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At a meeting held at Franklins Hotel, Northampton, on the 8th March, 1906, representatives of 5 bowling clubs, including Kettering Lodge, Kingsthorpe, Northampton County Ground, Northampton West End and Wellingborough, it was unanimously agreed to form the ‘Northamptonshire Bowling Association’ (NBA) for the purposes at that time of competing for a cup presented by James Manfield, JP, Mayor of Northampton and his brother Harry Manfield, MP, to be known as the ‘Manfield Cup’. This trophy was played for by 5 County clubs and was won by just 1 shot by Northampton County Ground BC.
James Manfield was elected as the Association’s first President, and James Crockett (later Sir James) the Vice-President and George Harper the first Secretary, and it was resolved that Northamptonshire Clubs be invited to join the Association by the 1st May, 2006. The NBA affiliated with the newly created English Bowling Association as a founder member.
The number of affiliated Clubs by the outbreak of the 2nd World War was 43, and in the 10 years immediately after the hostilities, a further 30 clubs joined, many of them connected to factories and other work places. Many of those factories and work places have long since closed and with them the bowling clubs, and at this date the County has 53 affiliated clubs, including 4 of the original founding member clubs.
In 1936 the Northampton Women’s County Bowling Association (NWCBA) was formed, by which time many of the NBA clubs had women members, and the new County association affiliated with the newly formed English Women’s Bowling Association. The first President was Eva Chown of Kingsthorpe Recreation BC, after whom the Singles Champion’s trophy is named.
At this time most of the women played at Clubs affiliated to the NBA, but not all, for some were women’s bowling clubs in their own right and all women’s clubs and women’s sections within NBA Clubs affiliated to the NWCBA.
On the 6th February, 2012, the NWCBA and the NBA unified to become Bowls Northamptonshire, with the first Presidents being Eleanor Winters, Corby Forest BC and John Chester, Wellingborough BC.
In the County’s long history it has been privileged to supply 3 female National Presidents in Alice Ireland (1965), Roma Hanger (1977) & Elsie Walters (1985) and 6 male National Presidents in Alf Lewis (1913), George Wright (1925), Cyril Chown (1961) Bob Stapleton (1988), Jack Forster (1994) & Stuart Lake (2012).
Over the years the County has had much success in National Championships and Competitions, having had 6 female championship/competition winners, 7 mixed/open winners, and 23 male championship/competition winners, plus numerous finalists of both gender.
Northamptonshire has provided 7 senior and 3 junior female international players, and 18 senior and 9 junior male international players to England, the most notable being R.H. ‘Bob’ Stenhouse, who not only played internationally for 10 years but was honoured to be England’s Team Manager for 4 World Championships and 2 Commonwealth Games from 1972-1984.
In 2011 Rebecca Wigfield, Desborough Town BC was given the National accolade of ‘Young Woman Bowler of the Year’, and in 2012 Jamie Walker, Northampton West End BC was named as the National ‘Male Bowler of the Year’
The County is administered by an elected Executive Committee and Women’s and Men’s Management Committees, and it has its own website at www.bowlsnorthamptonshire.co.uk
23 May 2019
England gold rush at Atlantic Championships in Wales
England’s lawn bowlers struck gold at the Atlantic Championships in Wales today achieving two more individual gold medals, as well as securing silver in both the men’s and women’s team events.Read more
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