Traditionally, this tournament is held at Ashton Golf Centre, a delightful and picturesque 9-hole course adjacent to the 18-hole Lancaster championship course and having much the same topography. So it was that most of us assembled in the clubhouse at 0930 for coffee and household chores before moving to the first tee at 1000.
Soup and enormous plates of delicious sandwiches were served to groups on completion of their rounds. Normally, a round on this course takes about two hours and we were on the point of sending out a search party for the later groups, thinking that they were lost or had strayed onto the adjacent 18-hole course when the lookout posted on clubhouse balcony reported a sighting. The stragglers were greeted with comments like “The food was for lunch, not tea or evening meal!”, “What time does it go dark?”, and those are the only printable ones. Actually, I take full responsibility. This year, despite the tricky nature of the greens, we asked players to putt out, rather than award themselves 20 yard gimmees. Most, though I suspect not all, adhered to the rule and this probably accounts for low Stableford scores and the time taken to complete a round.
For the record, the Guest Winner and player with the overall best score was Peter (Tiger) Hawkes. He was awarded a hand-engraved gold medal to mark his outstanding achievement – I gather he is now known as 'Medallion Man', as is the winner of the Silver Chalice, a perpetual trophy which is awarded to the Member with the best Stableford score on condition that he has it engraved, keeps it clean and returns in time for the next tournament. David Bunting won the trophy and was also awarded a gold medal. He won on a count-back for the second consecutive time, on both occasions the unfortunate runner-up was Brian Ross.
The day was, as usual, lots of fun and will probably generate lots of tales which will grow with the passage of time. For my part, even though currently unable to compete and somewhat disappointed by the number of Members taking part, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and I hope that those involved did so as well. Particular thanks go to David Bunting and Harry Moore for scrupulously checking cards and recording the result, to Maurice Barker for recording the event in photographs and to our lone spectator, Charlie Billington, who joined us for food and drink.
A final snippet. A local golfer asked me who we were. I told him we were a group of people, many of whom went to PGS which closed in 1967. He said, “You've done well to keep going. What sort of things do you do?” I said, “Well, we play bowls and golf and we go on visits.” “Where to?” he asked. I thought for a moment and said “Cemeteries!”. He nodded.
For those not familiar with Royal Goosnargh, it is a fairly benign nine-hole course created a few years ago on farm land. Sadly, the farmer who built it has since died and the course is now owned by two of his nieces, one of whom lives some distance away. The course is managed by one lady and a Polish greenkeeper and together they keep things in such pristine condition that some of the local clubs would do well to emulate.
The day began around 09.30 with the usual warm and cheerful welcome and a cup of coffee, which eased the pain of the green fees. David Bunting briefed competitors about the local rules and then everyone made their way to the first tee for a 10.00 start. Although most of the holes appear straightforward, it is surprisingly easy to find difficulty, as the Stableford scores reveal: in not far short of ideal conditions, many competitors with respectable club handicaps only achieved moderate scores.
In the Members section, a most unusual situation arose where three players with identical handicaps carded the same score. Under the rules of the competition, when a tie occurs, the winner is the player with the highest handicap. On this occasion a count-back method was used, where the score over the last five was used, and it was effective in separating the three players and resulted in David Bunting being declared the winner of the solid silver trophy (which he has to have engraved with his name at his own expense!). Commiserations to Brian Ross (2nd) and Brian Stott (3rd). The Guest Section was won by that wily Irishman, Harry Moore, with a magnificent score of 21 points, made even more remarkable by the fact that he has scarcely played for many months. He and David Bunting were each presented with hand-inscribed, solid gold (coloured) medals to mark their achievements.
Following the tournament, the players and the spectators went to Ye Horns Inn for a buffet lunch and a glass or two of ale. David and Harry, despite winning their respective classes, checked the scorecards and recorded the results on the board. Maurice Barker, as usual, walked the course and took photographs which will appear on our website.
I thank all who took part, in whatever capacity – players, spectators, photographer (photographs here)– for helping to make the event successful and fun. Though we were few in numbers on this occasion, everyone seemed to have enjoyed himself and, in the end, that is what is important.
Having unsuccessfully attempted to steal the show at the Roebuck Cup, I declined the offer of an encore and contented myself with watching the noble contestants from the clubhouse balcony as they completed their rounds on this most attractive sunlit course.
David Bunting managed the complexities of combining a welcome with issuing cards, explaining local rules, collecting money, two last minute absentees, rescheduling and going out first, with his usual aplomb. However, the pressure told: most unusually for him, he failed to score on two out of the first three holes – he is human, after all!
