The nucleus of an idea, massaged from its inception by two forward-looking members of their respective bowling clubs, has blossomed to become an integral part of the bowling calendar in local confines and beyond.
Cecil McClure of City of Derry and Louis Reilly of Letterkenny initiated an annual invitational tournament in 2005 that would include Sion Mills, Letterkenny, Omagh and Lisnagelvin, to compete for the Hospice Cross-Border Shield.
All proceeds generated by the competition would be donated to the Foyle and Donegal Hospice on alternate years.
In a cruel twist of fate however, Cecil McClure’s tenure as co- organiser of the event was destined to be tragically short, the City of Derry bowler passing away less than a year into the tournament proper.
It was imperative that Cecil’s successor be as dedicated and constructive as he had been and, almost inevitably, the baton was passed to the capable hands of George Burns.
Mr. Capability has demonstrated in the intervening years that the choice was as inspired as it was productive, his input, and that of his Donegal compatriot Louis Reilly, serving to move the tournament successfully to an exciting new dimension.
To perpetuate the memory and achievements of the late founder, the tournament was renamed the Cecil McClure Memorial Trophy, a gesture that found favour with all associated with the event.
The latest episode of the competition took place at the City of Derry venue a few weeks ago and the occasion was singularly superb.
Welcoming players and officials from the visiting clubs, Vice-President Burns opined that the event was now held in deep and genuine affection, not only by participants, but the bowling fraternity generally.
Mr. Burns reminded his audience that the financial beneficiaries of the annual encounter were the two local hospices, who make no distinctions in their treatment of the ill.
The scene on the City of Derry green was one of vibrant energy as the quest for success began in earnest.
A charitable event it may well have been, but put down a mat, throw up a jack and forget about the bottom line being enjoyment, the only line is winning.
There is something eminently inherent in every bowler, irrespective of occasion, that once they walk on to a green, they’re there to win, and that’s what makes it such a fascinating and compulsive game.
After a compelling day’s bowls, host team Lisnagelvin emerged as winners with 12 points, followed with Letterkenny and Omagh on 10 points each. Sion Mills brought up the rear with a credible eight points.
In his concluding address, George Burns thanked everyone for their participation in the day’s events, and revealed that the magnificent sum of £934.45 had been gathered for this year’s beneficiaries, the Foyle Hospice. Complimentary sentiments were also expressed by Louis Reilly of Letterkenny Bowling Club and City of Derry President Charles McDaid. The hugely efficient ladies committee rounded off proceedings superbly with a sit down meal that was wholly in keeping with a splendid day. Roll on 2016.