In the first months of 1914 the Rhiwbina Sports Club was granted, by the Rhiwbina Garden Village Society, a lease for 7.6 acres of land ‘for the laying out of playing areas’. A subsequent meeting decided to name the club The Rhiwbina Recreation Club (RRC) , and a pavilion and playing areas were opened at a ceremony on May 9th, 1914. The Club comprised two grass tennis courts, croquet green and a cricket pitch. Although there are references in the first RRC minutes books of byelaws of ‘bowls and croquet’, there was only a single category of membership. It was another seven years before thoughts turned to providing a bowling green.
An extended lease was granted, and members decided to explore the possibility of constructing a new Hall, and also a bowling green and extra tennis courts. Although finance was a problem, the money was eventually raised through a debenture scheme, resulting in the sum of £825 in £1 shares from 235 members. The bowling green and tennis courts were completed in the autumn and Rhiwbina Bowling Club was then founded, but the green did not open until the following year.
The bowling green was opened in April and the first Captain, W.H.Tyndall, remained in that office for the next three years; the first RBC Honorary Secretary was W.Watts. The first committee not only fostered the growth of the Club in its formative years but, together with its local businessmen, provided financial support.
Tom and Percy Mann appeared on the scene and were active members for the next thirty and forty years respectively. Tom was ‘Green Ranger’ for many years, whilst Percy was concerned with administration. Both were excellent men to have in these early years.
The ever popular ‘Spoons’ Competition started, and is still going strong years later, although no longer with the prize of a silver spoon, nor on a Friday evening. Even in the early days the Committee demonstrated a public-spirited attitude and became involved in raising funds for charity. Much of this went to the Cardiff Royal Infirmary which, at that time, was very dependent for its survival on such charitable donations.
The Club had its first national winner when H.R. Edwards won the Welsh Bowling Association (WBA) Singles Competition. It was many years before this feat was accomplished again. RRC was asked to cover the costs of maintaining the green for the following year. Members expressed the view that they were contributing too much to the groundsman’s wages.
The Club asked the Welsh Private Greens to reduce green fees.
Finances were again difficult and RRC required an additional sum of £200 from the section. After much debate and under protest the amount was found by ‘special efforts’.
The WBA proposed a National Club Competition known as the Carruthers Shield; many clubs opposed the idea and Rhiwbina asked to be exempted for two years.
The original Captain, W.H.Tyndall died; his widow presented a cup in his memory to the Club, to be awarded to the winners of the Pairs Competition.
Club minutes record our trying to opt out of the Carruthers Shield Competition. Attempts made at persuading other private clubs to do likewise were unsuccessful.
Idris Evans became the first Club member to be awarded an international cap. Tom Mann and H.R.Edwards lost to opponents from Swansea in the final of the WBA Pairs Competition.
Off the green, financial problems predominated again, with anxiety over of the state of RRC finances. The groundsman’s wages of £2 per week became a cause for much concern and RBC’s Committee agreed to contribute. It was clear that, on several occasions, these wages had been paid out of the pockets of committeemen.
On the green, Ingram Evans won the Welsh Private Greens (East) Singles Championship, now known as the Cratchley Bowl.
Another member, T.J. Thomas, was awarded an international cap. Tom Mann and Len Nash were losing finalists in the WBA Pairs Competition, Tom for the second time in three years.
A difficult and traumatic year. The Captain resigned after a confrontation with the selection committee over their opinion that he could not be selected on merit to play for the first team. On a point of principle, the Honorary Secretary resigned also and, following a vote of confidence in the selection committee, the Vice-Captain and Assistant Secretary moved up to take over the duties, which seemed to resolve the problem.
Rundle Bending joined the Club; he served with much distinction for the next four decades. Members clubbed together to purchase a sprinkler for the green.
1939 – 1945
The outbreak of war took precedence over most other things in people’s minds. The groundsman, Harry Phillips, was called up and so his work was taken over by Tom Mann, with the help of three other members. Petrol rationing necessitated the purchase of an electric mower. Despite the efforts of the voluntary groundsmen the green began to deteriorate due to the lack of professional care and the members voiced their concerns. A new petrol mower was purchased with funds raised from whist drives and raffles. Membership had increased to 91, but a great deal of ingenuity and enterprise was still called for in order to keep the Club afloat.
