Northaw and Cuffley Bowling Club
On 3 March 1937 the inaugural meeting of the Cuffley and Northaw Sports Association (Bowls section) was held. Unusually for those days Ladies were involved in the management of the Club from the beginning.
On 31 March 1937 it was decided that the Club's name should be Northaw and Cuffley Bowling Club.
The last Saturday in April 1938 saw the first bowl, put up by Mrs G.Maynard, who was the wife of the President of the Northaw and Cuffley Playing Fields Association. Woods and mats were provided free for one year and members could pay 2s6d per annum for hire charge for woods thereafter. The membership in this year stood at 38 men and 8 ladies.
Also in 1938, the competition for the President's Cup (now known as the Pond Cup) was held for the first time. The first annual dinner was held in November 1938. This has remained an annual feature, and has been held in various venues over the years, depending on numbers involved and the type of celebration required (exceptions were, during the war years of 1939-1945 and during the pandemic of 2020).
In November 1942 it was considered that a proper Bowls Pavilion was needed. The local Council gave favourable consideration for a pavilion to be erected adjacent to the green and the new Pavilion was constructed in November 1943 and officially opened on 29 April 1944. Also in 1944 the Council offered to consider the addition of a kitchen to the Pavilion, despite this it took until July 1950 for approval and the kitchen addition was completed at the back of the Pavilion.
In November 1946 the ladies were affiliated to the H.C.W.B.A. (Hertfordshire County Women’s Bowling Association). In 1947 the membership of the club was 34 men, 12 ladies and 12 honorary members.
In 1951 members voted in favour of the Club joining a proposed E.H.B.A. (East Herts Bowling Association).
In April 1954 a lot of work was undertaken on the green with members volunteering to help at weekends. New turf was laid in order to get the Green ready for play. A Green Ranger was appointed to supervise the completion of the work. It was reported the following year (1955) that the Green showed a marked improvement.
In 1955 several ladies had played in County games and had earned County Badges. Also a number of the men played in County and East Herts games. Entries in County competitions were increasing.
In February 1955 - a founder member, Fred Stiles, left a legacy to the Club of £1000 (equivalent to half the price of a modest semi in the district at that time). Among other things, this provided a dressing room, which was approved and erected in the summer of 1955.
During the years after the war, the membership was starting to grow again and averaged about 30 men, 13 ladies and 10 honorary members. Leaflets advertising the Club were distributed in an effort to continue growth.
In 1960 a Club Licence was granted and the following year a bar was constructed and opened.
1964 saw further improvements to the Club's facilities and electricity was connected to the Pavilion about this time. In 1967 an electric water heater was fitted and various other improvements to the inside of the Pavilion were undertaken.
In 1971 the Club were invited to join the 'Cestra' cup, in which the men have played ever since. In 1972 A Fixed Jack competition for men was introduced and the Mixed Pairs competition, which had been held for a few years, would in future, be a Mixed Triples, with 2 men and 1 lady in each entry.
In July 1974, Charlie May's 100th birthday was celebrated when some County players approached the Club and suggested that they bring a team of players who wished to visit our Green and play in honour of Charlie. Birthday celebrations were enjoyed by the whole Club and many visitors. Charlie May died in the spring of 1978, aged 103.
For the first time in 19 years the Club won the Jarvis Cup in 1974. A great boost for the Club.
In 1976 the Ladies section was invited to join a new local league and to compete for the 'Markwell' cup. This competition has been keenly contested since and is still popular today.
1976 was a very dry summer and much work was carried out on the Green, including replacing turfs and generally improving the Green for next season.
In 1979 permission was gained to extend the Club Pavilion. Work began in November 1980 and by March 1981 the extension was finished. The success of this extension and the speed with which it was done, was due, not only to the hard work of the officers of the Club, but also ordinary members who gave their time when needed.
In the first season and with the new extension, the Club had been invited to host the East Herts Bowling Association Gala in August. This was a very successful occasion, enhanced by the fact that a team from our Club won the trophy and first prizes!
In 1983 the membership had risen to 59 men and 36 ladies. In this year, the English Women's Umpires Association held their first Markers examinations. Throughout the country there were over 800 entries, with only 129 passes. Northaw and Cuffley B.C. entered 8 ladies and had 5 passes - a great effort!
The East Herts District Women's Bowling Association was formed in 1985 and Northaw and Cuffley B.C. was one of the Founder members. By the end of 1986 the Club's playing membership had risen to 67 men and 41 ladies, and there was a waiting list of 12. A membership of 108 was considered, then, to be as high as our Green and general facilities could accommodate.
