Rosslyn’s 125 years of bowling

Rosslyn Bowling Club 1899.'Alexander Haig (black beard) second row from back, Treasurer Jim Easton, flat cap, centre of the second row
Rosslyn Bowling Club 1899.'Alexander Haig (black beard) second row from back, Treasurer Jim Easton, flat cap, centre of the second row

Rosslyn Bowling Club is this year celebrating its 125th anniversary, looking back on a colourful history, while looking forward to the next 125 years of bowling in the village.

Jim McNish (88), a club member since 1948, has bowling in his blood.

Rosslyn Bowling Club 1980s - The club's only lady president Irene Anthony, pictured front centre to the right

Rosslyn Bowling Club 1980s - The club's only lady president Irene Anthony, pictured front centre to the right

His great-grandfather, Alexander Haig, was one of the club’s founding members while his father, James, and grandfather were also 
members.

Recalling the club’s beginnings, he said: “It didn’t start in the present position. It was at a place we call ‘the cross’.

“The land where it presently is, the Dryden Estate, belonged to the Trotter family, who gave the land to the 
club.

“There is a house on the old site now.

Rosslyn Bowling Club 1940s

Rosslyn Bowling Club 1940s

“There weren’t too many members to start with. My great-grandfather was one of them.

“He was in one of the rinks that won the Scottish Fours in 1897. It was very important. There were very few Midlothian clubs that won anything in those days, not like more 
recent times.”

More of Jim’s relatives have been at the centre of Rosslyn’s finest moments, along with other great players. He said: “My grandfather Robert Haig’s brother’s son, Charles Haig, won the Scottish pairs in 1958.

“He was the only Rosslyn player to represent Scotland in 1959 against Wales.

“My father was a very good player. It must be in the blood.

“It’s a proud bowling village. I have seen quite a few great bowlers in my day.

“The club has also won Balgreen titles in more recent times. I don’t think many clubs in Midlothian have had three winners of the Balgreen tournament.

“I used to play in it myself, but I didn’t have much luck!

“Jock Bayne was a good player as well for us, he played from the 40s for years and years.

“And he was a good chairman here for 10 years. He built a new clubhouse in 1968. The original clubhouse, built in 1890, is still there though, it’s now used as a tool shed. We call it ‘Dan’s houff’.”

Rosslyn Bowling Club’s current president, Bob Chrichton (47), is proud that his club has reached such a milestone.

“Without a doubt it means a lot,” he said. “It’s a great 
honour for the club.

“I think it’s due to the hard work of a few individuals over the life of the club. Every time one or two fall by the wayside, another one or two come in to carry it on.

“There are clubs all around the country closing because of a lack of support from the community.

“We are continuing to operate during these difficult times.

“We try to support our local community, whether it’s the local Brownies using the hall or working with any other 
local groups.

“Like anybody else we are struggling to get people to use the club. But we are currently doing OK.

“At our recent anniversary event, we invited former members to come and play and out of that four or five have re-joined, so that’s good.”

Bob revealed that exciting plans are afoot to ensure the club continues to thrive for years to come.

He said: “We are to work with the local council on their sports development side, for kids to come along from school to learn about bowls. And hopefully they get the bug from that.

“If we don’t have the youngsters coming through then it will just die out.

“Bowls is not for everybody but if you have a class of 30 and two or three enjoy it then it’s two or three young people doing something they might never have done.

“Our past president Chris Spence is looking to develop it. Not just at Rosslyn but all over Midlothian.

“And, we have discussions every six months with other clubs in Midlothian to discuss things like ‘what do we do to bring money into the clubs’. Basically it’s idea sharing, which benefits us all.

“Our main problem is living in such a small village. Everybody is isolated.

“The club is always looking for new membership, whether they have played the game before or not.”

Call 077207 68735 if you are interested in joining Rosslyn Bowling club.