HISTORY OF CLUB RECALLED BY TED PLEVIN
The club was formed in late 1977 when a number of local people formed a committee with a view to obtaining a bowling club for the community. The club was to be located at the Millstone Pub. The brewery, Greenall Whitley agreed a lease- essential when applying for grants.
Applications were made for grants to the Sports Council for Wales. Having obtained the grant we persuaded Alyn and Deeside council to lay the green under the Job Creation Scheme, administered by the Parks Superintendent.
Just when everything was ready to commence, the landlord of the Millstone informed us that the green was to be developed as a private green and would be run by the brewery. We could not agree amongst ourseves and four members resigned so we advised the council that we could not proceed. A notice was circulated asking anyone who was interested in forming a new committee at the Red Lion Inn.
We were fortunate to learn that the Local Education Authority had surplus land and were amenable to fencing off the present boundary.
It was ironic that Hope, being aware of our problems, persuaded the Council to allow them to take over the aborted project. We do not know how it came about but they also obtained a green. It was laid the day before ours!
Our project was finished in May of 1979. We were provided with a mower, ten sets of bowls and we purchased a wooden shed to use as a pavilion until the council built a brick pavilion. By unhappy coincidence the Parks Superintendent died on the day the turf was laid and folklore has it that the lack of good drainage stemmed from this bad luck. It was said that the labourers came at night and knocked the pegs in further to limit the amount of hardcore to be laid!
The whole project was provided at no cost to the club, which speaks volumes for the present beneficense of the Flintshire County Council who seem to have no budget for this sort of community help nowadays. We have occupation of the site provided we run it as a community bowling club. It costs the council nothing as we maintain the green by our own labour and expense.
The gate leading to the school grounds was original the only way for men to access toilets. The ladies had the pavilion toilet.Later, when problems arose over this shared access, we bought a builders portable loo, which only just collapsed in 2007. We have now replaced it with a pristine disabled /ladies brick toilet, built to the latest EU dictat, and the men have the old ladies toilet. This was only possible by members labour matching a landfill grant. The council provided nothing, not even VAT! We renewed the 25 year old pavilion roof while we were warmed up.
In the early days we had a key to the school car park to allow parking for Open competitions. It seems that insurance complications put an end to that facility.
In 1980 we purchased a portacabin, a reject from McAlpines, but, predictably, it became unsafe as the floor rotted.
It was replaced by a newer Potacabin which is useful for committee meetings and watching players in inclement conditions.We have not yet provided a site for smokers beyond a solitary chair and ashtray open to the sky.
Bowling started in June 1979 and was officially opened on the 20th August by Councillor Brenda Davies.
Our membership was considerably greater then than now. As they have grown older they have not been replaced by younger members. Attempts have been made recently to interest the youth but to no avail.We will keep trying; unfortunately we are next to a junior school and Crown Green bowling is only allowed after ten years of age.
We were fortunate to receive sponsorship, not only from the Royal British Legion and our Community Council but, when the community needed to monitor the quality of the air urgently when Castle built the new kiln, we allowed them to site it at the club to benefit the community. As a result, Castle have shown their gratitude with some sponsorship, without which we would have been in dire financial difficulties.
As our numbers have reduced from 150 to 50, our members have become so busy trying to compete on even terms with larger clubs that there has been a reduction in social bowling, round robins, barbecues, visiting other parts of the country and even abroad. The "Queens" were feared as the first ladies team in the area when ladies were not even allowed in some clubs. As numbers declined, and the men refused to don ladies clothing, all the teams became mixed.
Lest this account seems too pessimistic, it should be pointed out that, with only these few members, we run Open competitions and several club events each year.. The club has respectable positions in four leagues with seven teams and we have just added another beginners team in the Deeside Vets league. Not bad for £28 a year! Like most organisations these days we need more members to enjoy the open air and friendly competition.
To update to 2013,we have now added another league team to bring us up to eight competitive squads.We are also the largest contingent from one club to play in the new Indoor facility in Flint. Lest it seems we are taking the game too seriously, we are expanding our social club games at weekends. Now that we have built a conservatory extension to shelter us from the elements, we can sit back and enjoy life!
2014 challenge was to erect another shelter in front of the portacabin which allows spectators to view in the fresh air( provided the smokers blow the other way!). We are expanding our social weekends to include more charity events. Membership is increasing but we seem to be more attractive to the pensioner age. Where are the youngsters?
Update - In 2020 we had nine teams playing across 4 different leagues.