There was a very early start to the national competition season with Chichester men playing away to Worthing Beach House Park in the Top Club contest.
Peter Whale proved as reliable as ever winning the two-wood discipline quite easily. Matt Bonnar narrowly lost the singles 21-18.
Another close defeat – 14-10 – in the triples for Brian Talmage, Derek Leach and Angus Anderson meant Chichester had to win the remaining two disciplines.
The pairs were very well matched at 19-19 after 20 ends, but Gerry Jackson and Dave Schofield got a single on the last end to level the match at two disciplines each, so it was all down to the fours.
The four of Cole Porter, Brian Butler, Alan Bowler and Mick Page had been behind throughout, but a four on the 20th end saw them take a one-shot lead into the last end, which just about proved enough, as they gained another single on the last end, but it really did go down to the very last wood of the match.
Chichester meet Arundel or Norfolk in the next round.
Stedham 29 Chichester 73
The club kicked off the season with a friendly mixed triples match away to Stedham, winning quite comfortably overall 73-29.
Scores: C Hobbs, B Money, R Hobbs won 28-10, J Swannell, L Shipp, B Spicer won 28-8, J Rumble, R Smith, A Janman won 21-11.
Chichester 32 Pulborough 24
Chichester were at home to Pulborough for their first BM League match of the season and in a close game they were two shots ahead after five ends, but Pulborough had the better of the next three ends to take a six-shot lead.
Chichester fought back and after 16 ends they were one shot up. Chichester scored well over the remaining two ends and won the match by eight shots, picking up four points.
Scores: P Rampton, C Porter, G Jackson won 17-7,
P Whale, B Collins, W Adams lost 17-15.
Southbourne Bowls Club opened the green for the summer season with their traditional friendly against the Polar Bears, a bunch of hardy bowlers from local clubs who bowl during the winter on Southbourne’s all-weather green.
After losing to the Bears last year, this year Southbourne got revenge by managing to win on all four rinks. The event ended with a tea provided by the Southbourne team.
Scores: A Bull, F Heil, J A Lillywhite, P Garrard won 33-7; L Williams, A Shelley, M Odell, C Lowe won 18-6; M Ayres, A Williams, W Coates, S Heil won 16-10; K Shelley, M Baylis, F Brimcome, R Bull won 16-13.
Southbourne 103 Bedhampton 59
For their first home Reflex League match, Southbourne played Bedhampton and were pleased to take maximum points by winning on all five triples.
Scores: K Alner, F Heil, J Simmonds won 28-12; E Johnson, M Soper, M Odell won 16-15; A Shelley, M Baylis, R Bull won 14-6; F Brimcome, A Williams, S Heil won 22-15; K Shelley, D Alner, P Garrard won 23-11.
Southbourne 71 Emsworth 76
In their second home Reflex League match, Southbourne played Emsworth. In a close-fought match, Southbourne won two and drew one triple. But Emsworth just pipped Southbourne at the post to win overall. Scores: A Greenfield, D Young, P Garrard won 18-11; L Williams, J Staker, F Heil won 16-13; F Brimcome,
A Williams, S Heil lost 18-10; A Shelley, D Walter, M Odell drew 17-17; K Shelley, W Coates, J Simmonds lost 17-10.
Fishbourne 75 Cowplain 92
Scores: S Lewis, A Marsh, P Winter lost 21-12; A Whitney, T Gaffney, P White won 18-15; W White, G Summers, E Dewing lost 19-10; K Ridley, V Frost, P Massey lost 19-17; N Saunders, A Saunders, B Wallsgrove drew 18-18.
In the national Top Club competition, Fishbourne beat Norfolk 3-2 in the first round.
Scores: Four-wood singles: P Winter lost 21-16; two-wood singles: Mick Bleach lost 17-12; pairs: G Jefkins & B Henham won 18-13; triples: M Keane, R Beasley, B Wallsgrove won 19-11; rinks: F Heil, G Summers, K Burt, P White won 20-7.