Oxford Road, Kingston Bagpuize, Abingdon Oxford, OX13 5AP
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Kingston Bagpuize and Southmoor Bowls Club
A Brief Club History (ongoing and frequently updated)
The Kingston Bagpuize and Southmoor Bowls Club came into existence in late 1990 when a Short Mat bowling club was formed. This took place in the local Village Hall in Southmoor on two 45ft carpet bowling mats. At this time the club had between 40-45 enthusiastic novices plus a few experienced bowlers to guide and instruct.
During the next four years the club developed into one of the leading short mat bowling clubs in the Vale of White Horse area of Oxfordshire and had two very good bowling teams. Some of the members were developing into really good players and as a reward they were invited to attend trails for the Oxfordshire County team. Three players were selected to represent Oxfordshire in the inter-county competitions. The club had several young members and the club held a club night for practicing on a Thursday evening.

Even in these early days the mandate given to the committee was that some time in the future, when a suitable plot of land could be obtained and adequately finance, the club would build an outside bowling green .

After numerous set-backs to do with acquiring land, in 1994 the club managed to negotiate the purchase of a small piece of land off the old A420 road from a local farmer Mr Murray Maclean. Contracts were drawn up and the land was transferred in 1994. The land was a former orchard which was part of the local fruit farm. The land was purchased from existing club funds.


The next major step was to arrange for funding of the actual work. After numerous meetings and letters being sent backwards and forwards the club finally managed to secure sufficient funding to commence the construction of the bowling green . The bulk of the finance was raised in the form of grants from the Lottery Sports Council (£42,000), the Foundation for Sport and Arts who had sufficient faith in us to provide the first £25,000 and our own District and Parish Council who also provided valuable assistance.

After considerable deliberations and with the help and guidance from the English Bowling Association it was decided to have an artificial, all weather surface as our playing surface and the club approached Greengauge Ltd from Dundee in Scotland whose polypropylene carpets would provide the club with the best and longest life. Most of the basic groundwork was organised and carried out by our own members, this included the excavation of the green area, establishing the drainage system and the construction of the foundations of the green which included the laying, rolling and leveling of some 525 tons of porous stone.

After the completion of the groundwork's, Greengauge constructed the ditches and laid the final surfaces of stone, porous tarmacadam, underlay and carpet. The level of the playing surface was measured using high technology lasers and the playing surface (40m x 40m) was level within 4mm over its area. Their work was carried out during June, July and August 1996.


in parallel with the construction of the green the DIY members of the club were busy erecting and repairing two old army huts which had been donated to the club. These were dismantled, transported and renovated to provide us with a basic clubhouse. The clubhouse was finished during the spring of 1997, complete with a kitchen, bar and toilet facilities.
Although the club had been open for bowling since September 1996 it was not until April 1997 that it was fully operational. On the 12 April 1997 the outdoor green was officially opened by Andy Thompson who spent the whole day at the club, performing the opening ceremony and kindly providing some friendly coaching to several of our members. Also present at the opening were the Men and Ladies Presidents of the Berkshire County Bowling Association.

The local village population at the time was about 2,500 but the club has members from nearby towns and villages giving us a membership of approximately 70 members. The next goal set by the committee was that at some time in the future the club would have its own purpose built club house to give the necessary space for short mat bowls and facilities to host a six rink match in reasonable comfort.

In 2001 the club undertook an exercise to plan and cost for a brick purpose built clubhouse. A number of options were investigated and costs were obtained. The favored option was to have a new purpose built clubhouse to replace the existing clubhouse. This proved a very expensive option and difficulties were being experience with the planning authorities. The second option was to build a brick and wooden cladding extension to the existing clubhouse. This option was sanctioned by the committee and had the backing of the membership. The new brick extension would be big enough allow one short mat carpet to be located in the extension and it would allow the club to cater for up to six rinks. The extension was built over the Winter of 2001/2002 and the extension was currently being fully utilised and has give the club more scope for social activities.

Current activities involve fund raising for the replacement of the bowling green carpet which will cost approximately £25,000. The existing carpet will require replacement in 2009/2010.

A decision was made by the management committee to replace the existing Greengauge carpet with a more widely used Needle Punch carpet, this work was carried out in March 2010 by Dale Sports. The carpet has ski pad underlay which will give a speed of approximately 14-15 seconds. The club held an opening weekend and invited the Presidents of the Berkshire Men's and Ladies sections.

In 2009 the club renewed all the timber cladding around the original clubhouse, this work was undertaken in the main by club members (Gary Vail and Don Ash). The lounge area is also being refurbished with new lighting, floor coverings and re-arranging of the existing honors boards and notice boards.

