Heath Old Boys Association

News and events

2017 HOBA Bowling Challenge (Russell Smith Memorial Trophy)

A chilly, sporadically sunny but dry Sunday, 7th May saw a magnificent 19 Heathens — more than double the turnout last year — assemble at Greenroyd Bowling Club for the 11th anniversary version of the coveted Russell Smith memorial trophy. The green, although fox-ravaged, drought-parched and bumpy, was yet playable and so at 2 pm ‘battle’ commenced.

A group photo of those present at the 2017 Russell Smith Memorial Bowls competition
2017 Russell Smith Memorial Trophy bowling challenge group photo

The players were a mix of veterans and naive débutants, namely, J. Henry and T. Depledge; J. Farrell and A. Baigent; G.P. Smith and P. Greenwood; R. Dixon and J. Robertshaw; J. Hamer and R. Sumner; R.D. Morley and D. Potter; A. Hobson and D. Robinson (later replaced by M. Baxendale).

The format was the usual first to 11 or best of five ends.

After some desultory opening salvoes whilst people found their bearings, a pattern began to emerge — that of bowlers who knew what they were doing and no-hopers who didn’t. By the half-way stage Smith and Greenwood, with a thumping 8–1 win, had taken the lead but were being closely trailed by Dixon and Robertshaw who had posted a crushing 9–1 win. After 4 pm the tension mounted and a ‘breathless hush’ [vide Henry Newbolt] fell over the green as scores were closer than anticipated.

After some unseemly argie-bargie over who actually deserved to play in the final, it was contested at 5 pm between the ‘favor-ites,’ Smith and Greenwood, and the home pair, Dixon and Robertshaw. The final proved a disappointment, as the latter’s sparkling earlier form now eluded them. Smith and Greenwood quickly romped to an unassailable 8–0 lead after four ends both winning pair being excellent and Smith’s unerring accuracy providing the knock-out blow.

So the trophy was presented, the buffet and socialising followed and a highly entertaining afternoon concluded.

Thanks go to ever-present John Davey, now well into his anecdotage; John Hudson for providing the buffet; Grayham Smith and Jon Hamer for organising the event; and to Mike Bingham for good-humouredly managing the complex scoreboard; also to Greenroyd for again having us on their sacred turf.

Rod Eastwood [1954–1961]