Workington Vs. St John's Keswick


On Tuesday last the return match between the above clubs was played on the Workington green, the weather being favorable, and the playing excellent. The Keswick team were the victors in the previous match, which was played at Keswick some three weeks ago by 43 points, and, as will be seen from the return appended, they again beat their opponents by 9 points on their own green, making a total of 52 points on the match. This result was anything but welcome to the Workington players, as we understand that it is the only time that they have been beaten on their own ground. Our correspondent adds that a prominent player on the Workington side when playing at Keswick, feeling anything but in a pleasant mood at the result of the game, made use of the expression that on a particular green at Keswick he understood at times they were in the habit of catching eels, insinuating that it was a swamp and not a green. Whatever his opinion may be now we have no means of knowing. We would, however, recommend him in future to moderate his language, and remember that, there are more places than Workington where the scientific game of bowling is played, and, as a natural consequence, equally good players.- NIL DESPERANDUM.


Let's form a league

The First Season

Annual General Meetings


West Cumbria Bowls League


In the early 1970's most bowls clubs in the west of the county of Cumbria played only friendly, or challenge, matches with other clubs, with the  only real competitive bowling coming by virtue of playing in competitions.


Several members of the Aspatria Bowling Club, including Bill Blackett and Gordon Young, were having a conversation one evening in 1973 and the thought of trying to start a bowls league was raised. After thrashing the idea about they decided to give it a go and arranged a meeting for 4th September 1973 and invited several bowling clubs from West Cumbria to attend.


The minutes show that the meeting took place at the Aspatria Bowling Club and in attendance were representatives from Cockermouth Harris Park; Cockermouth Croft; Keswick; Silloth; Wigton Park; Maryport and Aspatria Bowling Clubs, with Mr. Gordon Young of Aspatria taking the Chair for the meeting.


Bill Blackett of Aspatria outlined to the meeting the idea of forming a league for bowling clubs of West Cumbria and invited discussion on the viability of such a league. The majority of the club representatives were in favour of the forming of such a league but they could not be definite until they had reported back to their club committees.


 Mr. E. Pearson of Silloth Bowling Club suggested that details of how the league would operate and basic rules be drawn up so that representatives  had something tangible to take back to their clubs and this was agreed.


Mr. J. Housby of Wigton Park Bowling Club moved that the league be known as " The West Cumbria Bowls League" and that was carried unanimously. Discussion then took place about the format of fixtures: was it to be 5 rinks per team or 4 rinks per team, how many ends to be played, a match scoring system, trophies for the league, entrance fees for participating clubs, and Keswick posed the question of whether ladies would be allowed to play in the league.


By the end of the meeting it was decided that a team would consist of 4 rinks, 18 ends would be played but with at least 10 ends constituting a game in the event of bad weather or bad light. One point would be awarded to each winning rink and one point for the overall winning team, a shield would be purchased and presented annually and the entrance fee would be £5 per club.


On the question of allowing ladies to play in the league it is recorded in the minute book that," after discussion the Chairman ruled that ladies would not be allowed".


One other matter discussed was which night of the week games would be played, with Silloth proposing Monday evenings and the remainder wanting Friday evenings. It was agreed to play games on Friday evenings but over the coming years this subject was to be a regular feature of committee and annual general meetings.


Before the meeting closed it was decided to hold another meeting in early January 1974 and it was suggested that Whitehaven and Cleator Moor be asked to attend the next meeting. Mr. J. Routledge of Silloth Bowling Club proposed a vote of thanks to the Aspatria Bowling Club and members for organising the meeting and he wished the league every success.


 The first seeds had been sown and club representatives returned to their respective clubs with the basic outline of the proposed league.


The next meeting was arranged for the 21st January 1974 and it was held at the Fox and Hounds Inn, Aspatria, with the following clubs represented - Aspatria, Cockermouth, Keswick, Silloth, Wigton, Whitehaven and Maryport.


The Cumbria Bowling Association President for 1974, Mr. Billy Corlett of Cockermouth, was elected to take the Chair for the meeting. After reading and agreeing the minutes of the first meeting the clubs present all indicated that they wished to form the league but a letter was read out from Workington Bowling Club stating that they were not in favour of joining the proposed league.


Suggested rules from the first meeting were generally accepted with one or two minor alterations, such as awarding two points to the overall  winning team instead of one point and thereby doing away with half points.


A discussion took place regarding the purchase of a trophy for the league winners and the Whitehaven representatives present stated that their club was in possession of a shield that may be suitable and could be made available to the league.


Several other issues decided were 7.00 pm starts for matches with everyone assembled by 6.45pm; the league would purchase coloured discs for the woods used in league matches; and that the league President be elected annually and in alphabetical order from the clubs within the league.


The Election of Officials for the 1974 season then took place and resulted as follows :-

President - Mr. W. Blackett, Aspatria Bowling Club

 Vice President - Mr. W. Corlett, Cockermouth Harris Park BC

 Secretary - Mr. S. Bragg, Wigton Park B.C.

 Treasurer - Mr. S. Bragg, Wigton Park B.C.


