This year’s captain is Philip de Bay, who took over from Andrew Jobson at the turn of the year.
The society can trace its origins back to 1926 and has around 50 active members who are welcome to bring their guests to meetings on some of the finest courses anywhere. Society secretary Simon Berti welcomes membership applications from golfing members of the trade. Please contact him via the society website below if you would like to play golf with trade colleagues.
Auctioneer's bowls triumph
In his day job Alastair McCrea deals with auctions such as the collection of former Manchester United footballer Norman Whiteside. When it comes to his own playtime, though, it is bowls not bids that count.
The Ewbank’s entertainment and sporting memorabilia department head was part of the four-strong team that won the Short Mat Bowls Biennial World Championships on March 20.
McCrea is in fact a double world champion: this latest title followed success in the 2019 World Fours.
The Surrey auctioneer, who joined Ewbank’s in 2012, has racked up other triumphs such as becoming an English Short Mat Bowling Association Open Triples Winner in 2018.
He says: “Coronavirus put paid to the championships two years ago, so although it is now 2022, this was the 2020 World Championships. We still had fewer countries than normal because of Covid but all of the main contenders were there.”
Two England teams made it the World Championship finals and to get there they first had to qualify via the ESMBA Open Fours competition. That had an entry of 64 teams, with McCrea and his teammates lifting the laurels.
Four finalists for the World Championship emerged after two days of play in which the team lost to Wales but beat the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Sweden.
Both England teams made it through alongside Wales and Ireland, but in the final it was McCrea’s team who dominated, first triumphing over their fellow English team before beating Ireland 10-3.
According to bowls.co.uk, the short mat game began in Ireland and was later introduced into the UK. There now exists the English Short Mat Bowling Association (ESMBA), which is supported by regional associations.
It adds: “As the title implies, the game is played over a much shorter length than the flat green game. The carpet is between 40-45ft (12.2- 13.7m) and 6ft (1.8m) wide.
“At both ends, there is a fender, and 1ft (0.3m) in from the fender there is a white line, representing the ditch.” McCrea says: “It’s also a sport a lot of young people now play. I started when I was 11 and started winning from the age of 15. I stopped when I moved to England from Northern Ireland at the age of at 18 and didn’t lift a bowl again until I was 30.”
He helped his team mates lift the double World Championship on the day before his 37th birthday.
McCrea and his teammates hope their achievement will help raise the profile of the sport further.
“In England we have about 25,000 registered players, but many more who are unregistered”, he says.
“Across the world there are around 20 registered associations, so it is a widely popular sport, but one that has simply not caught the media’s eye until now.”