The groundsman returned from military service. The Club enjoyed some success by winning its section of the Carruthers Shield Competition. Despite inclement weather, Club competitions were eventually finished just in time for Finals Day.
Tom Mann was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East). All opposition to the WBA’s proposal for the Carruthers Shield ceased and the Club celebrated by winning its section for the second year running. The final of the Welsh Private Greens (East) Competition took place on the Club’s green. Financial problems were again to the fore and, despite protests, fees increased to £3-5s-0d with fixture cards charged at 6d.
Success at last for the Club. The ‘A’ Team won Division Two of the Private Greens (East).
G. F. Rees won the Tenby Gold Cup. A new scoreboard was presented to the Club by an anonymous donor.
1950 An exceptional year with the Club winning both the PG1 and PG2 competitions.
Bill Gamlin began a memorable record in the Club Championship, winning his first title. The ‘Spoons’ competition re-commenced after the enforced cessation during the war years; entrants were charged 3d, with a minimum of 32 players needed before play could start.
The Club celebrated winning the PG2 competition again. The final of the PG1 competition was played at the Club. An end of season Club match between ‘Wales’ and ‘England’ was instituted.
The national trials of the WBA were held at the Club. Rhiwbina lost to Bridgend Bowling Club in the PG1 final.
Coronation Year – a special series of events was arranged as part of the celebrations, which included a Club match (entry fee of two shillings) with prizes of Coronation tankards.
Bill Gamlin was awarded an international cap and Rundle Bending was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East).
Bill Gamlin won the Cratchley Bowl. The PG1 final was played at the Club. Subscriptions increased to £4, much to the consternation of members.
The Cratchley Bowl was again won by Bill Gamlin. Barry Athletic Bowling Club defeated Rhiwbina in the final of the PG2 competition. The Club undertook its first tour, to Bournemouth.
Bill Gamlin won both the Club Championship and the Handicap Singles. Wednesday evening fixtures were introduced. The Club did not hold a liquor licence and the Butchers Arms was used to entertain visiting sides.
C.G.Tombs won the Glamorgan County Bowling Association Two Wood Competition. Success just eluded the ‘A’ Team in the PG2 competition, with Rhiwbina losing in the final to Penarth Bowling Club. Honorary Secretary, Rundle Bending, retired after fourteen years in the office.
The year of the Empire Games and the Rhiwbina green was used for practice by the competitors, many of whom paid compliments as to its quality. Glyn Bosito, a member of the Australian Team, in a book written after the Games said: –
‘…. the best green in Cardiff was in the suburb of Rhiwbina. It was better than the one at Sophia Gardens and, on enquiry, we were informed that the Club did not get a game because it did not have a bar. We all agreed that this should not have influenced the Empire Games Committee as we had come 10,000 miles to play bowls on the best surface, not the worst…..’
Mackintosh Bowling Club was allowed to use the Rhiwbina green while its own was being re-laid. The Welsh Private Greens (East) final was played on the Club’s green.
The Club again came close to winning the Carruthers Shield, losing by one shot to Parc Howard Bowling Club in the final. George Paget was elected President of the Welsh Private Greens (East). Fred Sanders won the R.B.Southall Cup – the singles championship of Welsh Private Greens (East and West). In July 1960 a bar was opened on Club premises at the northern end of the Main Hall.
Jock Thomson, later to become an established international bowler for Wales, joined Rhiwbina from Birchgrove Bowling Club. Herbert Jones was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East).
Bill Gamlin won the Club Championship for the third year in succession, and a record sixth time. Towyn Roberts was appointed Honorary Treasurer of Welsh Private Greens (East).
Rhiwbina Recreation Club’s Jubilee Year. The bowling celebrations were held on 15 June with RRC presenting a trophy for a singles championship, won by Charles Gage, the Club Captain. The WBA’s finals were played on the Rhiwbina green.
Jock Thomson became Honorary Secretary and Herbert Jones became President of Glamorgan Bowling Association. The ‘A’ Team Captain was allowed to sit on the selection committee for the first time.
This year saw the Club’s finest achievement to date when a rink consisting of Towyn Roberts, Bill Jones, Rundle Bending and Jock Thomson won the British Isles Fours Competition. Jock Thomson also gained the first of his many Welsh international caps.
