years with our success in many competitions are aim must be to try and improve again. We remain the green selected to host the Middleton cup matches further evidence that the effort put in by all members concerned in maintaining the green and infrastructure of the club are rewarded for their efforts. The effort put in by all the club team captains should not be underestimated, sometimes it is easy to criticise but all these individuals stand as captains to ensure we are all in a position to bowl with little or no disruption or planning to ourselves, please support these captains through making yourself available for as many games as possible.

As you can see the club only survives through the tireless efforts of its members, please if you do not currently contribute please ask “what can I do to help” with the winter works of the green surrounds completed on time, there are plans to improve the club further over the next few years the committee continues to work tirelessly to gain funding, but this will not happen if we cannot get support from members happy to give a small amount of time to help.

As the bowling manager my aim is quite simple it is to support members to get the best from there bowling experience, remember this is our hobby, its fun, I like smiling happy people on the green, that means they are enjoying the experience, if at anytime you have a issue from a bowling point of view as we sometimes do I can be contacted by e mail or mobile ccheesley @ msn.com or 07877523777, I will endeavor to sort any concerns as quickly as possible but please remember I am at work so may not pick up your message until the evening.

Finally thank you all for your support over the last year and here’s to a successful 2019 season.

Chris Cheesley

Club Development – Alan Small

A lot of work has been taking place during the winter months on the ditches and walkways around the green and before the 2019 season starts this should all be finished. It will look stunning. We must thank Hedley and the Committee for their enormous efforts to obtain the funding for this project. Colin Foster spends an enormous amount of time at the green coordinating what needs to be done to ensure a satisfactory conclusion. Where would the Club be without these amazing VOLUNTEERS. Can ALL bowling members look into a mirror and say “I do my bit for the CLUB”. We still have no Bar Manager/s!!!! This is an important role to ensure the Club maximises an income stream and I am sure that there are a few people out there who could take on this role solely or in conjunction with other members. Please step forward if you could help.

The Club has said that we need another recruiting drive in 2019 and we have designated Tuesday, 7th May at 6.30pm as our NEW BOWLERS EVENING. I have started to organise this evening by applying to the BDA for a grant and ordering 2 x Banners and some boards to go around the Town. This will follow previous nights and allow new prospective members to have a roll up on the green, followed by a drink and snacks in the Clubhouse. I should like the assistance of at least 10 members to help out welcoming new prospective members to the Club, so let me know if you are available. IF you have neighbours or friends that would like the opportunity to bowl, please ask them to put this date in the diary.

The Club have entered a new Men’s League this year, called The 3 Rink League. There are something like 22 new fixtures to complete this league so please support Captain James Knobbs who will be looking for 12 bowlers per match. There is no fixed day for this League so be aware that Andrew Meek has had to fit them in when time was available. This would be an opportune time to thank Andrew for all the work he does compiling fixtures for each season. He does an excellent job. I have heard through the grapevine that the Club would like to formulate a small team to manage the green. Richard has diligently carried out this task for many years, almost unnoticed, but when he was unwell last year, his absence was sorely missed. Mike Martin bravely stepped up to the plate to cover as best he could, but volunteers  would we gratefully received to assist in 2019. Colin Foster is organising another means of watering the green as the boom has been vandalised. Hopefully this will make it an easier task. Rotating the rink playing positions, so that the green is more evenly used would be a major part of this team.

I would like to finish by wishing all bowling members a great 2019 season. If you need any help at all with any aspect of your play, please ring me or any of the coaches (Michael Jones, now Level2 qualified, Richard Walton, Doug McDaniel or any senior player).Eight bowlers will represent ENGLAND in the BRITSH ISLES CHAMPIONSHIPs in AYR, Scotland in June 2019 and as a Club, RWB members should be very proud of their achievements.

Alan Small

Junior Coaching

​Following on from last season I will be running coaching session from 4.00p.m. to 5.00 p.m. each Wednesday during school term. I would value extra assistance. If you can spare some time do let me know. At this stage I do not know what the response will be.

