Bowls in Hampshire dates back to the 13th century with the Southampton (Old Green) Club laying claim to having the World’s oldest green.
Although in 1903 a short lived Hampshire Bowling Association was formed in Portsmouth, it was not until November 1920 that the Men’s Hampshire County Bowling Association was formed with 13 founding clubs coming from the Southampton and Bournemouth areas. By 1934 when the Women’s Association was formed, with just 8 clubs, there were around 50 men’s clubs. 77 years later the two organisations unified to become the Bowls Hampshire we know today and in 2019 there are 110 clubs, of which now only 12 are single gender.
Over the years Hampshire has provided seven National Presidents, the last one being in 2019, and 26 men and 30 women have represented England at International level. Peter Line is the County’s most successful player having won Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and World Bowls, as well as winning the National Singles on two occasions.
Gold medals have also been won by Wendy Line and Walter Phillips in the Commonwealth Games, by Jimmy Hobday at the World Championships and by Julie Saunders and Tom Bishop in the World Champion of Champions.
At National Finals, in the five main disciplines, the men have won 21 National Titles and the women 17. In team events the women won the Johns Trophy in 1950 and then waited for 48 years before lifting the title in 2008 and again in 2011. Hampshire has won the Middleton Cup on six occasions with its most successful spell being the four wins between 1963 and 1971. It would be 43 long years until the Cup was won again in 2014.
Bowls Hampshire has its Headquarters in Southampton. Its clubs have just over 7500 members and for administrative and competition purposes the county is divided into four areas based loosely on the major conurbations of Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth and Aldershot/Basingstoke.
Since unification in 2011 it has enjoyed a very successful period, its players winning no fewer than 9 National titles.
More details about Bowls Hampshire can be found on its website www.bowlshampshire.com