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Club History

The following is an extract from "Roade Review a Parish Appraisal", produced by the Roade Appraisal Group in 1995.  The article was written by W.G. Sears

The Pianoforte Supplies Ltd Bowling Club was formed in 1957.  It was founded as the Simplex Bowling Club (named after the Works) but changed its name to the present title after the Company's Logo was adopted as the basis for a Blazer Badge and a Lapel Badge in 1963.  The Company had laid a Three-Rink Bowling Green in the grounds of the former Vicarage, on what had once been the Revd. Henry Sharland's Croquet Lawn.

Sir Cyril Cripps became our President and the founding Officers were Mr. Bert Collyer (Chairman), Mr. Harry Mountford (Hon. Secretary) and the writer (Hon. Treasurer).  A joining fee of Five Shillings was agreed, to be followed by an Annual Subscription also of Five Shillings.  Happy Days!  An advertisement was placed in the Chronicle and Echo as a means of acquiring second-hand bowls and the club obtained 14 pairs at bargain prices.  The Minutes record that the Bowling Green was opened for use on the 1st June 1957 and 23 members were present on that occasion.  It is also  recorded that the late Ray Smart bowled the first wood, and provided some much appreciated liquid refreshment afterwards.  The first Club Dinner was arranged - held at the Cock Hotel, Stony Stratford on 21st February 1958.  It was a great success and the forerunner of many others.

In 1958, the Club arranged its first inter-Club matches.  Results were reminiscent of Northamptonshire Cricket in pre-war years.  In the first year we did not win a match, and successes were rare in the next.  However things did improve and the club began to outgrow its three-rink Green.  The Club opened its new six-rink Green on 19th May 1964 and at this time, Harry Mountford retired as Club Secretary.  He was succeeded by Bill (better known as Tommy) Atkins.  The Club also applied for affiliation to the Northamptonshire Bowling Association and the English Bowling Association.

Shortly after this time the foundations were laid for a new clubhouse which would provide facilities for changing rooms, catering etc.  The Clubhouse was completed and opened early in the 1966 season.

The opening of the six-rink Green gave the Club all the facilities for joining the Northamptonshire Association and the E.B.A.  Our first successes in County Competitions came in 1972 when the late Jim Davies reached the final of the Singles Compeitition and a four consisting of Maurice Wright, Chris Haggett, Tyrell Barnes and the late John Reeve won the County Fours cup.  Success at National level has eluded us to date, but the Club has enjoyed a fair measure of success at County level, as a look at the Honours Boards in the Clubhouse will confirm.

Joining the Northamptonshire Association also entitled the Club to compete in the County's premier inter-Club competition - the Manfield Cup, traditionally played on the last Saturday in June each year.  To date, the Club has been successful in winning the cup on three occasions - 1976, 1980 and 1985, with near misses in two other years.

The ladies' section was established in 1964, and soon became as successful as the men's club.  Since the Clubhouse was opened in 1966 the ladies have also shouldered the burden of catering for all home matches.  They  have provided marvellous service which is greatly appreciated by all who have benefited by it.

A great feature on the Club Calendar has always been the Annual Dinner, Dance and Presentation of Trophies.  These occasions have always been very popular and have enabled Club members to meet and entertain many well known figures in the bowling world.

Sir Cyril Cripps remained our President until his death.  Accompanied by Lady Cripps, he was a regular, welcome and popular guest at our Dinners.  Sir Humphrey Cripps has succeeded his father as our President.  The Club and its  members are very appreciative of, and grateful for the support it receives from Sir Humphrey and his family and the Company:  the Club, its members and guests have derived great enjoyment and recreation from the Club's fine facilities for almost forty years - long may it continue.