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Welcome to Helmsley (Flat green)  Bowling Club.  Our green is in a well sheltered position just on the northern edge of Helmsley.  There are 6 rinks and seating available for spectators with adequate parking.  It costs nothing to come and watch and if you want to take up bowling we have people who can get you started at minimal cost, even lending you equipment so you have no initial expense.  Click on "Contact Us" above for more details.  

We are affiliated to Bowls England and Yorkshire Bowling Association

Helmsley is a picturesque market town well served by a variety of hotels, B&Bs and holiday cottages, details of which can easily be found on the internet.


Helmlsey Bowling Club held its end of season prizegiving luncheon on Sunday 4 November 2018 and pictured below are the club competition winners with their trophies.

Left to right are Colin Spink with the Mill Scutt Handicap Cup; Geoff Russell with the George Gibbs 2 Wood Cup; Chris Laker with the Gary Ford/Paul Deaves Memorial Cup;  Brian Garbutt with the Gents` Champion Cup and the Pairs Cup; Jan Laker with the Pairs Cup and the Ladies Champion Cup; Alan Russell with the Frank Kay Memorial Trophy and Muriel Russell with the Ryedale & District Veterans` Second Division winners` shield.


At the Ryedale & District Veterans` Prizegiving luncheon on Thursday 18th October 2018 Helmsley Captain, Mrs Muriel Russell was presented with the League Division 2 trophy, a win which lifts Helmsley out of Division 2 into the top Division for the first time for several years.  Well done Muriel and all who played during the summer.  Muriel is pictured below receiving the trophy from Veterans Chairman Tony Baker. 


At the Club`s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 11th October 2018 Chairman John Gray stepped down after holding the position for 6 years.  He was thanked for his service to the club and responded that it had been a privilege and honour to be Chairman of Helmsley Bowling Club and he thanked members for their suppoort and friendship over the years.

Mrs Muriel Russell was elected as the new Chairman.


On Wednesday 23rd August, playing their final game of the season, Helmsley Vets beat Swinton 10 - 0 to clinch the title in Division Two of the Ryedale & District Veterans Bowls League.  They will be promoted to Division 1 for next season.

Picture shows the team playing on Thursday 23rd August - top from left - John Gray, Brian Garbutt, Bob Sinclair, Pete Scott, Chris Laker, Barry Bishop and Ann Russell.   Bottom row from left - Geoff Russell, Margaret Redhead, Gwen Garbutt, Jan Laker, Tony Dickinson and Muriel Russell (Captain).



New member, Jan Laker (left) won the Ladies Championship beating Gwen Garbutt in a friendly but hard fought final.

Geoff Russell (left) beat Brian Garbutt to win the George Gibbs Two Wood Cup.

Colin Spink (right) beat Brian Garbutt in the final of the Mill Scutt Cup

Chris Laker (right) beat Gwen Garbutt in the final of the Non-winner`s Cup (The Gary Ford & Paul Deaves Memorial Trophy)



 Jan Laker (right) and Brian Garbutt won the Pairs competition, beating Chris Laker and Bernie Andrews in the final.


The Helmsley BATA league team captained by Colin Spink competed in the Fred Husband Trophy competition during the summer, beating Kirkbymoorside and Hovingham to reach the final.  On Monday 30th July 2018 they met Malton in the final at Swinton.  A tense but friendly hard fought battle ensued with Malton just coming out on top by 1 shot.  Well done to all who took part.


Twentytwo teams of triples entered the Helmsley Whistle Stop competition which was held an a very hot, sunny day, Sunday 1st July 2018.  Each team was drawn to play five games of 35 minutes each and the winners were Mr C Qualter of Stamford Bridge and his two family members with 8 points and 30 shots.

Below centre - left to right - Geoff Temple and Pete Turnbull of sponsors Cropton Garage; Andrew Fothergill, Tania Qualter and Connor Qualter of Stamford Bridge; Gillian Turnbull of sponsors and John Gray, Chairman, Helmsley Bowling Club. 

Runners up were Marie Dowson, bottom on left with Margaret Cowell and Mary Smith, with 8 points and 23 shots.

Third were Mark Morley, Sally Morley and N Flynn who scored 8 points and 21 shots - pictured below - right..



 Our Open Day for renewing membership and coaching prospective members was on Sunday 15th April.  21 members renewed their membership and potential new members arrived to find out about the club thanks in large part to a recruiting scheme by the Bowls Development Alliance.  The weather stayed fine and everyone enjoyed the afternoon with all the potential new members promising to return.  After 6 weeks and a great effort by existing members eight new members had joined the Club which will attract funding from the Bowls Development Alliance.

