Leighton Buzzard Bowling Club celebrating centenary - why not join them?

Have a go at Bowls' Big Weekend - Sunday, May 30

By Zoe Ashton
Thursday, 13th May 2021, 7:30 am
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 7:34 am
Leighton Buzzard Bowling Club President Stuart Espie and Club Chairman  Roger Clarke with the new flag to mark the centenary
Leighton Buzzard Bowling Club President Stuart Espie and Club Chairman Roger Clarke with the new flag to mark the centenary

Celebrating their centenary, Leighton Buzzard Bowling Club are keen to welcome newcomers in their anniversary year.

Among the highlights of the celebrations will be a fixture against the county, when Bowls Bedfordshire visit to play the club in August.

The club also have a new flag flying at their Grovebury Road ground emblazoned with their emblem and 1921-2021 to mark their 100 years.

Why not have a go at bowls at the Grovebury Road club on Sunday, May 30

They are taking part in Bowls England’s nationwide Bowls’ Big Weekend initiative for anyone to try the sport.

”Our doors will be open from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, May 30 and we hope anyone interested will come and have a go – or if that’s not convenient, they can just contact our secretary and arrange another time,” said president Stuart Espie, who joined the club in 1995.

“We want to encourage new members, whether you are new to the game or have some experience. Bowls is a really social sport and a true sport for all, there really are no barriers, as long as you can pick up a bowl, probably from about the age of nine or ten and there are still players active in their 90s.

“People seem to think bowls is a sport for old people – and it really isn’t,” explained the president who has been playing since he was 12 or 13. “And the old image of whites and greys has gone out of the window. We have bright new sports shirts.

Bowlers enjoying being back on the green at the start of the club's centenary year

“Disability isn’t a barrier either,” said Stuart, who has recently become competition secretary of Disability Bowls England.

“People can play from wheelchairs, have physical, learning or visual impairment and there are pathways to reach high levels.”

The bowls club have a partnership with Leighton and Linslade Rotary Club, providing access to sport for all abilities, which they hope will resume after the pandemic.

Although 1921 was the year the Church of England Men’s Society (CEMS) Bowling Club voted at the AGM to change their name to Leighton Buzzard Bowling Club and become a club for the town, their earliest game can be traced back to July 1912 against Tring.

Their original ground was by the river in Water Lane, believed to have belonged to a doctor and they bought the current home in 1923.

Having added a ladies’ section in 1959, the club became mixed in 2005 and a limited company in 2011.