Southwick Bowling Club celebrates its centenary
PUBLISHED: 12:26 20 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 20 February 2013
Southwick Bowling Club celebrates its centenary this year and here we talk to club chairman Brian Simmonds.
Southwick Bowling Club celebrates its centenary this year and here we talk to club chairman Brian Simmonds who says, Life has changed dramatically over the past century but the game of bowls with its tradition of competitiveness combined with fair play and polite etiquette remains one of the great constants
Is bowling really for OAPs? Most bowling clubs were originally attached to public houses at a time when it was the older generation who frequented them. Thus, it was true that in the early days, the game was dominated by older men. Times have changed and bowling clubs, although still part of the local community, have widened their appeal to most age groups andboth sexes.
Do you welcome younger bowlers?Most certainly. We hope that an exhibition we are staging as part of our centenary celebrations will help raise interest and we plan to launcha recruitment campaign vialocal schools.
Tell me about the exhibition?It is being held at the Manor Cottage Heritage Centre, Southwick by kind permission of The Southwick Society, opened by 24-year-old English singles champion David Hubbard. It is open to the public free of charge every Saturday morning throughout the summer with two of our club members in attendance.
And the main centenary celebrations?Prestige games against the Royal Household at Windsor, Chelsea Hospital, Bowls England and Sussex County Bowling Association. Publication of a 48 page booklet on the clubs history. A memento for every visiting player and a weeks bowling tour based on Bournemouth in September and a presentation dinner in November.
When was the club set up?On February 18th 1910 by a group of local men including three councillors at a meeting in Southwick Town Hall. The Rock brewery of Brighton had some land attached to the Cricketers Inn, Southwick and they agreed to provide a bowling green at a rent of 10 per year. That was our home until 1932 when Southwick Urban Council offered us facilities in the then newly acquired Southwick Recreation ground.
What facilities do you have today?An attractive modern pavilion with changing rooms, function/dining room and bar built with the help of grants from the National Lottery and many hours of voluntary labour. Our 90 male and 30 lady playing members share the pavilion and two greens with another local club Southwick Park.
How much time does it take?Its up to the individual although we encourage everyone to join in as much as possible. We play two or three friendly matches in the afternoons each week, one of which is at the weekend. There are also shorter members only games every Monday and Friday afternoon and club and county competitions. Two mens teams representing the club play on Tuesday evenings in the highly competitive Brighton, Hove and District league. We won promotion to the top divisionlast season.
How much does bowling cost?The annual season ticket (payable to Adur District Council) is 87. for adults and 75. for over 60s. Juniors pay 33. In addition there is a club subscription of 15 and modest match fees (usually 1.50) Overall for me it amounts to about 150 for a 22 week season, say 7.50 per week and for that I could play nearly every day. Non playing social members pay 3 per year.
Is there a dress code?Yes. In order to protect the bowling green there are rules requiring footware with flat soles and players are expected to wear club shirts with colours and white trousers/skirts in matches against other clubs. The dress code is more relaxed for internal games, competitions and what we call roll upsIs there a social side?As a small friendly club we encourage social activities. We always have an informal post-match drink with visiting opponents. This years open day for instance, includes an afternoons bowlingand a supper and quiz inthe evening.
What do members do in the winter?The majority carry on bowling in the nearby Adur Indoor Bowling Club where there is a full programme of activities. Some however, prefer to play short mat bowling in the pavilion. This has become extremely popular inrecent years.
Did you ever think you would bea bowler?No. Prior to retirement I knew very little about bowling. The environment in which I worked tended to lean towards golf although, in truth, I found little time for leisure activities. Why did you start bowling?I retired early, aged 52 when pension funds were healthy and I had an offer I couldnt refuse. Despite some part time consultancy work I had time on my hands and I was persuaded by my brother- in- law to try bowls. From the very first roll up I really enjoyed it. It seemed to have a perfect combination of skill, tactics, ball play, etiquette, competitiveness, friendliness and gentle exercise. I just wish, like many other bowlers that I had taken it up earlier.
For further information see www.southwickbowlingclub.co.uk
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