President Peter Morris and Chairman Andrew Manton (left) were delighted to welcome local MP now Sir Michael Ellis (2nd left) for his second visit to Northampton’s Kingsthorpe Bowls Club.
Bowls has a long association with “Sirs”
such as Sir Francis Drake who folklore goes finished his game of bowls before helping to defeat the Spanish Armada for Queen Elizabeth I in 1588.
Kingsthorpe as a club was formed in 1896, and Peter was delighted to show Michael the Presidents Board. Michael was quick to note the first President was an Alderman. Literally translates as “elder man” and when the club was formed a co-opted member of an English county or borough council, next in status to the Mayor.
Bowls in Northamptonshire has a long association with its local MP's as seen by the Manfield Cup. A county wide competition keenly fought for since 1906 donated by James Manfield, JP, Mayor of Northampton and his brother Harry Manfield MP.
The excellent Bowls Northamptonshire website is a great source of information with a list of the winners and Kingsthorpe had its first win in 1912 and its latest win in 2022.
As is the way in Bowls, Michael had family connections to Bowls which he was pleased to share and reflect upon the good times his uncle had at Kingsthorpe club playing bowls and only stop playing when he moved away.
Peter was delighted to explain the club recognises its Presidents by taking a Presidential type picture above the Bar showing the picture of Dave Wade who was President from 1976 to 1978.
Kev Mawson was delighted to show and explain the water harvesting system
The combined IBC and existing storage tank will give us a total capacity of 17,000 litres – enough for 5 to 6 irrigation uses which stores enough water to water the green for about 2 weeks in the summer..
These water harvesting schemes are scaleable to the clubs size and resources.
More details can be found on this link
The Club also has an outdoor green and Club members do most of the work on the Green, as is the way at alot of Bowls clubs to save money.
Here President Peter is explaining how the "ditches" have been cleared and cleaned to stop unwanted growth. Before the start of the new season cut up old tyres will be put back in the ditches to protect the bowls and jacks which "fall in".
In the background is one of the new housing estates being built near and around the club. The club is open to everyone with different types of memberships to come and enjoy the facilities with access to the bar, catering facilities, social events, indoor bowling green (all year) and outdoor bowling green (April to September).
We then went back inside to talk indoor bowls and we could tell Michael was keen to give bowls a go.
So Chairman Andrew Manton was soon giving Michael a "crash course" in bowls as a challenge had been set within Michaels team to see who could get closest to the Jack.
You can tell how important a game of bowls can be, as Michael was soon getting further coaching (below) and advice from Ian who came up from Egham Outdoor Bowls club (hence the different coloured top and shorts) to support this visit showing how bowls is one big family.
So the one end shoot out is over and as is the way in bowls the competitors shake hands and say "well bowled" as the winner, after a measure as it was so close, was "the young gun" Max.
An important part of Bowls is the social side where after a club game there is usually a meal, drinks, toast, speeches and presentation.
To thank Michael for taking time to come back and visit the club President Peter was delighted to make Michael an honary member and present Michael a club tie AND you can see the excitement in Peter's face when Michael said
"That's great a Brown one you don't see many that colour."
During the visit Michael asked some excellent questions which we are sure non-bowlers and some bowlers would like to know the answers to as well, so we have included them here in this blog.
What are the bowls made from?
Initially, lawn bowls were made from lignum vitae which is a very dense wood. This led to the rise of the term woods used to refer to bowls.
Today, lawn bowls are made of hard plastic composite components or melamine and are available in different colours, contrary to before when they were only available in brown and black. Also giving greater options in terms of colour and performance/ consistency of the bowls
What makes the bowls bend/ curve?
It was noted whilst old woods may have had “weights” added to make them curve/ bend the modern bowls curve due to the shape of the bowl and the bend/ curve of the bowl can be adjusted.
What age can people bowl?
The clubs youngest member is 12 but the only limitation is can a bowler safely hold and deliver a bowl.
Chairman Andrew Manton abled demonstrated a “Bowling Arm” allow those who cannot deliver a bowl due to ill health to continue to bowl for more years