The thousands of people who travel along the Burnley Road at Luddenden Foot are mostly unaware that below them, sandwiched between the Rochdale Canal and the river Calder, is one of the best bowling greens in Yorkshire.
This private club, run entirely by its members, celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Luddenden Foot Tennis and Bowling Club, as it was originally, was opened on August 2, 1913 by Mr. W.A.Simpson-Hinchcliffe, who then played a game against the chairman Mr George Sutcliffe, and won 7-3.
There then followed a match between teams selected from the members and the 10 local teams represented.
It was recorded that the members had made history in the way they had achieved their heart’s desire in securing for themselves a magnificent green and clubhouse. The cost was stated to be £250 and it was estimated that voluntary labour had saved £100.
The decline of the tennis section led to the courts being leased to a Mr Warriner for his nursery, and ultimately sold to fund the building of the present clubhouse, which was built under the Manpower Services Scheme and steered through by secretary John Charnley and his committee.
Members again pitched in to provide all internal fixtures and fittings and it was officially opened in 1967 by Councillor Allan Pettengell.
It is a widely held misconception that crown green bowling is an old man’s game. In fact the club has a number of excellent lady bowlers, as well as players as young as 10 playing in the teams, and competing at the highest level with some of the best bowlers in the district.
The club is planning various social events throughout the summer to celebrate the centenary.
The major club competition is the ‘Invitation Pairs’, in which a club member partners a bowler from another club.
This year’s event has been brought forward from the autumn to June 2 to take advantage of the longer days. Helen and David Stafford of Customised Sewing Services of Mytholmroyd, regular sponsors of the event, have generously increased prize money to £500.
The club is looking for new bowling and social members and it is free for the first year.
Some club members believe there is no finer place locally to sit in the sunshine, enjoy watching some fine bowling, and sample the wide selection of delicious food on offer, or enjoy a cooling drink from the well stocked bar.
Anyone interested in joining should contact contact David McMahon on 883357 or David Stinton on 886819.