Francis Drake Bowls Club

A family affair - young and not so young can all play together

A family affair - young and not so young can all play together

Members and guests ready to enjoy bowling in the sun

Members and guests ready to enjoy bowling in the sun

Latest News & Upcoming Events




David Singer has become the second player in 2 years to earn his Kent Badge. Despite working full time David went all out to get his badge this year after coming so close last season. He reached the Divisional Semi-Finals of the County Competitions in the pairs (with Ken Shooter), triples (with Ken and Rob Warnes) and the unbadged Singles. However it was in the main Singles Competition open to both badged and unbadged players that he won the Divisional Final to qualify for his Kent badge.





 3rd Francis Chappell Bowls Tournament won by the home team!


Players, organisers, dignatories and guests before the start

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Francis Chappell and Sons, this event has now become firmly established in the club's calendar. Eight  clubs took part, some previous competitors and some new faces. The Francis Drake Team of Rob Warnes, David Singer and Ken Shooter took the Trophy, with neighbouring club Forest Hill coming second, despite previously winning clubs Orpington Excelsior and Gonville, again taking part. After presenting the trophy, Emma Sparre-Slater, Regional Training Officer for Dignity Funerals, accompanied by four of her colleagues, joined some club members on the green for an enjoyable roll-up to end a superb day.




OPEN DAY - Local people braved the inclement weather to attend the Open Day on May 1.

Needless to say, it being a Bank Holiday, rain stopped play for a short period when the refreshments and cake stall came into its own.

As usual visitors of all ages were surprised to find how much they enjoyed the experience and many were planning to return.

Some have already taken up the offer of four introductory sessions, are joining in club roll-ups  and will soon be ready for their first friendly match.




The Will Smith Trophy tournament, a one-day knock-out competition for club members (men and ladies competing equally) has been running for 26 years. This year it was a repeat of the 2015 Final with David Singer again beating his mother Jeanette to take the trophy once again.



Some 18 representatives from Lewisham Council and Glendale, the company which looked after the parks and gardens for the council, returned to play another early evening friendly game against club members.

The result was an "honourable" draw!

The club members are grateful for the continued maintenance of the green and especially this year for the repair to the area of subsidence in front of the club house. Passers-by will notice that this area is being left longer the new grass to become established.




Club President, Jill Bonner, invited ladies from local clubs to come for a friendly round-robin competition followed by afternoon tea. The matches were good fun but the tea - served by some of the male club members - was just amazing!  

 ...and more events and matches just around the corner!

Interested in bowling casually or competitively? Or just want to find out more? Then get in touch, we would love to hear from you.


Come and help us Kick- Start a new Season at Francis Drake Bowls Club


The members extend a warm invitation to anyone interested in finding out more about bowls and/or the club itself.

Open Day and Family Fun Day

Bank Holiday Monday 1st May 11am-4pm

We are repeating our popular annual open day which includes free taster sessions for those new to the game and an opportunity to try a variety of fun games including Bowls Football!, Bowls Cricket and target bowls. If you've bowled before or do well in the taster session you might like to join club members in a few ends of a 'Roll-up'. Just come along with flat soled shoes (eg trainers) and join in the fun.  Refreshments available and Home-made cake sale.

4 Introductory sessions for £5

2- 4.30pm on Tues 2nd, Thurs 4th, Tues 9th and Thurs 11th MAY

An ideal opportunity to find out what bowls is all about and see if it is for you! These group sessions, which include coaching for beginners and practice for others, are led by qualified club coaches. All equipment is provided, pre-booking is advisable.

If you attend any of the above sessions and join the club before 20th may you will receive 20% discount on your first year's membership (currently £50).

Regular casual/coaching sessions will continue on most Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings.




The Clubhouse is back!

We will soon be back! The grass is growing, the hedges have been cut and a little band of willing volunteers have started the cleaning and painting.

Good news - the subsidence of the club house appears to have stabilised and we have been given permission to use it again. However we have really outgrown it so whilst it will be useful for smaller sessions and displaying our notices as well as giving us back our changing rooms the Marquee will also be back later!

