Watchet Bowling Club celebrated its centenary in 2011, having been formed in
1911, with the help of the Conservative Club, and played on a green near the
Memorial Ground under what is now the hard court of the tennis club. Only one
match was played in 1911 to open the green in the September (three rinks
against Taunton Vivary, which Watchet won 66 to 57) and the following year was
the first full season, by which time a pavilion had been built. It is now the
tennis club building. Matches played in the early period were local engagements
as travelling was difficult.
One member of that time
remembers all the members cycling and walking to Huish Barton for peat and
manure collected in sacks and brought back and sieved for the green.
depression years, one player, who was out of work, was paid 6d a week from each
of the other players for weeding the green, which at that time had only four
rinks. Round about the 1930's the owner was asked to enlarge the green to full
size, which he declined to do.
So members looked for a site for a new green, which they found off Doniford Road in a field being used for hayricks, which also had cow sheds and a well in one corner.
During the changeover period from one green to the other, members spent their free time sieving the soil and levelling the surface. The fees were then a guinea a season and membership stood at 150. The new green was opened in 1933, but again funds were scarce, the AGM minutes for 1933 reports a credit of £3 12s.
during the war were restricted to games with Minehead, Williton, Bridgwater and
Taunton because of petrol rationing, although a match was able to be played at
Illminster. In 1942 the fees were raised to £1 10s. a season for men and 12s
6d. for ladies. And in 1947 the secretary was praised for arranging 14 matches
for the season. Membership in the early 1950s stood about the 20 mark, but in
1952 a census of members revealed that only 14 could be relied on to play.
saw the introduction of a bar which was an immediate success, as in the late
'50s it saw an increase in membership with the addition of younger players. In
1962 the clubhouse was rebuilt to include a lounge bar and kitchen. The
building was officially opened in July 1962 on our Golden Jubilee Day, by the
County President Mr Reg Baker who also brought a County Executive side to play
late 1960s the idea of an indoor rink was suggested. The culmination of these
ideas and much hard work by members was the opening in 1970 of one of the first
indoor greens in Somerset by the SCBA President Mr Fred Millier. During the
winter of 1971-72 an indoor league was started for the Reg Chubb cup, presented
in memory of the club's late treasurer.
league is still running.
1997 saw yet more alterations to the indoor green, by demolishing an outbuilding the pavilion was able to be extended, the indoor green was then relayed with a wooden floor. When this project was finished it was officially opened by Mr Ken Durman SCIBA President in October 1993. With these alterations it enabled us to further improve facilities in the lounge and bar areas.
Watchet won the Somerset County Bowls League Division 1 South and West Title
gaining promotion to the SCBL Premier League, but were unfortunate to be
relegated in September 2010 to the Premier League Division 2. The 'B' side are
currently in the South & West Division 2.
Also in 1999 Watchet were losing
finalists in the Turnball Cup.
club celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2001, and it was officially agreed at
the AGM of that year, to incorporate the ladies section with the men's to make
Watchet Bowling Club all one club.
saw Watchet yet again secure the runners-up spot in the Turnball Cup.
the years club members have had success in winning National and County
Competitions, also members representing Somerset in the Middleton Cup and
club won the Turnball Cup for the first time in 2005 and again in 2006.
2010 won the Wedmore Plate.
Saw our ladies reach the final of the Fear Plate for the very first time, but
after a hard fought contest had to come away in runners-up spot.
The bowling club celebrated its 100th birthday on
September 9th 2011.