What a wonderful year – I was so overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone I met and for me the 2014 Bowling Season was one of the highlights of my life. I travelled many miles (at least 8,000) and met many people far and wide. Going to Leamington was such a great experience and I was thrilled to see such fabulous play. I was so proud of all our girls who got there and the Amy Rose and John’s girls shone in every way again both as part of a team and individually. And oh that thrilling and record breaking final between Natalie Melmore and Sue Evans – pure magic. Even though I was unable to get to The Commonwealth Games I followed the Bowls events avidly and again ‘you did us proud’ girls – well done Natalie Melmore and Sophie Tolchard. What superstars you all are.
My year started with opening the green at my own club Shaldon – what a supportive bunch of people they are. The whole Club has supported me throughout the year in many ways and I thank them so much. The Ladies deserve a special mention for making my tour the success it was (without them it could never have happened); for helping with the organisation of games to do with the County and for being a constant support. Shaldon Ladies Captain Pam Goode and my travelling companion and County stalwart Win Howard were two props I could never have managed without.
As for the season itself – it was such a joy to attend all the qualifying and final stages of the County Competitions, the Presidential games, the County games, the Mixed games (playing with and against the men sheds a whole new light on the game of bowls), games against other counties either in the leagues or for fun, and all the other special occasions I was invited to. I particularly enjoyed playing in the England Matches at Dunheved in Cornwall and Wells in Somerset and getting to know the hard-working England Presidential team. I was honoured to be asked to open the Green at Buckfastleigh at the beginning of the season and present the Club Competition prizes at Plymouth Sir Francis Drake at the end.
One of the best parts of being President is to present Badges to new players and I was delighted to do this at several venues at the start of the season and later on to those who qualified to play at Leamington but were not yet badged players – very precious moments.
I travelled within the county from moor to sea and back many times; to well-hidden greens or those isolated on the moors; in the inner city, the suburbs, the countryside, the seaside, the roadside; some large affluent clubs and some tiny not so well-off clubs; it feels as if I have been everywhere – and everywhere I have been, I have been treated royally. Further afield I went from Pixies and Pasties in Cornwall to Dragons and Gryphons in Somerset and onwards through the counties to the hallowed greens of Warwickshire – such a rich experience.