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History of Irchester Bowling Club

Irchester Bowling Club has been in existence since the 1930's, but in those days it was sited in the sports ground in Alfred Street and was known as the Irchester United Sports Club. During the 1939 - 45 war the facility fell into disuse and was only resurrected and moved to its present site due to the benevolence of a local employer, Mr. F. Parson. Records show that he bowled the first wood on the new green in July 1950 and the club had 56 members at that time.

Sadly in 1969 Mr. Parson wished to sell the site, offering the club the opportunity to purchase the site for the princely sum of 3000 (later reduced to 2300) or to rent the site, which the committee of the time opted to do. Ten years on, in 1979, the club disbanded. The site then fell into disuse and became a rubbish tip.

In September 1987 a public meeting was convened by the Parish Council of Irchester to ascertain if there was enough interest in the village to reinstate the bowling green. There being a very positive response, a committee was formed and the club as we know it today was 'born again' with an initial 29 members. One year later this had risen to 77 members.

Much work was carried out to reinstate the green, overseen by the Parish Council who now owned the site, with the club paying a peppercorn rent of 1.00 per annum. The club also benefitted from receiving an annual payment from the Borough Council of Wellingborough, via the Parish Council, for expenses incurred in the maintenance and improvement to the green, this work being done voluntarily by members. At the 3rd Annual General Meeting in 1989 members were shown plans for a permanent clubhouse and these plans were approved in March 1990. Building work commenced immediately funded by local authority grants and 35% input from club funds. With members doing all manner of labouring, bricklaying and other work, building costs were kept to a minimum. The total cost was a little under 20,000. The new clubhouse was formerly opened in 1991 by club member George Willmott, in his role as the Mayor of Wellingborough.

The green was awarded an 'A' grade in 1997 - a well-justified reward for all the hard work that previous and present members have given and continue to give. It is now recognised as one of the best bowling greens in the country.

In 2005 an extension to the clubhouse was built, doubling its original size. It provided better toilet and changing facilities to accommodate the growing membership. The extra space now provides the opportunity for members to play short-mat bowls and occasional indoor Kurling, plus enabling social events such as dances, quizzes and card nights etc, thus keeping the clubhouse in use all year round.

Since those early days the club has gone from strength to strength, with a current membership of around 90 men and 40 ladies. It is affiliated to Bowls England and has an extremely full fixture list of all types of matches. It plays a full part in all Bowls Northants matches, regularly having members play in these. The club is proud to have also provided the County with the N.B.A President in 2001 and the N.W.C.B.A President in 2005 and 2011.

Anyone is welcome to visit the club. Irchester is very lucky to have this great amenity, why not give it a try?