HISTORY OF SUDBURY BOWLS CLUB

Outdoors - the Early Days - 1913

A group of Sudbury residents started a bowls club on the land at the bottom of the cricket meadow. A Mr Mills ran the Black Boy Public House and was a very keen bowler and together with Father Peacock, the Catholic Priest, they started SBC. They rented the ground at the bottom of the cricket meadow and got to work. They dug out the foundations - over two feet deep - and then laid "brick bats" covered by two feet of sand and then soil. There was no hedge dividing the green from the cricket ground so they purchased and used a row of iron hurdles on wheels - such as used for sheep pens - as the boundary fence. The green itself was very small and has been enlarged twice since then. There were no ditches round the green; consequently many woods ended up in the flower beds.

The green they developed was not split into rinks and the bowlers did not bowl from anywhere in particular. Often they bowled from corner to corner, with the lead player casting the "jack" in whichever direction he fancied at the time. The bowls they used were old fashioned "lawn bowls" with a large bulge on one side with a few nails driven into this to create the "bias" There was no pavilion - members used the cricket pavilion - no groundsman, no weed killers. Instead members did the work themselves and it was not unusual to find a dozen or so of them on their hands and knees weeding the green! Transport was horse drawn cart or wagon with the woods just thrown in loose on the back of the cart. On away matches they would call in on local pubs and arrive back in time for breakfast the following day!

Indoor Foundations 1970

The Harry Gower Pavilion, as it became known was hand fabricated in a barn in Lavenham belonging to Phil D'eath. Many locals knew the Pavilion as "The Tunnel" and under the guidance of Harry Gower a local builder, Mr Aldous the carpenter, Owen Howard the electrician and SBC members, the work, all voluntary, began. Bert Edwards played a key role in transporting materials and with the help of unskilled volunteers the pavilion was completed and erected in Sudbury at a total cost of £4,000.

It was opened in October 1970, and bowled beautifully true. An evening league of 16 rinks (8 matches a week Monday to Thursday for 30 weeks and an afternoon league of 10 rinks 5 afternoons) were established. On Sunday mornings there was a drawn pairs competition limited to 16 pairs, followed by a nominated triples, also limited to 16. Weekend vacant sessions were open to bookings except when county competitions took priority and the rinks were never empty.

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