SPORT - Bowls

Over the years Watton has been to the forefront of many sporting activities. Bowls is the oldest sport recorded in the town and as far back as 1681 a visitor to the town mentioned a fine new bowl­ing green at the "George Hotel",

When Loch Neaton pleasure grounds were created in 1892 a bowling green was incorporated in the lay-out and games between townsmen were played from that time. But it was not until 3rd. April 1900 that the Loch Neaton Bowls Club was officially formed and from that year friendly matches were played against other local clubs. One of them being the Watton Liberal Bowling Club, whose "green" was on the site of the new International Stores.

The first County Championship honours to be won by members of the Loch Club was in 1931 when E. Doyle, E. A. Adcock and F. W. Saunders won the Norfolk Triples. League matches were first played in 1947 when the club entered both the South Norfolk and Wymondham and District Leagues, winning the former at the first attempt and again in 1949 and 1950. In 1955 they won both the Dereham & District League and the Norfolk & Suffolk Border Shield.

In 1956 C. A. Saunders, W. A. Porter and R. Cogle were chosen to play for Norfolk for the first of many occasions. The same year C. A. Saunders became Norfolk County E.B.A. Singles Champion and in 1957 he was the Yarmouth Open Bowls Champion. E. Gunson was also chosen to play for Norfolk in 1957.

1958 brought more success for the Loch bowlers when C. A. Saunders and J. Farrall won the Nor­ folk County E.B.F. Pairs Championship and represented Norfolk in the E.B.F. Championships at Skegness. They repeated this feat again in 1964 and in the same season were losing finalists in the Norfolk E.B.A. Pairs Championship. In 1966 E. Gunson won the Norfolk County E.B.A. Singles Championship.

After 90 years bowling on Loch Neaton's "Green" the Club was disbanded in 1982 as a new Bowl­ing Green had been constructed during the previous two years on the adjoining War Memorial Play­ ing Field and most of the Loch Neaton Club Members transferred to the new Watton Town Bowls Club.

1936 saw the birth of another Watton bowls club, the "Bull Hotel" and they also had a number of successes before finishing in 1970. Three of their members, E. Haines, J. Lucas and E. Gunson won the Norfolk County E.B.F. Triples Championship in 1967.

Loch Neaton Bowls Club circa 1895.
Sitting, from the left: S. Short, Sheperd Hewlett, Wm, Whalebelly. The two gents in "boaters" are Teddy Toombs and Thomas Tennant.
Two of the boys at the front are Teddy Toombs's Sons.

Loch Neaton Bowls Club 1932. How many can you name?

Loch Neaton Bowls Club on "President's Day "8.7.1950.
President, Leonard Butcher in centre of second row.

The "Bull Hotel" Bowls Club, winners of the "Guide Dog" Trophy 1965.
Left to right: E. Riches, W. Wyett, E. Haines, J. Hunt, D. French, F. Carter, W. Hewlett, J. Vincent,
F. Greenwood, A. Andrews, H. Fisher and A. Aldridge.

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