C:\Users\P Morris\Pictures\pirate.jpg                                        THE RATLER

                                                        October 2016


Aarrrrr ! Hello me hearties !

Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter ( won’t tell you when the last one appeared ) . Your scribe had his very expensive HB pencil nicked so he developed a serious case of the sulks !

I trust that 2016 has been good to you thus far and that your escapades  on the bowling  greens of Gauteng  have been hugely successful and enjoyable . If you’re a true Pirate whatever else you’ve been up to should probably be kept under wraps .

Seeing that the new season is all but in front of us and the AGM is all behind us perhaps I should begin by advising you that our own duly constituted  parliament ( committee ) was voted in without any acrimony or presence of the red brigade . Our office-bearers are  :

Mr Plod                               The Chairman                                                           Steve Hunt  

Big Ears                               Vice Chairman                                                          Steve Delaney

Noddy                                 Club Captain                                                             John Bartmann

Enid Blyton                         Secretary                                                                  Denis O’Connor

Ebenezer Scrooge             Treasurer                                                                  Mike Theunissen

Laurel      &                         Convenor of external ( JBA ) competitions        Cavin Cornelius

Hardy                                  Convenor of internal ( club ) competitions        Gavin Coutts

Captain Morgan                Bar Manager                                                            David Ndlovu

Farmer Brown                   Greens Supervisor                                                   Richard Oosthuizen

(aided by Mr Plod)

The  Goons                          Our selectors                                                          Steve Hunt,Cavin Cornelius

                                                                                                                                 John Bartmann ,Gavin Coutts                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Do feel free to approach any of these members of high standing ( ? ) in the club should you feel that you have anything of relevance to share with them .You may NOT share anything with me ( unless it’s a seriously cold malted libation ( beer , for those of you who didn’t make it past standard nine ).


To all our new members . we wish you a most hearty welcome and trust that you will enjoy your time and bowls with us .We’re certain that the friendliness of our mob will appeal to you and that they will do their utmost to make you feel at home . Some of them can actually play bowls !

NOAH ( not the guy with the ark) MABULA

Noah has continued to play great bowls both for us and in his own right .He’s been selected for more than one Gauteng representative side . We’ve been very proud of him and hopefully he’ll continue to play for us as a number of other clubs ( the so-called “better” outfits ) have been trying to snaffle him . He’s been invaluable for us .


We had a croquet contingent using the Pirates green at one time. For those of you who haven’t noticed that they aren’t around anymore , interrupting league matches ,reporting Billy Clarke for excessive pollution of the atmosphere out on the deck ( he’s very good you know , he doesn’t smoke inside the bar area ) , drinking only tea and other subversive activities – they’ve moved  on to other pastures.


Mannie Pedra  and his good lady Eileen will be moving to Ireland in the near future .Mannie has been a stalwart and very popular member of our club for many years and , apart from his bowling ability , we’ll miss his ability to start an argument at the drop of a hat ! We wish them well in their new venture and trust that all will work out as they would wish it to . Can you imagine a Portuguese leprechaun ?? Mannie O’Pedra !! Heaven forbid , but we’ll miss him.

Perhaps we can register him as an overseas player .


We have a number of members , both active bowlers and social ,who do much to help the club in whatever way they can . We are very grateful to them . Thank you .


You will recall the rusted, unsightly and often dilapidated remains of the fencing around the Club’s perimeters .  We now have a wonderful stretch of fencing surrounding the entire premises – it even has a gateway so that we can get in . In addition , the entrance and a good part of the parking area has been tarred . How we all miss those much revered dongas , open mineshafts and other items of terror . To everybody involved with these massive improvements – thank you .


We have entered two league sides and one Pennant side for Saturday play .Saturday leagues begin on 29 October 2016 . It’s great to have two league sides again and thanks to our new members for making this possible . We have also entered two sides in the Wednesday league . Same comment as above applies again . Last year saw us struggle to retain our position in the 3rd Division but with some blood and gutsy displays towards the end we beat a couple of sides that we weren’t expected to and finished 7th .

Just a small request to all who have signified their intent to play Saturday league stuff . Please stand by your commitments as we do not want to have unexpected withdrawals followed by a mad scramble to find adequate replacements before any matches.

Good luck to all of you in your respective leagues and do enjoy your bowls .


I’m sure that every club has its fair share of members who are so negative about their club and its affairs , yet stay forever , that it is amazing that the place hasn’t imploded . The purpose of me raising this is to implore our doomsayers to refrain  from negative views and vibes that must have an effect on new members , potential members and existing members who cannot but hear these from time to time . I recently heard a committee member , who had agreed to a certain course of action , saying that it was a daft idea and was unlikely to work ! Positive waves , baby !  ( Donald Sutherland in Kelly’s Heroes ) .

Just to add to my train of positive thought and support of some ideas emanating from our new committee I think a bit of wise thinking is called for. Theodore Roosevelt once said “ It is hard to fail , but it is worse never to have tried to succeed “.

FAWLTY TOWERS ( our bar area )

David Ndlovu continues to provide our club and guests with amazingly efficient , polite and friendly service . He is a highly regarded and respectful barman . Please remember to be respectful in return as some inhabitants of our bar occasionally ( mainly non-members ) let us down in this regard .


This is a competition run by Cavin Cornelius and is actually known as Cavin’s Canary. It is held immediately after the New Year festivities and has been a success for many years now .It also gives us some much needed publicity and the prizes are top notch .

Cavin is bound to bug you to play so please try to do so ; it’s fun and you get the opportunity to beat the pants off the likes of Bobby Donnelly and Gerry Baker .


