Earls Barton Bowls Club celebrations mark centenary - with world record attempt to come

The club was founded alongside the tennis club, overlooking the Nene valley

Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 6:00 am

Celebrations marking the centenary of an Earls Barton sports club have been marked with the unveiling of a plaque, a bowls match and a world record attempt for the longest continuous game.

Earls Barton Bowls Club members gathered to see an anniversary sign revealed honouring the White family who once owned the land used for the greens and tennis courts built in 1922.

Current Manfield Cup holders – the ‘FA Cup’ for Northamptonshire bowls – Earl Barton’s team emulated their predecessors who won the accolade in 1935, 1954, 1996 and 2013.

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Centenary of Earls Barton Bowls Club - members celebrate 100 years of the club

With the club prospering and home to Philip Wright, the recently crowned Bowls England’s National Greenkeeper of the Year, club president Neil Gould is looking to grow the membership.

He said: “We want to have a lot more members. Membership has been good, the growth of the club has been by word of mouth and we are really pushing with the juniors. I’m honoured and privileged to be president of this club.“

Unveiling a plaque in memory of their family’s contribution to Earls Barton Bowls Club, Nick White was joined by family members and congratulated organisers on the achievement.

He said: “It’s a real pleasure to be here. It’s a big moment not just for the club, but for the bowling community. It’s a green hallowed square of purity and perfection.”

Centenary of Earls Barton Bowls Club, l-r president Neil Gould, Nick White, club captain Richard Paintin Saturday, May 28 2022

The club will host an England team on July 21 as part of the centenary celebrations.

Club captain Richard Paintin said: “We’re bouncing back after the pandemic. We kept open as much as possible. There’s a big social angle to the club. We go on bowls tours all over the country.”

As part of Earls Barton Carnival Day, two of the club’s bowlers will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest marathon playing outdoor bowls (singles).

Adam Dally and Carl Rattley will have to play for longer than 28 hours and 23 minutes in order to beat the current record set in New Zealand in 2021.

Centenary of Earls Barton Bowls Club, the White family to mark the 100 years Judith White, Peter White, Nick and Sue White and Sue and Steve Jepson

Carl said: “I’m looking forward to it. We are going to keep playing for four hours then have a 20 minute break – you can add up your five-minutes-an-hour allowance.

"We’re going to have to play at a match pace and video the whole attempt. I think we’ll get ten ends an hour so we hope to complete 300 ends. Four years ago I ran the London Marathon so I’m used to doing this.”

People are being invited to watch the record attempt that starts at 8am on June 17 and should culminate on June 18, carnival day.

Rob Butlin, committee member, added: “It’s the best thing I ever did joining the bowls club. I wish I’d done it sooner. It’s a real feel good tale that shows what can be achieved if a group of people work together.

Earls Barton Bowls Club won the Manfield Cup in 1954

"I’d also like to thank Barkers for allowing us to use part of their car park. We are so very grateful. We had been struggling with street parking.

“The club is going from strength to strength.”

Earls Barton Bowls Club first won the Manfield Cup in 1935 - in the background of the photo is the original wooden clubhouse