There were 8 Old Boys (David Bunting, John Whalley, Jim Nix, Brian Ross, Brian Stott, Norman and Fred Harrison and Andy Sumner) and 8 guest players, so 16 golfers in all. Remarkably, in the guests group, there were only two points separating the winner from the last place ie a winner, 3 equal second, and four equal third. All the OBs, with one or two exceptions, had respectable rounds. Brian Ross, who tied for third place with David Bunting, won a sleeve of Srixon golf balls for a remarkable two on the par 3, Stroke Index 3, 6th hole. Norman Harrison won the Silver Chalice with the fine score of 18 points, one point better than Brian Stott, whom the Lancashire Evening Post once referred to as “Brain Stott”, and we never let him forget that ! The lowest placed man of our 8 man Group was Jim Nix, with a score of 1. Yes - 1!
Guest players generally score better than our Members and though Rob Dawson won the Gold Medal with the same score as Norman Harrison (18), 4 Guests were but one point behind, and the remaining 3 were just one point behind them. Now that would have made for an exciting finish, if only we had an electronic scoreboard like they do at The Open.
Former President John Whalley presented The Cup, Medal and Prize whilst Maurice Barker (with his own camera) and Charlie Billington (with John Whalley's) walked the course taking pictures, along with their photos of the presentation. See here.
The weather was great - a sunny day with very little wind, and a very convivial atmosphere existed for the whole event, which concluded with (apart from the presentations) a lunch of sandwiches and soup. The event was brought to a close by a Vote of Thanks to Ashton Golf Centre for the use of their course and clubhouse, the food and the warm and friendly hospitality which provided a day which all enjoyed.
Tony Olivine, with help of David Bunting.
Following several days of intermittent heavy rain showers, we were indeed fortunate to have blue skies and sunshine, but it was cold and there was a very strong wind. Although the course was dry on the surface, it was soft underneath and this meant that there was no 'run' on the ball and that combined with the gusty, sometimes almost gale force, wind made playing conditions very difficult and it is to everyone's credit that all survived and completed their round, but only the better golfers returned respectable scores.
Three of the Guests, who competed for the World Famous Framed Tenner, and a hand-inscribed gold medal, achieved outstanding rounds - Mike Jarvis 15 points, Harry Moore 19 points, and Graham Rawson, the clear winner, with 21 points, a score made even more remarkable considering he played off 15, one of the lower handicaps.
As for the Members, only three of the seven entries managed to score double figures. Brian Ross, on his return from Austria, scored 10 points, and for only the second time in living memory, we had a tie, so a little-known local rule had to be invoked, namely "he with the highest handicap shall be declared the winner". So it was that a surprised Andrew Sumner was presented with the priceless silver chalice and gold medal by past President, John Whalley. A word of commiseration to David Bunting, the previous holder of the cup, whose score of 11 points tied with Andrew's, but he was 'robbed by the rules'. I am, however, sure that it will make him even more determined to have his name engraved, yet again, on the trophy.
So, thanks to Royal Goosnargh for hosting the tournament, to Ye Horns for their hospitality, to Harry Moore and David Bunting for dealing so ably with the scorecards, to Maurice for taking photos, and to Charlie for being, but most of all to the players who battled so manfully with the elements
Following coffee and a briefing, the six groups [4 x 4 and 2 x 3] set off at roughly 5 minute intervals and, somewhat surprisingly, the slippage was minimal. For those unfamiliar with what used to be called "Ashton with Stodday Golf Club", this attractive course is in some ways, terrain-wise, an extension of its more famous neighbour Lancaster Golf Course. With undulating fairways and plenty of trees [some would say too many!] it looked very attractive on the Tuesday morning, although many players remarked that it was not up to its usual standard, largely due to the variable weather which meant that the normally tricky greens were even more difficult to read than usual. However, this did not detract from proceedings: the sun shone, and the Members and Guests set about things with great gusto and the usual good-humoured banter, and generally returned with some very respectable scores.
Soup and sandwiches were served to playing groups on completion of their rounds. Harry Moore and David Bunting dealt amazingly quickly with the cards, and were ably assisted by Joe Jackson, who recorded results on the scoreboard. This revealed that the President's brother, Tony Monks , had triumphed by one point over Dave Booth  and was awarded The World Famous Framed Tenner by Association President, Colin Monks. The priceless silver chalice, kindly returned by the previous winner, David Holmes, who had travelled all the way from the Midlands to take part, was won by David Bunting  who was well clear of quite a strong field. It was also fitting that Jim Nix, who had also travelled a long way to be with us, won the bottle of good quality red wine, in the Association's first ever free raffle.
