Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club celebrates 110 years with anniversary tournament

Members of the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club played their anniversary tournament Saturday in celebration of 110 years.

Members of the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club played their anniversary tournament Saturday in celebration of 110 years. SUBMITTED PHOTO


We can only speculate on what the founders of the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club saw as the future of the club and the sport when they formed it in 1907.

They probably hoped that the sport would thrive and the club would have a long life. But would they have foreseen the club remaining in Victoria Park for 110 years and that the club house, which was built in 1925, would remain more or less unchanged except for a 1930s addition?

They would not have foreseen the changes in technology which have led to bowls being made of a hard plastic composite material when originally they were made of lignum vitae, a dense wood which led to bowls being referred to as “woods” – a term still used in the north of England. Neither would they have seen the creation of coloured bowls which are now prevalent in the game. Another change, which in some ways has gone full circle, is dress code. Photos from the 1920s and 1930s show players in what may be described as every day wear. But then later the dress code moved to all white. Now almost anything goes for general club play and coloured shirts are practically the norm in tournament play.

Another change which they would not have foreseen is the use of a stick or launcher to deliver the bowls. This is a relatively new innovation that allows less mobile players to deliver their bowls from an upright position using a launcher in much the same way as a stick is used in curling.

Gerry Wilson is a first year bowler and he uses a launcher. He has quickly got used to it and is proof that you can bowl successfully with it from an upright position. When the club celebrated their 110th anniversary with a tournament on Saturday July 15th Wilson became the first person in the club to win a tournament using the launcher. Playing as lead with skip Dianne Lauder and vice Norma Stoffers they won three games to win the anniversary tournament which was sponsored by HTM Insurance.

Sixteen teams competed in the tournament and it was a great performance from Lauder’s team who won their three games very easily with outstanding scores of 15-4, 13-3 and 15-4. The full result was: winners – Dianne Lauder, Norma Stoffers and Gerry Wilson 3 wins and 43 points; second – Jo Carleton, Vince Tamburello and Bill Bickle with 3 wins and 31 points; third – Ron Covert, Pat Gemmell and Ken Bevan with 2 wins and 34 points; fourth – Baylee van Steijn and Bonnie Sheridan with 2 wins and 31 points. The prize for the team with one win and highest score was Ben van Steijn, Marlene Randall and Melanie Duras with 33 points.

Earlier in the week, two Cobourg men’s teams and two ladies’ teams competed in the District 14 senior playdowns in Lindsay.

It was an all-Cobourg affair in the ladies competition with Dianne Hawryszko, Kathleen Shirley and Nan Hendren beating Carol Dewey, Louisa Arthur and Mary Thibault. Hawryszko’s team qualified automatically for the provincial seniors in Almonte on Aug. 1 and 2 but Dewey’s team will also be there because some Districts did not have entries and Dewey’s team was invited to fill one of the spare places.

In the men’s event there were five teams competing including John Hawryszko’s team from Cobourg and Bob Bates’s team. This was a tough competition with some excellent bowling and Hawryszko’s team was unfortunate in losing four tight games. Bates, bowling with Ralph Stoffers and Bill Arthur, had better luck winning three of their four games. However they lost their game to the eventual winners from Oshawa. Despite being 2-16 down after eight ends they fought their way back and were down by only one point going into the final end but it was too little too late and they lost that match and finished second.

The club also hosted an open triples on Wednesday, July 12. This was sponsored by Sharyl Ann and Dan Milligan in memory of their parents Ron and Trudy Milligan. Fourteen teams from Pickering, Oshawa, Peterborough and Campbellford as well as the host club competed in a tournament of three twelve end games.

Regular readers of this column will recognize the name of the Steffen brothers from Oshawa who are amongst the best bowlers in Ontario. And it was no surprise that they were in the prize money. On this occasion David Steffen was playing with Al Handlechner and ex-USA international player Steve Nelson and they came out on top with 3 wins and 42 points. Brothers Rob and Alan Steffen were playing with their mother Marilyn and they were also in the prizes, placing fourth with 2 wins and 40 points. In second place was the team from Pickering of Lorne Schiele, Jackie Dunkerly and Frank Mayal. The top Cobourg team was that of David Brister, Steve Haslam and Carl Ferguson. They came third with 2 wins and 43 points.


Winners of recent club jitneys were: July 13 – Ben van Steijn, Fran Marsh and John Saunders; July 15 – Dave Hickey, Jan Skillen and Gerry Wilson.


For more information about lawn bowling in Cobourg visit the club’s website at