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Ely,  Cambridgeshire  CB6 3TB

HADDENHAM BOWLS CLUB

A BRIEF HISTORY

by

Kevin Marshall

We are situated down a small lane, off Church Lane behind the Vicarage. From the Green we look across the valley to Sutton, and on a good day the brickwork chimneys at Whittlesey, and the wind turbine at March are visible. On a bad day the winds from Siberia can be felt. We have around thirty-seven playing members, twenty-four men and thirteen ladies. Approximately two thirds of the members live in the village, the rest come from surrounding villages, Ely and Cambridge. We play in both the Ely and District and the Cambridge and District Leagues. There are league games at least two evenings and one afternoon a week. At weekends we have friendly matches against other clubs and club tournaments. Annually, we have a Charity Triples Open Tournament in aid of MAGPAS, so the Green is in frequent use.


 We were established in August 1912 when forty square yards of the Vicarage Paddock was loaned to the club by the vicar. The first official meeting was held on 19th August 1912 in the Church Hall. The first officers were President -A.E. Wright, Vice Presidents -Rev. F.S. Morgan and Dr Howe, Treasurer -E.H. Robinson and Secretary -A.E. Miles. Membership was five shillings per annum.

The first ever game was a tournament against Bluntisham on 18th April 1914. According to the balance sheet for 1914/15 we had twenty five members. Mr Barker was the first captain to be followed in 1916 by Mr Robinson. Until 1925 an old tram car was used as the pavilion. In 1930 we purchased the Green from the Church Commissioners for £35 plus expenses and a loan of £40 was obtained from Barclays Bank. By 1934 water was laid on with members digging the trench and Mr Starkey providing the pipes. In 1937 we agreed that ladies could become members. A decision that had been deferred from 1913 !! Play continued during the Second World War but it is not clear from the records to what degree. In 1953 we were invited by the Coronation Committee to send a member to the ceremony, Mr E. Rolfe was our representative. On our behalf in 1960 Wilf Papworth bought a hut for £60. This was to be our new pavilion and we had the luxury of calor gas lighting. In 1965 the Green was re-laid and extended and in 1968 a further three hundred square yards of Glebe land was purchased for £50. In the late sixties the club advertised for lady members and by 1969 we had three lady members. By 1980 we were playing friendly matches at Sheringham and Hunstanton. On 13th June 1982 a new pavilion (a school portacabin) was opened on the present site. This was funded by loans from members, council and parish grants. The Green was again totally levelled and resown in 1986/87 and is now considered to be one of the best playing surfaces in Cambridgeshire. In 1994 the current brick built pavilion was completed at a cost of £56,000. This was funded mainly with a grant of £36,000 from East Cambs Council. During our existence we have only had five club secretaries -A.E. Miles from 1912, H. Collin from 1925, A. Page from 1958, T.Ward from 1979 and myself from 2017.

 A. Page was a member for 54 years and during that time as well as secretary he also had spells as captain, groundsman and bar steward. H. Collin was also a member from the clubs inception for 50 years serving in several roles and S. Hostler served as club captain for over 30 years. There are many other members and characters over the years who have made great contributions to the club that there is not enough space to name them all. Our main aim is to provide a facility for the village and surrounding areas so that members can enjoy themselves and remember that David Bryant once said


"Bowls is a young person’s sport that old people can play"