Founded in 1866, the bowls club was originally a quoits club located on Herne Road. In the early 1900s the game of lawn bowls started to become popular and the club changed to bowls in 1906 with four rinks. With its increasing popularity, in the 1970s the club moved to land offered by the council on Occupation Road, where members built a clubhouse and a six-rink green.
The first refurbishment in 2010 incorporated an extension with new changing rooms, kitchen, and toilets. The latest refurbishment in 2020 was designed by Waterlands Architects in Oundle. They added a new entrance, increased the size of the clubhouse, and updated and improved the interior.
The refurbishment project was supported by a grant of £50,000 from the Community Facilities Funds Awards from East Northamptonshire Council. This amount was matched by a similar amount by Sport England, which is supported by the National Lottery.
The club currently has a membership of 157 members. Most are outdoor bowls players, but there are at least 60 who play indoor bowls on short mats during the winter.
The outdoor bowls season runs from April to September. For competitive players they organise up to 40 fixtures with other clubs in a twenty mile radius.
On Friday nights, a Roll-up is organised for anyone interested in an open draw competition. Serious players can also join the Northamptonshire Bowls Association.
Under the Covid restrictions, they have been able to arrange indoor play with up to twelve people, and plan to reopen in the new year.
In a normal season, the Oundle Bowling Club hosts social events throughout the year. Highlights include a summer party, bridge days, quiz nights, dinners with speakers, and whist drives.
Full membership is £85 a year. Anyone can join with any level of experience. Paul Pearson, Secretary, said: “A lot of new members join, try a few bowls, realise it is more complex than they thought and sign up for coaching.”
A six-week course with certified level 1 coaches is included in the membership and equipment is available to borrow if needed.
David Walker, Chair of the club, encourages new players to try out bowls. “The bowling club is in an ideal location between the tennis club and the rugby club. New members are always welcome to join and enjoy the sport of bowls, and the many other social activities available.”
1 December 2020