A BRIEF HISTORY OF PORTCHESTER BOWLING CLUB
By Frank Renshaw
In 1986 members of the Portchester Short Mat Bowling Club, who played in the local Community Centre, got together to form a new outdoor bowling club adjacent to the Community Centre. My wife, Dorothy and I became founding members of the new club. The club was under the control of The Community Centre at that time. The Short Mat Club also continued and still thrives to this day.
We were able to lay the first outdoor green with the assistance and support of Fareham Borough Council. We still had facilities in the Community Centre where all our equipment was stored. Someone thought it was a good idea to spread sand over the new outdoor rink but it damaged our woods and those of our visitors. Sadly a decision which still haunts us to this day as occasionally older visitors still like to remind us about damaged woods and sand despite that happening over 30 years ago! It took many months of brushing to get the rink into a decent condition for playing.
The Ladies joined the Portsmouth & District Bowling Association and the men joined the Gosport and Fareham League.
Soon after, we gained independence from the Community Centre and then we were able to apply for grants to help us in our own right.
By the time we had the first green renewed we also had a pavilion and a hut where we could store our equipment. The second green was laid with much more care than the first (No Sand!). By then our members were working hard on the surrounding gardens in order to make the club much more attractive. We also had a small kitchen so we could cater for our visitors.
In 2015 the green was renewed for the third time.
The biggest problem we faced was that we had no toilets. (Its hard to imagine something like this being built today without such a basic facility). We had to send our players and guests to the Community Centre where we had access to the toilets, even out of hours. When the old adjacent Community Centre was demolished we had to walk to the new centre and that is about 150 yards away. Obviously that was very inconvenient, especially during a match. We set about obtaining planning permission and funding and we now have modern toilet facilities and changing rooms. Further improvements include a bar, storage room and bigger kitchen.
Rotas have been set for cleaning, maintenance, gardening and kitchen duties. The Portsmouth and District League and the Gosport and Fareham League continue to be well supported.
Our social life at the club is continually improving with holidays organised to Eastbourne and The Isle of Wight, day trips to the races and many excellent social events organised at the clubhouse throughout the year.
Our latest improvement is covered seating outside the pavilion and we now have planning permission to extend our clubhouse, so by the time our fourth green is laid I wonder what the club will be like by then!
Frank Renshaw June 2019.