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Tuesday February 21st 2017

Bletchingley Bowling Club

Potted history of the Bletchingley Bowling Club ( situated in Grange Meadow).

Grange Meadow was a gift by a local resident, Mr. E. W. Blessig, presented to the people of Bletchingley for the playing of cricket, tennis and bowls.

The Bowling Club was officially opened by Mr. Blessig on the 6th July, 1929, with an opening game between Mr. Blessig’s team and Dr. Robertson’s team-the result is not recorded. Dr. Robertson was the local G.P. and generally held in high esteem by the local residents. it is interesting to note he was also Club President for a number of years and was ably supported by several well-known local business men.

In 1932 the club was affiliated to the English Bowling Association, and Surrey County Bowling Association, but in those early days it would appear that not much support was given to the county, possibly due to lack of members and general facilities at the club.

With the advent of war the bowls pavilion and four rinks were requisitioned for use as a first aid post and A.R.P. centre, but the club carried on as best it could limited to the use of two rinks. It is interesting to note that the club was “kept in being” from 1940 to the early 1950s by a very small band of members, including ladies.

There are no recorded minutes from the A.G.M. held on 9th June 1951 to a General Meeting held on 20th April 1955, at which the Chairman congratulated the few who had kept the club alive during the fast few difficult years. From 1955 the club began to come to life with an influx of new members, and much hard work was put in by everyone to bring back to condition the six rinks which had suffered heavily during the past 14-15 years. Our present members owe an awful lot to those dedicated few who carried on against tremendous odds during and after the war. Our present high standing is due in no small measure to their dedication and faith in the future.

1965 The first small extension to the club house, mainly financed bv the local District Council, but a step in the right direction-at least we could now sit down to tea with our visiting teams.

1967 proved outstanding in our history. Our very own bar was opened on 16th December amidst great enthusiasm. A second hand bar, fittings, and the necessary stock were purchased by means of members’ loans amounting to the grand sum of £115. All loans were repaid by August 1968.

1969 saw the founding of the Ladies section and their county affiliation.

1970 We joined the London and Southern Counties Bowling Association, the oldest Bowling Association In the county.

1974 The second extension to the club house, and new ‘L’ shaped bar, officially opened by Surrey County President Bob Blow on April 26th.

1998 Lottery Sports Fund grant enables the club to build new changing room as an extension to the main building.

Club membership in the late seventies stood in excess of 100 members, current membership stands at around 27 male members with a smaller ladies’ section of 16, the low numbers are a sad reflection of the declining numbers now playing the outdoor game country wide, with several clubs in the county closing!

In the men’s section we currently have 4 Surrey County Badged players.

County successes:

In 1963 Arthur Weeks won the Surrey Unbadged Singles competition, and although no longer with us, his presentation bannerette hangs proudly in the club house.

Bill Carman was presented with the ‘Castella Award’ for meritorious service to the game of bowls in 1968 by County President Bill Patience. On the 26th April 1978, he was made an Honorary Life Member of the club after holding office as Honorary Secretary for 20 years.

In two consecutive years, 1969-1970, the same four members, Jack Davie, Bert Brown, Wally Trahar and Bill Carman reached the County Fours final at Balham. Following the 1970 final they won through to the last eight in the English Bowling Association Championships at Mortlake, sadly, Jack is the only surviving member of that team.

Further club members have attained a County Badge by qualifying in the following manner.

Men’s Section

1975 Alan Weeks reached the semi-final of the Unbadged Singles competition.
1976 John Prior reached the quarter-finals of the Singles competition;
1977 Vic Gooding reached the final of the Singles competition, and thereby qualified for that great, experience of representing Surrey in the English Bowling Association National Championships at Worthing.
1985 Trevor Pocock reached the last 16 in the Unbadged Singles
1985 Alan Weeks and Cecil Pocock reached the quarter finals of the Pairs.
1993 Dave Brooks, Roger Rashleigh and Des Behan reached the finals of the Triples and also represented the county at Worthing.
2000 Mark Compsty reached the Semi- finals of the Unbadged Singles.

Ladies Section:

1979 Connie Trahar
1998 Pat Hatt reached the Final of the Singles competition.
2000 Gladys Stephens and Barbara Jordan were winners of the Pairs competition.
2000 Gladys Stephens won the Secretaries competition.
2002 Doris Finch won the 2 Wood Singles competition.

Please see attached website link www.bletchingleybowls.co.uk