Portland Portfolio

6th November 2023

Portland Bowling Club Dinner November 2023

Club president John Wallace gave a warm welcome to both members, partners, and friends at the annual club dinner and presentation of trophies evening in the club house.
The evening started with a fine three course meal and drinks, during which time members could be heard discussing happening and events since the last spoons and the closing of the green in September.

Following dinner, Gren Richardson, club Vice President, took over as master of ceremonies to present trophies to the 2023 winners, as follows.

  • Club Championship
    Winner: Bill Blyth
    Runner Up: William (Bob) Liddle
  • Laidler Cup
    Winner:
    Bob McAvelia
    Runner Up: Willy Thompson
  • Ian Story Cup
    Winner: Colin Boyle
    Runner Up: Gren Richardson
  • Club Handicap
    Winner: John Wallace
    Runner Up: David Pygall
  • Baker Cup
    Winner: Bob Pittam
    Runner Up: John Wallace
  • 4 Bowl Pairs
    Winners: William (Bob) Liddle, Bob Pittam
    Runners Up: Bill Blyth, David Pygall 
  • Club Triples
    Winners: Richard Varley, John Bartlett, David Pygall
    Runners Up: Colin Boyle, John Soulsby, John Wallace
  • Silver Jack
    Winners: Bob McAvelia, John Taylor, John Wallace, Alan Hartley
    Runners Up: Richard Varley, Colin Boyle, John Allen, David Pygall


13th August 2023

Vice-President’s Day 5th August 2023

Gren Richardson gave a warm welcome to the large number of Portland Bowling Green members that turned out to join him celebrate his Vice President’s Day.

The unusual fine weather on the day was greeted well, ensuring that the bowling was all the more enjoyable.

As is usual, the bowling commenced with a Round Robin and once again as ever, competition was friendly with the emphasis on having fun, although fair to say with the offer of fine wine to the winners, there was a competitive nature.

With the Round Robin completed, the real fun was to come with vice president Gren announcing a special competition which involved members bowling one bowl corner to corner of the green – a huge distance for any bowler. The position from which to bowl was based on age with the mat going up and down the green at some pace.

Over the laughter howls of “You’re not up” rang around the green – great fun for everyone!

Following a splendid afternoon tea, the always anticipated raffle took place with some fine prices going to members, but more importantly the raffle raised a grand total of £150 which will be donated to the president’s chosen charity.

Fair to say, a first class greatly enjoyed Vice President’s Day. 

25th July 2023

Portland Bowling Green Club hosts the 2023 Bell Cup

One of the notable events promoted by the Portland Club is the Championship of the Northumberland Private Clubs which include as well as Gosforth, Alnwick, Ponteland, Hexham Elvaston, St Georges, Rothbury, and Alnmouth, the Border Clubs of Berwick, Tweedmouth and Spittal although they are not Members of the Northumberland County Bowling Association but affiliated to the Scottish Bowling Association.

The trophy for this Championship was donated in 1906 by the late Alfred Bell, one of the outstanding personalities of the Club and who was President in 1901.

However, it was 61years before Portland had their first success in this competition in 1967. Portland has since had further success in this competition winning three times in the 90's (1993, 1994, and 1996) before three outstanding successive victories in 2008, 2009, and 2010, with a further more recent win in 2014.

This year’s final was fought out between the mighty teams of two of lawn bowling’s premier clubs, namely Gosforth and St George Dragons with supporters having high expectations for an exciting game.

On a wet Thursday evening, supporters were not disappointed.

As expected, the game was hard fought, with St Georges Dragons taking an early lead in the match blighted with heavy showers.

Credit must go to the teams, both who continued to give a display of quality bowling in atrocious weather conditions with Gosforth eventually coming out as winners of the Bell Cup.

Supporters were heard to say, even though wet and cold, “It was well worth braving the elements to enjoy a great match.” 

Portland Pictorial
Portland Portfolio
9th July 2023

Presidents Day 1st July 2023

Portland Bowling Green Club members turned out in large numbers to celebrate John Wallace’s day.

The bowling commenced with a Round Robin and whilst the emphasis on Saturday afternoon bowling at Portland is always ‘have fun’ there is no doubt that the underlying competitive nature of members can, at times, appear, especially when John – who funded the whole day - put up a good selection of wines for the rinks showing a good outcome.

The bowling was followed by an excellent meal with drinks, and then, the much-awaited raffle took place.

As the raffle prizes were of such quality and in the knowledge that the sales proceeds would go to the president’s chosen charity, there was a flurry of members eager to buy tickets.

Following the raffle there were obviously some happy smiling faces around the place, but more importantly, everyone had a most successful and enjoyable day.

Thank you, Mr President.

6th July 2023

Gosforth Bowlers Touring Club 93rd tour

Five members from Portland, along with bowlers from Hexham Elvaston, Hexham House and Gosforth West End took part in this year’s tour.

The first tour visited Edinburgh in 1922, with ensuing tours travelling as far South as Torquay and as far North as Pitlochry.

This year’s group toured around the Scottish borders, visiting Melrose for the first match. Fierce, but friendly competition took place with the tourers enjoying a good lead until the inevitable rain stopped play.

However, whilst wet on the outside members were greeted well at the bar to balance things up on the inside.

Further days were enjoyed at Gordon Bowling Club and Berwick Bowling Club – although rain stopped any play at Berwick – finely arriving at our final day’s bowling at Tweedmouth Bowling Club.

As was with our previous club visits, enjoyable competition was only exceeded by the fun and banter which was enjoyed by all.

All of the Touring Group members made comment on the hospitality and kindness shown from all of the clubs we visited. Grateful thanks must go to them all.

During the tour the most serious competitions took place in our hotel, The Cross Keys Hotel, Kelso when group members participated in the Tourists Domino Tournament, with bowlers looking to win the much-coveted silver cup.

