The First 75 years (1936 to 2011)
English Bowling Association (EBA) code of bowls was first played in
years following 1922, which appears to be the year when Norfolk Bowling Club
came into existence, it seems the EBA and the ‘Norfolk Code of Bowls’ continued
to be played there and Norfolk Bowlers entered their county competitions through
the Essex County Bowling Association. It was not until 1936 that
November 1936, at a meeting held in the Royal Hotel Norwich, it was agreed by
seventeen gentlemen representing eight Clubs in
The eight founding clubs were Norfolk Bowling Club, Hunstanton Cliff Parade, Great Yarmouth, Wymondham Dell, Sheringham Morley, The Gladstone Club (Norwich), Harleston Magpie and Heacham Social. The first five clubs are still members of the Association, the Gladstone Club and Harleston Magpie are now defunct and Heacham Social are no longer in the Association. Cromer successfully applied for membership on 11th December 1936.
The affiliation fee for Clubs was agreed as an entrance fee of 5 shillings and an annual subscription of 1 guinea
The application for membership was successful and the Rules adopted 50 years ago have changed little with the passage of time, a tribute indeed to the wisdom of our early administrators.
original eight founding clubs the number of EBA Clubs in
Much of the work in running the County’s affairs has fallen upon the shoulders of hard working Secretaries and these gentlemen who have held this post over the years are:-
The late Alec Page 1936 -1964
The late Phil Segger 1964 – 1967
The late Peter Paul 1967 – 1975
The late R(onnie) Browne 1975 – 1977
The late George Taylor 1977 – 1983
Peter Beckham 1983 – 1984
N John Fox 1984 – 1991
Alan Rowsell 1992
Don Faulkner 1993 – 1996
Graham Hobart 1996 – 2005
Peter Bird 2005 -
sterling work begun by the late W. C. Webster was continued by the late Alec
Page who became President of the International Bowling Board in 1961, having
first County match under EBA rules was played at Norfolk Bowling Club in 1937
It was not until after the Second World War that a Triples Championship was introduced and the first winners in 1945 were R.Farman, C.Gedge & W.Taylor of Norfolk Bowling Club.
Norfolk played their first Middleton Cup game and beat Cambridgeshire by
140-89. Success in the Middleton Cup eluded the county for several years but
After the first appointment of Basil Last, the post of Middleton Cup Team Manager has been held by Alec Farrow, Denis Grint, Arthur Jermy, David Betts, Chris Ward and Brian Taylor.
In 1938, the Association’s Deputy President G.A Bales of Great Yarmouth donated a trophy for a Club Championship and hence the Bales Cup was borne. Norfolk Bowling Club were the first winners and this prestigious championship continues to be played to this day. The championship has been won by 19 different clubs over the years with Wymondham Dell having won the Championship on most occasions (12).
also in 1938 that the Norfolk Benevolent Fund, whose purpose is to provide
financial assistance to
In 1955 a double fours championship for the Lord Fermoy Cup was started and won by Gorleston EBA. Again this competition continues to the present day.
With mixed bowling on the increase an inter club mixed fours championship for the Jermy Cup was started in 1995 being won by one of the founder clubs, Sheringham Morley.
Bowls has been saddled with being a game for older people but it continues to be popular with a younger age group and to reflect this an Under 25 Championship was introduced in 1987 and was won by Robert Hadingham of Wortwell. Robert and many of the other winners of this competition have gone on to represent the County at Middleton Cup and International level.
As the popularity of bowls increased during the 1960’s a County wide League was introduced in 1966 and this continues to be popular with currently over 90 teams participating involving over 1000 players. The league has developed over the years and now consists of a Premier Division, which started in 1982 plus 12 regional zones and is one the largest county wide leagues in the country.
The County League title is the most hard fought team title in the County and has been won by a wide variety of teams over it’s 40+ year history, with Wymondham Dell having won the title the most times (15).
In the 1990’s the County secured it’s first sponsorship from CPS Gas and the legacy of this continues to this day with the CPS Gas Cup being played as part of the County League end of season play offs.
the County secured the sponsorship of Hansell’s Solicitors and this has proved
highly successful to both parties and continues to this day. The sponsorship
covers the operation of the
honour of becoming the first
John Bakewell became our first International player, eight other
R G (Reggie) Taylor -
· Micky Long – Wymondham Dell (1966 -1967)
John Youngs –
· Chris Ward - Cromer (1978-1979, 1981 & 1983)
· David Ward – Cromer (1982-1997)
· John Ottaway – Wymondham Dell (1985-2009)
· Mervyn King – Hunstanton EBA (1990, 1995, 1997-2010)
Darren Rowsell –
· Jamie Chestney – Hunstanton (2008-2010)
a British Isles Junior International Series was introduced and again
· Steve Utting – Freethorpe (1990 & 1995)
George Tubby –
Neil Moulton –
Tim Stone –
· Jamie Chestney – Hunstanton (2004-2010)
· Steffan Adcock – Wymondham Dell (2004-2006)
Wayne Willgress –
It is testimony
to strength of the game in
in lifting National titles eluded
The blue riband Singles has been won five times, by Chris Ward with two successes and by John Ottaway with three. Both Chris and John went on to become British Isles Singles Champion.
The Pairs was won by Eddie Bell and Malcolm Wade (Wymondham Dell) in 1979, by John Ottaway and Roger Guy (Wymondham Dell) in 1990 and then by Ian Wynter and Jamie Chestney (Downham Market) in 2004
Triples was won by Charles West, Chris Willgress and Wayne Willgress (
As mentioned earlier the Fours was won by Arthur Rix, Cecil Whitwood, George Ward and Chris Ward (Cromer) in 1975 and Chris took the title again in1980 partnered by Graham Pease, his father, George and Reggie Baker.
Junior Singles was won by Ian Grady (
At Club level Wymondham Dell won the National Club Two Fours title in 1985 and North Walsham (EBA) won the National Top Club in 2004.
Mixed bowling has become a feature since the 1980’s and Christine Webb, Jayne Roylance, Trevor Webb and David Ward won the National Mixed Fours title in 1998.
successes and the County’s record in the Middleton Cup make
winners of the National Singles, Pairs, Triples, Fours and Junior Singles
King took the Singles berth in 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and lead in
the Triples in the 2006 Melbourne Games. Playing the Pairs in the 2010 Delhi Games
Mervyn won the Silver Medal. Mervyn has also represented
ultimate administrative honour is to become President of your National Association
and the honour of President of the English Bowling Association was afforded to
the late Dennis Grint (Freethorpe) in 1991 who subsequently went on to become a
Director of World Bowls. In 2009 Dennis Cousins
six counties, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire,
R.G. (Reggie) Taylor, County President in 1954 and 1956 served as President of the Eastern Counties Bowling Association in 1973, as did Dickie Moore in 1979, Ray Reeve in 1986, John Fox in 1993, John Taylor in 2000 and Don Whyatt in 2007.
The bowlers of Norfolk are indeed indebted to the efforts of the late W. C. Webster and Alec Page and all the able administrators who have succeeded them.
The strength of bowls lies with its administration side and with the strength in depth and ability of its bowlers and on both counts Norfolk is well placed for future years.