An extension to the clubhouse was opened in December 1965. Indoor bowls was first played in the Main Hall of the clubhouse, with carpets having to be rolled down and back again at the end of play.
There were complaints that the teams selected for the mid-week matches contained too many ‘Saturday’ players. Towyn Roberts was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East).
Upon the recommendation of consultants, the Club raised sufficient funds to purchase a scarifier and a mechanical tining machine. The Club hosted a match between a team of U.S. tourists and the WBA President’s team. Another milestone was reached when permission was obtained to lay a new ladies’ green on what was Tom Mann’s allotment.
The Ladies’ Green was officially opened. The financial affairs of the Club became even more of a problem and members were forced to raise funds from other events.
It was agreed that the green would support a maximum of 120 bowling members. Herbert Jones was elected President of the WBA, and Rundle Bending was appointed Honorary Secretary of Welsh Private Greens (East. A request by the Club to be allowed to play Sunday matches was vetoed by the Rhiwbina Garden Village Association. It was agreed, following complaints, that the ‘Spoons Competition’ would not start before 6.30 p.m. so as to accommodate working members. The green was again giving cause for concern and consultants were asked for advice.
The ‘A’ Team won the PG2 competition. A further milestone in the Club’s history was agreement that lady members were allowed to play on the men’s green on Sundays, if accompanied by their husbands or other male members of the Club, in an effort to bring the two sections together. Tom Mann, a stalwart member of the Club, died. Towyn Roberts, the Honorary Treasurer, and Harry Phillips, the Groundsman, retired after many years of meritorious service.
It was decided that future matches in the Club’s Handicap Singles Competition would be awarded to the first player to reach 21 shots. The wives of members were permitted to attend the annual dinner. A new ‘bowls pavilion’ was completed, sited alongside and with access to the Main Hall. This provided the opportunity to extend the existing bar via a hatch through to the bowls pavilion, creating what is now known as the Lounge Bar or Tudor Lounge. Originally, this bowls pavilion was the changing room and locker room for outdoor bowls in the summer and, in the winter, greater space for indoor bowls on roll down, roll up carpet.
The new bar and bowls pavilion were opened, replacing the old, rather dilapidated, wooden pavilion with veranda on the western side of the green. The bar was run by volunteers and managed to turn in a profit, despite all the difficulties experienced. Rundle Bending was appointed to the Council of the WBA. The late payment of subscriptions was giving cause for concern, and it was decided to fix a deadline of 1st June, failure to settle by that date resulting in suspension of membership.
The greatest achievement in the Club’s history was recorded when Rhiwbina won the
WBA’s Carruthers Shield. In the same year Jock Thomson won the Penylan Open Singles Tournament. Still closer ties were established with the lady bowlers when an inter-section match was arranged.
Rhiwbina’s Carruthers Shield Winning Team
R.Bending, R.Sunderland, G.Richards, L.Hughes, J.Thomson, H.Haddock, C.Wood
R.Brown, D.Laverty, P.Evans, J.Blakemore, W.Owen, W.M.James
T.Roberts, F.Moon, G.Smith (Captain), L.Watkins, F.Sanders
An excellent year for Rhiwbina bowlers in various outside competitions: – Jock Thomson again triumphed in the Penylan Tournament and Les Hughes carried off the WBA Singles title, having already won the County Singles. Off the green, Rundle Bending was elected President of Welsh Private Greens.
Les Hughes was awarded an international cap and, together with Charles Gregory, Gwyn Arthur and Len Watkins, won the County Fours Competition. He also proposed that a Mixed Pairs Competition be introduced. Financial difficulties necessitated a 50% increase in the subscriptions, much to the discontent of the membership, although a locker room for bowlers was added between the bowls pavilion and the Hall.
Les Hughes achieved further success by winning both the ‘Windsor Jack’ and, in partnership with Peter Evans, the County Pairs. Peter Evans went on to win the Merthyr West End Open.
The drought during the summer of 1976 caused many cracks to appear in the bowling surface and by mid-August a decision had to be taken to close the green. However, on 1st September there was much needed rain and play was resumed.
Les Hughes and Peter Evans continued their winning ways when, with George Davies and Jock Thomson, they were victorious in the County Fours competition. Peter Evans continued his run of successes by carrying off the Pontypridd Open Trophy.