 Social bowling will be held every Thursday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm  and all are welcome to come along and try the sport for themselves.

The league season begins on Wednesday 2nd May  with a home game against Harome in the Vets League.

 Club competitions for 2017 results are as follows - clockwise from top left - Colin Spink won the Mill Scutt Handicap by beating Alan Russell in the final; Colin Spink won the Frank Kay Memorial Trophy beating Pete Turnbull in the final; Colin Spink won the Gents` Championship by beating Brian Garbutt in the final; Pete Turnbull and Brian Garbutt beat Pete Scott and Ray DuBois in the final of the Pairs competition and Geoff Russell won the George Gibbs Two Wood competition. 




The Club held its 20th Whistle Stop triples competition on Sunday 2 July 2017, a dry, sunny but breezy day.  24 teams entered the competition and each team played 5 games following a draw.  The winning team was from Kirkbymoorside, skipped by Lyndon Wilson with S Allen and J Eddon.   The competition was so close that second and third positions could not be separated even by taking account of shot difference so in joint second place were Eric Smith of Guisborough Priory and Alf Holmes of Slingsby.  A good day was had by all.

  From left to right - Gillian Turnbull, Geoff Temple, Pete Turnbull, all of sponsors Cropton Garage, S Allen, Lyndon Wilson and J Eddon, the winning team and John Gray, Helmsley Bowling Club chairman.



 Joint runners up, Eric Smith of Guisborough Priory on the left and Alf Holmes of Slingsby on the right.




The Club`s 2017 Open Day was a special occasion to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the club.  Current and past members together with long term supporters enjoyed a game of bowls followed by a tea prepared by members.  This was followed by a half hour of fun provided by local undertaker/Yorkshire dialect specialist, Adam Collier.




Towards the end of 2016 the Club made an application for a share of funding from Section 106 money which became available to the town due to the building of houses in the Black Swan former car park etc.    A sum of £2500 was sought and after due deliberation by the NMY National Park Authority we were awarded the full amount.  This was used to move the western boundary further away from the playing surface to allow people to congregate on arrival at the ground, in particular players and visitors who are disabled.  Work began on 21 January 2017.




At the Annual General Meeting of Yorkshire Bowling Association in York on Saturday, 19 November 2016, Robin Carpenter, our green keeper, was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Yorkshire Bowling Association, being presented with a medal by Chairman, Alwyn Barron.  

 Helmsley Bowling Club was formed in 1942 and Robin Carpenter became a member in May 1962 on a reduced subscription of £1 aimed at introducing more people to the game of bowls.

His impact on the Club was immediate as he won the Club`s Mill Scutt Cup a handicap competition which was then played over 26 ends, that same year. He has since won it ten more times.

He has also won the Club`s Frank Kay Cup eight times; the Gents` Championship nine times and the Pairs Competition three times. As a member of Helmsley teams he won the local knock-out competition, The Anglian Triples which later became the Glen Opticians Triples on several occasions, most recently in 2008. He has played in and won competitions at District and County levels.   

Robin has also been a stalwart member of the Committee:- elected Vice Captain in 1967 and again in 1986 and 1987; elected Captain in 1968 and continuously from 1987 until 1992; he was the Club`s Secretary for several years in the 1960s, Fixtures Secretary from 1969 to 1999 and Hovingham League Rep. from 1974 to 1986. He was elected Club Chairman in 1978, 1979 and 1980 and President in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He became an Honorary Life Member of Helmsley Bowling Club in 2000.

Somehow, among all this activity and responsibility Robin found time in 1969 to take on the role of green keeper a role he has held until present day apart from a 4 year period when it was contracted out.   

Robin has been involved in the County scene for many years being the Club`s representative at County level from 1989 to 2010. He played for Yorkshire for three seasons in the 1970s.

Robin`s demeanour on the green is always calm and gentlemanly reflecting the true values of the ancient game of bowls. He is a true ambassador not only for Helmsley Bowling Club but also for the game in general.

Robin could not have done all this without the loyal support of his long suffering wife, Eileen and their two children

 Robin Carpenter in his Helmsley Bowling Club dress.






 BOWLING ETIQUETTE  -  A brief summary of the unwritten laws of the game. 

