Berkeley lawn bowlers repeat “Meat Axe” triumph

Berkeley LBC President Geoff Chandler proudly displays the annual Meat Axe trophy, while Palo Alto President, Ginger Harris, sadly has to make do with a photocopy under the heading “We Lost.” Photo: Dave Rockhold

By Jim Corr

As reported on these pages last year, players from the Berkeley and the Palo Alto Lawn Bowling clubs vie for control of their own version of the Axe (akin to the trophy contested at the annual Cal-Stanford “Big Game”.)

This weekend, in another highly competitive match, Berkeley triumphed for the second time in recent years, retaining the cleaver that has been proudly displayed in its clubhouse for the past 12 months.

Palo Alto, which has a membership more than double that of Berkeley’s, fielded a very strong team and were clearly determined to wrest back the trophy they had held for the previous decade, winning three of the five morning games. But, as happened last year, Berkeley stormed back after lunch, winning all five of the second round of matches.

The scene was set for a tense final round of five, in which the East Bay bowlers were up to the challenge. They won two more games for a decisive 9-6 victory over the course of the 15-game tournament. The Berkeley contingent included both the club’s oldest bowler, Ted Crum, who turns 91 this month, and its youngest, Matthew Burnoski, at 11 years old, playing alongside his father, Tom.

Lawn bowlers from Berkeley and Palo Alto pose ahead of Meat Axe Tournament. Photo: Dave Rockhold

“Lawn bowling is a very sociable sport. Courtesy and etiquette are central to the game,” said Berkeley President Geoff Chandler, “but this match is always intense. We are delighted to keep the Meat Axe where it belongs.”

The sport, which originated in Great Britain, has a long and distinguished history in the US — George Washington had his own lawn bowling green at his Mount Vernon home in Virginia — and is not to be confused with its continental Europe counterpart, bocce (Italy) or boules (France).

The Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club at the corner of Acton and Bancroft welcomes all-comers and offers free lessons on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. till noon. Call 510-841 2174 for further details.

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

After a decade, Berkeley brings home bowling “Meat Axe” [08.23.11]

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