In the beginning

The first meeting of the delegates of Bowling Clubs in the county of Lanarkshire took place in the Royal Hotel, Brandon Street, Motherwell, on Monday 9th March 1897.  Mr Robert Wardrobe of Wishaw Bowling Club occupied the Chair.

Following considerable discussion and debate, it was decided to form an Association, its principal objective being “the fixing of arrangements and prizes in connection with the County v City Match and any matches with other Districts in which it may be agreed to engage. “

Annual subscription was fixed at 10 shillings and six pence (52p) per club and the Directors were given the task of preparing  the rules and constitution for the first AGM the following year.  The County v City Match was arranged for the first Tuesday in August on Lanarkshire Greens with prize money of £5, £3 and £1.  At its inaugural AGM in 1898, the Association  accepted a Silver Cup from Honorary President, Sir John Watson.  This was to be used for the Annual competition between the Clubs of Lanarkshire and Glasgow.  Sadly,  Sir John died early the following year prior to Bellshill  becoming the first Lanarkshire club to win the Trophy.

 

County v City Cup

The Early 1900’s saw the  expansion of the Association.  New members including Stepps & District, Lenzie, Bothwell Haugh, Hallside, Earnock Working Mens, Duchess Nina, Whifflet and Law Bowling Clubs,  applied and received membership.   During this time the Association was concerned only with the County v City Match, and indeed a suggestion in 1912 that a separate competition be arranged for the benefit of Association members only was ‘unanimously disapproved.’  

Eight more years passed before Blackwood Victoria was successful with a motion that  ‘A Single Handed and a Rink Championship be played on the knock-out system’.  The motion was carried by 13 votes to 8.   Entry Fee was fixed at 10 shillings (50p) each with three fourths (37.5p) being devoted to prizes in kind.   The first competitions were played in 1920 – Wishaw won the Single Handed Championship and Lesmahagow took the Rinks Title. 

And so from these humble beginnings Lanarkshire Bowling Association began to flourish.  More annual competitions for members were introduced  –  the County Cup in 1946 (won by Shawfield Works),  an over 65’s Championship in 1956 (won by Dalserf)  and a Triples Championship in 1971 (won by Lesmahagow).     The encouragement of young bowlers was  and continues to be a priority,  and  in 1972 an Under 18’s Singles Championship was introduced (won by Bellshill & Mossend).  

Three years later in 1975, saw the start of the prestigious Champion of Champions competition (open only to champions of member clubs) and  the Landsborough Trophy competition for under 45s followed. 

The Hand of Friendship

“Walk into any bowling club and you will be made welcome..  Walk into any Lanarkshire club and you will be made ‘most welcome.’

     Between 1908 and 1930 the LBA hosted no fewer that eight International Tours of Bowlers and Friends. The first was a team of Canadian tourists who played against a County team at Coatbridge – the score is unknown,  but the treasurer recorded a deficit of £10 17s.4d !.   Touring Teams were well entertained starting with a tour of the Area by a  ‘Char-a-Bang’ or ‘Wagonette & Pair’, followed by an afternoon game and dinner hosted by the Association in the evening. 

  In 1912 and 1913, Australian and Canadian touring teams played on Hamilton and Uddingston Greens.  New Zealand were visitors in  1921 hosted by Hamilton and reported that  ‘they were highly delighted with the treatment they received, having been none better anywhere else.’    Motherwell hosted the Australians (who won) in 1922 and Carluke was the venue for a South African group in 1926. 1928 saw the New Zealand Tourists return to play at Coatbridge and in 1930 the Australian visitors lost by 14 shots at Coville Park.

Wagonette & Pair

Char-a-bang

For obvious reasons, the number of touring parties diminished during the 1930’s and 40’s, but a mini revival began in the 50’s and 60’s with parties from Canada, Australia and South Africa once again visiting our County.   Home Teams also visited, including Essex, Yorkshire Counties and London Parks Bowling Association,  and  in many a clubhouse throughout Lanarkshire, you can find mementoes of these great occasions. 

No Mean Association

Presentation of Ambulance at Hamilton Parish Church Halls, 1941. 

Raising funds for charity has always featured highly on the LBA agenda and over the years, many thousands of pounds have been raised.   The heyday was not surprisingly during the war years and in 1941 the LBA presented an ambulance for the war effort to the Red Cross.   The following year, the Association presented a mobile canteen to the Y.M.C.A.  

In 1942, Queen Elizabeth, opened the green at Blantyre Miners Bowling Club – seen below with the King looking on in the background.  In 1995 in the run up to the Association’s Centenary,  the Queen Mother wrote to the Association recalling her visit in the 1940’s and sending her congratulations. 

Today, Lanarkshire Bowling Association continues to flourish, with 75 affiliated clubs, split into four sections. 
 Competition between clubs is keen and entry to our competitions is high amongst our members.
We are proud  that our traditions of supporting our clubs, sportsmanship, welcoming visitors and charitable causes
– all of which are still high on our agenda.

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