Home‎ > ‎

Opening the new green


Bowls Club officially opens new green

Bantham & Ongar Bowls Club celebrates opening of new National Lottery/Sport England funded artificial green.


When the original artificial surface bowls green began to show signs of irreparable wear,  members of Bantham & Ongar Bowls Club began to investigate a replacement. The loss of the green in Weald Bridge Road would mean the end of the North Weald based club and the closure of an important sport and social hub in the Epping/Ongar area of West Essex. That was back in the autumn of 2014. On Friday 9th June with the help of a successful 'Inspired Facilities' Sport England Lottery Grant the club's new green was opened. The Ceremony was performed by Mark Cohen, President of Essex County Bowling

Association. The Vice Chair of Epping Forest District Council - Councillor Richard Basset and his wife, the new Mayor of Epping, Councillor Tony Church, and the Chair of North Weald Parish Council, Councillor Cyril Hawkins were in attendance, together with Mike Ferris, Coaching Co-ordinator, Essex County Bowling Association, Jean Cobbin, President,and Jill Polley,  secretary of Essex County Women’s Bowling Association. Byron Davies, deputy President, represented the Brentwood and District Bowling Association and George Cook the Harlow Senior Citizens League.

On arrival dignatories and guests were greeted with a glass of bubbly and entertained by a pianist. Bantham and Ongar club members were on hand to welcome everyone and talk about the club and the new green. A rolling computer presentation showed how the old green had been removed and the new one laid.'Potters Mobile Bowls Shop' delivered their road show giving everyone an opportunity to browse and purchase everything bowls, including clothing, woods, equipment and shoes .A buffet lunch was served just after midday.

After the meal guests were treated to an exhibition bowls match between English International Mark Royal, currently ranked 13th in the world and 21 year old Keiran Clinton, from Scotland who already holds over 10 international caps. Both players excelled on the new green and Keiran delighted spectators,  getting a toucher with his first bowl. In the end it was a Scottish win, both players were impressed with the green, Mark commenting that it was the best artificial surface he could remember playing on throughout his whole career.

Before cutting the ribbon to open the green, Mark Cohen gave an inspiring speech, talking about the future of bowls and the relevance of the artificial surface to the modern game. On behalf of the club, the Honorary Secretary, Sue Czuba, thanked all those who had worked to secure the funding for the green, the contractors and those responsible for carrying out the work; she also thanked all those attending  the ceremony and those working to make the day a success.

After the speeches, twelve bowls club took part in a triples competition sponsored by Daniel Robinson & Sons, Funeral Directors.The clubs from across the county, Burnham to Chingford, enjoyed playing on the new green under mostly blue skies. After the games,  players and visitors relaxed in the club house with tea, cakes and drinks from the bar. Seamus Setterfield, on behalf of the sponsors, then presented prizes of hampers to the top three teams, they were 3rd -Falcon Bowls Club (Chelmsford), 2nd - Stock and Buttsbury Bowls Club (Stock) and 1st - Halex Bowls Club (Chingford).

Bantham and Ongar Club Captain, Francis Czuba, described the day as a great success, he said 'Our new green played well, both club players and professionals complimented us on the excellence of the playing surface. It was wonderful to see local politicians supporting community sports activities and showing such an interest bowls, particularly as many had been up late the night before because of their involvement with the general election. We're also very grateful to Sport England and the National Lottery for their support.'  He added  " Perhaps things can be best summed up in the way one visitor described the day 'perfect, the best bowls event she had ever attended, perfect green, wonderful food, brilliant bowls, the two professionals as superb, great entrainment, lovely atmosphere and surroundings and a really warm welcome.' I hope this will encourage more people to join our club and take up bowls"