In 2010, Bridge of Allan Bowling Club celebrated its milestone of 150 years. That season, we produced a special programme to commemorate the anniversary. President J W McKenzie had the pleasure of welcoming members and friends to the season.

A Warn Welcome

Opening day 2022On behalf of the management committee, I would like to welcome our members to the new season, our 150th anniversary. Much has changed since the club bean in 1860, and the following [pages] are a brief account of events since the club opened in what is now the car park of the Western Arms public house.

Although membership has fallen away [recently] from the heady days of the past where numbers where limited to 120 and there was a waiting list for membership, we still enjoy a healthy mix of lady and gents’ bowlers.

Several special events [are] were planned to celebrate this historic milestone, including all friendly matches being played at home, so I would urge all our members to come along and participate in these celebrations and have an enjoyable year.

J W McKenzie
2010 President

The Years 1860-2010

Women Scottish winners 1953

Bridge of Allan Bowling Club was instituted on 5th April 1860.

The first office bearers were: President, Sir James E Alexander; Vice President, Robert Lucas; Secretary, R Girdwood and an unnamed management committee.

The green was originally situation in the car park of the present Westerton Arms Public House in Henderson Street. Although the club opened in 1860, the green was built in 1842 in conjunction with a Reading room with in now The Westerton Arms and was open to the public.

A series of bowling tournaments took place on the green in 1859 promoted by the hotel keeper Mr Watt. The players contesting these competitions were a combination of local men and members of Stirling Bowling Club, instituted in 1854, and Borestone Bowling Club, instituted in 1858.

During the early years, local club friendly matches were played against Stirling, Borestone, Doune, Deanston, Dunblane and our local rivals Airthrey Spa who were instituted in 1861. The games against Doune and Deanston appeared to be particularly enjoyable and the journey was of an hour’s duration with the home trip often taking somewhat longer. It is said that upon arriving home at the bridge over the Allan that all the bowlers joined in with a chorus of Rule Britannia, the villagers residing in that part of Henderson Street being in no doubt that the bowlers had arrived home. The club are said to have promoted the first official open tournament in Scotland and the winner was our own James Drysdale, who won a 20-guinea silver cup.

The New Green

The existing green in Fountain Road was opened on 28th May 19Some of our older members04 by Mrs Edmund Pullar who was presented with an inscribed silver jack by Mr David Whitehead, club president. The “green” cost £660.00 and thanks to various donations and support from the village in general the green was opened without debt. The 1904 office bearers were: President, David Whitehead; Vice President, Gordon Smart; Secretary, Alexandre Boyes.

Initially there was no clubhouse, only a small hut with seating for one rink; however, following a successful bazaar held on the 28th and 29th of October 1910, the princely sum of £341.00 was raised and used to build a new pavilion and clubhouse. A special building committee was elected to oversee the construction and under the guidance of local architect, Mr George Davidson, and the following contractors: Mason, James McArthur; Joiner, Dugald McEwan; Plumer, Michael Eadie; Slater and Plasterer, Duncan Gray; Painters: R Rose Sons. This was completed and opened by Mrs W Pullar on 6th May 1911. The pavilion on the day of opening was, considered to be, the best in the county.

Various extensions and refurbishments have been taken place over the ensuing years, including in 1974 the erection of a new lounge, kitchen and lady’s toilet.

In 1979, the bar area and gent’s toilet were constructed, and in 1983 the small lounge, committee room and locker room were built. The was predominantly carried out by member labour. George Wright (bricklayer) and Jimmy Bowman (joiner) carrying out most of the work. It was opened on 18th January by President W Fotheringham. These alterations were funded in various ways, for example, grants, loans, savings, etc. However, the small lounge extension was partly funded from members’ loans. The princely sum of £2,050.00 was raised from 70 members, and this was paid back by way of a monthly draw each Saturday evening where four members would be paid £25.00; the first “out of the hat” also receiving a bottle of whiskey.

Opening day 1988In 1987, the wall between the bar and lounge was removed and replaced with folding doors and in 1992, the new green-keeper’s hut was built to house the water tank for the watering system. 1993 saw a complete internal refurbishment with a small lounge becoming a games room/notice board area, new fitted upholstery throughout and fitted carpet. In 1994, a new kitchen was fitted, and in 1998 a new pitched roof was erected over the lounge for safety reasons. After a fire in the wooden greenkeepers hut, this was replaced with a concrete structure in 2002.

