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Bowls In Focus : December 2010
18 Bowls In Focus AJ’s Navy Takes On The Brits Prominent Somerville bowler Anita Jenkins re- cently experienced a trip of a lifetime as part of an inaugural development tour of Great Britain by a Royal Australian Navy Lawn Bowls Association representative squad. Anita, ‘AJ’ to her friends, was selected in the squad of twelve who participated in the tour, with the aim of preparing the Navy side for the coming Australian Services National Carnival in Brisbane, having won the event for the first time in 28 years last time around. The RANLBA raised over $10,000 with support from Leighton Constructions and Forster Gardens Holiday Apar tments in preparation for the tour, which commenced at the Atherley Bowling Club in beautiful Southampton. After receiving a warm welcome, it was time to hit the turf and jumping straight into a 21-end fours game didn’t allow much time for ‘AJ’ and her ship- mates to get accustomed to the very slow greens. And, as expected, the seasiders got the jump early, however to the Aussie team’s credit, they closed the margin late in the afternoon. Unfor tunately, the run was a little late, allowing the locals first bragging rights by scoring a narrow victory. While in the area the squad took time out to visit such famous landmarks such as HMS Vic- tory, HMS Warrior and the Dockyard Museum at Portsmouth. Next up was at the historic Sir Francis Drake Bowing Club in Plymouth. Legend has it that in 1588 the famed British sea captain, navigator and privateer - that’s a pirate who plunders on behalf of his country – was engaged in a game of bowls on the Plymouth Hoe, and refused to go and face the approaching Spanish Armada until it was over. Due to so many of the home club’s members being eager to try their hand against the Aussies, a fours round-robin over 21 ends was played. Here again the competition was fierce and with the local side’s team captain Dave Cutler – a former England international - playing against the visitors, the chances of an Australian victory were slim at best. After Plymouth the squad made its way to Cardiff in Wales, where they came up against the famous combined sports club of Cardiff Athletic. After being made most welcome by members at the historic rugby club’s greens, ‘AJ’ and her fellow Australians went out for a great afternoon of bowls against the locals. On completion of the match, the visitors were invited back to the rugby club for some warm ale and other refreshments, then, to top off a great day, were given unrestricted access to the exclu- sive Welsh Rugby Trophy Room for a private tour. Crossing back over the Bristol Channel the squad arrived at the world heritage listed city of Bath to take on the highly respected Bath Bowling Club. And in perfect conditions, on a green of simi- lar pace to those found downunder, the antipode- ans took the points before retiring to the clubhouse for home-made pork pies and scones with clotted cream, which ‘AJ’ said were ‘absolutely amazing!’ The final game of the tour took place against the Metropolitan Police bowlers in London – ‘ello! ‘ello! ‘ello! The jovial Bobbies fielded a strong side on the day and defeated the Aussies quite handsomely, but it was a most enjoyable experience for both teams. While in London the tour squad took a day off to support the Aussies on day one of the Austra- lia versus Pakistan cricket test at Lord’s, which was another great ‘buzz’ according to ‘AJ’. The warmth of welcome received at all of the host clubs was outstanding and the tour was thoroughly enjoyed by all members of the squad. Tour manager Scott McNally, association treasurer Bryan Neal and RANLBA president Mel DeLooze presented each club captain and president with a tour shirt and a plaque, which included an embed- ded coin espousing the Australian Navy’s core values. The professionalism shown by the troupe upheld the great reputation and long-standing traditions of all RAN touring squads to have gone before them. ‘AJ’ reckons the Navy players gained a lifetime of big match experience from the tour and will give a very good account of themselves at this year’s Services Carnival. - Stephen Miller • Top: The Aussie Navy squad at Plymouth’s historic Sir Francis Drake Bowling Club. That’s ‘AJ’ kneeling second from the left. • Above: Here’s ‘AJ’ strutting her stuff on the green. • Below: Plymouth Hoe – site of Drake’s famed ‘Spanish Armada’ game – the ‘green’ was apparently situated somewhere in the foreground. Special Projects Special Projects Kate Benton