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History of Cwmbran Park Bowling Club

After the General Strike of 1926, with Cwmbran a depressed area, the Llantarnam U.D.C., as the Council was then, passed a plan for the first Recreation Ground, for Bowls, Tennis, and Football, on the site of an old Slag Tip from the Blast Furnace at Cocker Avenue. By 1931 the work was completed.

In 1932 a Trial Match was arranged - East versus West for all interested bowlers to commemorate the formation of the club.

The team chosen to for the Trial Match consisted of local tradesmen, artisans, workers and pensioners who were mostly middle-aged and elderly men. There were approximately 24 members over the formative years and the membership fee charged was half a crown (twelve and half pence).

The pensioners and tradesmen played the Thursday fixtures. A good mixture of all players fulfilled the Saturday matches.

There was no Pavilion available at that time so for home games on a Saturday, if the weather was kind, tea was laid on trestle tables at the side of the Bowling Green where the car park is today.

However, should the weather be unkind, both teams walked across to the Wesleyan Chapel Schoolroom where tea would be served. Then they walked back to the green to conclude the game.

After the first season Llantarnam Church Cricket Club disbanded and their Pavilion was for sale. As the Bowls Club did not have enough money to purchase it, a local Coal Merchant and a club member Mr. A.J. Perrott loaned the club £35 which was repaid as funds became available.

This wooden Pavilion served the club until 1970, by which time its condition had deteriorated so badly that an appeal for help was made to the Cwmbran U.D.C., and after consultations with them the present Pavilion was built and is now owned by the Torfaen Borough Council.

For many years the club was quite content to enjoy a friendly game of bowls and during the second world war the club was often hard pressed to raise a team and but for the stalwart work of the Secretary and Treasurer the late Mr Gilbert Villars the club would possibly gone out of existence.

For thirty years he kept the club going and his reward came when he was made a Life member of the Monmouthshire County Bowling Association. His scroll and photograph can be seen on the wall of the Bowls Pavilion a tribute to a wonderful man of Bowls. He always managed somehow to raise a team and that is how Cwmbran Park survived those lean years.

As the years rolled by younger bowlers were attracted to the club and gradually a more competitive attitude became evident and in 1971 the selection committee was granted a mandate to select the strongest side for all League Matches with a view to obtain Club Honours.

As a result of this landmark decision a golden era of bowling success spanning over thirty eight years was launched and continues at the present time.

In 1973 the club won the Eastern Valley Bowling Association Club Championship for the first time in its history and have set a record of Twenty Seven (27) club championship titles (1973-77-81-82-83-84-86-88-89-91-92-94-96-97-98-99-2001-05-06-08-09-10-11-14-15-16-17) nine club now participate in this league.

A Monday afternoon was created by the association and is aptly named Eastern Valley Leisure League again the Club has created a record of Fourteen (14) Championship titles since its inception (1994-95-98-99-2000-01-02-03-05-06-07-08-09-10) a friendly but competitive league enjoyed by all the clubs in the valley.

The success of 1973 whetted the appetite of the young bowlers and in 1974 for the first time won the prestigious Monmouthshire Bowling Association Club Championship where again the club has created a record of thirteen (13) County Championship Titles wins (1974-78-82-83-84-88-92-97-98-2001-02-03-05) on two occasions a unique a record of three successive invincible seasons was created in 1982/83/84 and 2001/02/03.

Fifty three Clubs throughout the County of Gwent compete for this prestigious title.

In 1979 Cwmbran Park celebrated its finest hour when it won the coveted Welsh Bowling Association Carruthers Shield Welsh Bowls highest honour and became the Champion Club of Wales by beating Tonypandy at Barry in the final.

This coveted shield was presented by Sir William Carruthers of the Cardiff Bowls Club to the Welsh Bowling Association in 1919 and is competed for annually by three hundred (300) clubs throughout the principality.

Incidentally this title has only been won eight times by six (6) clubs in the county, Newport Athletic in 1922/24/26. Pontypool Park in 1949. R.T.B. Ebbw Vale in 1974. Cwmbran Park in 1979 and Pontymister Athletic in 1998.

The foregoing is only a brief record of the clubs achievements it shows that any person from nine to ninety can compete at all levels of this wonderful game with commitment and dedication.

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