Knock out matches produced the two players who would meet in the grand finale, David Walters and John Wallace – both Portland members.

As the final between John and David was set to go over five sets, there was a hustle and bustle as people were keen to secure a seat with a good view of the match.

The match, going nip and tuck was a close-run thing with the game having to go into the fifth leg to produce the winning player, John Wallace

John, the 2023 champion received the cup from umpire Keith Sanders.

The match was followed by the usual socialising after the day’s bowling. A great evening had by all!

Special thanks must go to Brian Norman and John Allen whose organisation of the tour’s bowling venues and most importantly our hotel base in Kelso ensured the 2023 tour was a great success in both terms of bowling and overall enjoyment of the trip.

Mention must be made of the Cross Keys Hotel, Kelso. The service was outstanding, nothing was too much trouble for the staff and the quality of food, excellent.

Portland Pictorial
Portland Portfolio
22nd May 2023

Portland Bowling Green Club welcome the HVPA

HVPA chairman Bob Miller received a warm welcome from Portland’s president John Wallace prior to their first match of the season on Monday 22nd May 2023.

The Honorary Vice-Presidents Association sits within Bowls Northumberland visiting clubs in friendly matches all over the County during the season.

A long-time stalwart of the association, Ken Liddle – match secretary – has been an important member of the group in his role of organising matches between clubs and in his meticulous collation of results and individual members scores in order to make the Top Player Award to the leading player over the season, and make no mistake, everyone is trying to win it.

The HVPA is also proud in their support of charity during the season and through Ken, the Great North Air Ambulance Service received from the members last season, the sum of £480.00

Albeit a friendly match Portland being conscious of the HVPA members who come from many different clubs all over the County with a great deal of bowling skill and keen to win, they put out competitive teams.

A great start to the game, the green as smooth as a billiard table with the weather improving enough to see players casting off pullovers and body warmers.

As ever in bowling, scores on the rinks jumped up and down during the match and just as the weather improved so did the HVPA’s bowling bringing them into a close lead of 5 shots and to a well-deserved win at the end of the game.

As in life, behind every good bowling club, there is a good woman. In Portland’s case we are fortunate to have three great ladies in the form of Sue, Aileen and Brenda whos’ refreshments and catering after a game are a most welcome and enjoyed part of the day. Thank you, ladies. 

14th May 2023

Sunny Sunderland Friendly Game

Portland and Sunderland Bowling clubs have had a symbiotic relationship over many years, hence the two matches between the clubs which take place each year is a welcomed event.

The latest was to start on the afternoon of Friday 12th May under conditions of which bowlers’ despair of, but of which they have become used to – a very damp, cold overcast day.

However, on leaving the changing room moods were lifted when a highly informed person assured the players that the sun was forecast to come out at the start of the game. It never happened!

Nevertheless, a highly enjoyable game continued with the usual sound of bowling banter ringing around the green.

As for the result, some rinks up and others down, the outcome of the game a very even one.

Following the end game, John Dixon invited players into the clubhouse to enjoy an afternoon creamed tea.

Whilst much chatter could be heard amongst old friends, the conversation on one table seemed to be centred around “Should the jam go on the scone before the cream, or the cream before the jam?”

Maybe that’s a debate for another day.

Grateful thanks go to the Sunderland bowlers for a great afternoon. 

Portland Pictorial
Portland Portfolio
9th May 2023

The Oubridge Cup

Portland Bowling Club tradition continues in the form of the Oubridge Cup, contested this year at Spittal Bowling club.

John Matthew Oubridge an International in 1907 donated the present cup for competition between the Champions of private clubs in the County. The first being contested in 1910 and which still continuous to this day.

In recent years, three of Portland’s present Clegg team players have won the cup, namely Colin Boyle in 2013, Gren Richardson 2017 and Richard Varley 2019.

In this year’s competition, which took place on Sunday 7th May, Portland was represented by current club champion Richard Varley, who won his first game but unfortunately, felt unwell during the semi final and had to retire from the competition.

After a well fought out competition between all of the Oubridge Cup bowlers, the final turned out to be a case of Déjà vu with Alistair Oliver of Rothbury – last year’s winner - and David Crisp of Tweedmouth arriving together in the final.

It was nip and tuck in a very close final game with David Crisp overturning last year’s defeat to come out the winner of a high-quality game.

David, the Oubridge Cup champion for 2022 received the trophy from Portland Bowling Green Club’s President, John Wallace.

Special thanks must go to Spittal Bowling Club for their hospitality during the day.

The match report was provided by Portland’s Hon Secretary John Allen. 

5th May 2023

The events which members look forward to over the season are the Bowls Northumberland competitions and amongst others, the Champions of Champions matches are eagerly anticipated.

This year Portland is represented by club champion Richard Varley.

Richard won a hard-fought battle through the rounds at Portland and came out a worthy winner and a representative that we are certain will ‘do us proud’

Richard is a very popular member of the club; he has been since day one, and is always happy to give a bit of advice on bowling technique when asked.

Few are aware, but they have soon found out during our social get togethers, that Richard is also a fine domino player who does not take prisoners – I suppose, a bit like his bowling. 

Portland Pictorial
Portland Portfolio
4th May 2023

Green Opening

Here we go again – for another season.

Portland opened its green on Saturday 8th April to a large approving number of members.

The first bowl of the new season – as is club tradition – was delivered by Club President John Wallace.

Members held their breath watching the bowl shoot down the green – it is well known that greenkeeper Lewis has the green is such excellent condition that it is as smooth and as fast as a billiard table which enables bowls to fire into the trench with little effort – happily John’s bowl finished within a hairs breath of the jack followed by his explanation,

“What did you expect”