Welcome to the Hovingham & District Bowls League Website.
The league is a Flat Green Lawn Bowls League played in the rinks format and based in the Ryedale District of North Yorkshire.
Games are played on Thursday Evenings, with a few games on a Tuesday, from April to August. In addition to the league games, clubs also compete in a Knock-out Cup competition, called the Waltham Cup, also played on a Tuesday.
Currently there are 8 teams from 7 clubs - Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside, Pickering, Sessay, Settrington, Swinton, & Thirsk (2 Teams).
All clubs welcome new members of any age, gender or ability. See Contacts Page for more information on each club.
In September 1961 members of the bowling clubs in Easingwold and Sheriff Hutton met to see about forming a local bowls league. Local clubs were invited to attend a meeting in the October of that year at The Worsley Arms, Hovingham and from this the Hovingham & District Bowls League commenced in 1962 involving Easingwold, Helmsley, Hovingham, Sheriff Hutton, Slingsby, Swinton and Terrington. Games were played on Tuesday and Thursday Evening.
Easingwold were winners in the first season which was reported as being a success and it was decided to carry on with the League, playing 4 rinks of 4 players. The headmaster of Terrington Hall School had presented the League with a cup to be competed for annually. Terrington were the first team to be presented with this cup in 1963.
Malton Archery joined the League in 1966 and Strensall joined in 1967.
1971 saw the donation of the Waltham Cup to the League. M W Waltham had been a prominent bowler in the League and on his death his workmates (employees of S A Bell Ltd) subscribed towards the purchase of a cup to commemorate their colleague - the Bill Waltham Memorial Cup. Hovingham were the first winners.
Hutton le Hole were admitted to the League in 1976, Thirsk and Kirkbymoorside in 1979. With the construction of more greens in the district, more and more clubs were expressing a wish to join the League and in 1979 the idea of having two divisions was muted. The 1980 AGM saw 5 clubs applying to join and a Division ‘A’ with 9 teams and a Division ‘B’ with 8 teams was created. In 1981 John Smith Breweries gifted a cup to be competed for in Division ‘B’. Shortly afterwards 3 more clubs joined, Pickering in 1983, Wigginton in 1985 & Malton Police in 1987.
The League held a 25-year celebration dinner at Richardson Bowling Centre, Norton in 1988.
Thornton le Dale proposed making the League triples at the 1989 AGM but this was defeated.
A comprehensive set of rules were formulated following the AGM in November 1991. The League now consisted of 25 teams.
Thornton le Dale withdrew from the League following the 1994 season.
Kirkbymoorside entered a second team from the 2000 season but at the same time Hovingham were asking if Division ‘B’ could be made triples due to many clubs struggling to raise teams. The next few AGMs saw this issue raised again and in 2002 a sub committee was formed to look into possible changes to ensure the future of the League.
Keeping the League as a game of 4 players per rink has always been seen as fundamental.
West Heslerton resigned from the League in 2004.
The issue of clubs struggling to raise teams continued over the years and came to a head at the 2010 AGM. It was reported that a Huby Triples League was being formed and many clubs in Division ‘B’ wanted to leave the Hovingham League. Consequentially from 2011 the Hovingham League was reduced to a single division of 10 teams.
Unfortunately clubs have continued to struggle to raise teams, and in 2013 it was decided that both the league and cup competitions would be played with 3 rinks of 4 players per rink.
Welham resigned from the League in 2017.
Stillington resigned from the League at the end of the 2019, but were replaced by Sowerby Flatts who applied to join for the start of the 2020 season. At the 2019 AGM it was also decided that most games would be played on a Thursday Evening with the season being extended from late April to the middle of August. The Waltham Cup games are to be played on a Tuesday along with the few league games necessary to complete the league fixtures.
In light of the Government restrictions because of the coronavirus, all League and Cup fixtures for 2020 were cancelled. For similar reasons there was no face to face AGM in October 2020, communication between the clubs and league officials was by email. Unfortunately Sowerby Flatts withdrew from the league without playing a game and the league was reduced to 8 teams for 2021. As proposed at the 2019 AGM all league games in 2021 will be scheduled to be played on a Thursday. The Waltham Cup games are to be played on a Tuesday along with any rescheduled league games.
Again, due to covid restrictions the league did not start in 2021 until Thursday June 24th. Only 5 teams entered, Kirkbymoorside, Sessay, Swinton, Thirsk A and Thirsk B. It was decided that we would play a full fixture list of home and away games, 8 games in total, with 2 byes for each team, but unfortunately 2 games had to be cancelled due to covid isolation rules. Sessay were League winners. There was no Waltham Cup competition
At an EGM in January 2022, clubs decided that the league would prefer teams to play with 3 rinks of 4 players but clubs not able to to raise enough players would be allowed to play with 2 rinks of 4. The league had 8 teams.