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New sponsor for Gambert Baines 2023

Bowling News

News from the East Coast tells us that the popular Gambert Baines competition held annually at Scarborough since 1919 has attracted a serious new sponsor who is still to be revealed. This support will enable the prize money to be increased so that the winner collects a cheque for £1,000.

The competition has been popular with Huddersfield area bowlers for many years but the Covid pandemic forced a change of format which has become the norm now. Previously the competition ran right through the summer months, every Thursday was a qualifying day for as many bowlers as turned up. The competition was unique in that you could lose your match on a Thursday and then re-enter again on the same day and you could enter as many Thursday competitions as you cared to visit. It would cost you a £7.00 entry fee each time you entered.

The weekly winner would then progress through to the August Bank Holiday Monday Finals Day played on the two greens at North Cliff’s Alexandra Gardens. Now the whole event is staged over the August Bank Holiday weekend with qualifying matches on the Saturday and Sunday and Finals Day being Monday but still attracts bowlers from all over Yorkshire and beyond.

A £15 entry fee is likely to be levied and with the increased prize money on offer, a bid for Champion of Champions status is to be applied for.

There are also new £200 sponsorship arrangements for the junior competition set to be announced soon. The junior competition runs alongside the Gambert Baines over the same weekend and was first played for in 2021 for the Roger Crowther Cup. This was the idea of Wendy Crowther who purchased the cup and named it after her late husband, Huddersfield bowler Roger, who won the main event in 1979. They both regularly travelled to Scarborough for many years to support the competition.

The History of the Gambert Baines Challenge Cup

The Gambart Baines Challenge Cup, first won by Mr Zena Smith from Cleckheaton in 1919 is still proving to be popular over a hundred years later. This annual competition played on two crown greens in Alexandra Gardens, part of the Scarborough Bowls Centre, attracts competitors from all over Britain.The competition is organised and managed by volunteers from the nine clubs who make up the Scarborough and District Crown Green Bowling Association.

The final takes place in August when a minimum of 32 qualifiers compete for the magnificent Gambart Baines Cup.

Gambart Baines (1858-1920) Ernest Gambart Baines, was born in 1858, the son of Clementina Baines, who owned a waxworks, which toured in both England and France with Madam Tussaud. Originally brought up in Newcastle, he moved to Leeds from where he, like his mother, operated a touring waxworks.

He moved to Scarborough in the early 1900’s and ran the Gambart Waxworks exhibition in Scarborough from 1904. One of his interest was Crown Green Bowling and he was associated with the Pavilion Bowling Tournament for many years and gave considerable support to the Scarborough Bowling Tournament. The handsome Challenge Cup which is used today was first presented by Ernest Gambart Baines in 1919.

He was a staunch Conservative and represented Scarborough’s Central Ward from 1917 until his death in 1920. He was a generous benefactor and presented the town with its first motor fire engine, named Jessie after his wife. He also gave Scarborough the Foreshore water fountain as well as supporting Christ Church by providing prayer books.

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