1987 was the Club's Golden Jubilee Year. Plaques had been obtained for presentation to some clubs and associations with which we had fixtures. 'Jubilee' pens and badges had been bought to present to our opponents, and for our own members to purchase. Also, some special games were arranged to celebrate the anniversary year.
On 4 May, our first Jubilee Year special game was played against the Herts Bowling Association. We lost heavily, as expected, but the match was enjoyed by all, especially the excellent catering.
On 28 June, the Jubilee match against the East Herts Bowling Association went very well. The bar was busy, and receipts from the raffle covered catering expenses.
On 2 August we were due to host the East Herts District Women’s Bowling Association Charity Gala, but heavy rain left our Green completely flooded, and it had to be closed. Tesco kindly offered their Green, and all food and players were quickly transferred!
On 18 September, the President of the Herts County Women's Bowling Association bought a team of County bowlers to our Green. It was a great game, but we lost!
There was also a special 'Crown Drive'
Also in 1987 a decision was made to proceed to provide new toilet and dressing room accommodation for the ladies. Quotations were gained and some members offered to install electrics and plumbing. Finance was put in place and the work on the project commenced in November. It was hoped that it would be completed by the beginning of the 1988 season.
By April 1988 the ladies new dressing room and toilets were finished by the Ladies Captain and Secretary, laying carpet tiles in the dressing room!
In June 1988 a new 'Ladies Honours Board' was eventually approved and fixed next to the bar.
Also in 1988 a new format was accepted that the Jarvis Cup be played by the three Clubs on one afternoon, on one green, each Club to host the event in turn. This has remained this way ever since.
This year also saw the start of the Wednesday Evening Club Competition, which has proved very popular ever since.
At the beginning of the 1989 season and in view of our long waiting list, the committee ruled that a member could not belong to two or more clubs at the same time. Membership then as 68 men and 44 ladies.
In 1990 the president of The East Herts District Women's Bowling Association held her presidents day on our green, as was the E.H.D.W.B.A. charity gala in aid of Macmillan Hospice Appeal. Also in July a match was arranged for two rinks of men to play a team of Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London on their small green in the old moat.
During the summer of 1990 the committee looked into the feasibility of extending the kitchen. This was progressed and the maintenance committee and helpers worked throughout the winter, and the extension was finished for the start of the season.
In April 1991 the 'Gilbert Cup' was presented to the club for all bowlers who had not yet been successful in any singles, pairs or triples competitions.
Also in 1991 the Parish Council Chairman presented a cup and annual trophies. It was agreed that the competition be for 'Mixed Pairs', and run on Gala or similar lines (not as a knock-out competition). The Councillor attended on 9 June to present the trophies and since then the Parish Council Chairman, or a deputy, has attended every year and provided and presented trophies or medals for the occasion.
In 1992 a telephone was installed in the Pavilion.
In this year our greenkeeper was congratulated, as our green had been the envy of many other clubs. We were asked to host final, semi-final and area matches. It was thought by some to be 'The best green in the county this year'.
Unfortunately in 1993 the green deteriorated rapidly, with waterlogging and much moss. A lot of work was undertaken to improve the green and a recommendation to carry out proper Green Maintenance at a cost of approx. £1,000 per year (1993 prices).
In October 1995, the club were invited to join the next season of the East Herts Bowls League (a triples league competition). This would bring 16 games, 8 to be played at home. The committee voted to join this competition.
During the year intensive investigations begun into improving and upgrading the site, to include modernisation of the ditches, reinstatement of banks behind a new timber wall and levelling of the Green amongst other proposals. This was pursued with the authorities and in 1996, during the winter months the necessary ditch boarding was done.
1997 was the Club's Diamond Jubilee year, and also the Golden Anniversary of the Ladies Section, which had been formed to comply with the rules of affiliation to the Herts County Woman's Bowling Association. On 10 August the club held a Diamond Jubilee Gala Day. This was a much enjoyed and successful day with six full rinks of members play, followed by a barbecue.
On 14 August a Ladies Golden Anniversary Invitation match was played against teams from six clubs, with whom we are closely associated. This was a successful day which was rounded off by a superb tea.
In this year it was reported that the Markwell competition had been changed from triples to full rinks to accommodate more players.
Finally in 1997 a gift was given for a new Club Flag to be made and ready for the start of the 1998 season. A plaque at the base of the flagpole commemorates this kind donation.