A year when several honours were won by members:- Rundle Bending was elected President of South Glamorgan Bowling Association; Cliff Jones was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East) and John Taylor its Honorary Secretary; Jock Thomson successfully captained Wales in an international tournament and went on to represent them at the Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze medal in the Fours event. Rhiwbina were the losing finalists to Barry Athletic Bowling Club in the PG1 competition.
The introduction of new orange disc bowls markers, replacing the previously used blue and yellow variety, did not prove popular, but they continued to be used until our centenary year in 2021. The revised name of Rhiwbina Bowls Club also became prominently displayed. Les Hughes presented a Rose Bowl as a trophy for the Club’s Two Wood Competition.
The condition of the green deteriorated after its maintenance was placed in the hands of a contractor, following the resignation of the groundsman over a dispute with the RRC Chairman. The old bowls pavilion was taken down, much to the regret of many members.
Rundle Bending decided to ‘call it a day’ after many years of faithful service not only to the Club, but to the bowls world in general. The South Glamorgan Triples Competition was won by Gwyn Arthur, Peter Evans and Jock Thomson.
The difficulties with green maintenance continued to predominate and the arrangement to use an outside contractor was terminated. An attempt to recruit a part-time groundsman had to be abandoned when the prospective candidates declined the position once made aware of the workload. For a second consecutive year, Gwyn Arthur, Peter Evans and Jock Thomson won the County Triples.
The Club duo of Peter Evans and Jock Thomson won the WBA Pairs Competition and went on to win the British Isles Title in 1983. Roy Brown retired as Honorary Secretary after ten years of effective and loyal service to the Club, having joined in 1957 from Penylan. A Captain’s badge was presented to each past Captain in recognition of their year of office.
The bowls section lost its pavilion to make way for the new lounge bar which, it was hoped, would generate sufficient additional income to allow the subsidising of subscriptions. Gerwyn Morgan won both the South Glamorgan County Singles title and the Club Championship in the year of his captaincy.
A season characterised by rain, which resulted in the decision to purchase new polypropylene sheeting, when finances allowed. The Club Captain had to serve his term without the assistance of a Vice-Captain, due to the lack of a single volunteer for the office.
Ted Durrant, John Taylor and Gerwyn Morgan were successful in winning the South Glamorgan County Triples title.
Further problems were encountered with the green, due mainly to the employment of an inexperienced groundsman. A permanent, two-rink indoor green was opened in March 1985, indoor bowls having been played previously on roll down, roll up carpet. It remains one of the best permanent short greens in the area.
The Club managed to progress to the final of the PG1 competition, only to lose to Penylan.
The Club won its section of the Carruthers Shield competition, but again lost to Penylan in the first knock-out round. A new charity venture in the form of a Mixed Pairs Competition was organised, with a trophy donated by Mr and Mrs Bill Stephens.
Problems with the state of the green continued; the centre had become excessively worn and began to break up. The suggested remedy of using large quantities of sand failed to bring about any improvement and this treatment resulted in even more problems. A part-time consultant, the Course Manager at Whitchurch Golf Club, was appointed in an attempt to find a solution and he supervised the remedial work, which included a re-laying of the whole centre portion at the end of the season, when the groundsman resigned.
A new, experienced groundsman, appointed during the close season, resulted in a significant improvement in the bowling surface. The promise made in 1984 was fulfilled with the purchase of the polypropylene sheeting. Colin Wood won the Club championship for the first time, the start of a successful run.
The latest groundsman resigned mid-way through the season and was replaced by another. A Club team was entered in the newly established ‘Alliance League’, which proved popular. A performance of note on the green was that of Gwyn Powell, who succeeded in winning the Club’s Championship, Handicap, and the Veterans’ Competitions. Ted Durrant, John Taylor and Gerwyn Morgan repeated their earlier triumph by carrying off the South Glamorgan County Triples title.
Fred Sanders completed forty years of loyal membership. Following a tradition established by past members, John Taylor was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East).
