The lawn bowls season will soon start at the Henley-on-Thames Bowling Club.
Henley Bowling Club is a friendly, mixed bowling club set in a beautiful location by the Pavilion in Mill Meadows. Kevin said, “We are just waiting for our new green keeper, Colin Ward, to give us the go ahead to let us start messing up his lovely lawn. Colin has taken responsibility for our green this season now that our head green keeper of 25 years or more, Maurice Robins, has stepped back from the lead role. Colin has been assisting Maurice in recent years and now the roles are reversed with Maurice assisting Colin. At the end of September, we employed Avonmore Associates to carry out autumn maintenance of the green and since then Colin and Maurice have been tending to the grass trying to get it in a suitable state for us to bowl on. The cold wet winter hasn’t helped but it is starting to look really good now.”
The Club has had an expensive winter season. With the wooden surround to the green starting to splinter in a few places, the Committee decided to replace it and one of the members, David Palmer, took on the job assisted by members Bob Handley and John Wilkinson. The poor weather over winter didn’t help them but the job will be finished in time for the first bowling session which they hope will be at the end of April. They have also had to repair a lot of their lawn maintenance equipment, mowers, aerators spreaders etc. Their coffers are low so they are very keen to attract new members. Last Saturday Club members were out in Henley Market Place letting people know they exist and where they are and how they can try out the sport.
Many people showed interest so they hope they will come along for our “taster” sessions throughout May. These are on Monday evenings between 6pm or 8pm and on Tuesday afternoons between 12:30pm and 2:30pm (subject to the weather being kind of course). If interested, you just need some flattish footwear and they will provide the rest including free car parking (make sure you get a visitor’s ticket from them). Alternatively, if those dates and times don’t suit you, contact them via their website which is at https://henleybowlingclub.wixsite.com/home and they can arrange something mutually convenient.
Kevin added, “It is pleasing to report that most of last year’s members have already re-joined but we must say a big thank you to or sponsors who we unashamedly list here because they deserve some form of publicity other than their advertising boards which we display by our green. They are: A.B. Walker, Active Security, the Bull & Butcher (Turville), Gabriel Machin, Henley Self Storage, Kench & Co, McMillan Wealth Consultants, Right at Home, Robinson Sherston and Southern Plant Tool Hire. A.B. Walker also sponsor our Gala Day which this year is on Sunday 25 June. This is when we invite teams from local clubs to compete for money prizes in a Mixed Triples competition which lasts all day.”
“We must also thank the Town Council which is very supportive of the Club but maybe this is influenced by the Mayor being our patron, presumably because of the history of bowling in Henley. One of our members has been researching the Club’s formation and it looks like the Council ran the bowling club as part of its Henley & District Sports Club which also included tennis. Whether it covered other sports is not known. The bowling green was originally where the Adventure Golf Park now is and the tennis courts were where the Pavilion is. In May 1928 a new bowling green was opened on our current site and presumably the Council relinquished direct responsibility sometime in that year. We feel, therefore, that we have a responsibility to provide the Henley community with the facility to play lawn bowls and are always looking to attract new members.”
To offer something new, this season the Club has joined Bowls England’s Bowls Bash initiative which they started last year. This is a shortened form of the game with a slightly different scoring system and should take no longer than an hour to play. The Club feel this will sit well alongside the Council’s Adventure Golf Park which is alongside their green. Bowls Bash will be on Monday evenings for a couple of hours. If it proves popular the Club will develop it more. You can find out more at https://www.bowlsengland.com/bowlsbash/.
So, if you fancy trying out the game – go along on Monday evenings during May, you’ll be made very welcome.