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Captain’s Log: Steve Aldridge, Moreton-in-Marsh Bowling Club

All Areas > Sport > Bowls

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 09:00, Tags: Captain's Log

Steve Aldridge Steve Aldridge

Steve Aldridge first played for Moreton-in-Marsh Bowling Club in the mid-1980s.

That’s a long time ago, of course, in the days when Maggie Thatcher was the country’s PM – and yes, Europe was a big issue in those days as well! Bobby Robson was manager of the England football team and the likes of Duran Duran, Wham! and Frankie Goes to Hollywood were top of the music charts.

Fast forward 30-plus years and the only constant is that Aldridge is still playing bowls for Moreton-in-Marsh.

But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story, though, as Aldridge explains.

“I joined the club in 1984 but in 1985 I took over the Golden Ball pub in Lower Swell which meant I had to pack up the bowls,” he said.

He ran the pub with his good lady, Ness, for 12 years before upping sticks and heading east after landing a job as a steward at Ely City Golf Club in Cambridgeshire.

He and Ness returned to Moreton in 2004 when Aldridge was 56 but still his work commitments – by now he was working in stock control – prevented him from playing the sport he loves.

“I always said that when I retired I wanted to play bowls,” he explained.

That day came some four years ago and he was true to his word because he re-joined Moreton-in-Marsh Bowling Club.

“There were one or two familiar faces,” he said. “Sheila Brookes and I knew Rod Dix from the Golden Ball.”

And Aldridge was soon a very familiar face around the club, so much so that he is now in his second year as captain of the club.

And it’s a sport that he enjoys now as much as he did all those years ago.

“I’d played a bit of indoor bowls when I was in Ely,” he said, “and I now play indoors at Chipping Norton.

“I played a bit of golf when I was younger but bowls has always been my number one sport.

“It’s the friendliness, I like the social side of it. You meet new people and make new friends.

“People imagine it’s an old person’s game but it’s not, you’ve just got to go to Cheltenham Bowling Club to see how many youngsters play the sport.”

And there’s enough going on at Moreton-in-Marsh Bowling Club to keep everyone happy.

“We’ve got 90 matches home and away this season,” he said with some pride. “I played every day for two weeks at one stage last season.”

Fortunately for Aldridge, the club’s green just off Redesdale Place, is just a hop, skip and a jump from his home in Fosseway Avenue although he adds with a laugh: “It’s probably two skips!”

Aldridge is easy to talk to, the club have about 60 members – some of them social – and he’d like more.

“We’re not stuffed shirts,” he said, “we’d like more people to come on board.”

His wife Ness is a keen player – there are about a dozen women players at the club – and anyone who joins will certainly be kept active over the summer months.

“We play in two leagues,” explained Aldridge. “We play in the Kineton League and the North Cotswold League. Both of them are mixed competitions.

“We also have an internal league which we play on Wednesdays.”

That unsurprisingly is called the Wednesday League and there’s plenty more going on at the club as well.

“We’ve got about eight touring teams coming this year,” said Aldridge, who is particularly looking forward to Plymouth (Sir Francis Drake) Bowling Club arriving on Friday 30th August.

“That will be a busy day,” he said.

Aldridge will be at the heart of everything that day of course but while he is clearly a Moreton-in-Marsh Bowling Club man through and through, he was also delighted to get picked to represent Gloucestershire last season.

“That was a big thrill,” he admitted, “hopefully I shall be playing again this year.”

Moreton will be hosting two or three county matches this season on their eight-rink green and they will be big occasions.

And once the outdoor season is over, there will still be plenty going on to fill Aldridge’s in-tray.

“Ness and I will have been married for 50 years in November,” he chuckled, “that will be quite special.”

Nice bloke Steve Aldridge.

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