Avon Bowls Club
For competitive and social bowling at its best
Affiliated to Bowls England and Bowls Wiltshire
Avon Bowls Club sits proudly within the attractive and peaceful grounds of Melksham House, situated behind the Market Place in Melksham, Wiltshire.
The House is an attractive Grade ll listed country Manor built between the 17th and early 18th century by Richard Coxeter who sold the property to Sir Walter Long, 2nd Baronet of Whaddon.
In 1920 the house and grounds were purchased by the Avon Rubber Company for use as the sports and social centre for the "social welfare of their employees".
It was from this time that sports facilities were provided and in 1922, what is now called Avon Bowls Club was formed.
Initially the club comprised only a Men's section until 1972 when a Ladies section was formed. In 2009 the Ladies amalgamated with the Men to form a single club.
Over the years the Club has changed its name but the location has remained.
The green is nestled nicely next to the house on it’s Southern side and is overlooked on its Northern side by the 12th Century bell tower of St Michael & All Angels Parish Church. This sheltered position is the perfect setting for a game of Lawn Green Bowls on a warm summer evening against the background of melodic church diatonic change ringing.
The Bowls Pavilion flanks the green adding to the splendour of the setting.
Over the next few years Melksham Health and Well-being Centre will be built. This is an exciting prospect which should present Melksham with improved sports facilities whilst Avon Bowls Club will be retaining our individual place within the complex. Current planning shows completion of the Campus hopefully by the end of 2021. Avon Bowls Club has the benefit of Leasehold tenure of the grounds, from Wiltshire Council, with four Trustees.
The Club has fostered many successes over the years with players reaching the County and National Finals and accomplishments in Countywide Leagues. There have also been members who, over the years, have served as officers to Wiltshire County.
In 1977 the Club were privileged to welcome the English Bowling Association (now called Bowls England) to celebrate the Men's sections 75th Anniversary. More recently the Club paid host to Bowls England when they played the West Wilts Bowls League on their 100th Anniversary. The Club has also hosted the Barbarians and the Dennyside.
In 2018, Dawn Edwards, had the honour of holding the position of Bowls Wiltshire Ladies President. This year, 2020, John Crowder holds the position of Bowls Wiltshire Men's President. Also during 2020 our club will host a team from Bowls England on their Wiltshire Tour. Additionally, we will host other County events to celebrate John's Presidency.
Membership is open to men and women aged 16 or over and to Junior, (from 8 upwards), players who are welcomed subject to parental consent. We have young men who are part of the U25 programme and girls who take part in Amy Rose under the guidance and management of our own Marcia Hartley. Commencing in 2020 Bowls Wiltshire are starting a Youth Academy which is aimed at enthusing the younger players towards higher levels in the sport. We fully support all of these initiatives and have representation on all of the County and District Committees who keep their fingers on the pulse of all things Bowls.
The outdoor bowling season runs from Mid April to Mid September with a full programme of games, both friendly and competitive with full participation in the Tea & Biscuit Leagues for the over 58’s young men. There is also a very well attended and enjoyable Social calendar which sports a weekly get together every Tuesday evening, during the outdoor season, for all members and to give an opportunity to meet new players over refreshments, and to play a few end of bowls in a less than serious atmosphere.
For members there are regular friendly and league games against other local clubs and there is the opportunity to enter club and county competitions.
Most of the league matches are against local clubs and played on weekday evenings but the male members have teams involved in triples and fours leagues against teams from Mid and South Wiltshire. The ladies have their friendlies mostly on afternoons during the week and their league matches weekday evenings. There is also a Seidal League, (Ladies Tea & Biscuits), which runs on weekday afternoons.
With friendly matches the trend is towards mixed games and there are now more of them than the men or ladies only matches. Most mixed friendlies are played at the weekends. These games are open to both Full and Social Playing Members.
During the winter months many of our members play at the local indoor club in Chippenham at North Wilts IBC.
We extend a hearty welcome to any man, lady or child to come along and try out bowls. Woods can be provided but you will be required to wear flat soled shoes to protect the playing surface.
The club has qualified coaches who are always happy to give tuition as your bowling progresses, from beginner to expert!
Bowls is not just a pastime for the more mature but all ages are welcome and younger members find they are involved in a sport that is challenging, competitive and fun and the opportunities are there to take as much or as little as one likes from the game.
What you will find in our bowls club is a very sociable lively group of all ages and abilities from county players to those who just play for the pleasure of being in the open air and getting some exercise.
Our aim is to provide a good Bowling and Social experience for all our Membership.
So why not come along and see what we have to offer and join our "Family".