Bowlers taking part in the President v Captains’ match

One of the long-standing traditions at Reading Bowling Club on Kendrick Road has been the annual President versus Captain match. This has always been a prestigious occasion, with not only a hard fought competition between the two teams on the green, but with a social occasion afterwards.

Last Saturday 26 May, and for the first time in 215 years since the founding of the club in 1803, this was played as a mixed rather than an all men’s match. Mrs Yvonne Hailstone, as President, and Mr Vaughan Holland, as Men’s Captain, agreed that the decision to play ladies as well as men was long overdue.

They provided a wonderful meal and raised money for the Berkshire Bowling Benevolent Fund from a ‘spider’ before the match and a raffle after the meal. A ‘spider’ is peculiar to the bowling fraternity and is a popular fundraiser for charity. The players stand around the perimeter of the bowling green with one foot in the surrounding ditch. They each simultaneously roll one bowl toward a ‘jack’ (small, white ball) placed somewhere in the centre of the green. The resultant chaos of bowls and jack milling around leads to one lucky bowl being the closest to the jack when they all come to rest – and the winner receives a bottle of spirits!

Mrs Hailstone is only the second lady to hold the Presidential chain of office in the history of the Club as even though the Ladies Section of the club was formed in 1965, the sections operated separately until 2003.

If you want to try your hand at flat green bowling and see the bowling green in its lovely setting on Kendrick Road, then you can join in the ‘Learn to Bowl Day‘ on Saturday 2 June 10am – 2pm.

For more details see the Reading Bowling Club website.

  1. Reading Bowling Club
  2. Royal County of Berkshire Bowling Association
  3. Learn to Bowl Day