HISTORY OF BOWLING IN SPAIN
Bowling has been played in Spain for at least 30 years, when hotels started to expand the tourist trade, particularly to the British market, and realised that Bowls was a popular sport in the U.K. and started to provide greens for them. At first, they played a variety of surfaces, grass, carpet and even hard sand or clay!
However, it was always been confined to the coastal areas, particularly the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca.
Nothing has ever been formally compiled about the history, so we are still looking to fill many gaps in order to have a complete story, but the first formal arrangements were made on the Costa Blanca, although the Costa del Sol had built up many clubs attached to hotels, probably much earlier than they had.
On the Costa Blanca:
Hotel Bahia Vista in Javea had a 2 rink green with teams playing Winter League - 2 rinks in the morning and 2 in the afternoon.
This closed around 1993.
1986: Javea Green closely followed by Benitachell, El Cid (all in North Alicante)
1988: La Siesta
1989: Calpe (Paraiso Mar), San Miquel and La Marina
1990: Finca Guila
1997: Quesada and Greenlands
2001: San Luis
2002: Albir (closed 2009)
2003: Emerald Isle & Country Bowls, La Manga (the only grass surface in the area and part of a golf complex)
2005: Montemar, Lemon Tree (closed 2011)
2006: Horadada (the only green built by a local Council)
2008: Bonalba and Mazarron 2008 (both part of a golf complex)
2009: El Rancho
2010: Vistabella in 2010, which is also part of a golf complex.
On the Costa del Sol:
1981 first lawn bowls club at the Las Palmeras hotel complex (grass)
1983: Costa del Sol Bowls Club in Torremolinos originally in the Hotel Pontinental complex (artificial surface)
1983: Mijas Bowls Club (not on the current site)
1984: Miraflores Bowls Clus (artificial surface)
1984: Benavista Bowls Club: (artificial surface)
1984: Superbowl Bowls Club: (artificial surface)
1986/87: Santa Maria Bowls Club firstly managed by John Young.
A Committee was elected in 1985 to organise lawn bowls and the first President was Owen Jones, who bowled in England and Miraflores. It was called LBAE (Bowling Association of Espana) and with representatives from each club started a league and regulated tournaments. It was not registered under the FEB and became the NEC in 1995 under John Dugdale for about 6 years. First printed Minutes were of a meeting on 12th May 2002 followed by 8th May 2003 - initially meeting once a year.
John Young then came on board and a first meeting of the new Committee was 22nd November 2003 and from then meetings were held every 3 months and the NEC became more structured.
Bowls is part of the Federación Española de Bolos and was officially recognised as a national sport on April 10th. 1986.
In January 1987 the President of the Spanish Bowling Federation legalised bowls clubs and licences were issued.
The idea of playing Leagues on the Costa Blanca was started in 1990 and the inaugural meeting of the CBBA was held on March 24th 1990 with 7 clubs attending. It was legally constituted at Regional and National level in May 1991, with Statutes being registered a year later on May 5th. A decision dated 30th December 1992 approved the CBBA (Club Bowling Britanico Alicante y Provincia)
At the same time in December 1990 clubs were encouraged to become members of the Federation (Federación Territorial Valenciana de Bolos, now the Federación de Bolos de la Communidad Valenciana) in order to be legally recognised as a sport in Spain. At the time
there were 13 different versions of bowling with 9 bowls clubs and 800 members.
The Linslade Friendship Cup was played on 10th November 1990 at BBC and consisted of mixed triples.
The first Winter League match was played on 21st November 1990 (called the Almond Court Winter League).
We also started to play a National Championship at Miraflores, 24th March - 1st April 1990, which has gone from strength to strength so that today the entrants are in excess 500, with nearly 1500 entries.
The Cater Allen Classic Open Bowls Trophy (similar to the Community Cup) was played 23/26th October 1991.
September 1993 the LBAE started the process of Clubs federating and at a meeting with the FEB in March 1998 fees etc. were discussed.
In 1995 it was decided to participate in International events and as required by World Bowls, we joined the Federation Espanola de Bolos (FEB) - the bowling federation of Spain - and its regional affiliates the FAB in Andalucia and the FBCV in Alicante.
John Dugdale was appointed National Director for Lawn Bowls by the FEB and events were participated in in 1996 and 2000.
In 2003 John Dugdale resigned and John Young replaced him establishing the Lawn Bowls Directorate (LBD) as a semi-autonomous section of the FEB to manage all National and International events.
He established a national squad of 15 men and 15 women and started a training programme to prepare teams that were to rake part in the four yearly World Bowls Championships which were then extended to include the Atlantic Rim (now Atlantic Championships), the European Team Championships as well as visits from the National squads of England, Scotland, South Africa and many others.
When it started the National squad was of a lower profile, but with help from our experienced ex pat. bowlers, became more organised, so that today we have a full training, coaching and management team, which has seen an immense improvement, so much so, that we can play against the best teams in the world, and get good results.
John Young resigned, with Brian Pocock taking over for a short time and towards the end of his Chairmanship Tony Winterton and Graham Marlow were starting to discuss Lawn Bowls Spain, something similar to the CBBA/Way Forward. Brian Pockock was replaced in 2010 by John Muldoon who has continued the good work with the result that Spain was able to host its first international championships - the European Team Championships - in October 2013. In October 2014 John Muldoon announced his 'resignation' from the LBD and Bob Donnelly became the contact with World Bowls.
In south Alicante SABA (South Alicante Bowls Association) was started (but not registered)
in the summer of 1998 purely for competitions and gradually grew to include leagues played in both summer and winter. It came under the CBBA in 2009.
In 2008 Tony Winterton first presented the idea of the Way Forward using the CBBA. The concept was that ALL bowlers would pay an annual fee which would entitle them to play in everything (Federated events being renamed) If people did not want to pay the fee then they could only take part in club roll ups - nothing inter club.
A lot of work went into this with presentations and meetings with all the clubs. However, in 2009 Tony Winterton decided it was not viable and therefore it did not go ahead.
Originally the Costa del Sol etc had corporate membership, members paying 20€ a year. Tony Winterton tried to encourage the Costa Blanca to take this step but the Valencia Federation were not interested (Crystal Toleman was President at the time).
It was muted that the owners of clubs in the Costa del Sol were against the Federation and corporate membership broke down although individuals affiliated separately.
With a change of President of the FEB and a meeting with the FBCV in 2015, it was stated that it was required that all bowlers must be federated from January 2017.
This was accepted by a meeting of the CBBA in December 2015 and 2016 saw various meetings take place to discuss/establish how this was to proceed.
It was agreed that there would be a new name for a new start - Levante Lawn Bowls (LLB)
as Levante is the area of eastern Spain and would therefore encompass all the existing
clubs and allow for any new ones.