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Bowlers celebrate centenary

Left to right, club vice-president Grant Campbell, Janine Batty and Les Milne, club president.

Left to right, club vice-president Grant Campbell, Janine Batty and Les Milne, club president.

Sunday marked more than just the start of the season for Ellon Bowling Club.

It heralded the beginning of celebrations to mark the club’s centenary.

And one of the highlights will be a match with their counterparts from Inverurie, who opened the Ellon green 100 years ago.

The club started off with about 50 members and reached 250 in the boom years of the early 90s before dropping back to its current 125 mixed membership.

The centenary is a proud landmark for president Les Milne, who is in his second stint in the role.

He told the Times: “We are a successful club and joined the Buchan Bowling Association in 1922.

“There is a league every year which we have won on numerous occasions and we are the biggest club in the Buchan area.”

Ellon, like most bowling clubs, is facing the problem of recruiting younger members and it is not for the want of trying.

Les, 66, explained: “We would like to attract anybody who is finished playing other things, like football, who is in the 35-40 age group.

“That’s the sort of age group we would like to see coming to the club. To try and get younger people in would be the ideal scenario, but it is not easy.”

Meanwhile, preparations are well under way for a summer of events to mark the centenary.

On Wednesday, June 4, the club will host a friendly match with Inverurie - reflecting their meeting a century ago to open the Union Street premises.

Various other home friendlies have been arranged throughout the summer months among them Stonehaven, Portlethen, Kittybrewster and Belhelvie.

In addition the club will be the venue this year for all the Scottish finals for men and women.

Les said: “At the end of the year we are hoping to have a function to celebrate the end of the centenary year and we are trying to create a booklet for the members and anyone else who is
interested.

“It is going to be a busy year, but we have a good committee full of people who are keen and willing to get the job done.”

A promising sign for the club is that Les will be succeeded as president next year by Grant Campbell, who is in his early 20s. Les added: “My view is that we are trying to encourage the youngsters to take the responsibility for the club by taking on committee roles.

“Hopefully that will encourage other young people to come on board.”

Brilliant sunshine was the order of the day for Sunday’s opening ceremony and it was a proud occasion for Les as his daughter, Janine, rolled the first bowl.

 

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