This month I include an interview with what I can only call two of the Club’s stalwarts – Eddie McNally and Seamus Elliman.

This pair have been bowling together – as a twosome- since 1964!  They started off playing for Divis, moved to Falls and the Watson Stadium and have probably played more pairs matches than anyone else.  During all that time Seamus has skipped most of the time – he allowed Eddie to skip one year in the Private Greens Cup. They have amassed many honours between them, perhaps the highest being winning the British Isles Indoors Fours in 2001 when they had help, apparently, from two other bowlers. Both went on to represent Ireland at International level, but it is the Pairs achievement which I want to highlight, which I hope you agree is remarkable. Equally so is the fact that they never fell out the whole time!!

Another monthly innovation will be what we are calling ‘Rules Corner’. This month there have been a few queries about the jack and the timing of jack throwing. Hopefully the following ( compiled by umpires incidentally!) will help :

The jack must always be delivered properly ie. the mat placed on the green, and the player on the mat when he/she delivers the jack. Should the bell ring after the jack has been delivered and any one of 3 things happen to the jack ie.
(i) short of 23 metres, or (ii) jack in ditch, or (iii) jack off the rink completely, then the jack is returned to the opposition who may place the mat wherever he/she pleases. Should any one of the above occurrences happen again the jack is placed on the T mark and the original player can reposition the mat where he/she desires.

CHAMPIONSHIPS: check the noticeboards soon for availability of tickets. Planning for this major event is progressing well.

Club News: sadly, as you are all probably aware, our Irish Juniors, both male and female, fought hard in Dunfermline and the Co Antrim Stadium, but in the end were outclassed by the rest of the GB teams.  We can only hope to contest at the highest levels if we recruit more young people into our sport.  So – if you are aware of any talent out there – especially at the ‘short mat’ – encourage them to join an indoor stadium (preferably our own of course).

Novices Cup – I am pleased to report that 14 new bowlers have entered this event, and as last year, we are grateful to Ian Bamford for sponsoring the prizes. Novices, please check the board – the draw is up.

SUMMER LEAGUES: last year our new Friday Pairs league was very successful. We are intending to extend summer indoor bowling to bowlers who perhaps don’t play outdoors.  The proposal is another Pairs League on a Tuesday morning from 10.00 am until noon. If numbers are large we will extend this to Monday.  Watch the noticeboards again for further info.

Cancer Research: Stanley McIlroy wishes to pass on his thanks on behalf of this charity for the sum of £114.59 raised via the library and stickers.

You might have noticed (and heard) that we had a visit from Dubliners last weekend. We would like to thank the skips on Saturday (and the previous Saturday) who agreed to change their times in order to accommodate our visitors – a big thankyou.

RUBBISH: some people (obviously not Club members!) have taken recently to dumping rubbish out of their cars in the rear carpark.  We do have rubbish bins. Please discourage anyone you see doing this.

SHOES: we do have notices up requesting members not to wear their bowling shoes when coming in from their cars; please follow this rule, especially in the wet weather.  This particularly applies to our smokers – we cannot stop you going outside to smoke, but please wipe your feet carefully on re-entering the Clubhouse.

SCORECARDS: some bowlers have developed the habit recently of not leaving their scorecards into the office until leaving the building.  Duty staff put the previous session’s results into the computer immediately after the session ends. From now on, if the cards are not in the office fairly promptly, the late results will not appear on the league sheets until the following week.

TRIAL MATCH: there will be another match for a Select BIBC men’s team against the Irish ladies on Sunday 22nd Feb., starting around 12.30.

VOLUNTEERS: are still needed for the Championships in March – to act as ticket collectors, stewards etc.  If you are willing please contact Richard.

Many of you will have noticed the new plaque just before the stairs leading up to the Montgomery Room. This has been kindly donated by Billy McConkey – our thanks to him for this generous gesture.

Yet another innovation to this edition – I have decided to include a monthly coaching tip.   Now I know that most of you bowlers out there don’t need coaching!! Yet apart from our traditional Monday night coaching classes for beginners, I am astounded, yet pleased, at the number of members who ask the  Coaching Association’s advice regarding coaching. You know the old question – what am I doing wrong?? This month’s tip is about weight.

A: Putting weight on.  If you have started delivering short bowls, there are generally 3 steps to take to correct the fault ie. (1) literally step to the front of the mat if you have normally been positioning your feet at the back of the mat; (2) increase your pendulum ie . the swing of your bowling arm from in front of your body, through the back swing to the release – now we recommend you increase the pendulum in front of your body rather than behind, since you can visually see the extra you are putting into it;  (3) the most important step – is to take a longer step out when delivering – ie. put more body weight into it.

B : Taking weight off.  Amazingly enough, the advice is to do exactly the opposite of (1) to (3) above, so to save space I will not include it as it is obvious.

OK – I know other people will have alternative advice – such as, just flick your wrist (bad advice).  Generally, in indoor bowling, the golden rule is ‘low and slow.’ But if it gets you talking………. the Coaches work, not only from the Coaches’ manual, but from experience.

Let me know what you feel about this advice, and the idea of a monthly tip please.  Shall I keep it going??  Feel free to use the Suggestions Box incidentally.
Happy bowling!