Bowls England's current Covid-19 guidance for clubs and players: https://bit.ly/2VUzID3


ABOUT US: Abington Bowling Club is one of Northampton's sporting institutions. Based just south of Abington Park, we are in close proximity to the Old Northamptonians Sports Ground. Just a short way east of the town centre. We provide a competitive but welcoming environment for anyone who fancies taking up outdoor flat green bowls, the most popular form of bowls, and the most inclusive of all sports.

We also boast one of the biggest and most furbished clubhouses in the region, complete with lounge area, dining room and boardroom. We offer usage of any of these to interested parties. Click on 'Hire our Facilities' above to see what we can provide.





WITH REGRET, Abington BC has decided to cancel all friendly fixtures scheduled before 17th May.

In common with many other clubs, the committee has decided to keep to 'members only' gatherings until the next major relaxing of pandemic restrictions in England. The Saturdays and Thursdays until the reopening of indoor hospitality will not lie barren though. If you would like to be considered for any of our captains' fun days, please notify Phil Reeve for Saturdays and Reg Jones for Thursdays.

Formats will be decided upon as soon as it's clear how many would like to take part. It's possible the events will be split in two, if demand exceeds the amount of people the club is currently allowed on the premises. All play will be conducted in greys so you do not have to change. You will also have to bring your own food.

Apologies for this late interruption, especially to those clubs we were initially hoping to welcome back after a long absence. Hopefully, this is one of few remaining hiccups before we are back to bowls as we knew it. Stay safe.




THE DAWN of a new season is upon us, and scarcely has one ever been looked forward to more.

More than a year on since the coronavirus pandemic fundamentally changed our usual way of life, we look back with sorrow at what it has taken from us, but also forward again, with hope that we will soon be out the other side. The reopening of grassroots sports clubs across England at the end of March was a crucial marker on the road back to 'normality', and has come just in time for the outdoor bowling season.

The 'official' opening of the Abington green will be on Saturday 24th April with the traditional 'Our Day' event, but greenkeeper Martin Trasler has permitted its use for an extra week in advance. So if there is space available you may have a rollup from the 17th.

HOWEVER, caution remains the watchword. Even though almost all of our members will have received at least one, if not both, doses of their Covid vaccine, the virus remains transmissible by anyone and multiple restrictions remain in place. Although we hope to fulfil all our fixtures this year - and are allowing access to non-members again - the early weeks of this season will procedurally resemble the previous one.

Mats and jacks still require regular sanitisation, and bottles of such will be laid out on each rink. Only 24 people will be allowed on the green, until further notice. And, even though the bar will be able to serve drinks by the time we're back bowling, the clubhouse and changing facilities remain off limits until Monday 17th May, when England as a whole reopens indoor hospitality. (Which means that if you would like to take part in any of the first few fixtures you will have to notify the appropriate captain.) So, please arrive already dressed for your game or rollup. Please also respect the current national guidelines on social distancing, and stay at least 2 metres (6 feet, 7 inches) apart from those outside your household.

Naturally, updates on further easing of these restrictions will be posted nearer the time. Fixture lists and competition draws will also be published very soon. It's still not quite bowls as we knew it, but with your cooperation, we will get back there sooner rather than later. Thank you.

All the best for your return to bowls in 2021!



RIP BIG MAN: Abington Bowling Club would like to pass on its condolences to the family and friends of our long-time member Scott Osbourne, who has died at the age of 88.

Scott first joined Abington in 1980 and was ever after an enthusiastic supporter of the club, serving multiple stints as Saturday team captain. He had some success in club competitions, most notably becoming the first three-time winner of the Veterans Cup, but there were also triumphs in the Handicap Cup and the 2-Wood, the latter as recently as 2009.

Above all though, he'll be remembered for a kindly demeanour that belied his great frame, a wicked sense of humour and that rich, deep voice he expressed it with. The very definition of a 'Gentle Giant'.




THE CHRISTMAS and 100 Club prize draws were held earlier this afternoon. With current coronavirus restrictions ruling out our usual eventful evening, we are posting the winners here on the website for the first time.

