The seeds were sown in the early 1970s when an indoor bowling green was one of three major projects agreed by the local council. After various consultations with local bowlers and clubs the £100,000 project was completed and opened on 7th April 1973.
The first Manger & Manageress were Derek & Doreen Sands. After various consultations with other clubs and the E.I.B.A. the carpet chosen was Cambrian Felt.
The original building was unique in so much that the entrance was approached up a long ramp through a large conservatory type area. This area was used as an admin point for the Holbeach Athletics Club who were very strong at the time. The main access to the bowls area was flanked by the toliets and changing area. There was even a fish pond, backed up with an arrangement of plants.
105 bowling members plus social members were enrolled within a few days of opening. This soon increased into the 500s (peaking to the dizzy heights of 850 in 1987). Membership was £5, £3 for concessions, social £1. Green fees were 15p for 2 hours and a pint of bitter 14p.
Entries for the first winter league season were Afternoons 20; Early Evening 33; Late Evening 41 and Sunday Morning 10. No Morning League existed until 1979.
In 1974 the Lincolnshire Men’s County League was established and the first fixtures took place. Originally it was called the Eastern Counties League and opponents were Peterborough, Boston, Lincoln and joined by Scunthorpe in 1979. The Ladies County League (now known as the ‘Trudy Bates’) followed in 1980.
The reputation of our facilities inspired the E.I.B.A. to stage the 1976/7 National Singles and Pairs final stages at Spalding. Qualifiers played the day before at other local clubs, returning to Spalding for the semi & final. The Liberty Trophy Final between Somerset and Bucks was staged in 1979 and between Norfolk and Yorkshire the following year.
Membership was over 700 by 1980.
In 1983 Grantham opened their green which took away about 30 dedicated bowlers, and in 1986 Sleaford opened their green. Despite this, membership still grew to the peak of mid-800s in 1987. During this period we had 242 teams competing in our leagues. We currently have 175. The highest ever was 279 in 1994/5.
It was during the 1980s that the Ladies put Spalding well and truly on the map with many individual national and international successes. In 1985 we hosted the Ladies International Trial, receiving many glowing comments about our facilities. The Castle Sports Complex addition was just around the corner which would lead to many changes in how we operated. This opened on 12th Dec 1987.
Although the original surface was a concrete flooring with Cambrian Felt, it has since been boarded by Dales with a Greenguage carpet. Unfortunately the concrete floor started to crack around the time piling was taking place for the sports hall.
The first Heart Foundation Charity Tournament was in 1986, and week-long Quintet Competition in 1991. Spalding hosted the National U25 Singles Championships in January 1988 and the National U18 singles in 2015, 2016 & 2017.
The Club has enjoyed a number of National & International honours, including winning the National U25 Double Rink in 2004 & 2010, the Mason Trophy in 2013 and the Mixed Top Club in 2015. Individual success includes Graham Smith reaching the World Indoor singles semi final in 2004, the youngest ever Ladies National Fours Champions in 2011, National mens & ladies singles champions in the same year in 2016, Under 25 ladies and Under 18 singles winners, Mens national triples winners, as well as Internationals at all levels.
For a full list of achievements, please see our Honours page
The future is extremely bright for everyone at Spalding. Don’t miss out. Come along and be part of it.