Captains Blog

Issue 1


ISSUE 1 DATE 23 March 2021

With just a month or so to go before the start of the season, it is time for us all to start dusting the cobwebs off those bowls. I regard being Captain of the team as a great privilege, and I intend to do my best to enable us all to reach our full potential.

Having said that, it is important to remember that bowls, at our level, is a pastime. It is a game to enjoy and gain relaxation from. There are only a small number of top players who eke out a living as professionals in the game. I was fortunate to be playing in the same county rink as Robert Weale when he won the world indoor championship in the year 2000. His prize money was £25,000. He told us that he had spent more than double that amount over the previous few seasons on travelling and accommodation expenses. He remarked the best memory he will have of winning, was when a young woman spectator ran naked across the rink during a David Gourlay game!


The reality of the season ahead, is that there are clearly a number of strong teams in our respective divisions. Hopefully, like me, you are all very competitive. We can more than match these teams. Having played in some successful teams over the years, the stand out difference is simply confidence. The confidence to not only play the shot but also to select the right shots to play at the right time. I can absolutely guarantee you all, that your game will improve this year. I intend to work with the club coaches to help us achieve that.

There is one bugbear of mine that I must state now. As I have already mentioned, Bowls is a pastime. It should be enjoyable. Being competitive does not equal having to be aggressive or negative. I see too many bowlers (not just skips) , displaying poor body language towards their fellow team members. The old saying that ‘nobody means to bowl a bad wood’ is very true.

Please show good sportsmanship to not only the opposition, but also to your own team members.

Finally(you will be glad to read), I will be sending out a ‘Captain’s Blog’ each month. Once the season gets going this will mostly consist of reflections on the matches we have played. I will also be seeking contributions from some of you. Perhaps you could give some thoughts to things about your life you would be happy to share. I will be sending out an initial Captain’s blog during the next couple of days. I will also be meeting up with Tommy Metcalfe towards the end of this month to look at how we can work together with all club members during the season.

In the meantime, here are a few questions I would like answered:

1) Will the Triple clown winners(England) ever beat Wales at rugby again?

2) Keith Gosden tells me he used to ride it true that he was the leader of the 1st chapter Isle of Wight Hell’s Angels?

3) If Scotland finally win independence.....does that mean John Newberry will have to become a one man team?

Issue 2


ISSUE 2 DATE 02 April 2021


This week came the sad news that Frank Chatfield has passed away. Many of you will have played against Frank over the last few seasons. He was a member of Ryde Bowling Club until joining Plessey in 2018. Although a very good player, you might best remember him for having a cigarette on the go for most of the game!

Frank was the current Middleton Cup Team Manager. My enduring memory of him will be of the time he had successfully interviewed for the Middleton cup manager job. He was so proud that he could not help immediately coming along to Ryde Indoor Bowls Club to tell everyone of his success. He loved bowls and talked of little else. His passing is a loss to Island bowls, but more so to his family.

Now then; Guess what? Totland Bowls Club have a Management Group who seem to know what they are doing (maybe 1 Having now attended my first meeting as a member of this Group, I came away with a great feeling of positivity about the club’s future. Perhaps that which most encouraged me, was listening to how some of the more difficult decisions to be made were resolved amicably.

Thank you to everyone who has so far sent me their unavailability dates for the season ahead.

It now looks as if the ‘A’ team squad will consist of 15 players. I very much echo the comment made by Tommy Metcalfe in his recent post, that everyone who has paid their full playing membership should get an equal amount of games to play. I will ensure this happens.

Taking the risk of boring you all, I would like to say a little bit about the ‘positions’ in a rink. In my experience, far too many bowlers get precious about whether they play as front end or backend players. Using myself as an example, my preferred position in a rink would be to play as lead. The biggest mistake some leads make is to think that they have to get shot wood. They don’t. Their job is to set the head up for your team mates coming after you.

Player 2 either builds on what the lead has done or converts the head in our favour. This player must also be prepared to fire at the head, if asked to by the Skip. This is because sometimes a head develops in such a way that there may not be another chance to open it up because of short bowls.

Player 3 must have all the shots in his or her armoury. Crucially, they must also be able to ‘read’ the head and advise the skip accordingly when the skip comes to bowl. A good number 3 will also need to be assertive when it comes to measuring. The best number 3 I have played with over the years is John Crews. During our upcoming practice sessions, I will show you what makes John so good.

Finally, the Skip. A good skip can have a terrible game themselves, but still win the match.(Keith Gosden gets away with this regularly). If the other 3 play well, then the skip often does not need to do very much.


The most important job of a Skip is to encourage , know his team mates strengths and weaknesses and have a sense of humour. The humour is important, I remember playing with Marty Butchers as my skip in a national quarter final at Leamington in 2018. There were around 300 people watching our game and I was having a nightmare. Then with about 6 ends to go and several shots down on the game, I put yet another bad bowl down. Marty shouts out “don’t worry Steve, that was a great line......for the other hand”. It somehow broke the tension and we went on to win that game. It was the right thing to say at the right time.


I apologise to those experienced bowlers among you who know all this stuff. It’s useful for me to go over it sometimes. Whenever I go home to Wales, I always go along to see Betty Morgan for some coaching. Betty did not take up Bowls until she was in her forties, but went on to win numerous National, Commonwealth and British Isles titles. She was also awarded an MBE for her services to bowls.


So, I look forward to seeing you all up on the green very soon. I love the social side of bowls especially meeting new people. Yesterday, I was at Yarmouth ferry terminal waiting for my partner to come off the Ferry. A member of Wightlink staff approached me and asked my name. Oh. oh I thought what has my missus done now! not tried to evade the ferry fare again I hope. But no, the member of staff was a Totland bowler who I had not met before, but somehow recognised me. I expect one of you reading this had told her to look out for a bloke who resembled Brad Pitt.


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05.02 | 08:17

Hello Paul,

Thanks for your email. I will forward your request to our Tourist Secretary who will contact you soon.


Andy Hastings (Webmaster)

04.02 | 20:37

We are looking to tour the IOW in 2021 and was wondering if you have any availability for a 6 Mx Rink match between the 2nd and 8th September 2021 PLEASE?-

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