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The City of Gloucester Bowls Tournament is just one of many highlights for Gloucester City

Gloucester > Sport > Bowls

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 27th April 2018, 09:00

Gloucester City duo Shaun Morris and Vince Wilks were the 2017 County Pairs winners Gloucester City duo Shaun Morris and Vince Wilks were the 2017 County Pairs winners

“We’re friends in the clubhouse but enemies on the bowling green.”

So says Gloucester City Bowls Club’s Steve Allsopp, who was talking about his club’s relationship with their close neighbours Gloucester Spa.

In fact the two clubs are very close neighbours because although they each have their own green, they share an artificial green and share a clubhouse.

“We open our green with a match against them and they close their green with a match against us,” said Allsopp.

And there’s a bit riding on those matches too because the scores from the two contests are combined with the winners being presented with the Goddard Cup.

So who tends to win the Goddard Cup?

“We do,” laughed Allsopp. “We win it the majority of the time. The banter between the clubs is brilliant.”

Allsopp joined the club three years ago after previously playing for Gloucester and Severnside Co-op and is very happy at his new home just a long roll of the jack from Gloucester Docks.

He is one of the driving forces behind the City of Gloucester Bowls Tournament, which the club run in conjunction with Gloucester Spa and this year runs from 29th July to 4th August.

“It attracts players from all over the county and south west,” said Allsopp. “The majority of players are from Gloucester but we are hoping to make the event even bigger.

“It used to be held over two weeks 25 or 30 years ago and we’d like to get it back up to that.

“We get around 150 to 200 people taking part in open singles, men’s pairs, ladies’ pairs, mixed pairs, men’s triples and mixed triples.

“I’d like to introduce a two-wood competition next year if I can.”

It’s clearly a decent event and the winner of the open singles will leave £250 richer which is pretty decent for a few hours of fun. The money will be presented to him by the Mayor of Gloucester who will have a busy few days because he also scheduled to bowl the first wood which traditionally gets the tournament started.

The City of Gloucester Bowls Tournament is clearly a big part of Gloucester City’s summer calendar but it is by no means the only event at the 50-plus member club based in Spa Road.

Far from it in fact.

“Our ladies play in the county ladies’ league and have just got promoted to Division One under the captaincy of Barbara Whitehead,” said Allsopp.

“And we’ve got a mixed team who play in the Glevum League and two men’s teams who play in the County 2-Rink League.

“The A team finished runners-up in Division One again last season.”

Allsopp places extra emphasis on the word ‘again’, not out of annoyance but because the team who finished above them were serial winners Cheltenham Bowling Club.

“Cheltenham are the strongest club in the county,” said 56-year-old Allsopp, “but I would say we are probably the second strongest.”

This year’s club captain, Eddie Doig, will be hoping to maintain the club’s healthy position at or near the top of the county bowls tree having taken over from Sandra Curtis, who in 2017 became the first ever lady to captain the club.

And Doig certainly has some very capable players to call on.

“Dougie Lewis and Matt Curtis got through to the national finals last year which was an amazing feat,” enthused Allsopp. “Matt is Sandra’s son and they got to play at Leamington Spa which is the home of Bowls England.”

Allsopp, born and bred in Gloucester and a product of Crypt Grammar School, is also a decent player and has been playing the sport for 25 years.

“I used to play rugby for Gloucester Civil Service,” he said. “I played in the back row but then I picked up a bad back injury.

“My friend Denver Lewis said to come and play bowls and I fell in love with the sport. I’ve never looked back.”

Rugby’s loss has certainly been bowls’ gain.

Anyone wanting details about the City of Gloucester Bowls Tournament should email sloppy.allsopp@hotmail.co.uk.

Other Images

Gloucester City, who were formed in 1907, won the County Cup for the first time in 2012
Gloucester City’s clubhouse and green

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