About Us

The first mention of Felbridge Bowling Club is in 1931 when a few intrepid souls played on a green where Hedgecourt Place now stands, however by 1933 the club had grown and was playing at Vicarage Field. As the club continued to expand a new home was needed and so it was in 1947 that the present green in Crawley Down Road became its stomping ground. This move being made possible by the then Godstone Rural District Council and the King George Playing Fields Association.

 Like most rural bowling clubs Felbridge fortunes waxed and waned as the years rolled by, but by and large things changed very little. As for the game itself, it would still be recognised by its most famous participant Sir Francis Drake, as the game he played in 1588. Basically the woods which due to an inbuilt bias on their running surface do not travel in a straight line, are bowled towards a smaller target ball called a jack, dolly, kitty and a few other local names depending on where you are playing the game. Add to this the vagaries of an outdoor surface and you have a good idea that getting your woods near to the jack is not as easy as it seems. Players then take turns to deliver their bowls. When all the bowls have been delivered the number of "shots" is counted. A shot is a bowl which is nearer the jack than any of your opponents. For example, if you have three bowls nearer the jack than any of your opponents you score three shots on that end. The number of ends played depends on whether rinks (21 ends), triples (18 ends) is being played. In singles competitions 21 shots is usually the target taking as many ends as is necessary.

On a match day with the general murmur of conversation, and odd shout of  glee, anticipation or despair, the  half time tea interval with sandwiches, raffles, story telling and jokes,
it is the quintessential English scene, a glorious summers afternoon with the air full of bird song &  trees rustling in a warm breeze when one can be forgiven for thinking that the heady days of pre and post war England are still intact. With only the jetliners on their way into Gatwick airport as a sharp reminder that things are different now.

Felbridge Bowls Club is run entirely by its members on a voluntary basis, the green is maintained by a hardy band of enthusiasts, and is literally the beating heart of the club. Over the years due to much effort and expenditure, the green is one of the better examples than some that can be encountered on our trips away during a playing season. Even some friendly Magpies helping with a bit of unofficial green keeping as they search for a meal, which sends our green keeper into hand clapping, foot stamping, shouting war dance is a part of the scene.

As to the future Felbridge has a healthy membership, enthusiastic in its  running of the club, however many  small rural clubs are falling by the wayside .Indoor bowling has now become big business and many people now bowl indoor all the year round. Unfortunately bowling still retains the stigma of an old peoples game, something that is entirely untrue, but it is not "cool" with most of the young generation. With falling membership and increasing maintenance costs the future hangs in the balance for many clubs. At Felbridge, however, as things stand the future  looks ok, the sights and sounds of a bit of England past will remain for the present.

 

 RH19+2RN