The Club won its section in the Carruthers Shield competition, but tragedy struck in the play-off against Llantrisant when Dennis Pinch, a stalwart member, collapsed and died on the green. On a happier note, Ted Durrant, John Taylor and Gerwyn Morgan won the County Triples title for a third time. Off the green, financial worries came to the fore again and the problem was compounded by RRC’s decision that all the constituent playing sections had to be self-financing. This meant that subscriptions rose sharply to £80, with additional income having to be generated through various fund-raising activities.
Club Captain Ingli James started a tradition of a pre-season lunch for the members and their partners. Subscriptions increased to £85, much to the consternation of some members, but match day raffles were introduced in an effort to alleviate some of the costs of running the section. Gwyn Powell was awarded the honour of being elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East).
Avon Sportsground Maintenance, who had produced a report in 1991 on the state of the two bowling greens, were appointed to provide technical advice and a series of maintenance visits. A part-time employee was employed to cut the greens during the season. Following advice on watering systems from Avon, a ‘boom’ method requiring a 1,000-gallon tank and an electric pump to provide the necessary pressure was installed. At the same time, the insides of the ditch banks were refurbished with Astroturf in order to reduce the maintenance demands. The required funding, totalling more than £11,000, was raised by way of financial gifts and loans from members.
Ted Durrant won the County Over 60s Singles title. With Ingli James having taken over as Honorary Secretary, it was agreed to contract Avon Sportsground Maintenance to provide a complete programme of care and upkeep under a full maintenance contract. With a reduction in RRC capitation fees, bowling subscriptions were reduced to £80. However, some members were still unhappy! Surviving Past Captains were presented with blazer scrolls indicating their year of office.
The condition of the green, and thus members’ satisfaction, improved considerably in the early years of Avon’s contract. Club Treasurer, Ted Durrant, won the South Glamorgan County Over 60s competition.
A most popular member, Ken Innes, had died during the winter. He was one of the first heart transplant recipients in Wales and had led a very full and active life following the operation. Bowls was a game he had taken to only a few years earlier, but he eventually gained a regular place as a member of the first team. The high point of his Rhiwbina membership was when he reached the final of the Club Championship in 1987. In his memory, it was decided to run an annual rinks competition, the ‘Ken Innes Fours’ and the competition was incorporated into the Club’s charity fund-raising activities.
The 50th anniversary of VE Day was celebrated with a special Triples competition. Gerwyn Morgan, hoping to emulate Bill Gamlin’s record of six Club Championship titles, was beaten by new member, Denzil Gough, one of very few to win the Championship in the first year of membership. However, Gerwyn did win the South Glamorgan County Over 60s Singles competition. Peter Greenwood and Lloyd Best lost narrowly in the final of the Mackintosh ‘Famous Grouse’ Pairs Tournament. External blinds were fitted above the pavilion windows with financial assistance from RRC, but the possibility of building a new changing room at a cost of £25,000 was ruled out. Planning for the Club’s 75th anniversary in 1996, including a Club tour, began.
Alan Jarrett captained the Club in the 75th anniversary year, for which a new Club flag was purchased and changing rooms were smartened up. An Open Triples Tournament was one highlight of the year, bringing many of the finest bowlers in South Wales to Rhiwbina. The event was won by John Price, Steve Rees and Harry Price, with runners-up being Rhiwbina’s Gerwyn Morgan and Ted Durrant, ably supported by Lyn Perkins.
The Club progressed to the second knock-out stage of the Carruthers Shield before losing to Burry Port. A Club rink, comprising a squad of Clifford Stevens, John Parsons, Gerald Smith, Keith James and J.D.Williams won the Cardiff and District Cup. Gerwyn Morgan also became President of South Glamorgan County Bowling Association. Ted Durrant retired from the position of Treasurer after 18 years. Our now long-established rivalry for the ‘Miners’Lamp Trophy’ with Dafen Welfare Crusaders Bowls Club began. The Anniversary Tour to Torquay and a match against the Royal Household Bowls Club at Windsor Great Park were two further memorable anniversary events.
Colin Wood retained the Club Championship title he had won in the previous year and Gerwyn Morgan won the inaugural County Two Wood Trophy, thus becoming the first Rhiwbina bowler to win County Open Singles (1983), Over 60 Singles (1995) and Two Wood Singles. The Club ended the season with 140 members. Plans for a major RRC development including a full-size indoor green were rejected.