 The Committee consisted of :-

Mr. D. Bell - Aspatria B.C.; Mr. J. Corlett - Cockermouth Harris Park B.C.; Mr. L. Appleby - Keswick Fitz Park B.C.; Mr. E. Pearson - Silloth B.C.; Mr. J. Pattinson - Whitehaven B.C.; and a Maryport representative to be named at a later date.

 After agreeing that the annual general meeting would be held in October every year and a vote of thanks given to all the acting officials who had worked to get the league formed, the meeting closed.





At the first meeting of the elected committee, which took place on the 18th February 1974 at the Fox and Hounds Inn, Aspatria, it is recorded that letters were read out from the Workington and Cleator Moor clubs, but no mention is made of the contents of those letters, and Mr. J. Housby was added to the Committee as the Wigton B.C. representative.


Cockermouth Croft offered to pay £5 to the league funds but this was declined as it was thought not to be the right thing to do when the club was unable to take part in the league.


The Whitehaven Bowling Club presented a handsome shield to the West Cumbria Bowls League on the understanding that if the league should close at any time in the future the trophy would be returned to the Whitehaven Club. Mr. Ted Pearson of Silloth was given the task of seeing to any necessary alterations to the trophy and the League President was given responsibility for the trophy until the first winners were known.


It was agreed that all clubs would use coloured discs in all league matches and the colours were allocated as follows :-




 Keswick ....Blue

 Maryport ....White

 Silloth ....Green

 Wigton ....Purple

 Whitehaven Pink ....(!! - Mm, nice)


 The Committee began to draw up a fixture list and the task was made much easier because of work already done by Mr. L. Appleby of Keswick. It was then agreed that the league would commence on Friday, 3rd May 1974, and the Treasurer was instructed to open a current account at the National Westminster Bank, High Street, Wigton. Clubs also agreed to be friendly, sporting and flexible regarding starting times, within reason.


One final Committee meeting was held before the commencement of the matches and this was again held in the Fox and Hounds Inn, Aspatria, on 8th April 1974. The account for alterations to the shield was presented and the Treasurer was instructed to pay the account - £5. The Committee unanimously agreed that there was no need for refreshments to be provided at matches and it was also agreed that the league should be affiliated to the Cumbria Bowling Association.


Fixture lists were handed out and it was agreed that another meeting would only be called if any outstanding matter cropped up during the season.


The West Cumbria Times and Star of Saturday, 11th May 1974, reports details of the first match played in the West Cumbria Bowls League between Aspatria and Keswick, which Aspatria won 6 - 0, and 87 - 55 on shots. The following details of the match are recorded :-


J, Bell; J. Johnston; H.W. Reay; & Joe Bell (Aspatria) 19 shots v W. Hindmoor; J. Curry; E. Rutland & H. Dodd (Keswick) 18 shots.

 W. Blackett; D. Bell; T. Rogerson & T. Ashworth (Aspatria) 19 shots v T.Myers; L. Appleby; K. Wilson & J. Robinson (Keswick) 15 shots.

 T. Wilkinson; J. Holliday; J. Tremble & R. Holmes (Aspatria) 22 shots v W .Davis; H. Banks; G. Cowman & M. Stanley (Keswick) 12 shots.

 M. Wilson; J. Hodgson; T. Ashworth & L. Hodgson (Aspatria) 27 shots v W.D. Lister; J. Peel; R. Saunder & R.F. Green (Keswick) 10 shots.


 The report is accompanied by photographs of both teams and adds that "Mr. Peter Towers, the County Doubles Champion has been appointed the Keswick Club Coach".


 One of the main none bowling headlines during the 1974 season was the closure of the Bessemer Converter at the British Steel Company's Moss Bay works, Workington, on 26th June, after 103 years of service, and I came across a photograph of a young 15 year old boy from Workington, with almost shoulder length blonde hair, who had just won the Cumbria Bowls Association's Under 26 Championship - David Gregory.


The same newspaper has adverts of Twinames the builders offering houses for sale at Riverside Estate, Cockermouth - a 4 bedroomed detached house for £16,000; at Bridekirk, Cockermouth - a 4 bedroomed detached bungalow for £18,750; at Lakeland Park, Keswick, - a 3 bedroomed detached house for £12,500; and at Whitestiles, Seaton - a 3 bedroomed detached bungalow for £9,000.


The League Trophy was presented to the Aspatria club by the League President, Mr. Bill Blackett, at a presentation social evening held in the Letters Inn, Aspatria, when 60 people (all males) attended. It is recorded that a very pleasant evening was spent by all and it was gratifying to see that all the clubs were represented at the presentation.


 The first Annual General Meeting of the League was held at the Fox and Hounds Inn, Aspatria, on Monday, 20th January 1975, when the new President was Mr. Billy Corlett of Cockermouth Harris Park Bowling Club.


