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The History of Henleaze Bowling Club

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Henleaze Bowling Club was founded in 1928, when Clarence Davey purchased land opposite his house in Grange Court Opening of the green - June 1928Road and, with some friends, set about forming a bowling club. The club was incorporated on 14th June 1928 as a limited company. The cost of laying the green was approximately 600. A wooden pavilion was built on the site of the present car park, along with a shed (presumably for greenkeeping tools) for a total of 520. Between 1929 and 1938 lockers were leased to club members at 5/- pa (25p).

1931 - cash was raised from the membership to purchase a shelter; this was sold for 15 in 1939.

1936 - Henleaze Bowling Club, originally a member of the Somerset BA, transferred affiliation to Gloucestershire BA and at the same time became a founder member at the formation of the City and County of Bristol Bowling Association.

1939 - The new Pavilion was completed and presented to the club as a gift from two of the founders, Clarence himself and Charles Setter. It was opened by the President of the EBA, Harry Thompson. The original pavilion was removed, sold for 20, and the car park made at a cost of 300.The shelter - 1st C&C Bristol BA Match, 1936

1940 - silver spoons costing 3/3d (16.25p) each were presented as prizes on "rinks evenings" - what were latterly known as "spoons nights". Both before and after the war, a charwoman (charperson?) was employed to keep the clubhouse clean, and decoration and repair of the club house was by paid contractor.

1946 - JW "Robbie" Robison awarded his International "cap", a wonderful honour J W Robisonfor himself and the club. He had already been a member of Gloucestershire's Middleton Cup winning team of 1936, the Bath Open Pairs in 1937, the Gloucestershire County Pairs in 1939, Weston Open Pairs, CCBBA Pairs and Rinks in 1940. In 1945 he was runner-up in the EBA singles, Captain of Gloucestershire, runner up in the GBA singles, and skipped the rink that won the GBA Fours. He went on to win the CCBBA pairs again in 1950.

1949 - the green was relaid at a cost of 322, with a Special Appeal Fund set up to meet the cost. Why this should have been necessary is not recorded.

1954 - the teak benches were purchased at a cost of 14 guineas each (14.70) with various members paying for a seat with a plate displaying the donor's name

1956 - the club reached the semi-final of CCBBA Inter-Club Tournamemt - the Clarence Davey Cup - only to be beaten by a team from Greenbank BC.

1978 - the club celebrated the completion of 50 years in existence, and a new flag, complete with date of foundation was expertly hand-sown by Alwyn Harper, who became the club's first Lady Captain in 1982.

1981 -the green was severely damaged by moss treatment, and by the end of August the green had to be closed for repair. Remaining home matches and competitions had to be played on other greens thanks to the kind co-operation of other clubs.

1982 - following much correspondence with the Bingley Turf Research Institute, it was established that the serious damage to the green the previous year had been caused by the moss killer used. The club decided to seek compensation from the manufacturer and also to assist the greenkeeper (Terry Phillips) in his claim for compensation, not only for costs incurred but also for reputational damage. The matter of these claims was undertaken by the serving president (Eddie Pritchard) who, after many months of correspondence, was able to reach agreement with the manufacturer over compensation to the greenkeeper and over a sum of 1,425 to the club.

1982 - 21st April - the lady players held an inaugural meeting to appoint their own officers and committee to organise Ladies matches. Fifteen ladies attended, and they elected Mrs Alwyn Harper as their Captain, and Mrs Edith Hawker as Vice-Captain. Of five matches arranged that season, one was won, three lost and one cancelled due to heavy rain.

1983 - Kelvin Little was selected to play in the Gloucestershire Middleton Cup team - the first Henleaze representative for over 40 years. Unfortunately he was then forced to withdraw with appendicitis. Kelvin did go on to gain Middleton Cup honours the following season.

1986 - the club entered a team into the Bristol and District Bowls League into Division 2. Also, as part of their Golden Jubilee celebrations, a match was played between the CCBBA and rinks from 6 of the founding clubs, of which Henleaze was one.

1988 - by now the green's banks and surrounds of grass and stone slabs were becoming a maintenance issue, and an appeal raised 4,000 to have them replaced.

1990 - with the gradual increase in Lady members, and the pressure on the accommodation caused by the increasing number of matches in the fixture list, it was evident that the Ladies changing facilities needed significant improvement. The existing facility was effectively a corridor containing electrical switches leading to a single toilet. Plans were drawn up to extend the changing rooms within the existing structure by decreasing the very generous size of the kitchen, and an appeal for funds allowed this to be achieved. Also this year, one of the members, Gilbert Maquire, won the singles championship at the prestigious Weston Open tournament.

1991 - Derek Severs, a member at the club since 1976, was appointed President of Gloucestershire Bowling Association for the year. Also this year, the Ladies became affiliated to the Gloucestershire Women's County Bowling Association, and the EBA. This allowed our Ladies to enter county and national competitions. A rink from the club, consisting of Terry Russell, his son Jim, Gilbert Maguire and Chris Butler, reached the final of the CCBA Rink competition, only to be beaten in the final by a four from Imperial.