Discussions with the local authority have taken place over the years about the purchase of additional land to the east and south of the club for extra car parking facilities and at one time the proposal of a second green. In 1979, Stirling Council offered extra group for £750.00 on the provision the ground would be used for a second green and, although this was passed at the next AGM, the offer was never pursued.

Flooding has been a problem on many occasions causing severe damage to both the green and clubhouse. External flood prevention measures were undertaken in 1994 when a block work wall was erected around the perimeter of the green. This together with the flood prevention works carried out by the local authority has resulted in no further flooding to date.

In 1969, a licence for the club was first suggested. An extra ordinary general meeting was arranged for December of that year and the members voted 44 to 3 in favour of a bar. We were granted a licence in 1970. After some alterations which were carried out by our own members, the bar was opened in April. The first bar convenor was Mr H Will. Our first one armed bandit was purchased in 1972, a pool table and telephone following in 1975, and a television was purchased not long afterwards.Scottish triples area winners 1999

The club has enjoyed much success socially with Saturday night bingo being a regular event. In the nineties, there was regular ‘meal nights’ with steak, Italian and fish and chip nights providing particularly popular. In 1994, J Meldrum and Mrs C Lafferty organised our first venture overseas, Fuengirola on Costa del Sol being the destination. These trips continued bi-annually for the next 10 years and proved to be very popular. A Greasley organised a bowling tour to Redcar in 0202 and this continued for several years with Redcar visiting Bridge of Allan in 2005. Our prize-giving dances have been held in many illustrious establishments: The Museum Hall, Queens Hotel, Walmer, Park House, Allanwater, Golden Lion, Station, Sword, and Riverways to name a few. They are not held in our own clubhouse.

The current bowling green has long been recognised as being the best in the area. This was not always the case. On the old green at the Westerton Arms, the hotel keeper decided who would look after the green. Very frequently, he would decide to do the work himself. However, records show that the local coalman, postman and telegraph boys assisted. Members have looked after the new green in various capacities over the years, the most notable being Barclay Sherriff, who was the assistant from 1974 to 1978 and head green keeper from 1978 until his retirement in 1994. Our first motor mower was purchased in 1963m a four stroke Sprite Mark II at a cost of £33 and 10 shillings. Greenkeeper wages at the time were around £3 per week. Floodlights were erected in 1984 following a generous donation from George Jami8eson, and an automated watering system was introduced in 1997, Although artificial banks have been considered over the year, the original grass banks are still in place. [Artificial banks were installed in 2018].

Our club has enjoyed much success competitively, perhaps the most exceptional being the Edmund Pullar Cup. This was donation in 1908 by Major Edmund Pullar who was the patron of the Stirling Central Bowling Association. The conditions governing the trophy were that any club, winning the trophy three times, not necessarily in succession, would retain ownership. By 1933, Bridge of Allan had retained three trophies and the rules were changes and the cup cannot now be won outright, Bridge of Allan went on to win the trophy nineteen times.

In addition, we have also won the following Central and County trophies: the Reid Trophy on thirteen occasions, the Newington House & St.Dunstans sScottish Area Winners 2015even times, the Duncan Ogilvie Memorial Trophy once, the McIntosh trophy twelve times, the Kennard Trophy five times and the Duncan Trophy on two occasions. The District Nine League commenced in 1988. We have won the title three times: 1992, 2000 and 2007. In 1944, the Central Bowling Association created a champion of Champions Cup. There would be no restrictions on the number of entries from each club and the entry fee would be five shillings. Our own D Haggart was defeated 21-11 in the final. Bridge of Allan resurrected the Champion of Champions Cup in 1981, with entry restricted to the individual club champions only, and has had local successes with D Buchan, I Wright and A Greasley.

Addition club successes are too many to list, but Scottish, Country and Central successes are listed further down the page.

In 1989, we won the prestigious Top Ten Competition for both district and county and qualified for the national stages in 1990. We defeated Focharbers in the following round before meeting Kirkconnell for a place in the quarter final. During out trip to Kirkconnell, our singles player, A Greasley, was noted looking concerned at their Championship board and seeing the name A Steele winning eight of the past nine years. “I hope I am not playing him” he was heard to remark before being informed that there was not much chance of that happening since it was the ladies board he was looking at. He proceeded to win, but the team were narrowly beaten overall. We won the Top Ten again in 1992.

