Left to right: Geoff Chandler, Berkeley LBC President; Howard Mackey, Berkeley LBC Tournament Director; Ginger Harris, Palo Alto LBC President; David Hale, Palo Alto LBC Tournament Director. Photo: David Rockhold

By Jim Corr

The annual Cal-Stanford football game is not the only sporting competition between the East and South Bay that results in an axe being carried off by the victors. Less well known, but contested with no less spirit, is the annual “Meat Axe” tournament between the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club and its Palo Alto counterpart.

The prize in this 50-plus year rivalry is a smaller version of the more famous chopper borne aloft at the end of “The Big Game” in November.

This week, Berkeley wrested back the sought-after trophy after a decade of retention by the Palo Alto Club. The tournament involved five teams of three players from each club going bowl-to-bowl on the Palo Alto lawn (the venue switches each year). At the end of the morning, things looked grim for Berkeley, down four games to one. However, whatever they had for lunch worked wonders, with Berkeley battling back to win all five afternoon games and the days proceedings by six games to four.

To rub salt into the wounds, the losing club gets to keep a photocopy of the cleaver, under the caption “We Lost.” (See photo.)

“I am delighted to see the Meat Axe return home,” said Howard Mackey, the Berkeley LBC Tournament Director. “And I’m proud of all our players, from our newest recruit, Ann Gardiner, who has only been bowling a couple of months, to our oldest member, Ted Crum, who celebrated his 90th birthday this week and is still bowling like a champion.”

Geoff Chandler, the Berkeley Club President, added: “Lawn bowling has been part of Berkeley life for more than 80 years. We hope this triumph will boost interest among Berkeley residents in this exciting and friendly sport in which men and women of all ages compete equally. We offer free lessons on Wednesday and Saturday mornings to anyone interested in taking up the game.”

The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club is located at 2270 Acton Street (corner of Bancroft and Acton) in West Berkeley. For more information, visit www.berkeleylawnbowling.org, or call 510 841 2174.

Jim Corr is the Vice-President of the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club.

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