Michael Jones

Bowling Reports

Ladies We would like to welcome the new members to the Ladies squad and hope we have a happy and successful


Wilts Team Dave Snell

Hi everybody welcome to another season and I hope you all enjoy the next few months on the green and any success you might achieve will be a bonus. This season in the Wilts League there is no Wilts Squad, all members will be considered for selection and during the league games we will look to select improving players from the S & D teams to give them a flavour of higher competition and to increase their knowledge of all aspects of the game. If and when we reach the quarter final stages, we will then select the strongest teams available with a view of winning another league title for the Club. 

We have selected the A Squads for both The Top Club and Two Fours Competitions and these are listed below, you will see that there are 15 players in The Top Club and 12 players in the Two Fours. All the players listed are aware they cannot be selected for the B squads until the A squad has been knocked out of the competitions.

The B squad listed below are just suggested players only, as all players in the Club will be considered on their consistency and current form/performance. Also, we have different selectors for the four teams (as seen below) so there will be no conflict should the A team be drawn against the B team during these two competitions.

Wilts Team sheets will be posted on the changing room notice boards at least 5 days before the next match. All Wilts games this year will be played on Wednesdays with the first game at home on the 1st May 2019.

S&D A Team Michael Jones

We welcome the return of Matt Daniels and Robbie Stubbs as well as Neil Collett and Reg Comley to the team this season. This strengthens our squad and we hope to have an improved run this year.

Mike Martin and myself welcome you to this new season and wish you every success and enjoyment.

Michael Jones

S&D B Team Graham Richards

So, as the new season beckons, we can look forward to another challenging season, going into the new season as League winners for the 2nd season in succession, in itself an extremely good achievement. However, we of course would love to get the hat trick and win it again,we are joined this year by Nigel Walkley and look forward to welcoming him into the squad and using his experience. We have lost Reg Comley to the A Team and wish him every success, we’ll miss Reg as he’s a very handy lead, so good luck with that. We have also lost some other squad members due to leaving and relocating to other areas.however, I believe we have strength in depth and with a handful of players coming back from illness, studies and injury. It just leaves me to say, have a good season, enjoy your bowls and who knows what might happen

Graham Richards

Monday Afternoon C Team

Another season, another promotion .....hopefully! Division 6 in 2015 and after three successive promotions we’re up to Division 3, so let’s try and get to Division 2 by the end of season 2019. We’ve lost a couple of players or three, Del, Geoff Woodward and Dave Pugh both moving away, however we have got a couple of good replacements in Kevin Embling and John Williamson, so we can look forward to having some good experience in our squad this season. Let’s enjoy what’s going to be a real test this year, work hard with plenty of focus and I believe we can do it.

Enjoy your bowls guys.

Graham Richards

Monday Afternoon D Team


The 2019 season starts shortly .with us being in the 5 division, which is new challenge. We have lost some member, but we have gained some.

I hope to see all, fit and well for the first games, starting in May.

Phil Hughes

Saturday Captain – Michael Jones

​This season we have a reduced fixture list of 10 matches. You will see from your list that there is not a game every Saturday. When there is no game scheduled and the green is available I suggest that those who would like a game we organise a game between ourselves. Advance notice : Saturday 20th July we are away to Ross-on Wye. This is a 6 rink MF game. I need to know well in advance that we can bring a 6 rink team, that is 24 players. If possible we can go by coach if we can also fill the coach with people in order to keep the costs down.

Please not that this season we are having to re-arrange our catering arrangements. Players will be asked to contribute sandwiches, cakes etc. for certain games. You will be reimbursed for your costs. If this summer weather is anything like last summer. We shall be in for a wonderful seasons bowling.

Michael Jones

Sunday Captain Phil Hughes

Sunday matches are spread out through the season. There will only be 10, to be played. Hopefully, to get a better turnout of members.

Looking forward to seeing everyone.

Phil Hughes

Editor’s Notes

Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard in the close season to make the improvements to the club – well done everyone.

Bev & John Williamson