This year we decided to try the Christmas party organised by the Runnymede Hotel where we enjoyed an excellent meal following by dancing for those with enough energy.

There was a good turnout at the WBCC 2015 skittles evening held at the Sunbury Sports Association. The venue has new management and things certainly have changed. They have provided a brand new skittles alley and the décor in the room made the ambience much more appealing than in previous years. Gone was the mini hangar look, in came the Christmas tree and lights and pretty bunting all over the ceiling. None of this, however detracted from the spanking competitive performance by members of the WBCC skittles fraternity.

 

As is normal, the Commodore challenged the Vice Commodore to field a team which would beat hers at this year's event. This was bound to be a competitive event, given that the VCs team won the darts match a few weeks earlier when Scilla stole the march at the last moment.

Off went the players. Tony Smy hurled the balls with such ferocity that minders David Seager and Roger Harden at the other end of the alley were in grave danger of being bombed out of the hall altogether. Others took a more measured strategy, aiming for the skittle of their choice. Which would provide the winning approach? This was the question uppermost on most people's mind as they walked up to the alley for their turn. An early challenge was set when Jean Cliffe got the first clean break with 9 pins down. Now the challenge was really on and the stakes were high.

At the end of the first round, the Vice Commodore's team led with 3 points in 300 or so. A slim lead, but a lead nevertheless. This was increased to a lead of 7 by the second round. The tension grew and hung about the air as we broke for dinner. This time the fare was chicken with tarragon sauce or a beef stew and reportedly both dishes were delicious.

Refreshed and sustained, each team eagerly stepped up to play the next round, which resulted in the Commodore's team catching up and nullifying the VC's lead.

So the final round became the deciding round! Excitement grew as the round started and scores were watched carefully. Eventually, after all the skill and expertise had been expended, the scores were counted and the Ciommodore

As is the custom, entrants brought their photographs which were laid on the table for everyone to see. Members were given voting slips on which to vote for their favourite three photographs. Once again, a large number of excellent photographs had been entered, proving that members of WBCC are equally talented at manoeuvring craft as at capturing images.

First place went to Mike O'Brien with his entry taken while on the East Coast cruise.

In second place came Denise Harden with this lovely sunset with a swan in the foreground.

Third place was taken by Phil Johnston with this photograph of the sunset on the little cottage at Beale Park in Pangbourne.

Well done to all the entrants and particular congratulations to the winners. Each year the standard rises, making the evening a great exhibition of members' photographic talent and skills.

Once again this annual event, which signals the formal conclusion to the WBCC summer season, was held at The Bells at Staines. Once again, the venue provided us with a splendid meal which represented good value for money, particularly as we had the exclusive use of a private room in which to revel and recall events, memories and incidents during the season.

The darts competition in October this year shared the evening with the photographic competition. It was notably high tech, with the scoreboard no longer a blackboard and chalk affai.; Gone was the duster and the chalk, replaced with a brand new electronic scorer which did all the mathematics in double quick time—and no cheating either!

As usual, the compeAAon was between a team led by the Commodore and one led by the Vice Commodore.

The Vice Commodore's team won a convincing victory over the Commodore's team. Well, convincing only because of a three dart bonanza delivered by Scilla just before the Commodore's team would have smashed through to claim victory. Having trailed all the way, the Vice Commodore's team had practically conceded victory to their opponents who were simply aiming for that last double, when Scilla on the trailing team was given the darts.
The score to finish was 34 when Scilla launched her first dart — double 8, leaving 18 to finish. The second dart landed on the board at double 6, leaving just 6 to score. Scilla took aim and launched her third dart — bang in the middle of triple 2! Howzat for a finish?

Those of us on the Commodore's team consoled ourselves that it must have been a fluke, but Scilla informed us all that she was playing to her normal standard, and it was nothing to be surprised at! Hmmm! Do we believe that?

So, off we went to find the highest scorer of the evening. Everyone had the choice of the lighter darts or the heavier missiles.

Each had their throw and at the end of the exercise, the winner was Sally who had notched up an impressive 83, beating David into second place with his high score of 75, with Peter coming in a creditable third with a score of 59.

The picture shows Sally being presented with her winner's prize.

Well Done Sally!