Hamilton Trophy 2019Bridge of Allan also hosted the Scotland v England Prison Officer’s International tournament on several occasions. Our own I Wright captained the team to victory in 1984. Our open pairs have run successfully since 1980 when there were regularly 128 entries.

Wednesday night Rink games have gone on for more than 100 years, the first being held in 1905 and designated the “penny game”.

The Ladies Section was formed in 1922 and from the beginning has proved indispensable. Their assistance with catering has been invaluable and their various fundraising activities have provided valuable equipment for the club over the years.

Their first AGM on 12th May was attended by eight members. Wednesday Rink Day commenced in 1923 with each participant paying two pence. At the end of the season, the money would be “dispensed of as the committee might decide”.

Matches were arranged with Riverside and Airthrey Spa in 1926. In 1930, rules were laid down for ladies playing on Saturday evenings:

  1. Three rinks would be allowed
  2. No ties or matches would be played
  3. No ladies would come into the clubhouse except those who had been serving teas

In 1938, the ladies joined the SWBA. In 1940, the Monday Rink game received three pennies for tea and prizes with one penny to go towards war relief. In 1941, the ladies ran a SWBA game towards Prisoner of War funds.

The ladies have also been very success for on the bowling green. Their team successes in West of Scotland, and other competitions, and are too many to number but some individual winners are below:

Ladies Honours

Scottish Internationalists
1998: Mrs J Fisher
2019: Mrs R Craig

Scottish Junior Internationalists
1999/2002: Miss M Darroch

Bowls Scotland National Finals, Northfield


1997, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018: Jean Fisher, 1 x finalists (2008), 2 x semi-finalists (1997 and 2005), 1 x quarter finalists (2011), 1 x 2nd round (2018), 3 x 1st round (2013, 2015 and 2016)

2019: Lauren Forgie, 1st round (2019)

Senior Singles

2014, 2015, 2016, 2022, 2023: Jean Fisher, Winner (2015), 1 x 3rd place (2022). 2 x 1st round (2014 and 2016)

Junior Singles

2001: Miss M Darroch

2018: Lauren Forgie, Semi-finalist (2018)

1951: Mrs J Menzies, Mrs R Stewart
2019: Jean Fisher, Rebecca Craig
2022: Jean Fisher, Lauren Forgie (winners)

1997: Mrs L McKenzie, Mrs H Myles, Mrs K Guy

1953: J Jack, R Crowe, L Eadie, D Anderson

West of Scotland Women’s Bowling Association

2012, 2015: Jean Fisher, semifinalist 2012, finalist 2015

2014: Linda McKenzie and Cathie Lafferty (finalists)

Stirling County Women’s Bowling Association (West)

Champion of Champions
2014, 2015: Jean Fisher

8 x winner (1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015): Mrs J Fisher

Junior Singles
1996/1998: Miss M Darroch

Two Bowl Pairs
2001: Mrs I Mackin, Mrs H Gordon

2000: Mrs K Guy, Mrs H Gordon
2016: Linda Junnier and Linda McKenzie

1999: Mrs H Myles, Mrs A Weldon, Mrs S Davidson
2010: Beth Meldrum, Anne Weldon and Cathie Lafferty
2014: Greta Wright, Linda Junnier and Helen Myles

2002: Mrs Mackin, Mrs Waters, Mrs Meldrum, Mrs Fleming
2003: Mrs Wright, Mrs Lafferty, Mrs Meldrum, Mrs Davidson

Mixed Pairs
2023: Billy Guy, Jean Fisher


Stirling County WBA (West) was disbanded in 2016

Gents Honours

Scottish Para Internationalist
2015/2018/2022/2023: F Mathieson

Scottish District Successes

2008: R Guy

1967: T Stewart, H Morrison
1987: I Miler, W Fotheringham
1999: W Fotheringham, G Stillie
2006: W Guy, T Reilly
2005: A Greasley, J McKenzie
2018: S Craig, W Guy
2022: A Sneddon, W Guy

1972: T Sewell, W Paterson, J Blevins
1975: H Morrison, W Paterson, J Blevins

1911: W Whyte, J Robertson, J Anderson, D Ferguson
1925: G Smart, A Johnson, J Menzies, G Petrie
1937: J Menzies, D Haggart, J Petrie, A Johnston (Scottish runner up)
1951: R McLaren, T Stewart, R Bunyan, R Crowe
1970: T Sewell, W Paterson, A Primrose, J Blevins
1995: I Miller, R Dobson, W Steele, I Anderson
2008: I Anderson, R McGowan, S Muir, B Cockburn

