Welcome to Helmsley Bowling Club. As we embark on a new summer season of flat green bowling why not come and join us. Our green is well sheltered by hedges, has 6 rinks and has seating available for spectators with adequate parking. It costs nothing to come and watch and if you want to take up bowling we have people who can get you started at minimal cost. Click on "Contact Us" above for more details.
News (Updated 6 May 2013)
Bowling is now under way for the summer season. Social Bowling can take place on any afternoon or evening provided there is no league or club match in progress. Come along and join us - five new members have joined us so far this season so you will not be alone! The first League match was on Friday 3 May away at Strensall, which Helmsley won 7 - 1 and the first home game is on Wednesday 8 May at 2 pm against Pickering B.
Sunday 9th June will be a momentous day for Helmsley Bowling Club as bowlers from all over Yorkshire will descend on us for a game and formal tea. This is because member, Muriel Russell, is President of the Yorkshire Bowling Association Ladies Section this year and the day is known as Patron`s Day. Bowling commences at 2pm followed by tea in the main pavilion around 4.30pm.
Plans for alterations to the store and toilets attached to the bowls clubhouse have been drawn up and two quotes obtained from local builders. These are now being considered by the Helmsley Recreational Charity.
Helmsley Bowling Club took the initiative to seek a new sponsor for what used to be the Nationwide Triples competition played for annually by teams from Harome, Helmsley, Hovingham and Hutton le Hole as the Nationwide Building Society had withdrawn funding. Glen Opticians have been appointed as sponsors with effect from the 2013 season and are providing a new trophy - a cup. Five teams from Helmsley Bowling Club have entered the competition this year and the final will be at Hutton le Hole Bowling Club on Saturday 10th August. Spectators welcome.
On Sunday 7th April a group of people set off for a walk in Bransdale under the direction of HBC member, John Ward, and he recounts their day below:-
"The walk was a great success - a six mile round trip with two objectives.
Firstly to find and admire the Shipstone, a monster of a rock, nestled close to Tripsdale Beck, which resembles the bows of a sinking ship which I had last visited some 15 years ago. For the past few years we had had the intentions to do the walk but finally the day came, a beautiful sunny day but still cool. Sure enough, we arrived at lunchtime and the latin inscription on the stone was eyecatching. In translation it reads:-
"ALL THINGS ARE FULL OF THE CREATOR - JOHN HART - A MAN OF BILSDALE 1849"
The more athletic members climbed on to the "ship" to give us their impression of the theme song from Titanic. John Hart must have been a talented scholar of those parts and a genius at inscribing into solid rock! His great, great granddaughter apparently lives in California.
The second objective was to find and admire the water race which started close to the Shipstone and was engineered many years ago to transfer fresh water in an open channel, across the moor and out of Tripsdale all the way to Rievaulx, some 12 miles. All dug out by hand and almost defying the laws of gravity in places, this would provide Rievaulx with its only source of drinking water. Water races were used in other ares for the same purpose and our group yesterday were fortunate to have with it two local "experts" who have spent many years and walked many miles in their quest to discover the past history of such water races.
Picnic lunches were consumed around the rock and much photography ensued - a memorable moment to be treasured.
Most of the group returned to the cars on the Helmsley - Bransdale road but a few chose to go up and out of Tripsdale where they were met by "taxi" in Bilsdale - the attraction being a pint in the pub.
The walk must have been enjoyed by all in that there is already some discussion as to where the next one will take us."
Not all the walkers were bowlers but that emphasises the value of the sport in forging new friendships. Congratulations to John Ward (seated in centre) for organising a lovely walk and such beautiful weather - how did you do that John?
BOWLING ETIQUETTE - A brief summary of the unwritten laws of the game.
Be punctual for all games to commence play on time and be correctly attired.
Shake hands with your opponents before and after the game.
Stand behind the mat while your opponents bowl.
Keep quiet and still when players are on the mat.
Stand still at the head when a player is about to bowl.
Keep your shadow off the jack.
When changing ends walk close to the centre of your rink and don`t dally or distract players on neighbouring rinks.
Never applaud "lucky" bowls (wicks) - accept them graciously.
Do not remove any bowls from the head until the outcome of the end has been agreed.
Win or lose - be a good loser. Don`t blame your loss on people, the rink, weather, bowls etc.
MARKING - a brief summary.
Markers serve. They do not command, direct or referee.
Check that you have chalk, measure, wedges, pen and scorecard
Ensure the players have jack, mats, sticks etc.
Establish any handicaps and agree with the players how they are to be applied
Identify which bowls are which
Stand about three paces behind the head and two paces off centre
Stand still as the players bowl
Answer only the question asked. DO NOT elaborate voluntarily
Chalk touchers between deliveries
Leave the players to decide the number of shots scored
Measure if asked. The players themselves can (also) measure
Record the scores on the score card and board
Move briskly from end to end and concentrate throughout
Helmsley Bowling Club welcomes new players and it does not matter how inexperienced you are or even if you have never picked up a wood in your life before. We have experienced bowlers who will show you the basic principles of the game. You can simply come along first for a trial to see if bowling might be your thing. Just give our Secretary a ring and arrangements will be made.
On the green you must wear flat smooth soled shoes and we do have a few pairs available if you do not have any and we have various sizes of woods for you to use too so initially there would be no cost to you. If you decide not to take up bowling you have lost nothing BUT bowling at Helmsley gives you gentle exercise in beautiful surroundings with the opportunity to meet new people and make friends. Why not come along and try it.
There is a lane near Helmsley Castle called Bowling Lane which may indicate that bowling has been practised in Helmsley for many years but no records have yet been found to substantiate this.