A fine day, literally, in which many played a part: the sunshine [which got a round of applause!]; the hospitality and catering provided by the friendly staff of Ashton Golf Centre; Maurice Barker for photographing everything that moved [and some things that didn't!]; Colin Monks, PGSA President, for attending, presenting trophies and his comments; the PGSA Secretary and Jim Banks for attending and supporting the event; and, of course, the players, who strove manfully on a deceptively tricky course.
So, it's congratulations to the winners, on a day when there were no losers.
Thank you all for your friendly co-operation and taking part.
For those of you unfamiliar with Goosnargh Golf, to use its correct name, it is a fairly flat, attractive course set in lovely surroundings on the Inglewhite Road, two minutes on the Longridge side of Inglewhite. The course is managed by two delightful sisters and is kept in superb condition by a hard-working team of greenkeepers who should be particularly proud of their greens which are truly immaculate. The course, which has no bunkers but plenty of other hazards, is relatively young, but is maturing well and was created from farmland quite recently by the late uncle of the ladies who are now in charge.
The sky was blue and the sun shone as Members and their Guests assembled for coffee and initial briefing at 0930 before making their way to the first tee. Although the course is without too many obvious difficulties, it is far from easy and was made more difficult in the early stages by heavy dew. Progress seemed to be steady, although one group did manage to lose their way – “So much for a Grammar School education !” as on guest was has heard to remark – and after about two hours we made our way to The Green Man at Inglewhite for much needed refreshments.
We were well looked after at The Green Man – a separate room, sandwiches, pies and sausage rolls. The bar was notable for the Lancashire Blonde beer and the outstanding Lancashire Blonde barmaids who served it, all of which helped to make a pleasant and successful finish to a most enjoyable day.
For the record, Tony Olivine retained the much sought-after Silver Chalice, largely due to the ploy of arranging the Tournament when many of the better golfers were away on holiday. The World Famous Framed Tenner was won by a first-time entrant, Graham Rawson, an all-round sportsman who won a prestigious cup for croquet on the previous day. The awards were presented by John Whalley, the President of the Association, who, after congratulating the winners, thanked all who had supported the event.
As organiser, I should like to echo his words, and single out three people for special mention: Terry Baldwin, who dealt with the checking of the scorecards, Dick Bettess for taking photographs at the start of the day, and John Whalley for recording events at the end (photographs here). I should also like to thank the owners of Goosnargh Golf – aka Royal Goosnargh - for the privilege of being able to play on their lovely course, and to the management and staff of The Green Man for looking after us so well. Finally, I should like to thank all those who took part for the sporting manner in which they played and their good-natured company afterwards.
So it was, under increasingly threatening skies, that the tournament reached the semi-final stage, the green became less crowded, and the standard of bowls increased significantly as Messrs Hall, Bunting, Brook and Turner fought for a place in the final, with David Bunting and Alan Turner emerging to contest the final. Rob Brook and Brian Hall, as semi-finalists, each received hand engraved bronze medallions, David Bunting, finalist, a silver medal , and Alan Turner became the proud owner of the much sought after gold medal and custody of The Roebuck Cup, after a closely fought and entertaining battle in front of an attentive, knowledgeable, appreciative audience.
Amazingly, no person has ever retained the trophy throughout the history of the competition, and this year's event followed what has become the traditional pattern.
Trophies on this occasion were presented by Charlie Billington. This was a popular choice because he currently has lost his voice which meant that there would be no lengthy speech, in fact no speech at all which meant that, with the bar open and food available, the green and the spectator area were quickly deserted. Guy's have always treated us well and this was no exception: from our greeting and welcome cup of coffee to the lunch and the bar, their hospitality was faultless.
Following lunch came the Skills Test which Alan Turner seemed destined to win until the last competitor, Charlie Billington, not known for his bowling prowess, amazed spectators (and himself!) by putting his attempt almost on top of the target for which he received the “Priceless” Bottle of Wine, just as the rain started.
It was a good day, enjoyed by all. As usual, it starts as a friendly game of bowls and becomes increasingly more intense as the weaker players are eliminated and the quality of play increases to a very respectable, but, nevertheless, good natured, standard.
I thank all those who took part for the way in which they did so, with an especial mention for Maurice Barker for transport, immaculate lettering and photographs, David Bunting for assistance with draw, and Charlie Billington for his efficient, and silent, distribution of gold, silver and bronze medals and The Roebuck Cup, and to congratulate him on his surprising triumph in the Skillls Contest.
