After a couple of years of covid cancellation, the Bournemouth Tour was finally on. We packed our bags, polished our woods and set off for the south coast, anticipating a weekend of expert bowling and refined after-dinner conversation.
Our Captain arrived at the Elstead Hotel armed with a full complement of the disciplinary tools required to strike fear into a Banwell bowler's heart.
So, how did the weekend pan out? Read on, and look out for forthcoming parts 2 and 3 of the story....
Our first match
We arrived at the hotel in dribs and drabs, but somehow managed to make it on foot to the nearby Knyveton Gardens Bowling club, on time and in the appropriate dress. The club had received sad news of the very recent death of their captain, as well as that of another member a few days earlier. In spite of this, they had pulled out all the stops to welcome us and carry on with the match.
The captain of the day led tributes and a minute's silence, which was followed by a friendly, but competitive match. It was a warm and sunny afternoon, and afterwards we sat outside the clubhouse in the sunshine, while the captains added up the totals. We didn't talk scores when the captains spoke during tea and drinks, but suffice it to say we came second.
Then it was a short walk back to the hotel for a swim, a nap, pre-dinner drinks or some other form of relaxing activity before we assembled in the dining room.
After dinner, a few fines were meted out, for the odd wrong bias and other minor misdemeanors, as well as a 'bug-on-a-stick' to each member of the losing team (see part 2 of the story to find out more).
The rink with the highest losing score had punishment handed out in the form of the Banwell donkey, which was required to accompany the skip at all times until passed on to the next team. Unfortunately, the skip of the losing team was Dom Towie, past member of Banwell Bowling Club, but under cover from Clarence.
Thus it was determined that the second should own the donkey. Harry was not happy....
Still, dinner was good! Then, after all the excitement, we retired to the bar for a 'quiet' drink - the perfect end to a successful first day.