However, in 1942 the then Lord Feversham made a small section of a hay meadow off Baxtons Lane, adjacent to the existing Recreation Ground, available for use as a bowling green with a small clubhouse in one corner. A nominal rent of one shilling was paid to the Estate office once per year. The green is still there today although many of improvements and extensions have been made over the years. Subsequently, to provide a lasting memory to his father a keen supporter of swimming and sports activities for the youth of Ryedale, Lord Feversham, donated the remainder of the hay meadow to the town on which a swimming pool, cricket pavilion and new Bowling Clubhouse were built from public donations at a cost of £25,176.
In those early days bowls were made from the heaviest known wood called lignum vitae which is probably where the term "woods" originated. None of the members owned their own bowls and many people played in slippers. There were no leagues then and it was not until 1956 that the first club competition took place and 10 years after that that ladies were allowed to join the Club.
In 1986 a major project was undertaken to improve and enlarge the bowling green. The turf was lifted and stored, the edges of the green were strengthened and levelled and 250 tons of earth was spread over the site. Members spent a Bank Holiday weekend tramping up and down, treading the earth to make a firm bed for the turf to be re-laid by contractors. All `home` matches that year were played away to allow the green to settle and mature.
The Hovingham League was the first to appear in the area with seven clubs, Helmsley, Hovingham, Terrington, Easingwold, Swinton, Slingsby and Sheriff Hutton, playing four teams of four with two woods on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Gradually more clubs were formed and at its peak there were 24 teams playing in two Divisions. Helmsley won the League in 1977, 1978 and 1980 but have also been relegated to the second Division twice. By 2008 the number of teams had reduced to 18 and in 2011 there were only 10, some clubs having broken away to form a new League of triples. The Hovingham League is, however, still regarded as the premier League in the area.
The Club also joined the Number Five League again playing four players with two bowls each and for the first time playing in Club Colours, grey and white. However this meant travelling as far as Scarborough and Dunnington and Helmsley subsequently dropped out of the Number Five League playing only in Cup matches.
Another popular League is the Batagas League formerly the Eurogas League which is regarded as a League for starters and less proficient players. The format is triples with three woods each played on Monday and Friday evenings. There is a Gentlemen`s Agreement that Hovingham League skips do not skip in the Batagas League and vice versa, which is still adhered to today.
The Veterans League was formed as bowls became more popular and is a triples format with three woods for older players (now over 55) played on Wednesday afternoons. There are three Divisions and at one stage Helmsley had two teams in the League.
The Club became affiliated to the Yorkshire County Bowling Association and the English Bowling Association with the ladies section being affiliated in 1978. In 2010 modernisation of the governing bodies brought all Clubs under the banner of Bowls England and Yorkshire Bowling Association with men and women having equal status.
The green in its present form was laid by members in 1986 and the playing area is approx. 36 metres north to south x 33 metres east to west with six rinks in each direction. The rinks can be moved to 21 different positions to present bowlers with a different conditions. The green has been approved for County play for over 20 years and is used every year for County matches and by touring clubs. Play commences in mid April and ceases in late September.
This Cup was presented in 1956 by Mr Alfred Agar was the first trophy ever played for by members of the Helmsley Bowling Club. It is played as a singles handicap competition with the winner being the first to 21 shots.
THE FRANK KAY MEMORIAL TROPHY
This trophy was presented in 1971 by the family of Frank Kay, a member who died whilst quite young. It is played for as a 21 ends competition.
THE PAIRS COMPETITION CUP
This Cup was presented by a member who lived in Harome and was first played for in 1975. The original Cup became unusable and Mr Ron Czernik who then played at Helmsley replaced it with the present Cup in 2000. It is also known as "The Candlelight Cup" as it was originally played for as a 21 ends competition and quite often it was almost dark before the competition ended. To ensure a finish in daylight the ends have been reduced to 18 and it is now played as a round robin competition with names of skips and others drawn separately to try to maintain fairness.
THE GENTS` CHAMPIONSHIP - ALSO KNOWN AS "THE FARMERS CUP"
This Cup was presented in 1989 by members John Leckenby and Geoff Russell. It is played for as a singles competition over 18 ends. The winner qualifies to play against the champions of other Clubs the following year and if successful to play at the Men`s National Championships at Worthing.
THE GARY FORD/PAUL DEAVES MEMORIAL TROPHY - "THE NON-WINNERS CUP"
Gary and Paul were two local lads killed in a road accident, and the Trophy was presented in 1993 by Paul`s father who although a keen football fan liked to watch bowls games over the gate. The competition is for members who have not won any other Helmsley Bowling Club singles competition.
THE LADIES CHAMPIONSHIP
This trophy was presented by Pat and Mick Wilson in 1987. Pat was a prominent member of the Club until they moved to York; Mick did a lot of maintenance work for the Club and one of the flower tubs is dedicated to his memory. The winner of this competition qualifies for the Champion of Champions Competition at the National Championships at Leamington Spa.
THE GEORGE OTTERBURN MEMORIAL TRIPLES TROPHY.
This trophy was presented by the family of George Otterburn in 2000 and is for players of veteran age (Now 55 years). George was a prominent member of the Club who played in all the Leagues but who greatly enjoyed the Veterans League. It is played for in a round robin format.
THE GEORGE GIBBS CUP
This Cup was presented by George Gibbs in 2010 and is played for as a two woods singles competition in a round robin format.
THE PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN`S TROPHY
This trophy is an old lignum vitae bowl affixed to a wooden plinth and is played for by teams selected at random captained by the President and Chairman as a finale to the summer season.