Historic Bexhill tournament in danger of extinction

Action from the 2016 Bexhill Men's Open Bowls Tournament at The Polegrove greens.
Action from the 2016 Bexhill Men's Open Bowls Tournament at The Polegrove greens.
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One of Bexhill’s oldest sporting tournaments is in grave danger of extinction.

The Bexhill Men’s Open Bowls Tournament may well not continue beyond this year - when it will be held for the 80th time - unless help is forthcoming to run the event.

Tournament organiser Bill Whittington said: “It’s really serious; I can’t stress it enough.”

Three prominent committee members have decided to relinquish their respective duties after many years of service at the end of this year’s event.

The tournament committee is urgently seeking to fill several positions, namely tournament organiser, entries secretary, treasurer, programme advertising and scorecard controller.

Approaches have been made to some individuals over the last few weeks in the hope of filling those vacancies, but without any success.

“We’ve all got into our 70s and just had enough,” continued Whittington, who has run the tournament for two decades but told the committee after last year’s staging that he would continue in the role for one more year.

“I do feel guilty about it and so do the other two (outgoing officers), but we just can’t go on for ever and ever and ever.

“We’ve got one last person who’s already been asked and we just don’t know where to turn. It’s the old story - people want to enter, but don’t want to do anything to organise it.”

The week-long tournament, which is on a very sound financial footing, takes place at The Polegrove greens every August and attracts players from all over the south east.

This year’s event will run from Monday August 7 until the following Saturday and prize-money is up for all three events - singles, pairs and triples - with The Birchwood Group having increased its sponsorship contribution.

Entries have so far been received from 22 players in the singles, 16 pairs and 14 triples, which is roughly the norm for the time of year and the numbers will doubtless increase as the outdoor season kicks in.

The closing date for entries is May 15. For entry details or to express an interest in helping out with the running of the tournament, please email Bill Whittington at billpau@aol.com

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