Blue Anchor Bowls club is about to enter it's 33rd season.
Formed in 1981 from regulars at the Blue Anchor Inn, Penclawdd , in those days a thriving and very popular establishment. Like most things which started in a pub, a challenge was thrown out between some of the drinkers, probably late at night, that one could beat the others at the game of Bowls. A match was arranged at the village
Penclawdd already had a long established club, Penclawdd Bowls Club, formed in 1921, with a proud history, including winning the Carruthers Shield in 1951. They have also won two National championships, the Fours in 1967, and the Pairs in 1968. Having had the green to themselves for 60 years, they didn't look too kindly on the upstarts from the other end of the vllage, particularly when the Blue Anchor club attracted a few disillusioned Penclawdd members.
Blue Anchor's application to join the Swansea Bowling league was turned down, (some say due to the influence and objections of Penclawdd), but fortunately the Llanelli League accepted the new Club.
Blue Anchor started in the bottom reaches of the League, in those days, the Third Division of three, and remained there for years. In the early days, the club was a semi social outfit, without any ambitions in the game, and found it hard to hold on to the more competitive and able players that it did produce. Around 2000, the club did spend one year in the second division of the Llanelli League, (which was then four divisions, after the formation of the Premier division some years earlier), but found the competition too much, and slumped back into the basement division after hardly winning a match.
Throughout the 90's the club had an influential Chairman in Danny Lewis, a successful businessman, and mainly due to his efforts and guidance, became financially very sound, a legacy that remains to this day. Danny was also instrumental in making improvements to the area around the green and upgrading the pavilion. It's worth remembering, as our bowls pavilion reaches the end of its life, that it has served us well, and mainly due to the efforts of the club members of the time, with some support from the Community Council. Some ten years after electricity was introduced into the building, it was demolished to make way for a"state of the art" multi sports facility,a welcome amenity for the
September 2011 April 2012
With the first class facilities in the new building we can now host visiting clubs with pride in our surroundings. .
On the green, the club's outlook, and fortunes, took a turn for the better in 2003, when a man by the name of Emlyn Lewis joined the club.
Emlyn was a man of many parts, and one who gave the lie to the phrase "Jack of all trades...." . He was a person who was interested in many things, his trade as a welder, his many hobbies, including archery, photography, stick-making, and his extensive knowledge of wildlife. To all these things, he gave 100% application, until his knowledge of each subject was encyclopaedic. When he decided to turn his attention to the game of Bowls, he gave it his usual wholehearted and enthusiastic commitment. His natural aptitude for the game was soon evident, but as always, he wanted to improve both himself, and those around him. With this in mind, he qualified as a coach, and was instrumental in introducing an organised Club practice night. He was unstinting with his time and advice, and gradually our players started to improve. Emlyn with his sticks
More importantly, his straight forward and fair minded approach to the day to day running of the club's affairs also bore fruit. After what could best be called a clash of personalities, some members decided to go their different ways, leaving the Blue Anchor club a much more democratic organisation. Sadly, Emlyn's death from cancer in 2006 left a void that is unlikely to be filled, but his legacy lives on. The practice night is still well attended, and the club has a trophy for the most improved player each year, with a perpetual Cup inscribed as "The Emlyn Lewis Cup"
In the 8 years since this was introduced, winners have been Lyn Williams, Vernon Hopkins (obviously still improving and he's at least 80) , Darren Quirk, Peter Thorpe, Dave Pollock. Brian Rees, Allan Jones,and Derry Howells.
In 2006 Dieter Mathias became Captain, and proved such a success that he remained in the post up to the 2012 season. During this time the club progressed from being "also-rans" in Div 3, to achieving promotion to Div 1 in 2011. Dieter's captaincy contributed in no little manner to the improved team spirit within the Club, and is reflected in the improved playing performance. Dieter was recognised by the County in 2010,and 2011, and made a number of appearances in the Senior Championship side, only the second player from Blue Anchor to achieve this. Dieter decided to relinquish the captaincy , and his place was taken in 2013 by Eric Davies, with Keith Tregembo as his vice Captain. Eric was able to carry on where Dieter left off, and steered the club to arguably their most successful season ever, taking the second division title, and reaching the semi-final of the D J Jones competition. Keith took over the captaincy in 2014, and the momentum carried on with the club finishing runners-up in Division 1, losing the championship on the last day of the season. Unfortunately, as only one club gained promotion that year, Blue Anchor's path to the Premier division was blocked, but this was to be rectified in 2015, when the new Captain, David Ball, inspired his side, and in a tough season, got the third promotion place. The journey from being the lowest placed club in the League, to a member of the "elite" was completed. David remains Captain for 2016, and we look forward to a competitive season, with a view to staying in the top flight.
The club's first success in competitions came in 2007, when a rink from Blue Anchor won the Llanelli Festival Week Fours. The original four were Les Thomas, Vernon Hopkins (still with some improvement in him at that stage), Alan Howells and Keith Tregembo. When Keith's work commitments prevented him continuing after the second round, Dieter Mathias took over the skipping duties, and proved a more than adequate deputy, guiding his team to impressive victories over Dafen Welfare and Graig Merthyr. In the final at Calsonic, they met a Brynhyfryd four skipped by Bryan Kingdon. This wasn't one for
Further success followed in 2011, our most successful season yet, with two County titles coming our way, and promotion to the First division , both for the first time in our history. The Carmarthen County Senior Singles title went to Eric Davies, and the Senior Fours was won convincingly by John Chilvers, David Ball, Dieter Mathias, and Brian Rees. No County titles came our way in the intervening years, but several players reached the later stages, and further success was inevitable.
This was achieved in no uncertain manner in 2016, with the club involved in four County finals, winning three. Players involved were Eric Davies, Keith Tregembo, Rob Chisholm, Jon G Williams, and Clive Hopkins. Eric Davies had a particularly good season, winning the County Senior singles for the second time, a member of the County Triples and Fours winning sides, and taking the Club singles championship for the tenth time in 16 attempts.
This feat paled into insignificance, though, compared to Jonathan Guy Williams' exploits in Scotland, when he won the British Isles under 25 Singles title, beating the best that the other Home Nations had to offer
Jonathan Guy Williams, British Isles Champion 2015
Victory on the green is always important, but we feel that more important is the way we play the game, and we always afford a friendly and hospitable welcome to all who visit us. Our green has improved out of all recognition in the last five years, thanks to the unstinting efforts of our green keeper, Sid Davis, and our new pavilion must be as good as any in Wales. Our playing environment is first class, and our enjoyment of the game has reflected that.
2012 saw the introduction of an Inter Club Pairs competition, and this is gathering pace, to become a popular and keenly contested event throughout the season.
In 2013 we took the Div 2 title , and in 2014, failed narrowly to reach the Premier division, finishing runners-up in Div 1, with only one team promoted. Thanks in part to our new members in 2015, including the current National under 25 Singles Champion, we have gone one better, and have become the Premier Division side that we feel we should be.
Another honour has come the way of the club in 2015, with Robert Chisholm selected for a Welsh trial, the first Blue Anchor member to achieve this.