This is our very own Mike Theunissen , also affectionately referred to as Mr.T . Not only is he our long-serving treasurer but his commitment to the club knows no bounds . He has been largely responsible for our continued existence and our new resurgence .Well done Mike and a number of cold Castle Lites are owing to you .


Gavin Wheeler . What can one say ? He has become a solid club member and his generosity by way of the sponsorship of so many goodies that you see around the club has been enormous . He provided wonderful prizes earlier this year for Cavin’s Budgie ( sorry Cav , Canary ! ) , the brollies on the deck are from him and our new bowls mats are fabulous . The previous ones had more holes than thread.

You Can’t Beat the Real Thing ( Coke’s  1990 slogan ) , eh Gav ? Many , many thanks for all your kindnesses and those that we know are in the pipeline .


Otherwise known as Peter Moyo . He’s our greenkeeper and has proved to be an absolute star with our greens and we are very grateful that he joined our ranks a while back . His willingness to help with other club functions is also much appreciated . He’s always very polite with a ready smile . He can bowl a bit , too !


Please be kind enough to pay your subs and other tithes when due . It keeps us solvent , in the Main Club’s good books along with those of the JBA and , of course , those of our own Ebenezer Scrooge .


Mike Theunissen distributes this bulletin on a monthly basis . It’s written by Chris Theron of Roosevelt Park . When he’s not bashing the JBA mob or the National Executive for all sorts of naughty , nasty and negative things he presents some highly interesting stuff which includes what other clubs , countrywide , are up to with regard to bowls development , ways of increasing club membership and other positive action .

Do give it a read and , if you enjoy it , get Mike to put you on his distribution list .


This brainwave from Big Ears ( our new vice-chairman Steve Delaney – lest I be accused of irreverence ) has proved to be highly successful and enjoyed by all who participated . It played a large part in the recent membership gains and our congratulations go to all involved with the organisation thereof . Can you believe it ? Cavin ended up top of the ladder –he must have friends in the timber business .

 Even more noteworthy was the fact that Non Wellsford , manager of the Main Club , ended up fourth . She’s a Non-bowler  and obviously takes no Nonsense on the bowling green either . Shot !!


The work performed and supervised by Richard Oosthuizen in maintaining our greens has produced great results with Greenside green looking like an oasis at the moment .

Pirates green has taken a bit of a pounding owing to it being the only green in use for over two months , the lack of rain and lots of social events being played on it . It should be back to normal within a couple of weeks once we return to Greenside and our greens team have applied a bit of TLC.  There have been some mutters about the irregular run on most of the rinks but this has been brought about by the different  thicknesses of the grass in different areas all over the green . Despite regular mowing and upkeep and watering from our borehole , the lack of consistent growth of the grass across the green has led to it being either thickish, having medium growth or very thin grass in patches . All of these factors affect the way the green plays and how your bowls run .

In any event , should your bowls go in the wrong direction and this is not due to sheer stupidity or total inability on your part do feel free to speak to the chairman ( Noddy ) , Steve Hunt , who also doubles up as our greens manager . It’s probably his fault anyway .


This is the sarcy name given by your scribe to the new developments happening to our hall and kitchen . It does happen that I don’t always remember what I’m supposed to be talking about but our new restaurant facility is going to be set up by a company called Pure Pastry . The intention is to start with the provision of a daytime light meals and coffee facility , support for functions and club section catering requirements to begin with and then stepping  into some evening meals later on .

This a great innovation as under- utilisation of the hall , particularly as a means of producing much needed revenue , has been a concern of ours for some time now.  To have yummy snacks after bowls is really something to look forward to .


Yet another piece of title improvisation . We now have an East Side Manager . Her name is Rachel Thomas and she has been appointed by the Main Club to take over the bookings for all functions on the east side of the Main Club . She will work closely with David on functions and the attendant issues. Rachel  will also be the “go-to “ person for issues such as electrical, plumbing and other causes of grumble and will then liaise with the heavies across the road . She is a member of the tennis club , hasn’t yet appeared at Wimbledon but we look forward to working with her .


Occasionally our members have a good idea or three regarding potential improvements  to the clubhouse and surrounds ( NO , you may NOT get rid of John Bartmann !  ) . Please pass these strokes of genius on to the committee for further consideration . Depending on the expense involved they may have to be passed on to the Main Club because they’ve got more money than us .


A slightly irreverent nickname for the Main Club down the road .

However , the merger of the bowls club with the Main Club has proved to be a great idea . We are now regarded as a section of the Main Club and no longer an independent club on our own . As mentioned earlier in this missive things have happened , because of our joint operation , which we could never have afforded . A couple of bright ideas have also emanated  , such as The Ladder – well done Mr. Vice-Chairman , which will also help with the resurgence of us as a bowls club .

Whilst this move has made us far more viable from a financial point of view , we do have a budget that is presented to the Main Club and we work hard to stay within it . We still pay for some items out of our own pockets but this is by choice and reflects a willingness on our part to show good faith to the head honchos down the way .


We’ve had some guys make up sides to play in competitions in Scottburgh , Margate and Howick over the years . We’ve also had some who didn’t have to go that far to stay out of trouble with their spouses so they played in the local Old Parks Trips , The Randburg and The Ferndale Fours where they made lots of friends and renewed longstanding friendships .


Any thoughts / recommendations as to what should be included/excluded from this enlightening piece of journalism will be much appreciated . Bear in mind that this missive is supposed to be of a family friendly nature and not all club gossip or bad language and Springbok rugby selections can be repeated .

Finally , do enjoy your bowls this season and may the force be with you .


A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours .  ( Milton Berle )

‘Til next time ,

Cap’n Hook .