1993 - Terry Russell, the Club's Men's Singles Champion, and Brenda Hulin won the Bath Open Mixed Pairs Tournament.

1994 - Audrey Mitchell performed well at the Weston Open championships, reaching the singles final. Also this year, the club undertook it's first week-long tour for many years, visiting several clubs in Devon. Further work was required on the green and surrounds, and major work was carried out by the building maintenance team. The ditches and drains were dug-out and cleared, and further work on the paving slabs that had been relaid 6 years earlier. The opportunity was also taken to lay pipes for a new pumped watering system. All told, this voluntary work saved the club in the region of 10,000.

1995 - Audrey again reached the final of Weston Open Singles, only to be miss out at the final hurdle. The subject of changing facilities was again on the agenda, this time for the visitors, who were required to change behind a curtained-off area of the clubhouse. An appeal for funds was initiated, with the intention of including central heating as a replacement for high-level electric fires and for new curtains. This year, the momentous decision was also taken to install a bar - something which had originally been denied to the club by the original covenants of the club. These requirements had been legally overturned in 1982, along with the restrictions on Sunday play.

1996 - the new changing rooms were completed, bringing the club facilities up to modern standards, and the bar began operating.

1997 - CCBBA hosted a match against Oxfordshire on the green, the first representative match for many years at this level, no doubt facilitated by the availability of the new bar!

2000 - once again changing facilities were on the agenda, and again it was pressure on the ladies changing rooms that were the issue. And again the club was able to raise the money through a successful appeal, and the Ladies facilities have been increased to something more adequate for their needs.

2003 - further honour for the club, as Cedric Gunson was appointed President of the CCBBA. Ted Young brought major success, being triumphant in the CCBBA Singles. Not quite such joy for a rink of Cedric Gunson, Chris Fox and Bob Claypoole, who finished second in the Triples Final. Cedric did, however, have the honour of presenting himself with the Runners-up Trophy!

2004 - the club achieved another milestone, electing a lady as President for the first time.

2006 - the club reached the semi-final of the CCBBA Inter-Club Trophy - the Clarence Davey Cup, a donation to the Association by the Henleaze club's founder, and one the club has never won. The sequence remained unbroken, as the club lost narrowly to Portishead RBL in the semi final.

2008 - a rink from the club consisting of Calvin Schlaepfer, Chris Russell, Jim Gregory and John Nicoll, succeeded in winning the CCBBA Fours competition against a four from Greenbank, having reached the final the year before only to lose to a rink from the Bristol Bowling Club. Andy Locke assisted as substitute in an earlier round, as had Den Gazzard the year earlier. For Chris it was a sweet success, after his grandfather (Terry) and uncle (Jim) had failed at this stage 17 years earlier!

2009 - once again the club reached the Clarence Davey Cup semi-finals, losing another hard-fought match, this time against Knowle.

2010 - a poor season in the League saw the first team relegated to Division 2 after 6 seasons in the top flight. The second team were also relegated, joining the third team in Division 4.President's Day - 2012

2012 - President's Day was held on 4th June - the Bank Holiday weekend of the celebrations of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Red, White and Blue was the dress-code of the day, and the clubhouse was similarly decked out in recognition. There was success on the green, with the Men's first and second teams both finishing runners-up in their respective divisions.

2013 - Men's League performance was again strong, with the first team consolidating their position in the First Division, and the Second Team achieving a second successive promotion. In the final game they beat promotion rivals Fry's 8-2 to pip them to second spot by a single point.

The Ladies' first team also performed magnificently to gain promotion back to Division 1.

Andy Locke and Brian Lloyd fought their way to the Final of the CCBBA Pairs competition at Bristol BC, only to lose at the final hurdle to a pair from Canford BC.Andy Locke and Brian Lloyd - CCBBA Pairs Runners-up

2013 - The club followed the practice of many other clubs in the area and adopted shirts in the club colours. As part of the implementation the club provided a shirt to each current member.

2014 - For many years the state of the fence along Grange Court Road had been under discussion, but repairs continued as necessary until gales early in the year forced a decision, and the entire length was at last replaced. Can it be made to last 85 years, as the first one did?

2017 - Unfortunately due to a drop in membership levels, the club reluctantly withdrew its Men's 'C' team from the Bristol and District League.

2018 - An excellent year for the Ladies, who progressed through several rounds of the Top Club and Interclub competitions. In the Ladies' League the B team won Division 3, so are promoted to Division 2. The Club purchased a 'bowling arm' to help members who are finding difficulty bowling, and a new dishwasher for the kitchen. In October and November the club house was let out to 2 local bridge clubs, whose usual venue was being refurbished.

2019 - The Ladies won the Glos. County Inter-club Cup. However, due to mistakes by the Bristol Ladies Bowls League committee the A team was relegated to Division 2. After a vote, it was decided that the Ladies' third team would be withdrawn in 2020.

2020 - The year that didn't happen.