The Club won all three Carruthers Shield pool matches but lost in the first knock-out round. Ted Durrant and Gerwyn Morgan won the County Senior Pairs Competition, and Ted was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East). A Club tour visited Llanelli.
Subscriptions rose to £100, a possible cause of membership dropping to 123. Fred Sanders celebrated 50 years as a Club member, although no longer playing. A new format of the PG1 leagues was introduced, with Rhiwbina in Division 2 and just avoiding relegation. Colin Wood again won the Club Championship and a Club tour visited Llanelli. A sad event at the end of the year was the death of Gerwyn Morgan, one of the Club’s finest bowlers.
To mark the new millennium a new flagpole was erected and an Open Pairs Tournament was organised, won by E. Godwin and D. Timothy from St. Alban’s On the green the season was disappointing, failing to qualify for the knock-out rounds of the Carruthers Shield and being relegated to Division 3 of the PG1. However, Colin Wood won the County Over 60s Singles title. The Millennium Tour was to Bath and Bristol. New members, who were to play significant roles in the years ahead, joined the Club. The death early in the year of Jock Thomson, the former member who had gained the highest honours in the game including more than 100 appearances for Wales, was a sad note.
In the Club’s 80th season, it was back to the future with a Club tour to Llanelli.
Brian Davies was elected President of Welsh Private Greens (East), although missing much of his year in office due to illness. Some new recruits with considerable bowling experience joined the Club, most of whom were to feature prominently in future years, both on the green and as committeemen.
Colin Wood won the County Open Singles competition, and together with I. James, M. Allen and N. Collett won the Cheltenham Bowling Club Single Rink Tournament.
A Welsh Bowling Association team entertained the English Bowling Association at Rhiwbina. The ‘Wednesday’ team won the Cardiff Midweek League.
The PG1 team gained promotion back to division 2 of the Private Greens League. Colin Wood won the Cardiff Bowling Club’s Open Singles Tournament. Neil Collett won the Club Championship. An Open Mixed Pairs Tournament sponsored by Gill’s Travel was hosted for the first time. Rhiwbina hosted County trials and championship matches. A new pavilion, the ‘Wendy House’, was added as the visitors’ changing room. Ingli James stepped down from secretarial roles – again, and finally.
The WBA team visited Machynlleth for a WBA knock-out match and the Club tour went to Gloucester. The PG2 team gained promotion to Division 1 and the midweek team won the Cardiff Midweek League for the second time in three years. County matches continued at Rhiwbina. Neil Collett won the County Two Wood Singles trophy and the Private Greens Cratchley Bowl and R.B. Southall Cup.
Success in the Cardiff Midweek League continued, having won now in 2001, 2003, 2004 and been runners-up in 2002. County matches continued at Rhiwbina. Colin Wood won the County Two Wood singles, becoming the second Rhiwbina bowler to win three different County Singles titles – Over 60 Singles (2000), Open Singles (2001) and this year’s Two Wood Singles. Mike Allen and Neil Collett won national titles in the Civil Service Tournaments. A Club website (www.rhiwbinabowls.co.uk) was registered for the first time and updated regularly by ‘webmaster’ Ian Kelly. The Club tour visited Worcestershire. A new terrace on the west side of the green was added at the end of the season and an automatic watering system for both greens was installed.
County finals were held at Rhiwbina. Two Rhiwbina bowlers, Alan Jarrett and Colin Wood, met in the County Over 60s Final, with Colin winning the title for a second time. The PG1 team just missed out on promotion, but the PG2 side was relegated. Rhiwbina couple, Viv and Ingli James reached the final of the Gill’s Open Mixed Pairs Tournament. The Club tour travelled to Leamington Spa.
Alan Greaves combined the roles of Club Captain and Secretary for only the second time in the Club’s history, the first since Rundle Bending in 1951.The Civil Service British Championships were held at Rhiwbina in July; Rhiwbina’s Mike Allen was a member of the winning Welsh Triples. Derek Hyde won the Club Championship in his first season, the first time in 11 years for a new member to achieve this feat. The Open Mixed Pairs Tournament continued with sponsorship from Gill’s Cruise Centre. The end of season tour visited Wiltshire and Chepstow.
