Welcome to the December edition.  My first pleasant task is to congratulate the men’s team from our Stadium in retaining the Inter-Association Cup they won last year at Co Antrim; this year they defeated all 3 other teams (ie. Baker, Provincials, and the Irish U25s.) in Ballymoney. So next year we have home advantage for the three in a row!  Well done!!

Hopefully all subscriptions are now paid. We are chasing up a small number. Similar to last year I have listened to the doom – merchants of the Watson Stadium complaining about the massive fall off in numbers bowling – up to 300 one man told me. I would appeal to all members not to listen to rumours and not to spread them either. The Manager and Secretary are the only ones who know the truth, and I am pleased to inform you all that we have 160 new members (compared to 121 last year).  Our combined membership now stands at 1137, compared to 1182 in March last year, so we are down 45 not 300!

Talking of new members, the second period of coaching begins on Monday January 12th. This is a major area where the Club attracts new members, so if any of you know anybody out there who has some free time, or needs some exercise…….

We are approaching the time of year when some games are postponed for a variety of reasons; the rule applies that the responsibility lies with the rink crying off to re-arrange the game.  I would appeal to all rinks to fulfil ALL their fixtures as this ensures our daily income. The Duty Staff actually inform me that many of the rinks are up to date – so well done!!

Our website is still busy. It is updated regularly, thanks to Greg Miskelly. In November alone, the League Results page was visited 1013 times (this number does not include multiple hits on each League Page), which shows it is worth it.

We had another successful Halloween Night (pictures below). Together with the Charity rinks and ballot, £168 was raised for Cancer Research for Children.  Don’t forget to book your Xmas Dinner early – with the restaurant – menu is in the foyer.

A small request!  Would all players (not just members) please switch off their mobiles during play.  Surely that is not too much to ask??

I trust the more discerning members have noticed our new flowerbed at the front of the building.  This was partly done with next year’s Championships in mind, but I think it will look good when in full bloom.

We will be running a fun/skills night on Saturday December 20th – this is new. A rink of 4 can enter, but rinks can also be made up on the night. There will be at least 6 different ‘skills’ for you all to prove how good you are (just 1 example – bowling a jack into a beans tin). All monies (£2 entry fee) raised will go to the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association.

You are no doubt aware by now that next March we are hosting the British Isles Mens and Ladies Championships and Internationals. The Club is responsible for putting the programme together, and this where we, usually, make some profit, from advertisers.  Richard and I are in the process of looking for potential advertisers, but if any members know of possible contacts in this area please talk to us.

We recently hosted the AIIB Triples (Last 16 and Quarter-Finals). Below, in the foreground, is action from our last remaining rink (Semi-Final qualifier: Roy Battersby).

Opening times for the Club over the Xmas period will be posted up around the Clubhouse.

May I take this opportunity, on behalf of the Management Committee of BIBC, to wish all our members a joyful and happy Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.