Most of us head out mid-morning for our Tenterden fixture, it is lovely place to have a light lunch and wander along the High Street, usually ending up in the Ironmongers on the left as you approach the right turn to the Steam Railway. Rarely will anyone leave without at least a couple of useful items. But on Wednesday 18 July there was an early traffic accident at the end of Headcorn High Street and Penny, Ann and Peter B, and myself (writes Brian) had to turn round and find another route.

I make no secret of my dislike of satnavs, I like the preparation with good, old-fashioned maps. It is not that I dislike being told what to do by a female voice – I can get enough of that at home (boom,boom) – but I have to say that if the satnav had Peter’s rich tone, with a chuckle never far away, I might consider it. The journey took us a while, as we thought that a little diversion to just beyond the High Street would do it, but there were the cones and a Police Support Officer to turn us back again. And there was no suggestion available for a route to Tenterden, but we had Peter, who had cycled these byways in his younger days. I am not sure how long the whole trip took, as no one was minding the time as laughter frequently echoed from the car as we explored the Weald of Kent, but we made it eventually. We had plenty of time for that lunch, more chatting, more laughter, just missed the shopping, but it was already a good day, if different to that planned.

Others had either missed the accident entirely by taking the Ashford route (Barbara and Tom) but Ev and Hans arrived ten minutes or so before the projected start time and Geoff and David came through the gate fifteen minutes later, so were rushed onto the green as soon as they could change. The Tenterden players were fully accommodating of our position, and Captain Andrea had covered our shortage of players by assigning Phil as an honorary RBBG player for the day, as we were one short, and we played three triples and a pair.

On rink 4 Bella managed a little over half the match, a great effort , and played well, as did Peter and Hans. For Tenterden, Vi had recently returned to bowls after a fair gap, and was getting used to new woods – and she was clearly getting to know them as the match progressed. Doug, too, was in good form and Captain Andrea, a smile on her face the whole match, was consistently on target so RBBG did well to keep in touch, only 6-8 down with five ends to play. But by this time I had taken over from Bella, with the usual effect. Six shots to Tenterden, taking all five ends, saw our hosts run out winners at 14-6.

Geoff has been developing well in the skip role in partnership with Marian and Tom and they looked to be well in charge when they led 12-3 after nine ends. But Robin, Mary and Elaine chased them hard, taking six of the last seven ends so that RBBG squeaked home by just a single shot, 13-12, a really close match. And Penny’s pair with Phil was very close as well. Whilst Penny and Phil were generally ahead, just, it was tied at 7-7after ten ends and they led only by one at 9-8 with three ends to go. But a shot in each of those ends for the RBBG/Honorary RBBG combo made it a win for Penny and Phil over Tenterden’s Beryl and Bob. Another thrilling match that went right to the wire.

Pat S has done wonders for us, turning out for several matches without the preparation of weekly practices (and in this summer’s heat!) and had sensibly advised she was not up to playing again just now. But Mick played, and once again showed his paces as with Barbara and David RBBG built a big 18-4 lead. In the last ends Bryan, Joy and David made up six shots so it was as well we did not play more ends, but it finished 18-10 in RBBG’s favour, and rink honours for the day to Barbara, Davud and Mick.

We had enjoyed a very nice and refreshing tea at the halfway stage, very welcome it was, fortifying us for the second half of a match played on another very hot day. Tenterden were great hosts and no complaints from them as we used a few minutes after tea for some team photos we can use in recruiting leaflets, as we do need just a few additional players. Our hosts were again thoughtful in researching the traffic situation, and with still road closures around Headcorn we all took the longer route home to complete a most enjoyable day, on and off the green.

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