Colin Wood won the Club Championship for a record-equalling sixth time, joining previous record-holders Gerwyn Morgan and Bill Gamlin. The PG1 league was restructured into 4 divisions, with Rhiwbina in division 2. Our PG2 team was promoted back to division 1. Derek Hyde reached the National Finals of the Over 60s Singles, having been runner-up in the County event. The Open Mixed Pairs Tournament ran for a final time under the sponsorship of Gill’s Cruise Centre.
David Rundle won the Club Championship and Two Wood Singles. Colin Wood reached the final of the Cratchley Bowl. The Open Mixed Pairs Tournament continued with sponsorship by Rhiwbina Recreation Club. The 2008 tour visited Somerset & Devon. Our AGM approved the wearing of polo shirts in Club matches in future. The poor weather experienced during the season added to the growing dissatisfaction with the green.
The PG1 side was relegated from division 2, but a record performance of note in Club finals was that of David Rundle who succeeded in winning all four singles titles, Club Championship, Handicap, Two Wood and the Veterans’ competitions. The Club tour went to Mid Wales. The 100 Club started to help with fund-raising. Sadly, the Open Mixed Pairs Tournament was cancelled due to heavy rain on the opening day.
Colin Wood became the Club’s record holder as Club Champion for a seventh time and again qualified for the National Finals after reaching the County Over 60s Singles final.
The WBA team won its section and progressed to beat Resolven, before losing to Pontrhydyfen. The Open Mixed Pairs Tournament was sponsored by Morgan Lloyd Williams, local estate agents. Our 2010 tour visited Pembrokeshire.
Our 90th Anniversary season was celebrated in period costume against Rhiwbina Ladies. Vice-Captain Tony Davies had to step into the role of elected Captain Mike Lewis, who was undergoing medical treatment.
Colin Wood extended his record, becoming Club Champion for an eighth time. The WBA team qualified again for the knock-out stages, losing to Havelock in the second round. A Club rink of Colin Wood, David Rundle, Derek Hyde/Alan Greaves and Bob Cooper won the County Over 60s Rinks competition and progressed to the National Finals.
The Open Mixed Pairs Tournament found new sponsors in Sunrise of Cardiff. Rhiwbina again hosted the Civil Service British Championships. A Club tour visited Devon. A split in the Welsh Private Greens Association resulted in our region becoming East Wales Private Greens Bowling Association.
The year began with sad news of the death of Immediate Past Captain, Mike Lewis. Three members – David Rundle, Bob Eascott and Colin Wood – played in National finals, having reached County Finals. The PG2 side was relegated. A Junior Schools’ Coaching Initiative began, guided by Roger Goode with Community Chest grant funding. Subsequently, the Club received the Clubmark Award from the Welsh Bowls Federation, presented at the WBA National Finals. Sunrise of Cardiff again sponsored our annual Open Mixed Pairs Tournament in which Club pair, David and Mary Rundle, reached the final. The Club tour visited Worcester. Concerns about the green continued.
East Wales PG1 was restructured into 3 divisions, with Rhiwbina in division 2. Sunrise of Cardiff again sponsored the Mixed Open Tournament, organised for a final time by Alan Jarrett. Our green maintenance was under discussion again and this time it was agreed to contract Peter Villars Sportsground Maintenance of Cwmbran at the end of the season in place of Avon of Bristol. A joint presentation dinner with our Ladies’ Section was held to mark the end of the season.
RRC’s centenary was celebrated this year with the publication of Brian Rowlands’ RRC Club history. Discounted fees were introduced in an attempt to increase membership, with subscriptions now set at £110, down from £140 in the previous year. The grass banks of the green were paved in time for the start of season, and the Club began working with new contractors, with an arrangement for us to cut the green. Bob Eascott was Club Champion and runner-up in the County Over 60s Singles, reaching the national finals; Chris Gibson competed in the triples event for Wales in the Commonwealth Para Bowls Games in Glasgow. Ian Kelly became the third bowler to combine the roles of Club Captain and Secretary, following Rundle Bending in 1951 and Alan Greaves in 2006. East Wales Private Greens hosted Warwickshire Vice-Presidents and London & Southern Counties on our green.