We look forward to a good season's bowling meeting up with old friends and making new ones.


Date for the diary - Bank Holiday Monday May 1st

    OPEN DAY and FAMILY FUN DAY + home-made cake stall


Interested in finding out more about club membership or casual bowling drop us an email or give us a call - see the contact page. We look forward to hearing from you.   ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Another successful year for Francis Drake Bowls Club + What next

Francis Drake Bowls Club has enjoyed another very successful season. Internally there have been a variety of events, both bowling and social, including celebrating significant birthdays with members Arthur and Beryl.

The Captain's charity has been well supported and £200 will be sent to help young people with dementia.

The marquee has again given good service and has now been put to bed.

A survey has been undertaken of the green and Glendale will work during the winter months to level an area which has dropped because of subsidence near the club house. This work should be completed by the start of the next season

This year more members have entered external competitions than ever before in the life of the club resulting in some notable successes:

  • Two teams of four men travelled to Canterbury to participate in the Kent Patron's Open Competition and finished 7th and 20th out of 42 clubs from all around Kent which took part.
  • Runners up in the 'hospital' triples
  • Winners of the Men's Open Triples competition at Bethlem
  • Maintained our position in the middle of division three of the Ladies North-West Kent League
  • Winners of the BB&DBA (Beckenham and Bromley District Bowling Association) Triple League competition
  • Runner up in the Kent Ladies Singles competition
  • Represented Kent at the National Championships in Leamington Spa
  • Winners of the Lewisham and District League for the second year running.

NB. There is a space available for another local club to join this league next season

What Next?

Many members will be bowling indoors at Lewisham Indoor Bowls Club, Lower Sydenham, to continue casual and/or competitive bowling and maintain social contact with others. Francis Drake Bowls Club has a number of fixtures against indoor bowls Clubs (see fixtures).

If you would like further information regarding indoor bowling this winter or bowling at Francis Drake Bowls Club next spring please contact us. Equipment and coaching are available.


Club Finals and Presentations


Finals weekend produced some really close games with some excellent bowls. |The Men's Championship between father and son Mick and David Singer was especially close with some fantastic shots. This time David won by a narrow margin which went some way to dulling the memory of when Mick beat him in the same final a few years back.

The markers and umpires for the various games were very professional and kept everything running smoothly. Spectators enjoyed the good weather, great bowling and also the refreshments - wine, cheese and pate.

Two weeks later members enjoyed two short six-end games before retiring to the marquee for an excellent buffet (provided collectively by the members) and the presentation of all the trophies. 

More details and pictures of both Finals Day and Presentation Day are in the gallery.


Two teams compete at Canterbury

Eight men formed two teams and joined 24 other teams from around Kent to compete in the annual Kent Patron's Charity Day at Canterbury. After 4 games played throughout the day in a 'Round Robin' format Team A finished a respectable 7th. Team B finished in 20th place. All concerned agreed it was an enjoyable day and are keen to return again next year.

NB Forthcoming events

  • Club open for casual bowling and coaching 10.30am Bank Holiday Sunday 28th August
  • Club Finals 3rd and 4th September


Success Story

Ladies Captain Jeanette Singer has become the first member of the club, in its 110 year history, to play at the National Championships.

Jeanette (left) achieved this prestigious honour by winning Division One and the semi-finals of the Kent County ladies singles. At the same time she also became the first member to win her County badge.

Jeanette will play at the famous Leamington Spa greens on Friday August 12th.

We wish her all the very best as she continues to raise the profile of the club at the highest level.


Bowling keeps you young - Arthur is 90!

Lifetime member Arthur G celebrates his 90th birthday with friends and fellow bowlers at the club.

The club is still without a permanent clubhouse but the marquee held another successful event. The club did Arthur proud with a special Roll-up instead of a knees up!

Congratulations Arthur from all your many friends at Francis Drake Bowls Club


2nd Francis Chappell Open Triples Tournament a roaring success!

