Origins of the League

From all the information available today it would appear that the origins of the league date back to around 1906. However on the night of November 19th 1935, delegates from four clubs, Broadfield, Buersil, High Crompton and Littleborough met at the Littleborough Fire Station, and their decision was to form a league. Two years later in 1937 the league appears to have disbanded, however for the record the final league table for 1936, when clubs played 15 men a side was:-

Final Table 1936

P

W

D

L

Pts

Broadfield

6

5

0

1

10

Buersil

6

4

0

2

8

High Crompton

6

2

0

4

4

Littleborough

6

1

0

5

2

The league was then re-formed at a meeting held on November 26th 1946 at 264, Ashfield Road Rochdale and consisted of the following five clubs: - Broadfield, Buersil, Falinge, Littleborough and Syke. On the 21st January 1947 Robinson’s B.C. was accepted and Littleborough withdrew.
Mr. Ernest Ramsbottom (Falinge) was elected as the first chairman of the league, which was named ‘The Central Lancashire Amateur Bowling League’, and Mr. Robert Kershaw (Buersil) the secretary and treasurer, in 1953 Mr. Tom Howarth (Falinge) was elected to be the first president.
The original five clubs forming the first league played 2pts for a win 1pt for a draw, teams were handicapped from the beginning, and Falinge Park became the first league champions.
In 1954 a 'Reserve Division' was formed.
Due to increasing numbers of clubs in 1961, the first teams were divided into two divisions 'A' and 'B'.
In 1964 the reserve teams were also divided into two division 'A-Reserve Division' and 'B-Reserve Division', these were renamed 'C' and 'D' divisions in 1967 and this format has continued up to the present day.
The League was originally known as 'The Central Lancashire Amateur Bowling League' this was changed in 1972  to 'The Central Lancashire Bowling League' and finally to 'The Central Lancashire Men's Bowling League' in 1986.
Due to the demand for more games and a reduction in the number of teams in the league, the league was was reduced to three divisions in 2005 with 19 teams in each division, however prior to the start of the 2005 season two teams withdrew from 'B' Division leaving just 17 teams in that division.
By 2007 clubs were finding it increasingly difficult to raise teams consisting of 12 players, so a decision was made at the A.G.M. in 2006 to reduce teams to 10 a side.
The increase in the number of teams in each division led to a reduction of the competitiveness of the league, so in 2007 the three divisions were increased to five, and to maintain the number of games played, teams would play each other as normal on a home and away basis, then the final third of the season would be played with teams playing five at home and five away, this system was abandoned after only one season and the league returned to four divisions in 2008.
Once more due to the demand for more games in 2011 the league was re-organized into six divisions, each team would play all others in their respective division four times it was thought that the smaller divisions would increase the competitiveness of the league.
Minutes of league meetings go back to the 7th November 1951, the first league handbooks were produced for the 1955 season and have been continued up to the present day, from these it has been possible to trace the history and major rule changes there have been.