Pembroke: Bowled over

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The Independent Online
THINK OF A football crowd and there's more than a faint chance that riots, smoke bombs, missiles and racist chants will float into your thoughts, along with fathers and sons wearing bobble hats. Now think of a bowls match - nice, safe, low- risk - and the kind of spectator it would attract. Hush Puppies, Fair Isle tank tops, knitted ties, and the only chanting from the David Bryant Fan Club.

So you can see exactly why Churchill Insurance, the direct response motor insurer, has entered the crazy world of bowls sponsorship, following in the footsteps of Sanatogen, Midland Bank and Co-Operative Insurance Services.

'People who watch bowls are the kind of people we like to insure,' said Martin Long, Churchill's chief exec, as he announced a pounds 750,000 deal to back the World Indoor Bowls Championship for the next three years. 'What's more it's a clean sport, respectable and you don't have to deal with primadonnas.'

SO TOUGH are times at the Lloyd's of London insurance market that its small but perfectly formed chairman David Rowland is becoming increasingly irascible. Within Lloyd's he is known by colleagues as 'Rowland Ratty'.

WHEN IS A profit warning not a profit warning? When it's a correction, according to Kit Maunsell, chief executive of the sports leisurewear group Campari International. Evidently a stickler for semantics, he says that the cautionary announcement made to the Stock Exchange last May - which sent the shares tumbling 58p to 120p in a day - was merely a correction of over-optimistic brokers' profit forecasts.

PR MEN, as we know, are welded to their mobile telephones. Yet one of them (we shall, to spare his blushes, spare you his name but he works in Bedford Square) was only too happy to lend his to a colleague here who urgently needed to make a call. But said colleague was unable to make his call because of a reprimanding recorded message, with words to the effect: 'Your Vodafone service has been discontinued. Payment has not reached your account.'

Embarrassment all round.

NO EXPENSE is spared when NatWest Bank's damage limitation team swings into action. Witness a letter sent to shareholders of MB-Caradon, the building materials company and chequebook printer that has called a pounds 334m rights issue to help fund an pounds 800m acquisition from RTZ.

'We believe that shareholders may not have received a reply- paid envelope with the provisional allotment letter sent to them on 21 September . . . A reply-paid envelope is enclosed with this letter. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.' And please, take up your rights.

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