Following the success of last year's inaugural tournament to mark the 175th anniversary of Francis Chappell and Sons the company again sponsored this event at Francis Drake Bowls Club. Eight local teams competed for the trophy which was won last year by Orpington Excelsior.


There was much laughter as well as serious concentration throughout the five games in the round robin stage. The final was between Southwark Park and Gonville.

Mr Ian Mutch. funeral director from the local Lewisham branch of Francis Chappell & Sons, presented the trophy to the winners, the team from Gonville.

Francis Drake Captain Ron Phillips thanked Francis Chappell & Sons for their generous sponsorship of this event and for the delicious refreshments which were enjoyed by all.


Staff and friends from  Francis Chappell enjoyed watching the games and took the opportunity to quiz umpire/adjudicator Mick, president Jill and other Francis Drake members about the game of bowls. The day finished, as last year, with them joining club members on the green for an informal coaching/roll-up session.

Some of the staff from Francis Chappell were bowling for the first time while others were building on what they learned last year.

Rumour has it they are working up to entering a team!

Everyone agreed it had been a marvellous day and look forward to next year as this becomes an annual event.

See the gallery for more photos of the day.



Potter Shield 2016: Fricker bowls a double!

Another lovely day at Francis Drake with some good bowls and, as usual, one or two surprise results along the way.

The BBQ was great as well, thanks Charlotte.

Congratulations to Dave Fricker (right) who won the Potter Shield. He is seen here being presented with the trophy by Club Captain Ron Phillips. Dave will add this shield to the Will Smith Trophy he won at the start of the season. It was no walkover. To win he had to knock out current club champion, Captain Ron and the three Singers, Mick, Jeanette and Dave! 

Mark (left) and Arthur (right) were the finalists in the Plate competition. Dennis (centre) was the marker and our thanks to all who marked on the day. Congratulations to Mark for winning but also well done to Arthur, the runner-up who will be 90 in a few weeks time. Ask Arthur, bowling keeps you young!



Club charity day supports Young Dementia UK

The club's annual charity day raised £147 for Young Dementia UK (with more promised).

Dementia tends to be associated with the older person but it has been estimated that 42,325 of the 850,000 people in the UK with dementia are between 30 and 65 years of age.  

All participants had to wear something orange, the charity's brand colour,or pay a fine!

The afternoon kicked off with the traditional 'Spider' contest won by Dave H. (see gallery video for explanation of this).

After four ends it was a case of rain stopped play!' but an early tea break accompanied by home made cakes (thank you to the ladies who supplied these) saved the day.

By the time the table-load of raffle prizes donated by participants had been claimed the sun came out and the competition resumed.

The day was saved again by 'senior' player Rex (far left in the picture above) who kept bowling all afternoon to cover for young David S who was held up at work. Well done Rex! The runners up were the 'glamorous girls' team of Sylvie and Jill but the winning pair on the day were...

...Arty (left) and Captain Ron seen here with president Jill.



Annual away fixture at New Romney BC

A good number of our members joined with Ladywell BC for the annual away fixture at New Romney.

After a pleasant, if damp, lunch stop at Dymchurch the coach arrived at our destination just as the rain stopped.

No one knows what arrangement Captain Ron made with the gods of weather but whatever it was it worked and it stayed fine all afternoon before pouring once more just after the last wood was bowled.

FDBC had an enjoyable afternoon, beating their hosts by a narrow margin, followed by a very welcome and convivial tea in the clubhouse.

Our thanks go to all who organised the trip and we look forward to next year.

Captain Ron making his after tea speech.

Captain Ron giving his after tea speech.




Over 70 local people tried bowls during the club's open day on Bank Holiday Monday and/or the other free sessions held that week. At times the green has been almost full to capacity and some unexpected natural talent among all age groups has been revealed! Some have already joined as members or returned for 'casual' sessions.                      

 At the end of the week members competed fiercely in the annual Will Smith one day knock-out competition. Ken Shooter knocked out previous holder David Singer but could not hold his form against Dave Fricker who went on to knock out Captain Ron the current Club Champion to take the Trophy for the 3rd time (but the first time for 20 years!). Newly elected Club President Jill Bonner presented the Trophy.


