The 100th playing of the Hastings Annual Mixed Open Bowls Tournament got underway in beautiful sunny weather at White Rock Gardens on Monday morning.
The town Mayor, Cllr Judy Rogers, deputy Mayor, Cllr Nigel Sinden, and the tournament’s principal sponsor, Mark Gardiner, from Croft Glass Ltd, were keen to show off their prowess by bowling one bowl each to open the tournament.
All three tried to prove they were good enough to participate in the tournament proper. Ah well, there is always 2018.
The morning commenced with the early rounds of the Gibbons Mannington Open Triples, which produced several tight finishes, especially where teams from Hastings were up against teams from Bexhill.
Long distance travellers did well. David Baxter’s team from Wanstead comfortably won 25-9 and Ken Young’s team from Holmesdale in Sevenoaks beat the team of previous winner Chris Surman 17-7.
The early afternoon started with the preliminary round of the Croft Glass Men’s Singles, the keynote competition of the tournament, followed by matches in the Don Softley Men’s Pairs and the first round of the Kiley’s Karpets Ladies’ Singles.
The men’s singles also provided some very tight finishes, with a high degree of skill from all the participants. Barry and Colin Nuttall (White Rock BC) continued their winning ways from last year with comfortable wins, and there were good victories also for George Webster (White Rock BC), Frank Russell (Sutton BC) and Kevin Blaylock, the furthest travelled competitor from Morpeth in Northumberland.
There was also a spirited match between the Collyer brothers (White Rock BC), who had the misfortune to be drawn against each other.
The weather promises to hold fair for the next couple of days and all the competitions will progress to the later stages.
The historic event, which celebrated 100 years since its formation in 2011 but wasn’t played for six years during the two world wars, will conclude with the finals tomorrow (Saturday).
Spectators are always welcome and there is plenty of seating, together with a licensed bar, and an excellent and well-supported refreshment and tea bar.