Louth Indoor Bowls Club celebrates 25th anniversary in style

Bowls club members celebrate the anniversary.
Bowls club members celebrate the anniversary.

Louth Indoor Bowls Club celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with games followed by an evening dinner.

The Saturday game saw invited players from other Lincolnshire clubs compete with and against selected Louth members with preference given to the club’s founder members who are still playing.

They were joined at the dinner by guests including Louth Town Mayor Sue Locking and Lincolnshire Indoor Bowls Association president Richard White.

An open session was held on Sunday morning for members of the public to try bowls for themselves ahead of an afternoon match between teams chosen by club captain Alan Watson and ladies’ captain Jean Holdsworth.

Louth Indoor Bowls Club is one of the county’s youngest clubs having been founded in 1990 by a dedicated group of outdoor bowlers who wanted to continue playing during the winter months.

Their voluntary fundraising efforts, aided by resources from Louth Town Council and East Lindsey District Council, eventually came to fruition.

In February 1986 a public meeting was held to gauge interest in building an indoor club and, as a result, a committee was formed and fund-raising began.

Acquiring a site at little cost was vital to counter-balance the high building costs, and after few non-starters it was decided to use the current site, the ELDC agreeing to lease it to the club for 99 years.

Planning permission was obtained in 1987 and work began in November 1989. The club was officially opened on July 21, 1990 by then ELDC chairman Coun RW Scott.

Little has changed to the original building, but the club underwent refurbishment in the summer of 2009 when a new lowered ceiling with concealed lighting was fitted and a climate control system was installed.

Bowls is often dismissed as an old people’s game and it is true that most members are retired, but club manager Reeson, who took over the role last April, is keen for the Louth club to get local schools interested in the hope of encouraging youngsters to take up the game with low membership rates available for under 18s.

One former member who did just that is Amy Gowshall, from Cleethorpes, who went on to gain honours at national and international level, and won a Commonwealth gold medal in India in 2010.

The club’s youngest members are in their 20s while there are two members in their 90s who are still playing once a week.

Bowls is a game where young or old, male and female, can play against each other on an equal footing with skill outweighing any physical advantages.

Having gained more than 40 new members since January, the club has a membership approaching 500, but can accommodate many more.

From September to April the club is open five full days, Monday to Friday, including evening sessions, and up to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

There are regular county league matches on weekend afternoons for men’s A and B teams plus mixed A and B teams.

The ladies’ team and men’s over 60s team play their county matches on weekdays. Within the club there are 13 different leagues with 21 divisions.

Members new to the game are given coaching if required and can play in a specific newcomers’ league.

With most members playing outdoors during the summer, the club operates a reduced timetable from May to September, opening three mornings and one evening a week.The first point of contact is the club manager, who oversees the day-to-day activities.

The club boasts a restaurant run by a small team employed by the club, and the room is available for hire to outside groups or organisations.

For all enquiries about the club’s activities, call (01507) 609227.