The 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.
During the 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.
Fixtures 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.
1955 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 Watchet.
In the 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.
This 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.
In 1999 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.
The 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.
2004 saw Watchet yet again secure the runners-up spot in the Turnball Cup.
Over the years club members have had success in winning National and County Competitions, also members representing Somerset in the Middleton Cup and Liberty Trophy.
The club won the Turnball Cup for the first time in 2005 and again in 2006.
And in 2010 won the Wedmore Plate.
2010 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.