Braunton Bowling Club was established in 1912 on a four-rink green in Lower Park Road and opened on the evening of 26th June 1912, when the first wood was bowled by the President, Dr. W.J. Harper. A pavilion with 39 lockers was erected beside the green.
At that time many bowling matches were played under “Devon Rules”, consisting of four teams playing each other on each of the four rinks for eleven ends, so that a match consisted of 44 ends.
During the 1920’s the club was widely known for the “sumptuous” teas it provided at home matches. The first trophy was the “Tweedie Cup” for the Club Singles Champion, presented in 1925 by the then President, A.J. Tweedie, who leased the land for the green to the club.
The club wanted to own the green and in 1932 they purchased the land from A.J. Tweedie, but they were unable to realise their ambition to enlarge the green to six rinks as the green was rectangular and the land offered for purchase was not in the right place or at the right price to make this a practicable proposition.
In 1962 the club decided to look for a larger site and Braunton Parish Council agreed to provide the land at the back of the Memorial Gardens, off Chaloners Road, laying the green, but with the club responsible for procuring a pavilion and maintaining the site. Work started on excavating the site in 1963, with access via a level crossing over the Braunton/Ilfracombe railway line. The Bowling Club leased the site in 1964, but continued to retain the Lower Park Road green while work on the new site was carried out to construct a six-rink green.A wooden pavilion was constructed and the green was ready for an official opening on 30th July 1966 by the Chairman of Braunton Parish Council.
The opening ceremony was delayed until the evening as it clashed with the Word Cup Final. The new green had been grown from seed but due to poor growth of the grass it had to be closed intermittently during 1967 and 1968. The green was re-laid with Cumberland turf in early 1969 but needed re-laying in 1970. The effect of this was that many of the home matches had to be played away. The green was often shut during that time, and in the crisis several of the main officers resigned. By 1971 the green was playable and shortly thereafter was deemed suitable for County Competitions.
Like most early bowling clubs membership was restricted to men-only, although from 1930 there were several attempts to open the club to ladies as playing members rather than just as organisers of the teas. It is likely that some ladies did play but it was not until 1967 that a Ladies playing section was formed with its own “Rules & Conditions Governing Ladies”, becoming affiliated to the Devon County Ladies Bowling Association in 1967.
In 1981 the club was fortunate to be able to lease the old railway line land adjacent to the club from Braunton Parish Council, so that an additional two-rink green could be established. The wooden pavilion was extended in1986 but by the late 1990’s it needed to be replaced.
In 1999 work started on building the new clubhouse using grants from the local councils, loans from the English Bowling Association and from some members, along with a generous bequest from a former player. The new clubhouse was opened in 2000, accommodating Short Mat bowling in the winter, which provides all year round bowling for the members. The clubhouse accommodation is excellent with a fully-equipped bar and the green is kept in excellent condition. Adequate car parking is available alongside the green. Touring sides are always given a warm welcome.
The Club celebrated its centenary in 2012, and a book detailing the history of the Club, using archived North Devon Journals and old Club records, was published to celebrate the event.
Prospective new member, experienced or beginners, are always welcome. A Beginner’s course is always held at the beginning of the season. New bowlers should contact the Club Secretary or Match Secretary for details.
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Club Secretary>Dennis Osborne01271 firstname.lastname@example.org
Match Secretary>Steve Vann01271 870915
Men's Captain>Malcolm Bealing01271 813956
Ladies Captain>Gill Cole01271 812036
Treasurer>James Farrell01271 email@example.com