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Bill Blackburn remembers


A few notes from Bill Blackburn about

  • The Huddersfield Champion of Champions 2022

  • The Huddersfield Merit 1919

  • Linthwaite Hall BC history

I think a vote of thanks ought to go out to the three lads from Crosland Moor who have, against all odds, managed to salvage something out of a lacklustre season to organise various competitions throughout the year, culminating in the C of C at Slaithwaite on Sunday. Competitions that used to take two Sundays to complete have been reduced to one owing to a lack of entries.

But how would they have coped in 1919? Browsing through some of my dad’s notes, he died aged 94 on the eve of the millennium, I found references to the Huddersfield Merit as reported in The Colne Valley Guardian newspaper of that year.

Quote: ‘’An entry of 595 bowlers in the Huddersfield Amateur Bowling Association saw the following local bowlers get through the first round.’’ It then goes on to name the bowlers who qualified and their scores.

When one thinks that in 1919 most men worked Saturday mornings as part of their working week, non would have had cars, so the tram was the mode of transport. Imagine, for instance, if you played for Outlane and were drawn to play at New Mill, probably a 2 hour round trip.

Whilst sat in yesterday watching the rain teeming down, I decided to look through some of my late dad's possessions. There was an old folder with snippets of minutes from Linthwaite Hall and chronicling its change from a cricket club in the Huddersfield Association league to a bowling club in 1919. Apparently most of the younger members had joined the forces, so in 1916 an AGM was held and it was decided to change to a bowling club. Quotations were sought and the contract was awarded to Hugh M Kershaw of Keighley.

I still have the original estimate and it said that if we had two greens instead of one there would be a reduction of £4 5s 0d in the cost. Hugh Kershaw's estimate was £169 17s 6d for one green and the second green if we had one was to be £165 12s 6d.

They opted for one green and the remainder of the pitch was made into two grass tennis courts and leased out to Slaithwaite Centenary Methodist Church. This was disbanded in about 1978 and I purchased the old wooden pavilion and transferred it to my plot of land. I divided it into two, one half for my children to use as a play house and the other half was for my 12 hens. I gave up tennis when I was about 30 and concentrated on bowls.

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