After a successful winter of social events at Hazells Bowls Club – thanks to the combined efforts of Roger Crick the social secretary and members – bowlers have been preparing for the beginning of the 2012 outdoor season.
It has started with mixed blessings. The green is in excellent condition but the downside is the unpredictably excessive (although much-needed) rainfall putting greenkeepers in the difficult position of assessing the damage which bowling on waterlogged greens might cause.
Unfortunately this weekend was a case in point and due to the weather the first fixture of the season , an away game against Aston Clinton, had to be cancelled to protect their green.
The sport itself is believed by historians to have been developed by the Egyptians in around 5000BC: one of their pastimes being skittles played with round stones.
As with many sports it evolved and spread across the world taking various forms. We all know of boules played by the French and it is generally believed to be the forerunner of winter curling on ice, popular in Scotland and many other Countries today.
Records show the oldest lawn bowls site still in use is in Southampton and is believed to have been in operation since 1299AD. History tells us of the famous story of Sir Francis Drake and the Spanish Armada in 1588 at Plymouth. Henry V111 played lawn bowls but banned it for those who were not “well to do” Bowyers, Fletchers, Stringers and Arrowhead makers etc because, they were spending too much time on recreational events such as bowls and not practicing their trade.
Finally, it is believed the ‘bias’ was introduced inadvertently in 1522 by the Duke of Suffolk.
Apparently his bowl split in two after striking other bowls so he took a knob off a stairway bannister post as a replacement. The flat side of the knob caused it to roll with a bias curving around other bowls.
And the rest is history ...