Senior Fours
1976: W Ramsay, S Mayman, G Harris, J Jack
1990: J Dick, E Shaw, J Lapere, J Duff
1992: T Waters, J Lapere, J Stewart, J Duff
2006: J Meldum, H Petrie, J Weston, D Buchan
2007: W Lyons, J Kay, A Lafferty, A Grealsey

Scottish Para Singles
2017: F Mathieson (Gold)
2023: F Mathieson (Silver)

Scottish Para Pairs
2023: F Mathieson (Bronze)

Stirling County Successes

1936: A H Noble
1980: R Dobson

Junior Singles
2016: A Cockburn

1935: A H Noble, J Robertson
1956: T R Hall, F W Lynes
2005: S Ingram, J McKenzie

Two Bowl Pairs
2007: S Ingram, W Guy
2009: R Guy, W Guy
2012: S Ingram, W Guy
2018: S Ingram, J Grant

1969: G Anderson, W Patterson, J Blevins, A Primrose

Senior Fours
1983: J Watson, C Smedley, H Will, J Blevins
1996: J Duff, G Rillie, R Dobson, D Buchan
2000: W Moffat, D Buchan, F Hart, J Purves

Stirling Central Successes

Champion of Champions
2011: W Guy

1968: D Haggart

Junior Singles
2014: A Cockburn

1936: J Menzies, A Johnston
1938: J Pole, W Cheetham1943: R Eadie, J Stewart
1954/1955: D Costello, R Haggart
1964: J Summers, J Jack1971: R Dobson, D Stewart
2007: H Petrie, S Muir
2019: J McKenzie, W Guy

1977: J Watson, J Christie, W Bell
1990: J Miller, M Brownrigg, W Liddell
1999: J Meldum, D Farquharson, A Lafferty
2007/8: W Guy, I Anderson, I Wright
2023: B Guy, J Grant, A Cockburn

1913: J Drysdale, J McKay, A Noble, R Brand
1914: W Reid (skip)
1928: W Cheetham, R Donaldson, J Menzies, G Brand
1937: G Smart, R Walker, J Robertson, R Crowe
1951: P Crowe, R McLaren, J Pole, T Stewart
1977: W Fotheringham, J Weldon, G Robertson, J Jack

Senior Fours
1981: W Ramsey, J Clark, J Jack, H Will
1988: I Miller, J Jack, W Liddell, J Blevins
2003: J Meldrum, A Lafferty, H Petrie, J Weldon
2005: J Meldrum, H Petrie, J Weston, D Buchan

Pairs Champions 2019As previously stated, membership has dropped from a regular 120 in the past to approx. 80 at present [2010]. However, we will enjoy a healthy mix of lady and gents’ bowlers.

Membership fees have risen from five shillings (25p) in the old days to almost £75.00 in 2010, and currently £100.00 in 2020. In 1960, our Centenary Year, the fees were thirty-five shillings and one shilling for rent of a locker. A vote to increase the fees by five shillings was defeated by 15 votes to 14.

Following a meeting in 1999, our Constitution was changes to allow ladies and gents equal rights. The first meeting of the joint committee was held on 25th February and was presided over by the first chairperson, Mr F Robertson. Separate ladies and gents bowling committees were also set up at this time and was presided over by the respective ladies and gents’ presidents.

The committee today [2010] is formed with: Chairperson, I Anderson; Vice President: Miss J Wood; Secretary, Mrs M Clark; Treasurer, Mrs H Myles; Green Convener, H Petrie; Bar Convener, I Anderson; Fabric Convener, J Kay; Ordinary members, J McKenzie, M Clark, M White, A Forrest, Mrs S Petrie.

In conclusion, our club has enjoyed a long, happy and prosperous career with many successes along the way, both competitively and socially. We have seen our members win national, county and local trophies, and represent our country at international level. We have seen the club grow from a small four rink green at the rear of the Westerton Arms to our own s I rink green at Fountain Road, and we have seen our clubhouse grow from a small hut to one of the finest in the area. We have held birthday parties, anniversaries, engagements and funerals and even a marriage ceremony in 1994.

Our members can look back on the preceding 150 years with pride and can look forward to the future with confidence.

[Written for the 150-year anniversary of Bridge of Allan Bowling Club]