On Wednesday 16th July 2014 New Milton Bowling Club celebrated the 90th Anniversary of their founding in 1924 which was four years after the War Memorial Recreation Ground was created. The ‘rec’ was originally farmland and had been purchased by money raised by public subscriptions. A second parcel of land was donated and this became the site for the newly formed New Milton & District Bowling Club.
When the new green was opened the cost to join the club was 10/6 which equates to about 25% of the current fees! The Club became affiliated to the Bournemouth & District Bowling Association in 1929 and then in 1947, the club was one of the five founder members of the New Forest Bowling Association. The club is still in both associations and plays in the leagues which they run, with the men fielding four teams in the B&D and five in the Forest and the ladies three and four respectively in their Women’s Associations’ leagues.
Over the years the membership has grown and so have the facilities needed to cater for this increase. During this period a second green was added, doubling the number of rinks to 12 and the original green was re-laid in 1949 and again in 2003. The old wooden pavilion was replaced with an up-to-date purpose designed building in 1996.
On Wednesday, to celebrate the Anniversary, the Club was ‘open house’ in the morning with tea, coffee and cakes to which about eighty members, including a number of retired members, came along. Whilst many were happy just to sit and reminisce thirty made the most of the good weather by getting out onto the green and bowling.
In the afternoon there was a celebratory mixed match between New Milton and ten other local clubs, Boscombe Cliff, Braeside, Brockenhurst, Fordingbridge, Highcliffe, Lymington, Lyndhurst, Milford-on-Sea, Swanmore and Totton & Eling. The club supplied ten mixed rinks to play against them in a full ‘10-rinker’. It was a really hot sunny afternoon which made the match even more enjoyable and the fact that the home side won was a bonus! After the game there was an hour’s ‘socialising’ before an excellent buffet meal in the Clubhouse to round off a most successful Anniversary Day.