The Stowmarket & District Bowls League was founded in April 1913 following a meeting in the Dukes Head Public House. The subscription at that time was five shillings and the League consisted mainly of teams from local pubs and works bowls teams.
It is unclear exactly which clubs were involved from the very beginning, but we do know that Woodfield (formerly known as Workmen's) were involved in the inauguration. A 1935 County Handbook tells us that there were nine teams from eight clubs in the Stowmarket League. Haughley (who won the league in 1934) and Woodfield are the only two from these nine still in existence. Other clubs who are now in our League, were mentioned elsewhere in the handbook, but they did not appear to be in the make up of the Stowmarket Bowls League at that time.
The George Thurlow Trophy was donated in 1922 and the first winners were the Fox Inn. This is still in existence and is the trophy given to the winners of the Monday evening league Division 1.
In the 1960’s there were still only ten teams from nine clubs but in the following 20 years the League grew to 28 teams from 21 clubs and were split into three divisions.
In 1981 the League dropped the idea of a President for life and moved to an annual President chosen from the bowling fraternity within the league. We were the first league to introduce League blazer badges, which can only be acquired by representing the League on five occasions, or by serving on the Executive Committee, and that is still the practice today.
As a League we are very enthusiastic supporters of the Inter League, the first one being played at Electric Sports Finborough between the Stowmarket League and Samford League. This was organised by Dennis Mee and Bob Game and shortly after this match the two organisers brought about the formal formation of the Inter League as we now know it. Stowmarket League won this league every year during the 1990’s.
It is thought that we were the first League to start an afternoon league in 1989. This was originally played as three sections and teams were drawn for each section. In 2011 it was decided to play the afternoon league in divisions and this has proved to be very popular.
We now run leagues on four days a week. There are currently 25 teams in three divisions playing in the Monday evening two wood league, 28 teams in three divisions on Tuesday afternoons playing three wood triples, 10 teams in the Wednesday Triples League and 9 teams in the Thursday Triples League.
There are currently 25 clubs within the Stowmarket & District Bowls League.
It is to be hoped that the Stowmarket & District Bowls League continues to flourish in the future as it has done in the past.
HISTORY OF THE
STOWMARKET & DISTRICT