It has to be said that the main reason a bowler chooses which club to play at, at least when they’re starting out is proximity. Generally, it’s better to play at a green that you can reach in a relatively short travel time.
Even given that requirement there’s still a lot of choice in north east London with a dozen clubs within a few mile radius. This is good for everybody as it gives more choice, but also more local opposition to play against.
Then why choose Walthamstow Borough and Aveling Park ahead of one of those clubs?
Every bowls website starts with “we’re a friendly club”, and we are. Luckily, most of the other clubs we visit are too, otherwise local matches would be a much less pleasant experience.
We are a relatively informal club with no dress code requirement for roll-ups or internal games, apart from shoes that should be flat soled so as not to mark the green. Clubs that require grey trousers or skirts and white collared shirts no matter what the occasion are rare nowadays, but they do exist.
We are a diverse club, by lawn bowls standards, and around neutral in gender mix. The only single-gender playing format is the Women’s Singles, which has been newly created to encourage more women to play singles matches.
Our fees are a little lower than most clubs, currently at £50 per year, although in general bowls membership fees are low compared to many sports. There are also no “green fees”, which are still common at many clubs and involve the paying of a separate fee by each player for each session.
Finally, there is our bowling green, or more correctly our two bowling greens. Local outdoor clubs will have a grass green with generally six to eight playing rinks, and as well as our own grass surface we are able to play all year around on the synthetic (carpet) surface next door. Although that surface is the only way to bowl outdoors from October until early April, and there can be many fair weather days at any time of the year that make us glad for it, some players prefer to stick to the artificial surface all year around. As well as being slightly more predictable than grass, which always contains a few lumps and bumps no matter how flat it looks, the synthetic surface requires a lot less strength to bowl a ball for the full length of the green. Therefore we attract a lot of bowlers who would like to play outdoors but without having to develop a hefty swing required of grass play, especially early in the year when the soil is still damp.
We also offer a winter only membership for members of other outdoor clubs who want to keep the option to play outdoors in the late autumn, winter and early spring.
The only way to find out if the club is for you is to come and try.