Prior to 1936 bowls in Norfolk was largely unregulated with clubs operating a roving jack (or cot) form of bowls known as the “Norfolk code of bowls”, the forerunner of what was to become the Norfolk County Bowling Association operating under the English Bowling Federation.
The English Bowling Association (EBA) code of bowls was played for the first time in Norfolk in June 1922 at the Norfolk County Club (now known as the Norfolk Bowling Club) & Norfolk Bowling Club affiliated to the Essex County Bowling Association as the county of Norfolk did not have the required six clubs with EBA regulation greens as needed under the rules of the EBA.
In the years following the EBA code and the ‘Norfolk Code of Bowls’ continued to be played there and at other clubs across the County and Norfolk bowlers entered their county competitions through the Essex County Bowling Association. It was not until 1936 that Norfolk was able to affiliate to the English Bowling Association with 8 founding clubs Norfolk Bowling Club, Hunstanton Cliff Parade, Wymondham Dell, Great Yarmouth, Sheringham Morley, The Gladstone Club (Norwich), Harleston Magpie and Heacham Social.
The Norfolk Women’s Bowling Association was formed in 1939 and in that same year affiliated to the EWBA. In 1952 the records show that four clubs were affiliated, Cromer Marrams, Cromer North Lodge, Fakenham Great Eastern Hotel and The Avenues (Norwich). The Avenues was the first club to be formed in 1934 & was Norfolk’s only all-ladies club and remained so until its closure in 2010. Wymondham Dell & the Great Yarmouth Tower greens followed in 1953 & County Arts & Great Yarmouth Britannia in 1954.
The number of clubs with affiliated ladies grew steadily over the years and the County has produced two National Presidents, Audrey Bury in1969 and Rosie Smith in 1997.
In 2007 the two National Associations, the English Bowling Association & English Women’s Bowling Association amalgamated to form Bowls England and in 2012 Norfolk followed suit and it’s Men’s & Women’s Associations merged to form the Norfolk Bowls Association which now has a total of 58 affiliated clubs.