  The picture opposite shows the completed project with the clubhouse newly clad.

In 2011 the management committee carried out an optioneering study to offer to its membership which included options to: do nothing, build a kitchen extension only, build a large new brick constructed clubhouse, carry out a substantial extension to the existing clubhouse, with new change rooms, kitchen and storage areas, purchase a new wooden pavilion for changing rooms and storage and then modify existing clubhouse internals to create addition floor space. It was agreed at an EGM to adapt the option to purchase a new purpose built pavilion which would be a men and ladies change rooms and also include storage. Then to modify the internal structure of the existing clubhouse to give more usable floor space.

The members started a large fund raising campaign including jumble sales, coffee mornings, themed evenings, quiz nights and corporate evenings. Some of the efforts made to raise additional funding can be seen below.


Jumble sale Set-up   Jumble sale set-up
In July 2012, three club members (Max Bacon, Mike Cox and Peter van de Mortel started work on the foundations for the new pavilion. Although only a wooden structure, due to its size planning permission was required and the Vale of White Horse Building Control Inspectors had to inspect the work at various stages. Mike's brother Nigel kindly provided free of change the use of two vehicles, a small digger and a dumper struck. Max drove the digger, Mike drove the dump truck with Peter supervising and on the the spade. It took four full days of hard work for the foundations to be completed, concrete poured and leveled ready for Passmores installation team to erect the pavilion.

In October 2012 the Pavilion was erected by Passmores installation team who did a very good professional job. The Pavilion was purchased with a basic external and basic internal finish. The picture on the left hand side shows the pavilion in its finished state as completed by Passmores. The two doors on the front gain access to the ladies and gents change rooms and the door on the side is the entrance to the bowls store.



The clubs maintenance team of Gary Vail and Don Ash took on the role to fit out the two change rooms with benches, coat hooks and rails. A electrical contractor was used to carry out the electrical works. Another contractor was used to dry-line and plaster some of the internal walls. Another member




Geoff Prichard convinced the management committee to finance the installation of suspended ceilings in both change rooms. When the ceilings were complete by Geoff they compliments the works already carried out by Gary and Don and the whole dressings rooms are now the best in Berkshire and admired by visiting clubs.

Don and Gary also fitted out the store room with racks to store the spare bowls and other bits of miscellaneous equipment.   Photo to follow
  Before the start of the 2015 bowling season the bar area was refurbished which included new units, refrigerated cooler, bar counter and shutters. The works were carried out by a contractor under the supervision and help of Geoff Prichard.

The club relies on various events for fund raising, an annual Grand Jumble Sale is held, Corporate Evenings where local organisations and societies hire our facilities for an evening of bowls with food provided. Also the club holds themed evenings, two or four each year including halloween night, French evening, Italian evening, Valentine evening, Indian evening to mention just a few. There are also coffee mornings held twice a year.

The jumble sale is the main event and in 2015 the old and leaking Portacabin was demolished and a new purpose built large shed erected in its place.

.   The club acquired a metal tool vault a number of years ago to store the green maintenance equipment. In 2015, Gary vail the club maintenance coordinator restored the toll vault to its almost original condition and is sure to last for many years.
It is now almost 2016 and the club are currently in the process of applying for S106 monies which are provided by building contractors who are currently building housing developments in the village. If money does become available it is planned to erect floodlights on two sides of the bowling green and to also install a estate boundary fence along the border line with the old Oxford Road and also to provide a new estate gate. The current application was submitted nearly 12 months ago and seems to be stumbling along at the current time with no information being provided by the Vale of White Horse District Council. It is almost three years since and the club applied and where promised money for a fence and floodlights. We have recently been informed that S106 monies cannot be used for fencing, it has taken the VWHDC planning department nearly three years to find the time to let us know.   FRUSTRATION, FRUSTRATION, FUSTRATION
PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE   The club has now been notified that no monies were allocated to the club from the Taylor Wimpey site next to the village hall, however head of planning at the VWHDC has secured funding from the Bloor Homes Developement KINGSTON PARK to the value of £15,456. We will have to submit a fresh application. After waiting for over two yearts the club decided that they could not wait and longer as work need to be carried out to develoope and enhance the bowls club and to that end they used monies from their replacement carpet fund to pay for works. The management committee agreed to have temporary floodlights installed and perect a new esttae boundary fence along the Old Oxford Road.
It is hoped that the planning departeemnt will allow the club to make a retrospective application to claim S106 funding back allready spent on the floodlights. fence and gates to allow the club to put back money into the carpet replacement fund..    






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Last Updated 20 February 2019