2 days later another annual event followed with Members playing a friendly match against a combined team from Lewisham Council Parks and Open Spaces and Glendale Services, who maintain the bowls green - an opportunity for the Club to say thank you.

Check out our gallery to see further photos of these events and the fixture pages for forthcoming events



Four  members of the Kent County Coaching Team and the two  club coaches, Jeanette and Ron, led by Rob Hope ran an excellent Skills Day at the Club. Francis Drake members were joined by bowlers from Ladywell and Southwark Park bowls clubs for an informative and enjoyable day. All participants had a session on each of the 5 Rinks which covered video analysis, a delivery clinic, exercises to improve consistency, 'head reading' and measuring. Once again Francis Drake members attending brought a plate of food with them  and everyone enjoyed the wonderful buffet lunch provided.

No-one was deterred by the few spots of rain and the day finished in warm sunshine with everyone going away with their individual ideas about what they can do to improve their game and full of praise for the Coaching Team.

 Please go to the gallery for more photographs from the 'Skills day'


Charity pairs competition in aid of The Lewisham Foodbank.

On Sunday members and friends of Francis Drake Bowls Club raised £180 and donated a good collection of food and toiletries for the Lewisham Foodbank. Thank you to all who donated.

 The afternoon started with the Spider Competition (see gallery) won by Carol. This was followed by the Pairs Competition - for which everyone had to wear something green (thus the Crocodile head!) This saw a few surprise outcomes during individual games, and a few needle matches as well. The overall winners were Bryn McNeill and Rob Warnes. Congratulations to them!

Others came to watch and/or assist with the organisation and the food. The pairs competition was followed by the raffle and then during the barbecue, expertly cooked by Sylvia Lacey and granddaughter Rebecca, everyone had a chance to catch up with all the news.

Well Done Everyone!



The Bothy.

A new lease of life for the members of Francis Drake BC.
It was looking extremely grim when Lewisham Council informed us that our club house had been condemned because of subsidence and root encroachment into the drains. Then came the bad news that we would not be able to use it for the foreseeable future.
Now it was time to think how we could continue as a club.
The rescue came in the form of the Bothy, a brick building just along the path beyond the quiet garden, which had previously been used by the park keeper as a store and rest area. Negotiations have given us sole use and we have washed, scrubbed, painted and also installed a kitchen area to make a comfortable place for visiting teams to enjoy traditional refreshments.


'Red' Charity Day raises £142 for London Air Ambulance


25 members (all wearing something red) took part in an exciting pairs competition. Each pair played 4 short games of 5 ends with 3 bowls each. Amazingly after 240 bowls had been rolled the result was a tie! After consideration of shots conceded Ken and Maria (who both only started bowling last summer) were pushed into second place by Arty and Stan - CONGRATULATIONS to them.

Most importantly £142 was raised for London Air Ambulance service - the Capital's 4th emergency service and funded entirely by voluntary contributions. This has been added to other monies raised by David Singer who is cycling from London to Paris in August - his total is now over £1500. 


Francis Drake Bowls Club

Francis Drake Bowls Club is situated in the beautiful setting of Hilly Fields in Brockley, South London.

We are a friendly, successful club and we always welcome new members and guests.

Most Monday evenings we run a fun league where every player puts £1 in the pot and the winning team share the takings between them.

On Tuesday and Thursday from 2pm until about 5.30pm we have a roll up session where members play casual games with teams selected on the day and practice their skills.

On Wednesday evenings (from 6pm) and Sunday mornings (from 10.30am) we have more casual sessions which non-members are welcome to join in. Fee is £3 per session which includes loan of shoes and bowls if required.

Please note under fives are not allowed  on the green and under 16s must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times

If you are a visiting bowls player or just fancy trying the game please come and visit us. Coaching and purposeful practice sessions can be pre-arranged with the club coaches at no additional charge..

All of the above are dependent on club matches/events and the English weather!

Contact details can be found here.

The latest Newsletter (No.5 Apr '17) is here

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