David Mercer’s Presidential Year


It is often said that time seems to fly by as you get older, and I would certainly agree with that after an enquiry from Ken Boobyer, nearly four years ago, as to whether I would be interested in becoming Men’s President. Ken had been President of D.C.B.A. in 1984, and, under the old rota system whereby each Section in turn put forward a President, it would be Section 5’s turn to have a President in 2016. There was more than one candidate from the Section and we had a vote at the Section A.G.M. before my name was put forward. How things have changed in the past few years: the old rota system has had to be scrapped and we are looking for people to volunteer to go on the Presidential trail.

Having served my apprenticeship as Junior Vice and Senior Vice under David Butterworth and John Theedom, I became the third member of Bitton Park, following Ken and the late Jim Boyne , to become County Men’s President when I was installed at the 2015 A.G.M.

A full programme of Men’s and Mixed County matches and games against Clubs who had invited the President to bring a side to play against them had been arranged, including a fixture with Bowls England whose President, Michael Jennings from Cornwall, brought his side from all over the country to Topsham B.C.  54 matches were played and 4 games were cancelled, three due to bad weather and one where our opponents, who had invited us, could not raise a side. Players of ages ranging from over 90 to under 20 from 71 of the County’s Clubs played in these games, along with the Presidential team and the Honorary Members, and thanks are certainly due to Carol, Edgar and David for putting the teams together and ensuring, with only one or two hiccups, that the right number of players turned up at the correct venue on the day. I hope that this support from the Clubs will continue or these friendly, but quite competitive, games will not be possible.

There was one slight concern that I had on becoming President and that was how, as a non-driver, I was going to get to some of the Clubs I had been invited to attend. I need not have worried, and many thanks to those of you who provided me with lifts. There was only one potential problem and that occurred when Carol sent out the team sheet for the game at Bradworthy, and I was the only person from either Section 5 or 6 to be selected. Having checked on the Bowls Devon website how to get to Bradworthy by public transport, and then looked at the timetables, I found that no matter how early I left Teignmouth I could not get to Bradworthy before 3.00 p.m. – not much good when the game starts at 2.00 p.m.! I mentioned this to Carol, and she arranged for Ruth and herself to pick me up at St. David’s in Exeter, and I got to Bradworthy for a very enjoyable afternoon. When I mentioned my potential problem to the Club President and Captain, they pointed out that the bus only runs on a Tuesday and Friday, and our game was on a Thursday!

2016 saw another very successful year for the County at Leamington with many individual and Club successes as well as the Men retaining the Middleton Cup, and it was an honour and privilege to go on to the green at Leamington to receive the Middleton Cup.

I was lucky as President to be part of a team that worked well together, and many thanks to Colin, Mike, Jacky and Ruth for their support. I wish all the best to Colin and Ruth in their year as Presidents, and hope that their season is as enjoyable as mine has been.


David Mercer,

Men’s President, Bowls Devon 2016