  1. Be punctual for all games to commence play on time and be correctly attired.
  2. Shake hands with your opponents before and after the game.
  3. Stand behind the mat while your opponents bowl.
  4. Keep quiet and still when players are on the mat.
  5. Stand still at the head when a player is about to bowl.
  6. Keep your shadow off the jack.
  7. When changing ends walk close to the centre of your rink and don`t dally or distract players on neighbouring rinks.
  8. Never applaud "lucky" bowls (wicks) - accept them graciously.
  9. Do not remove any bowls from the head until the outcome of the end has been agreed.
  10. Win or lose - be a good loser.  Don`t blame your loss on people, the rink, weather, bowls etc.

MARKING - a brief summary.

  1. Markers serve. They do not command, direct or referee. 
  2. Check that you have chalk, measure, wedges, pen and scorecard
  3. Ensure the players have jack, mats, sticks etc.
  4. Establish any handicaps and agree with the players how they are to be applied
  5. Identify which bowls are which
  6. Stand about three paces behind the head and two paces off centre
  7. Stand still as the players bowl
  8. Answer only the question asked.  DO NOT elaborate voluntarily
  9. Chalk touchers between deliveries
  10. Leave the players to decide the number of shots scored
  11. Measure if asked.  The players themselves can (also) measure
  12. Record the scores on the score card and board
  13. Move briskly from end to end and concentrate throughout



 Fees  For 2018

 Adult full annual membership

 Under 18s 
  Patrons (Friends of Helmsley Bowling Club) No fee
 Competition match fee per League match £1.50
 Visitors` green fees - per session per player £5
 Club competitions - per competition £1
 Club bowls stickers  -  four £1 
 Club metal badge £1.50
 Clubhouse key - available from Treasurer only Cost of cutting




 Helmsley Bowling Club welcomes new players and it does not matter how inexperienced you are or even if you have never picked up a wood in your life before. We have experienced bowlers who will show you the basic principles of the game. You can simply come along first for a free trial to see if bowling might be your thing.  Just give our Secretary a ring and arrangements will be made.
On the green you must wear flat smooth soled shoes and we do have a few pairs available if you do not have any and we have various sizes of woods for you to use too so initially there would be no cost to you.  If you decide not to take up bowling you have lost nothing BUT bowling at Helmsley gives you gentle exercise in beautiful surroundings with the opportunity to meet new people and make friends.  Why not come along and try it.




 Competition bowling 

The Club normally enters teams in three local Leagues: -

The Hovingham Bowls League which includes The Waltham Cup.  For results and rankings click here.

The Batagas Triples League which includes The Fred Husband Knockout Trophy.  For rankings and results click here .

The Ryedale & District Veterans` Bowls League which includes The Sundella Cup and The Ossie Ashcroft Cup.  For results and rankings click here.

The Club also enters teams of triples in The 4 of Clubs Competition with other local Clubs, Harome, Hovingham and Hutton -le Hole.



 Ladies Section

 Two ladies entered the Ladies Championship competition this year, Jan Laker and Gwen Garbutt with Jan coming out on top.  Well done Jan.




There is a lane near Helmsley Castle called Bowling Lane which may indicate that bowling has been practised in Helmsley for many years but no records have yet been found to substantiate this.



However, in 1942 the then Lord Feversham made a small section of a hay meadow off Baxtons Lane, adjacent to the existing Recreation Ground, available for use as a bowling green with a small clubhouse in one corner. A nominal rent of one shilling was paid to the Estate office once per year.  The green is still there today although many of improvements and extensions have been made over the years.   Subsequently, to provide a lasting memory to his father a keen supporter of swimming and sports activities for the youth of Ryedale, Lord Feversham, donated the remainder of the hay meadow to the town on which a swimming pool, cricket pavilion and new Bowling Clubhouse were built from public donations at a cost of £25,176.

In those early days bowls were made from the heaviest known wood called lignum vitae which is probably where the term "woods" originated.  None of the members owned their own bowls and many people played in slippers.  There were no leagues then and it was not until 1956 that the first club competition took place and 10 years after that that ladies were allowed to join the Club.

In 1986 a major project was undertaken to improve and enlarge the bowling green.  The turf was lifted and stored, the edges of the green were strengthened and levelled and 250 tons of earth was spread over the site.  Members spent a Bank Holiday weekend tramping up and down, treading the earth to make a firm bed for the turf to be re-laid by contractors.  All `home` matches that year were played away to allow the green to settle and mature.

