Author Pat Launders (Adapted for Club's Information Media by Barbara Nunn)
The ladies of Egham have always had a formidable reputation as experienced and competitive bowlers. Since the early days of the section, with Mavis Steele at the top of her game, and many of our now senior players just beginning to hit form, this club has been a force to be reckoned with in the ladies game. We have also made our contribution towards the development of the sport, by instigating the Egham Trophy, and the subject of this piece, the Vivienne Trophy. As you all know, the Yetton Trophy is the premier ladies- four rink club championship, and Egham has achieved an enviable record, having won the title six times since entering in 1985. It may seem strange, but in the early days of the competition, clubs were encouraged to enter more than one team. Unfortunately, this system lent itself to corruption, because, quite apart from the possibility of being drawn against your own club, it was not unknown for unscrupulous selectors to wait until the draw came out before loading their teams accordingly, thus A team would become B team, and vice-versa. Nobody was really happy with this system, but it fell to our own Pam Garden to cause a change. Discussing the matter with her husband Ben, it occurred to Pam that a much fairer system could be structured. If there was another, separate, four-rink competition to take the place of the second Yetton teams, there would be no risk of being drawn against your own club, and it would still allow clubs to field players who, for one reason or another, had not been selected for the Yetton. Furthermore, if rules could be set up to disallow movement of players from the Yetton once the competition had begun, there was less chance of the system being abused.
With Ben's encouragement, Pam formulated a plan to this effect, and submitted it to the indoor committee for their endorsement. After consideration, it was agreed to put forward a proposal to the English Womens' Indoor Bowling Association, and some discussion ensued regarding a title. The committee at the time suggested "The Runneymede Cup", but Pam and Ben had set their hearts on a course of action. Ben offered to provide a suitable trophy, and they were both agreed that the competition should commemorate Bens' late wife, Vivienne, who had passed away very suddenly from a brain haemorrhage in 1989. The Vivienne Trophy was born!
A proposal was put forward by Egham at the EWIBA annual general meeting, and after a lot of discussion, and a very close vote, it was agreed that the competition would take place in exactly the format that Pam had envisaged. Essentially, no club would be able to enter without having already fielded a Yetton team, and there could be no movement of players from one competition to the other once the first round had been played. Pam and Ben were invited to the inaugural final to present the trophy to the President, who subsequently presented it to the first winners, Banbury Cross.
The Vivienne Trophy has been in place since 1997, and during that time Egham have won the trophy four times. What's more, for three of those years, 2004/5, 2005/6 and 2009/10, we won the Yetton Trophy as well! This is, of course, a club that is strong in depth, but we should be proud of the fact that the "Vivienne" has become a prestigious competition in its own right, and not just a "second-string Yetton". This is all down to the vision of two of our most stalwart members, Pam and Ben Garden, and their continued support and enthusiasm through the years since its original inception.