The previous year, everyone had to attempt to play everyone else. The competition took all day with up to seven pairs on the green at the same time resembling something more like skittles than bowls, all this in rather oppressive heat. This year, thanks to our excellent organiser, not only were the rules simplified but he somehow managed to provide superb weather conditions.
The 16 players were divided into groups of four, each member of the group having to play each of the other three, with the first to seven points being the winner. There were varying degrees of competence, from those who play almost every day to ones like myself who only play in this competition once a year because they enjoy the camaraderie and excellent social event. As expected, I didn't win a game but at least managed to get 7 points from a possible 21, and as the old Grammar School taught us " It's not the winning...." and all that.
The four who did win their groups then went on to play the semi-finals and of course the winners of those games were the finalists. The 'Final' was a nail-biting close-run thing with Maurice Barker narrowly beaten into the silver medal position by our worthy winner Phil Adams, who was presented with the prestigious and magnificent Roebuck Cup. David Bunting took the bronze medal position.
An extra 'Skills' competition finalised the event with a bottle of wine being presented to the winner, Frank Pearson. An excellent buffet lunch was then enjoyed by all. The plan was for a friendly match to be held to round off the afternoon, but as the meal was being consumed the weather took a u-turn, and it was a case of 'rain-stopped-play'. Photographs.
Unfortunately the event had a sad ending. Our organiser, Tony Olivine, was unable to play because the previous day he had fallen on the golf course damaging his ankle. As the medals were being awarded, his ankle gave way again and he fell heavily. As he was in great pain and badly shaken, an ambulance was called. Two very pleasant paramedics treated Tony with great care and respect and he was despatched to the Royal Preston Hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken hip. He was treated very quickly, undergoing a replacement operation within two days, and despite a complication with his ankle, he is already on the mend. We wish him well for a speedy recovery.
On the previous day, our noble Secretary drew numbered golf balls from a bag in order to put the 22 entrants randomly into two groups of eleven. The members of each group played all the other members of the group on a “first to 7” basis. Now - anyone with half a brain would have realised that each group would require 55 games in order produce the two who would contest the semi-finals. I didn’t, so the day went on for ever – this was compounded by the fact that many of the matches were close, a fact that the scoreboard did not reveal……it was also interesting to note that only one person failed to win a match. So, I must apologise to everyone for the length of time that the event took – I hope you found some consolation in the weather and the fact that both the food and bar were excellent.
Despite the fact that some, quite understandably, had to leave before the final, most remained to watch the semi-finals and applaud the eventual winner.
Semi Finalists [Bronze Medal] Phil Adams and Fred Harrison
Runner Up [Silver Medal] Brian Hall
Winner [Roebuck Cup and Gold Medal] David Bolton
I was delighted that most of the better bowlers were represented in the finals, even though none of them featured in the Skills Competition which was won by David Bunting whose bowl ended up only 25 inches from the target, beating Brian McVann by just two inches.
So, many congratulations to all the winners, and Thank You to all those who took part in such a cheerful and sporting manner. I do hope you enjoyed the event and that you are not stiff as I was the day after. Photographs.
The Roebuck Hotel at Bilsborrow was the chosen venue for this auspicious occasion and, at 11 am, having come from far and wide, we all duly assembled. After a welcome cup of coffee, we made our way to the green where Brian McVann gave a masterly demonstration of some of the basic and finer points of the game. There then followed a period of intense practice as Members limbered up and got the pace of the green and the smell of Sloan’s Linament wafted gently on the warm summer breeze. Aching muscles and creaking joints were then rested as we repaired to the hotel for an excellent buffet lunch, after which the competition for The Roebuck Cup began in earnest. We were divided into two groups and the intention was that each Member would play every person in his group. The winners of each group would play each other in a Grand Final, both would receive extraordinarily valuable and totally irreplaceable engraved medals, and the winner would receive The Roebuck Cup, which he would hold until the competition was played again. The price he would pay for winning would be that he would be responsible for having his name engraved on the trophy. Educated scholars among you will have noticed a change in tense, because what was intended to happen never actually took place. In the afternoon session, we actually managed to play the first matches and had just begun the second games when the heavens opened and the tournament had to be abandoned. The green was flooded and so, after a useful debriefing session, we retired gracefully to the bar. It was an event which, although inconclusive, judging by the laughter and good-natured banter, most people seemed to enjoy. I should like to thank the Manager and Staff of The Roebuck Hotel for looking after us so well and the Members of The Roebuck Bowling Club for allowing us to use their facilities and even lending us some of their bowls. Most of all, however, I should like to thank all those who took part and helped to make the day so very enjoyable.