A disappointing season on the green with both PG1 and PG2 teams relegated. White shorts were allowed to be worn by members for the first time. A new Dennis mower was bought with RRC loan assistance. The inaugural match against the Welsh Association of Visually Impaired Bowlers was arranged by Julie Thomas, to be played in memory of her late father and former Club member, Meirion Roberts. East Wales Private Greens Association hosted Gloucester County Vice-Presidents at Rhiwbina. The Sunrise-sponsored Open Mixed Tournament at Rhiwbina took place for a final time. RBC minutes books and other items of historic interest 1926 – 2001 were deposited with Glamorgan Archives.
David Rundle took on the role of Captain for a third time and achieved his main aim of gaining promotion to Division 2 for the PG1 team. Two new Club signs were donated. Smoking on the green was prohibited for the first time. The Club tour to Winchester and Southampton included a match on Southampton Old Bowling Green, said to be the oldest bowling green in the world. Charity events during the year raised a peak of more than £4000. The decision to elect a Club Chairman, to ease the burden on the Club Captain, was taken at a Club SGM and John Powell was elected as first Chairman at our AGM, which also passed a proposal to allow Committee to determine the design of team match shirts.
The season of ‘the great escape’ for the PG1 team, avoiding relegation only on shots difference. Colin Wood celebrated his 50th year of membership, our longest serving bowls member. A new Club shirt with orange trim was introduced. Club Finals featured Rhiwbina’s first Junior Singles final, for a shield donated in memory of late member Jack Harris and won by Joe Gape. The Club tour visited Bath.
Rhiwbina Ladies were invited to enter two rinks in the Ken Innes Charity Fours for the first time, with one rink reaching the final. Approval was given for coloured shorts to be worn for some Club bowling activities. The Club tour visited Exeter. At the end of the season, it was agreed that Avonmore Associates of Stratford upon Avon would take over the green maintenance contract. An additional mower was purchased.
New lockers were installed during the indoor season. The green showed signs of improvement after an additional watering point was installed to help deal with problem areas. A highlight of the year was the Club’s hosting of the 3-day 2019 Para Bowls Home Nations Tournament, with teams from Scotland, England and Wales taking part in glorious weather. The Club tour visited West Wales from a base in Aberystwyth. Hugh McManus took over from John Powell as Club Chairman.
A major lounge refurbishment was completed just prior to the Covid-19 Coronavirus lockdown from March 23rd, when the Recreation Club had to close in accordance with Government advice.
A small group of members kept the green maintained during the following months until the green was allowed to re-open on June 24th, albeit with many restrictions. During the 2020 season no matches or Club competitions were played, but members were able to use the green for socially distanced bowling until the end of September. The only scheduled bowls event to survive was the annual Charity Mixed Pairs day, held on the August Bank Holiday.
2021 – our centenary season
Back to the future – to mark the centenary it was decided to revert to the original Club colours of blue and yellow, now proudly displayed on team shirts and bowls stickers.
The season began in late April and , although still hampered by Covid restrictions, two celebration matches took place in glorious weather in July – against the Welsh Visually Impaired/Parabowls squad and the WBA President’s Invitation Team. After the latter occasion, a commemorative plaque was presented to the Club by Paul Watkins, WBA President 2021.
Club competitions were concluded in September in fine weather and produced a number of firsts. Joe Gape became the youngest ever winner of the Club Championship, after winning the Novices (Richard Gale) competition earlier in the day. Adrian Creed was the first winner of the Walbrook Centenary Singles, receiving a splendid trophy given by the sponsor for this new format competition. Chris Gibson, in his ‘Bowls Royce’ was the first wheelchair bowler to win the Two Wood Singles. The Club Fours Competition was changed to a mixed event for Rhiwbina ladies and men, replacing the Ken Innes charity competition. The mixed pairs competition was also sponsored by Walbrook Public Relations and won by Margaret Coghlan and Denzil Gough.
The final highlight of the centenary season was a four-match tour to the Isle of Wight in September 2021.
This history of Rhiwbina Bowls Club is an edited version of the original document covering the first 80 years, compiled by Jim Hopkins and Ingli James. Alan Jarrett assisted current Secretary and editor of this version, Ian Kelly, with further additions from 2001 – 2021. Photographs have been added by Ian Kelly, many of them taken by the editor or committee member, John Lewis. It is inevitable that we find more to record about the era in which we live and hence the relative level of detail of more recent affairs, with which current readers will also be more familiar.