First 20 Years
POPPLETON BOWLS CLUB
THE FIRST 20 YEARS - 1980 -2OOO
The construction of a bowling green in Poppleton had been talked about for some years and when the opportunity arose to include one within the new Sports Complex it was seized upon with alacrity. In 1979 the first provisional committee of Fred Haynes (Chairman), Donald Powles, George Pearson, George Dunford, Peter Goodrick & Dennis Lawson was formed. It was agreed that Peter Goodrick would be the first Club Captain buto unfortunately, Peter died suddenly and the loss of one of the main enthusiasts was keenly felt. However, Dennis Lawson stepped into the breach as Captain and did an extremely good job for the next 7 difficult formative years.
As our green would not be ready for play until 1982 this gave us breathing space to raise some badly needed cash . One special and successful way was to sell turf at £1 a plot and a lot of money was raised this way. However it was discovered that the Sugar Beet Factory had an old, defunct green (complete with weeds, rabbit holes etc.) and we were allowed to bowl on it ! Although far from ideal it did provide us with somewhere to learn the rudiments of bowling and prepare us for the competitive games in the future. People like Betty and Norman Gawthrope were a great help because, like Dennis Lawson, they were already experienced bowlers.
A huge amount of physical work had to be done to our green in the early years and every Autumn about a dozen willing helpers would turn up on Saturdays and Sundays to assist Laurie Inman (who was like a human dynamo).They were mixing and spreading on the green a mountainous pile of soil, grit sand and loam - all done by machine nolv, thank goodness. After several hot' dry summers it was obvious that if something was not done about the watering arrangements we would lose the green completely (we were using a feeble garden sprinkler which had to be moved every 2 hours or so and which was totally inadequate), The Greens Chairman at the time, George Vincent did a lot of investigating the possibility of installing an automatic watering system. After much work this was done mainly by about 40 staunch members who "turned up trumps" and agreed to loan the club £50 each - interest free & repayable over 5 years. There is little doubt that this generosity saved the life of the green and the system was installed in 1985 at a cost of £3200.
In 1989 our first Bowls Tour (to Lincoln) was organised by Alan Race. It was an immediate success and has become an annual event ever since (the latest to Carlisle in 2000). They have all been enjoyed year after year by all those taking part, mainly due to the friendly participation and Alan's excellent organisational ability (together with the assistance of his Secretary - 'er indoors') Alan has gone on to prove an excellent Secretary.
The inception of the Tockwith League in 1984 saw us bowling competitively and Poppleton won the League Cup in the first year (much to the annoyance of Tockwith), (Donald Mawtus was League Vice-President for several years and has been President for some years as well). We had some lovely old fashioned teas during this period supplied by our wonderful lady members. In 1984 we joined the York & District Men's Evening League (3rd Division) , promotion being achieved twice (relegated 1990) and nearly the 1st Div. On several occasions. In 1990 we joined the Private Clubs League (mixed triples) with one team then two. Three Vets teams joined the Vets League in the same year . The ladies were not left behind at all,joining the Challis League in 1986 and the York Ladies Evening League two years later.
The possibility of extending the pavilion had been discussed for some time and in 1991, after much work once again, we managed to complete the project . It was necessary to raise £7000 and our members rallied round again by offering £50 loans on the same basis as last time. (We should mention the fund-raising efforts of Winnie Dunford and Brian Thomas here.) We were very fortunate in having efficient tradesmen as members. Prominent were Laurie Inman (Clerk of Works), John Hutchinson & John Walker (joiners), Don. Mawtus (electrics)o Dennis Lawson (decorator) while many other members helped as they could . The ladies were well to the fore also especially in clearing and cleaning - apart from providing refreshments.
The results of all these efforts can be seen today and we now have one of the best facilities for bowls in the district. We entertain clubs from far and wide and all comment favourably on their visit .
MAY WE GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
We are indebted to Don Mawtus for the above information.
P.S. It may be invidious to single out particular names when so many members have helped in so many ways. However, perhaps the following are of note ?
1. Fred Haynes - our first President , our first Life Member and still going strong at 90 !! We all hope to emulate him !!
2. Bessie Inman - the proud first Lady President of the Club - 1994.
3. Two County Ments players - Don Mawtus and Eric Sellers.
4. Maureen Thomas and Betty Walker won the County Ladies Pairs - 1993.
5. Kathleen Hebditch - Ladies Evening President - 2000.
6. Maureen Thomas - our first Ladies County player - 1999.
Apologies to the many worthy members not mentioned.