The Hovingham League was the first to appear in the area with seven clubs, Helmsley, Hovingham, Terrington, Easingwold, Swinton, Slingsby and Sheriff Hutton, playing four teams of four with two woods on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Gradually more clubs were formed and at its peak there were 24 teams playing in two Divisions.   Helmsley won the League in 1977, 1978 and 1980 but have also been relegated to the second Division twice.  By 2008 the number of teams had reduced to 18 and in 2011 there were only 10, some clubs having broken away to form a new League of triples.  The Hovingham League is, however, still regarded as the premier League in the area.

The Club also joined the Number Five League again playing four players with two bowls each and for the first time playing in Club Colours, grey and white. However this meant travelling as far as Scarborough and Dunnington and Helmsley subsequently dropped out of the Number Five League playing only in Cup matches.

Another popular League is the Batagas League formerly the Eurogas League which is regarded as a League for starters and less proficient players.  The format is triples with three woods each played on Monday and Friday evenings. There is a Gentlemen`s Agreement that Hovingham League skips do not skip in the Batagas League and vice versa, which is still adhered to today. 

The Veterans League was formed as bowls became more popular and is a triples format with three woods for older players (now over 55) played on Wednesday afternoons.  There are three Divisions and at one stage Helmsley had two teams in the League.

The Club became affiliated to the Yorkshire County Bowling Association and the English Bowling Association with the ladies section being affiliated in 1978.  In 2010 modernisation of the governing bodies brought all Clubs under the banner of Bowls England and Yorkshire Bowling Association with men and women having equal status.



 The Green

The green in its present form was laid by members in 1986 and the playing area is approx. 36 metres north to south x 33 metres east to west with six rinks in each direction.  The rinks can be moved to 21 different positions to present bowlers with a different conditions.  The green has been approved for County play for over 20 years and is used every year for County matches and by touring clubs.  Play commences in mid April and ceases in late September.





This Cup was presented in 1956 by Mr Alfred Agar was the first trophy ever played for by members of the Helmsley Bowling Club. It is played as a singles handicap competition with the winner being the first to 21 shots.


This trophy was presented in 1971 by the family of Frank Kay, a member who died whilst quite young.  It is played for as a 21 ends competition.

THE PAIRS COMPETITION CUP                       

This Cup was presented by a member who lived in Harome and was first played for in 1975.  The original Cup became unusable and Mr Ron Czernik who then played at Helmsley replaced it with the present Cup in 2000.  It is also known as "The Candlelight Cup" as it was originally played for as a 21 ends competition and quite often it was almost dark before the competition ended.  To ensure a finish in daylight the ends have been reduced to 18 and it is now played as a round robin competition with names of skips and others drawn separately to try to maintain fairness. 


This Cup was presented in 1989 by members John Leckenby and Geoff Russell.  It is played for as a singles competition over 18 ends. The winner qualifies to play against the champions of other Clubs the following year and if successful to play at the Men`s National Championships at Worthing. 


Gary and Paul were two local lads killed in a road accident, and the Trophy was presented in 1993 by Paul`s father who although a keen football fan liked to watch bowls games over the gate.  The competition is for members who have not won any other Helmsley Bowling Club singles competition.


This trophy was presented by Pat and Mick Wilson in 1987.  Pat was a prominent member of the Club until they moved to York; Mick did a lot of maintenance work for the Club and one of the flower tubs is dedicated to his memory.  The winner of this competition qualifies for the Champion of Champions Competition at the National Championships at Leamington Spa.


This trophy was presented by the family of George Otterburn in 2000 and is for players of veteran age (Now 55 years). George was a prominent member of the Club who played in all the Leagues but who greatly enjoyed the Veterans League. It is played for in a round robin format.


This Cup was presented by George Gibbs in 2010 and is played for as a two woods singles competition in a round robin format. 


This trophy is an old lignum vitae bowl affixed to a wooden plinth and is played for by teams selected at random captained by the President and Chairman as a finale to the summer season.




 Mill Scutt Singles Handicap

Colin Spink

 Frank Kay Memorial Trophy 

Alan Russell
 The Pairs Competition Jan Laker and Brian Garbutt
 The Gents Championship Brian Garbutt

 Gary Ford/Paul Deaves Memorial Trophy. (The Non-Winners Trophy)

Chris Laker
 The Ladies Championship Jan Laker
 The George Otterburn Memorial Triples Not held
 The George Gibbs Cup Geoff Russell             




Contact us

SECRETARY:   Mrs Margaret Redhead                      01845 597258                         

CHAIRMAN:     Mrs Muriel Russell                              01439 770597