Firstly, the 100 Club lottery, with a potential jackpot of £200 awarded to whoever had their number picked first by the machine. Winnings will be paid by cheque, unless recipients would prefer it to be deposited straight into their bank accounts. Please contact our treasurer Allen Johnson if so.






Ollie Kirkwood



Jonathan Brown



Chris Beck



Colin Bradbury



Dave Poole



Alan Bailey



Adam Hawkings



Dave Brawn



Gordon Stringer



Rob Archer

Following that, the annual big Christmas raffle. Congratulations to everyone who has won a prize, especially those who will take home two, three or even four!




Kettle charcoal BBQ


Gordon Stringer

Xmas hamper


Linda Beck

White wine + choc Brazils


Adam Brown

Merlot, Xmas pudding, orange segs


Molly Atterbury

Ladies cosmetics + Madeira


Peter Boulden

Wines + Celebrations


Dave Brawn

Rose wine + shortbread


Pete Hollingworth

Tea + biscuits


Dick Voller

Navy rum


Stuart Johnston

White wine + shortbread


Dave Jones

Clock + chocs


Molly Atterbury

Xmas hamper


Jonathan Brown

Red wine + Heroes


Michelle Brown

Bowls carrier, scorecard holder, chocs


Harvey Fruish

Tartan teddy bear + Scotch whiskey


Carole Voller

Afternoon tea for 2 @ Beckworth


Peter Boulden

Chocolate selection


Alan Mann

Wine selection


Reg Jones

Mug of cake + Roses


Dave Jones



Margaret Sidebottom

Mulled wine + Milk Tray


Mick Hall

Xmas hamper


Dick Voller

Campari + shortbread house


Gordon Stringer

Abington BC teddy bear


Adam Brown

Wine selection


Dave Poole

Air hockey game


Carole Voller

Steak knives & forks


Bill Roberts

Xmas crackers + Scotch


Thomas Manderson

Teddy bear + Dairy Box


Dave Vernon

Ladies bath trio + white wine


Dave Fage

3-in-1 American treat maker


Molly Atterbury

Xmas hamper


Dave Vernon

Photo frame + Celebrations


Reg Jones

White wine + chocolates


Peter Boulden

Food mixer, wine, chocolates


Pat Parsonson

Wine, chocolates, shortbread


Gordon Stringer

Red wine + chocolates


Bill Roberts

Wines + Celebrations


Dave Jones

Red wine + chocolates


Stan Breach

Wine + Quality Street


Gill Crossley

The club will be opened next week on the below dates and times so prizes can be collected (if you cannot make any of these, please contact our treasurer Allen Johnson to arrange a pick-up). Please remember to obey all coronavirus restrictions when on the premises:

    - Monday 14th Dec, 10:30am-12:00pm
    - Wednesday 16th Dec, 2:00-3:30pm
    - Saturday 19th Dec, 11:00am-12:00pm

To all entrants, members and readers, we wish you all an extremely merry Christmas and best wishes that the New Year will be much happier than the preceding one. Normal service will be resumed one day.




- £2.50 each
- Please contact club treasurer Allen Johnson to purchase
- Deadline: 12pm, Friday 11th December

ABINGTON'S traditional Christmas prize draw will be held 'behind closed doors' on Friday. As will the 100 Club jackpot draw. With current restrictions, we unfortunately cannot open the club for the event as we normally would, but the results will be posted on here by the evening. We'll also provide information for winners on how to collect their prizes. Good luck!




SADLY, it appears extremely unlikely Abington Bowling Club will be able to reopen even after the current England-wide lockdown ends this week.

With Northamptonshire set to be classified as a 'tier 2' area, the bar cannot operate purely as a socialising venue, and must serve food. Even then, the restrictions do not permit socialising with people from outside your support bubble in an indoor setting.

The club's officers are currently deciding how and when the Christmas period's usual events - prize draw, AGM, etc. - can take place. The government has promised that the tiering structure will be reviewed fortnightly, although all members should be prepared for these restrictions to remain in place until at least the early spring of 2021.


