Apologies for the lack of more regular match reports but things have been busy on and off the green, so here is quick update for May working backwards…
On Tuesday 31st a thunderstorm deposited enough hail to stop play and turn the Green white. An early tea gave time for the hail to melt, and the game resumed with a dramatic win for Stoke Park on the last end.
Despite the weather getting worse as summer approaches we have played all our fixtures and have had some success with friendlies both home and away. Notably we beat Burpham and Knaphill at home over the weekend 28th/29th May. We travelled to Oatlands Park for a new fixture and were made very welcome despite the rain.
League fixtures continue with varied success in Tuesday Triples, Knaphill Triples, WSBA Midweek league and the Surrey Ad. Again all fixtures have been played despite the weather.
Our Thursday Club Night league is proving popular with new and old bowlers, with 25 different members currently taking part. Skills sessions on a Monday afternoon are giving us opportunities to practise shots and track our progress. Everyone is welcome to join either of these – it doesn’t matter if you have not been before.
This year several members have entered Surrey and WSBA competitions for the first time and have had the opportunity to play singles, pairs, triples and rinks against other clubs and visit new grounds.
Lots of people have been involved in improving the green surrounds and environment led admirably by Barbara and Steve D. We now have a composting system to recycle our grass cuttings. The banks are full of colour and the two flower beds near the clubhouse are looking splendid. Len sourced two planters for us from the National Trust which were filled with manure and compost before being planted up. Ask Mike B or John W about collecting the manure!
On Sunday 17th April our green was officially opened for the new season. Our chair Richard Duddy and David Matthews’ daughter Sara each gave a short speech to the assembled throng before David’s widow Rosemary delivered the first bowl of the season
David Ewins had organised a short game of triples over six ends. Thanks to the good turnout, we had bowlers on six rinks and we were able to use our new scoreboards, kindly funded by Rentokil Initial. Everyone enjoyed playing in the warm sunshine and the afternoon was rounded off with tea and cake.
Our first (post-Covid) jumble sale since October 2019 was held on Saturday, 9th April in the Village Hall.
We made £443.79 at the Jumble Sale with a possibility of more to come from sales on ebay.
Joan and Allen would particularly like to give a big thank you to those that helped in various ways, including our ‘donors’ and customers; without your support it would not have been such a great success.
The club’s annual Presentation Lunch took place on 24th October at the Guildford Masonic Centre. Due to the Covid pandemic we had to skip our 2020 lunch, so this was a welcome return to our calendar.
As usual, we were blessed with a fine day and a great turn out, with an impressive number of new members joining us for the event.
The carvery lunch was very well received by everyone. As usual, a quiz was provided for each table and, once everyone had eaten, it was time for president David Matthews to present the trophies. Congratulations to all the winners.
The afternoon concluded with a raffle and the results of the quiz, which was won by table five.
Our last Thursday club night of the season saw 24 members playing a timed triples match which was narrowly won by Trevor’s team despite being down at the half-way mark.
We then adjourned to the main club for drinks and a well-deserved fish ‘n’ chips supper. The raffle draw curtesy of Allen M and Ken caused a great deal of amusement but eventually all the prizes were distributed.
This was the first of the social events that John and Trevor are arranging over the winter so keep a look out for the Quiz and Race Nights along with our three planned indoor fixtures.
Work on the Green
The end of season work on the green started early thanks to the fact that our last two friendly matches were away to Seale and Sands and Castle Green. We lost both matches but were well entertained by both clubs and many of our new bowlers were able to play over the weekend.
Meanwhile Steve M was introduced to tining. You can see him above sporting his new PPE whilst ‘driving’ the hollow tining machine. It certainly made life easier being able to alternate the work with a rest and a cuppa. The green was hollow tined, scarified and cleared up on Saturday before sarel rolling and overseeding the next day – just in time for the rain!
Our Harding Cup squad of John and Sally, Trevor, Steve M, Lorna, Jarek, Ken B, Debbie and David played ‘home and away’ triples against the local village clubs throughout June, July and August to reach the final for the first time in 6 years. Merrow last won the cup in 2013.
We met Puttenham in the final with a little trepidation, having lost to them in the qualifying rounds, but playing on a neutral ground at Ripley meant both teams had a challenge. On the day Merrow were winners on both rinks for a hard-fought victory.
After the match there was a presentation ceremony, followed by a wonderful tea provided by Mariane for the players and many spectators from all the participating clubs.
We would like to thank Ripley for being fantastic hosts and David P for the organisation of the whole competition.
We managed to fit in our annual President v Chair match, after the first was rained off last month, with four triples and a good number of spectators. This year resulted in a win for the Chair. We had our picnic indoors as it was rather chilly by the end.
It has been good to see many of our new bowlers having a go at both home and away friendly matches. Internal competitions are continuing and the finals will be held over the weekend 11th and 12th September. Keep an eye out for the schedule once finalists are known.
Merrow are through to the final of the Harding Cup and play Puttenham (at Ripley) on 13th September. Supporters are welcome.
We reached the semi-finals of the West Surrey Midweek League but were narrowly beaten by Godalming. The Tuesday Triple squad have qualified to play on finals day after finishing 4th in the Guildford Area.
With one game to play it is likely that Merrow will finish in at least 4th position in their zone for the Knaphill Triples.
The ladies played their first season in the Surrey Ad League and our squad of eight acquitted themselves well with three wins and a draw against some stiff opposition.
The New Bowlers League is very close with all to play for in the last few weeks of the season.
Despite the weather (either hot or wet!) we have continued to play friendlies and league matches. The internal competitions are now well underway too.
The pictures above are of Merrow against Pippbrook (3rd July) where we had a narrow loss (56-60) and enjoyed tea outdoors after.
Some of our new players are already applying and playing in matches and Mike took the photo below at Stoke Park (10th July) where Barbara, David, Helen and Steve played their first friendly. An enjoyable afternoon despite a heavy loss.
Club nights continue to be popular with a training league in operation on Tuesdays for new bowlers and general play on Thursday.
The men have reached the quarter finals of the West Surrey Midweek league after finishing top of their division and edging Egham out in the round of sixteen. They play Bramley at Stoke Park on Friday (30th July).