I am starting to put this together in late May, and as you all must be aware, it has been the wettest so-called spring month in years.  The wet gear is certainly being put to use this year (May anyway!).  So, next year we might see an unexpected increase in our summer indoor leagues!  Talking of which, both the Tuesday and Friday leagues are going well, I’m glad to say.

Looking back over the season behind us, I believe I can claim it was very successful on all fronts.  I know we have not yet converted all the doom merchants in the Club who still believe we are ‘going down the tubes’, by which I assume they mean we are losing money, losing members. These individuals, whom I am glad to say are in the minority, are those for whom it is always raining, always negative, always complaining- I suppose it is just a NI way of life for them.

Anyway, now that is out of my system – the British Isles Championships and Internationals were regarded by all, I repeat, all, particularly our British visitors, to have been the best tournament in years. Okay, we had to close our own leagues for 2 weeks, but against that, we did make money. There will be a full report at the AGM.   I am also pleased to say that the leagues for the final 2 weeks of the season did function fairly normally. A full report on the season and the leagues will be available at the AGM on Tuesday August 18th at 8pm. I appeal to all members to attend – it is, after all, YOUR Club, your AGM, and generally any questions or problems you have, will be dealt with on the night. A reminder – a Voucher for 4 sessions of bowls will be given to any member who personally introduces a new member.  We are, as usual, running 3 Open Nights in August – Wednesday 19th, Thursday 20th and Friday 21st, for new members only or club members introducing potential new members, and 2 Members Open Nights in September - Monday 7th and Thursday 10th.  So we appeal to ALL members to spread the word, as this is our main source of new members. The more members, the more income – its simple.

At Club level, our Men’s team retained the Inter-Stadium’s trophy and the Ladies performed well on a number of fronts. Again more detail at the AGM.  One of the most pleasing aspects of last season was the greatly reduced number of postponed games (which increases our income). We believe this was largely due to the new substitute ruling.  Let me repeat last year’s ruling here: on your entry form you may nominate 5 or 6 players, and you can use any 3 of those and still play a substitute. Please inform either the Manager or Competition Secretary (Bobby Johnston) of any changes on your rink (often occasioned by illness).

Peter Caruth was awarded the Castlereagh Sports Development Association’s Sportsperson of the year award (although admittedly for his hockey achievements!) – but still he is a member of BIBC! So well done Peter.

All the forms for league entries and fees are included in this package: PLEASE ensure your entries are in the Club by August 1st to allow Richard time to draw up the new leagues. Your Club membership fee MUST be paid by September 30th – members will NOT be permitted to play this year after this date if they have not paid their membership.

We are grateful to Simon Martin, who has been a club member for a number of years, for sponsoring the membership cards this year. Simon is a Wealth Manager and further information regarding the services he provides and contact details etc are included in this pack.  Simon will be available for one to one consultations with members in relation to any wealth management and financial advice issues.  Watch the notice boards and future newsletters for details of dates and times or alternatively contact Simon directly to arrange an appointment.

New Leagues / Competitions: We are proposing a new Mixed Club Pairs knockout competition and a Premier League - which this is specifically aimed at the club’s elite male players.

We are planning an extensive social events programme – details of which will be available in the September Newsletter and around the Club.  I would again appeal to all members to support these events as they DO raise money for the Club.  A reminder – you CANuse the Club for Parties, anniversaries; many ‘short mat’ Clubs do use the Club and restaurant – give it a try.