Thorndon Bowls Club has been in existence in varying forms since 1904 when, shortly after moving into ‘White House Farm’ Mr James Tydeman gave permission for part of White Meadow, an area behind The Black Horse, to be used as a bowling green. Bowls was a very popular pastime enjoyed by men from the village and surrounding areas. At the time, only ‘friendlies’ were played.
There are two bodies covering bowls played in England today, each with their own rules, known as Bowls England and the English Bowling Federation. The latter was formed due to the fact that in several rural counties the game, as in the case of Thorndon, was played on smaller greens behind pubs and could not meet the criteria of the governing body.
In the early 30’s Thorndon joined the local league and continued to play throughout the summertime until 1939 when war broke out. After the war the club reformed, but was no longer able to play at The Black Horse and the green was moved to a lawn attached to Stanwell Lodge.
In 1952, to celebrate the forthcoming Coronation, Jack Coy of Poplar Farm decided to convert his tennis court to a bowls green. That year a 4-rink green was opened by the Club President, Mr W M Balch. To commemorate the occasion, he presented the club with a trophy, known as the Rosebowl, which is still played for today and each year is presented to the winner of the first game of the season.
The club continued to grow in numbers and in 1969 it was decided that a larger green was needed. To this end, the then Captain Peter Wright and Secretary June Wright, together with other members, filled in the adjacent pond to make 6 rinks. The green was then and still is, one of the best playing greens in the County.
Jack Coy’s son, John, is the current Club President, taking a great interest in the club and has presented a trophy which is played for annually on the last day of the season.
Thorndon Bowls Club is a member of the English Bowling Federation, the rules of which cover games played in 13 counties on the Eastern side of the country from Essex to Northumberland. In addition to club team games, members can compete in individual competitions within the club and leagues and also County Competitions, whereby winners compete in the National Finals. Over the years, many members from Thorndon Bowls Club have won through to the National Finals and been selected to represent Suffolk’s County Teams. The Club is also proud to have provided three County Presidents and one National President.
The club has some 30 playing members ranging in age from 17 to 89 years – it is a game for all ages and should you wish to know more, Margaret Thorpe (01379 640799) would be pleased to hear from you or just call in.
New members are always welcome and even if you’ve not played the game before, there will always be someone on hand to show you the ropes. It is a most enjoyable pastime!