Lawn Bowls, Try It

The game of Lawn Bowls is very easy to learn and play. The only equipment you require is a pair of bowls shoes, set of bowls, a bowls mat and Jack ( which is a small round ball ) - most bowling clubs have spare shoes, etc. available for anyone who wants to try the game.

The game is so simple to learn. The first player lays down the mat, stands on it and throws the Jack. Each player in turn then delivers a bowl with the intention of getting it as near to the Jack as possible. Just to make it slightly more difficult the bowls are heavier on one side than the other which means that they will not go straight but instead will turn as they slow down. The player therefore has to allow for this when delivering the bowl up the green.

When all the bowls have been played the player who has the nearest bowl(s) to the Jack counts these on the scorecard - for example if player A has the nearest bowl but player B has the second nearest one player A has scored one shot. But if player A has the nearest two bowls he has scored two shots and so on. Player A would then be said to have won that end. The player who wins an end is the player who delivers the Jack and the first bowl at the next end.

All games are played as above but in singles usually the game continues until one player has scored twenty one shots, irrespecively of how many ends have been played. While pairs ( two players on each team ) and triples are usually played over a set amount of ends.

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This is not the official Aberlady Bowling Club website - see that here

Club Badge

Aberlady Bowling Club Badge

The club badge was redesigned for the centenery year in 1988. But why such a design?

The swan is included as it is part of the crest of Wemyss & March Estates who own the ground which the club stands on.

The market cross - which can be seen in the centre of the village - is a symbol of when Aberlady was a bustling market town - the villagers called it a town rather than a village - Likewise the ship signifies it's time as a shipping port.

Aberlady Bowling Club - 'The Beginning'

Aberlady Bowling Club is situated in the village of the same name in the county of East Lothian in the East of Scotland, just sixteen miles from the Capital city, Edinburgh.

Little is known about the early years of Aberlady Bowling Club as the minutes and other records were lost. It is known though that the club was founded in 1888 as there still remains a copy of the original lease with Wemyss and March Estates, the owners of the ground on which the club stands. It also shows that the first annual rent was 1 shilling - equivalent to 5 pence today. It is hard to believe in today's money orientated society but it remained at this level until 1971 when it was raised to £1. It has of course risen since then.

First Clubhouse and Champion

The first clubhouse was opened on May 30th 1923 ( shown above ), and the first known Club Champion was G. Donald In 1927. From 1927 to 2010 inclusive there has been more than thirty different Gents Champions - 7 pre-war and 26 post war. The first Ladies Championship was not held until 1956 when Mrs. M Yeoman was the winner.

The 1940s

In 1941 with the World at war membership dropped to a low of just twenty six - plus five boys. It rose again steadily reaching a peak ( for the 1940s ) of seventy six inc. Ladies + five boys, in 1946.

The membership fee at the time was ten shillings ( 50p ) but within two years (1948) this had doubled to £1, a lot of money at the time.

The 1960s Onwards

It was during this era that three of Aberlady's best bowlers - Jock Cunningham, Jock Brodie and Jackie Greenwood - joined the club ( all three of them feature in this photo. ). They went on to dominate the club competitions for the next 40 or so years as well as becoming regulars in the East Lothian county team. Jock Cunningham also played for Scotland on one occasion. Their dominence was most obviously shown in the Gents Championship - the club's premier trophy - when between 1964 and 2002 between the three of them they won the trophy a total of twenty six times with Jock Brodie winning it the most times ( 13 ).

1977 saw the old wooden clubhouse replaced with a new one- which was then extended in 1985. The fact that the toilets - built in 1954 - were on the opposite side of the green would become a problem at a later date when an application was made for a drinks licence.

In 1998 the clubhouse was again extended to include separate Gents and Ladies changing rooms, new lounge and better kitchen facilities.

Although a small village club Aberlady BC has often 'punched above it's weight' having been successful in all of the major county competitions. This success began as early as 1924 when the club triumphed in the Jubilee Cup, a feat that has been repeated many times since then. Other trophies won - some a number of times - include The County Cup, Brown Trophy, Courier Cup & East Lothian News Trophy. Included in this has also been National Honours which can be seen here

More Success

Another 'major' trophy won by the club is The Scottish Senior Fours title won by Davie Balfour, George Marshall, Jock Brodie and Jackie Greenwood in 2004.

As well as these successes Aberlady Bowling Club has supplied players for the East Lothian county team, as well as one Scottish Cap ( Jock Cunningham ).

Winning Ladies

The Ladies section have also been successful in various competitions winning the League a number of times, as well as winning the Haddington Trophy on more than one occassion. A few of the lady members have also won the Champion of Champions Trophy.

Linda Black and Cathy Walkingshaw also saw success in the East of Scotland pairs competition. In 2009 Aberlady ladies ( a team of three players ) won the jenella trophy for the second year running

a.) The above is only a very brief selection of items from the club's long and varied history.
b.) Since this was written a set of bowls has come to light which, if the inscription has been deciphered correctly ( it says 1887 ), predates the year it is thought the club was established
c.) Photo of Clubhouse ( 1923 ) courtesy of Aberlady Bowling Club.
d.) Pairs winners, triples and Ladies league winners photos, courtesy of J. Greenwood.