In 1998 the Greenkeeper, was presented with a Carriage Clock to mark his twenty-five years’ service to the club. This year the club was to host a Charity Gala for the East Herts District Women's Bowling Association, Two-Wood Pairs Day, Finals Day as well as President's Day on 24 July. In addition in November 1998 the club saw the first lady was elected into the post of President of the Club.
In February 1999, a sub-committee of four was formed to assess the position of the replacement pavilion. The sub-committee had much work ahead liaising with the Parish Council, representatives of the National Playing Fields Association and other organisations.
In August 1999 a 'Fun Day' was introduced for the first time and was so successful that it has become an annual event.
In the year 2000 one of our lady members was elected as President of the Herts County Women's Bowling Association (H.C.W.B.A.), and her President’s Day was held at our club on 1 June. Our Club also hosted some H.C.W.B.A semi-finals in August and a County men's and ladies’ match in September.
During 2001 a Fund-raising Committee was formed and many means for raising money for a new pavilion were implemented. Club members were most enthusiastic and very supportive of all of the events and fund raising activities.
The beginning of the new century was a great successful for our 'outside' competitions, with a member winning the County Unbadged Singles, the men won the Jarvis Cup and the ladies won the Harvey Cup and the Markwell Trophy.
The 'winning streak' continued through 2002. Ray Barwick won the County Unbadged Singles. The Men won the Jarvis Cup for the third successive year, and the ladies won the Harvey Cup for the fifth time since it started in 1995. The men also won the Cestra Cup.
Further successes prevailed in 2003, of particular note was the ladies victory in the Brigg League, in their first year in the league and also the ladies won the Theobalds Challenge Cup.
In 2004 the men won the Cestra again.
In August 2004 the hot dry spell caused increased wear and damage to the Green. This highlighted the necessity of installing an automatic watering system as soon as possible. At the AGM in 2004 a 'healthy' capital balance was reported, due in great part to the many fund-raising activities over the past few years. It was agreed that a sum would be made available for the new Club Pavilion, a necessary sum would be retained as reserve and a sum would be spent on an automatic watering system.
In 2005 the Club, for the third time, had a lady member elected as President of the East Herts District Women's Bowling Association. Her Charity Gala was held on our Green in June and the President's Day in August. However, due to the hot, dry summer this year the green deteriorated.
In addition to maintaining the Green, a lot of work over the past years went on cultivating the gardens surrounding the Green. Areas were cleared and a variety of plants established. Tubs beside the pavilion doors, and window boxes in front of the ladies changing room were introduced. Today, members volunteer to look after various parts of the garden. It is full of colour and a high standard is being maintained.
In an Extraordinary General Meeting in July 2005 options were discussed for the proposed replacement pavilion. The committee were either to accept the Councils offer of a prefabricated building on the north side of the Green, adjacent to the car park or to extend and renovate our existing clubhouse. The members voted to retain our present building by 88 votes to 4 against. With the decision taken, the automatic watering system was installed and plans had been laid to start the renovation during the coming winter of 2005 and into 2006.
Summer 2012 - the Club celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a match against The President of Bowls England and a Presidents team from Hertfordshire Bowls.
Summer 2022 - the Club celebrated its 85th Anniversary but due to the aftermath of the pandemic a specific celebration was not deemed appropriate but the Club's successful achievements in matches, leagues and competitions continued. In addition, 2022 was the year of the Queen's 70th Jubilee, this was marked by the club with a fun day. All competitors and spectators showed their patriotism by wearing regal colours. A great day was had by all.
In time for the new season in 2023 the ladies changing rooms were refurbished. The area was given a bright new look which was welcomed by the lady members.
In the years following the construction of the new pavilion, it has been well used as a venue to host teams coming from other clubs. It is the Hub on Gala Days, Competition Days and Fun Days. Weekly social evenings are enjoyed in the comfort of the pavilion, as are Quiz Nights, Crib sessions and various dinners/coffee mornings throughout the year.
Maintenance and Improvement of the Green is continuous and at the forefront for everyone, but especially the Greenkeeper. The gardens and grounds are regularly tended to by members and are maintained well.
Northaw and Cuffley Bowling Club continues to thrive and we are known for our friendly and sociable members. All are welcome, whether you have played bowls before or if you are completely new to the game. We have qualified coaches who can give training, free of charge to those of you who have not played before. Recruitment of new members is open, come along and see us, call us or use the 'Contact us' form on line. We can accommodate players of all ages.