PETER BOULDEN'S funeral will be held this Thursday, 3rd December at Nene Valley Crematorium. Obviously, none of our members will be able to attend owing to current restrictions (and the service is not being streamed online), but for those who would like to pay tribute in person, the cortege will pass Wellingborough Bowling Club at 11:40am.

If you are travelling to see that, please make sure to obey all of the tier 2 distancing regulations while you're there.


11/11/2020: QUICK UPDATE on the club's annual Xmas prize draw. There are still some outstanding numbers yet to be sold, but there is no deadline, and will be sold on the day if need be.

The plan remains that the draw will be conducted at 7:30pm on Friday, 11th December - obviously in accordance with whatever coronavirus restrictions are in place at that time. If the club cannot open on that date, we will announce an alternative plan in due course. The situation will be reviewed in the last week of the current 4-week lockdown. Stay tuned.


ABINGTON BC would like to express its condolences towards the family of member Peter Boulden, who has died after a lengthy battle with serious illness.

Peter only joined Abington a handful of years ago, having been a longstanding member of Wellingborough, but he quickly became a very popular face, and represented the club in the National Double Rinks and Top Club tournaments. Members will be forwarded funeral details, including how to attend online, in due course.



TONIGHT, the Abington clubhouse bar will be open for the final time before the England-wide 'circuit breaker' lockdown comes into force on Thursday, 5th November.

For all those who would like to come and have a drink (or two) this evening, please continue to obey the existing restrictions - and to all members, very best wishes for the following four weeks. We know many of you will stay in touch electronically. We hope to re-open on Friday, 4th December, though obviously such decisions are largely out of our hands in this situation. Stay safe.


15/10/2020: THE 'OFF THE GREEN' page has been updated with the new times for Chris Nightingale's popular Pilates classes, which have now resumed, Covid-secure. (For example, you are now required to bring your own mat.) Unfortunately, the Otago sessions will not be taking place for the foreseeable future.

As is usual, the bar at Abington will remain open to members through the off-season on Monday and Friday evenings (7-10pm). We hope to bring you announcements on events soon. Currently, the committee is still investigating what is permissible.

For anyone who does come into the club, please continue to obey the one-way system and other pandemic-enforced restrictions. Stay safe.



TO OFFSET 2020's delayed start, the Abington green was granted an extra week's play. On Saturday 3rd October, a season like no other was eventually ended with 24 members playing out a mini-competition using the 'Australian' pairs format.

The weather was determined to prove just why we normally shut up shop earlier, with persistent rain hastening the day's events, but that so many still turned up for a game (and a warm meal, which may have helped) shows the strength of determination that has carried Abington through this most difficult of times. 'The show must go on' attitude in many ways the perfect summation of an unforgettable, sad, but ultimately proud moment in Abington's history. Once again, a major thank you to those who did the work in organising and putting on the event, making sure to keep the bowlers suitably safe, nourished and entertained.

In reflection, the club's 'members (and their households) only' policy for pandemic play has emerged with justification, the vast majority of opinion being approving. Evidence perhaps that Abington went into this crisis in credit re membership, the recruitment efforts of recent years allowing us to take a stricter control in preventing transmission of the coronavirus. Finances have been dealt a significant blow here as everywhere, with the centenary celebrations in 2022 now likely to be scaled back, but the amount of bowls - and spending over the bar - that has taken place has still been significant, without having to rely on a contribution from those outside our bubble.

Of course though, we cannot wait for the day that Abington is re-opened to all bowlers (and potential bowlers), and for the resumption of Chris Nightingale's extracurricular classes that have done much to boost the coffers and bring the wider community into the club these last several years. Sometime next season would appear to be a realistic aim for a return to 'normality', hopefully as soon as the very beginning. Fixture secretary Adam Hawkings has confirmed that he will try to keep the planned 2020 calendar in place for 2021. The six intervening months will be long ones, especially with much of the 2020/21 indoor season already cancelled, but if there's one thing we've all learned this year, a lot can change in a very short time.

To all readers, all the best for this winter and we look forward to seeing you out there bowling, just like the old pre-distancing days, as soon as possible. Stay safe.