 The very first balance sheet was presented at this meeting and the Income column consisted only of club joining fees of £35 (7 clubs @ £5 per club). On the Expense side there were six entries : -


Thomas Taylor (Bowls) Ltd - coloured discs £4.78

 Wm Harrison & Sons, Silloth - alteration of shield £5.00

 E.B.A. and Cumbria B.A. - affiliation fees £3.10

 Wm Harrisons & Sons, Silloth - engraving £1.10

 Wm Harrisons & Sons, Silloth - Plaque for winners £4.10

 Cumbria B.A.-- affiliation fee for 1975 £1.60

 Total Expenditure £19.68


This gave the League a first year balance in hand of £15.32p.


Once again the question of which day league matches would be played was on the agenda and this time the day was changed from Friday to Thursday and at the same meeting the points for the overall winning score was increased to three.


At the next Committee meeting held on Monday, 17th March 1975, the match night was once again raised and it reverted back to Friday evenings. Maryport requested and were granted permission to enter two teams in the league for the 1975 season and at Whitehaven's request (could anyone blame them), clubs were given approval to provide their own bowls stickers.


The 1975 season saw Aspatria go through all their matches unbeaten for a record of played 14, won 14, points 83, which was twenty five and a half points ahead of runners-up, Cockermouth Harris Park. The two Maryport teams finished at the bottom with the A team just managing to keep above the B team by half a point.


 The Committee held no meetings during the season but a meeting was convened in October 1975 to arrange a presentation evening and to fix the date of the next annual general meeting for Monday, 19th January 1976. Mr. Pearson of Silloth, supported by Mr. J. Corlett of Cockermouth Harris Park put forward a resolution for the AGM that the match date revert back to Thursday evenings!!





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The League survived the first two seasons without any serious problems but one issue that recurred every annual general meeting was the day of the week that matches would be played.


Having changed from Friday evening to Thursday evening and back to Friday evening in the first two seasons, the subject arose again at the 1976 Annual General Meeting. On a vote of 5 - 2 the match day was once again changed to Thursday evenings having been proposed by Mr. J. Corlett (Harris Park) and seconded by Mr. P. Towers (Keswick). At the same meeting Mr. Stanley Bragg (Wigton) stood down as the Secretary / Treasurer and he was thanked for all his hard work in getting the league established. Mr. David Bell (Aspatria) took over the role of Secretary / Treasurer and Cleator Moor B.C. were invited to join the league.


At a meeting held on 23 February 1976 Cleator Moor's application to join the league was accepted and they played their first game on the 6th May 1976.


At the 1977 Annual General Meeting a proposal was put forward by Maryport and seconded by Aspatria that the match day be changed back to Friday evenings and it was carried. Mr. Ted Cushin of Whitehaven told the meeting that his club might have difficulties playing matches on Fridays and the other clubs agreed that if Whitehaven gave their opponents three days notice they could play on Thursdays. Mr. Cushin thanked the other clubs but said that they would try to play on Friday evenings.


At the Annual General Meeting held on 20th February 1978, yes you are ahead of me, Cockermouth proposed, and Wigton seconded, that match days be changed back to Thursday evening. This time Mr. Bragg of Wigton told the meeting that they were finding it difficult to raise a team on Friday evenings and that they may have to withdraw from the league. As nobody wanted Wigton to withdraw from the league it was agreed that matches would be played on Thursday evenings, but if clubs were agreeable they could play matches on Fridays as well. It was suggested at this meeting that the League Champions play an annual fixture against the Rest of the League and also to arrange for our champions to play the Carliol League champions annually.


The match day issue must have been working alright during the 1978 season because the 1979 Annual General Meeting held on 28 February 1979, appears to have been a very quiet affair. The main subject was what to do with a surplus of cash!! It was agreed to send £25 to the Cumbria County Bowling Associations Jubilee Fund.


Workington Bowling Club were accepted into the league at the 1980 Annual General Meeting, held in February 1980, and at that meeting, Silloth announced that they could not play matches on Thursdays so all the clubs agreed to play them on Friday evenings.


Somewhere between the 1976 season and the 1981 Annual General Meeting, Cleator Moor had withdrawn from the league but there is no record in the minutes of when, or why, this occurred.


 However, at the Annual General Meeting held on 16th March 1981 they reapplied to join the league and were accepted. This was also the meeting when Mr. Albert Edgar of Maryport Bowling Club took on the role of League Secretary, a position he was to hold until the 7th October 1992. An Annual General Meeting would not have been the same without some discussion of match days and four teams (Keswick, Maryport, Wigton & Cockermouth) wanted Thursday evenings, whilst five teams (Aspatria, Workington, Silloth, Cleator Moor & Whitehaven) wanted Fridays. Hang on a minute though, in 1977 didn't Maryport want to play on Fridays and Whitehaven were going to have difficulty playing on Fridays. Oh well never mind.


The 1981 season finished in confusion when Aspatria and Cockermouth Harris Park finished as joint league winners due to a default by Whitehaven, which had presented Cockermouth with maximum points. It was then discovered that two different sets of rules were in existence and no solution could be found to resolve the problem. It was decided that both clubs would share the title and that they would play each other as early as possible to decide which team played the champions of the Carliol League, Edenside in the Gladdy Wise Memorial Trophy match. The Secretary was given the task of sorting out the League rules for next season.



Keswick Bowls Club. Secretary: Derryck Corrighan