Cobalt Sport

Husband and wife: David and Julia Crookes, Fairford Bowling Club

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 26th April 2018, 09:00

David and Julia Crookes David and Julia Crookes

Fairford Bowling Club got quite lucky when Mr and Mrs Crookes walked through their doors at East End.

That was 10 years ago and while husband David has been secretary since 2010, his wife Julia is captain of the ladies’ Stroud Valley Triples League team.

“It’s not difficult to get jobs in an organisation like a bowls club,” laughed David, “it’s getting people to take them on that’s the difficult part.”

Mr and Mrs Crookes moved down to Gloucestershire from Yorkshire back in 1993. Now retired, 64-year-old David used to work for an energy company and like his good lady had played a bit of crown green bowls when he was living up north.

So when they walked through the doors of Fairford Bowling Club, they weren’t exactly going into the unknown.

So how did they get on?

“It’s a bit like riding a bicycle,” chuckled David. “We were soon able to pick it up.”

They certainly were and the club certainly welcomed them with open arms. And Fairford are a very decent club.

“We’ve got about 120 to 130 outdoor members,” said David. “We’ve got one green which can be set up as six, seven or eight rinks. And we’ve got a two-rink indoor facility as well. We’ve got about 150 indoor members.”

And it’s not all about the bowls at the go-ahead club.

“The club’s active social activities are organised by our social committee and include Sunday lunches, live entertainment nights and quizzes,” said David.

“And we have two very popular bowling tours organised each year by Pauline and Ed Tuckey. We went to Torquay in February and we’re going to Eastbourne in August.”

Founded in 1914, the club moved to their current location in the 1930s. These days they field teams in a variety of competitions and they enjoy a fair degree of success too.

“We’ve got two men’s teams in the South Cotswold League,” said David, “they play in divisions one and two. And we’ve got two teams in the Gloucestershire County League and our top team are playing in Division Two after two successive promotions.”

The women’s outdoor team are pretty active as well because as well as playing in the Stroud Valley Triples League, they also compete in the Corinium League.

“Historically the club have always done quite well,” said David with some pride. “And these days we’ve attracted some strong bowlers, we’re doing pretty well at the moment.”

And a quick look at the club’s roll of honour certainly backs up what David is saying because in Tim Bloomer they boast the current men’s county singles champion.

“He’s a home-grown bowler and has been playing for only about seven years,” said David. “He’s our standout bowler and the man of the moment.

“And we’ve also got Tom Luce who reached the county under-25 singles final last year.”

And while those two are enjoying great success on the green, they’d be the first to say that it wouldn’t be possible without the many hours of dedication put into the club by others.

“There are an awful lot of people who do an awful lot of work,” said David. “People like our chairman Brian Marley and president Pat McMahon.”

David is too modest to say it, of course, but also people like Mr and Mrs Crookes.

Bowls is clearly a big passion for them but once they get on the green, who is the better player?

“She is, obviously,” laughed David.

And if Julia was asked, what would she say?

“She’d say she is, obviously,” said David, still laughing.

“We do play together in some of the club leagues and a couple of years ago won the married pairs tournament.

“We work well as a team… I do as I’m told!”

And he'll be there at the club's Open Day on Sunday 10th June, of course. "It's for anyone who wants to come along and have a go a bowls," he said.

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