ABINGTON GREENKEEPER Martin Trasler has given his blessing to an extension of the 2020 season by one week, leaving the club open for casual play until Saturday 3rd October. An extra event has been scheduled for that day itself, involving a rotating Australian pairs format. Please contact Saturday captain Phil Reeve if you would like to be involved, though numbers are of course limited.

This Saturday just gone saw Abington pay its own personal tribute to the man considered by many to be the greatest (and certainly the most recognised) bowls player of all time, David Bryant, who died last month aged 88. Clubs and players all over the world have been marking his passing since the sad news was announced. Abington joined in the tributes in the way we know best - by getting out on the green and having a jolly old game.

Thank you to all members who took part and ensured the day was one long reminder of why we all took up this sport in the first place. Memories of Bryant's fleeting visits to Abington were shared before and after by those long enough in the tooth to remember. Both times that the great man bowled on our green, in 1979 and 1982, were exhibition events, the latter as part of our club's diamond anniversary celebrations. For all his medals, fame and forensic dedication to winning, he was above all the best ambassador bowls has ever had, and a champion of the sport's inclusivity. He may be an historical figure now, but it is in his example that Abington feels we should still look to the future.


Held over from the previous weekend's packed schedule, the remaining club comp final was played on Sunday, 20th September. Husband and wife duo Peter and Lis Milburn edged a competitive mixed pairs match 18-16 over Alan Mann and Debbie Bradshaw. Considering their multiple achievements over the years, it's surprising that the Milburns' triumph was their first in this competition, but it is very unlikely to be the last.



THE ABC finals weekend turned out to be a masterstroke of timing. Designated many weeks before, the 12th and 13th September were two days of the most glorious sunshine. And as far as the bowling itself was concerned, most of the glory lay with Tony O'Leary and Lis Milburn.

Our men's and women's club champions for 2020 have both held those respective titles a few times before, this being the fourth major title for each. Having ended waits of five and six years respectively since their third, it's also been a joint triumph of patience and perseverance along with the high standard of bowling we've come to expect.

O'Leary defeated John Freeman in the men's final, recovering from nearly surrendering a 17-9 lead in just two ends to finish the job at 21-16. The two of them went on to dominate the weekend, sharing the honour in the pairs final with a dominant victory over Dave Vernon and new member Stuart Johnston, and cleaning up the rest of the singles competitions between them.

O'Leary made his superiority definitive by adding the handicap and veterans cups to the main one. Phil Reeve requiring some speculative efforts to stay in the former and fellow vets debutante Jonathan Brown beaten in straight sets in the latter. Only the 2-wood evaded O'Leary, which instead was claimed by Freeman, comfortably beating Adam Brown 18-5.

There were just two men's finals that didn't feature either O'Leary or Freeman. Alan Coleman, Jonathan Brown and Dave Fage took the Toms-Knight trophy, presented to the triples winners. (Surprisingly, for a set-up that did reach the national championships once - albeit in 1996 - this was their first such success for a decade.) Meanwhile, Reeve required a turnaround from 3-14 down against Stan Breach, but he made it to claim the club vase, the tournament played between those defeated in their first club cup match.

The pattern of the ladies club cup final was established on the very first end, where all four of Milburn's woods were in the count. She never looked back after that, not allowing Debbie Bradshaw to get to double figures before hitting the magic mark of 21. Following that though, there was a curious merry-go-round amongst Abington's three top female players. Milburn was in turn stuffed 21-10 by Gill Crossley in the handicap, while Bradshaw got her hands on the 2-wood cup by beating Crossley.

Diana Brown came very close to skipping a pairs and triples double over Crossley, but ultimately only won the former. Both finals were claimed by a late flurry of shots from the winning team. Seven on the last four ends won Brown and Christine Ball the pairs. But Crossley claimed some revenge in the triples, where six across the last three ends snatched a 16-15 victory in the most tantalising manner.

Regardless of the results though, the biggest success was the event itself, which attracted a spectator turnout rarely seen at the club for finals in modern times. It seems likely this format will be replicated in future seasons, even once bowls has regained some normality. Thank you again to the organisers and club staff for their time and effort, and to all members for continuing to obey the Covid-enforced guidelines and keeping each other safe.

Some pictures courtesy of:

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