The club was formed in 1974 and it’s first home was the car park of Cobbetts Restaurant (now Reggina’s) in Botley Square. Eventually it was decided it was time to move as by all accounts throwing metal boules amongst some very expensive motor cars was a bit nerve wracking at times!
In 1981 the club members laid the purpose built terrain in Botley Recreation Ground, with the floodlights following a year later. This terrain served the club very well with its infamous hole catching out a number of visiting opponents. Unfortunately, the tarmacing of the adjacent car park caused rainwater to run-off onto the terrain causing flooding and it became suitable only for sailing model boats for long periods in the winter! This, coupled with a lack of toilet facilities and anywhere to provide hospitality for visiting teams, led to the club taking the difficult decision to uproot from Botley and move to Burridge. The then chairman of the Sports and Social Club, John Bevis, kindly helped us take over an area of land adjacent to the cricket pitch.
Work began on building the new terrain at Burridge in 1996. Since its opening in that year the ‘bus shelter’, paved area and fencing have all been added. The terrain was also extended in 2002 to 43m x 15m. It has been strung to give 16 pistes, varying in width from 2.5m to 3m, all with scoreboards. The original floodlights were replaced in 2008 at a cost of £2000 and are probably amongst the best in the region. Further improvements were made in March 2010 thanks to an HIWCF grant. The sleepers were all replaced, disabled access improved, the ‘bus shelter’ upgraded and a new boules club sign made.
Additional improvements were started in November 2011 with repairs to the fencing and completed in February 2012 with the addition of two extra floodlights at the car park end. This gives better lighting to the extended part of the terrain and also allows the lights to be turned off from the car park making it safer for all. In June 2013, 3.5 tons of 3mm to dust limestone were purchased and spread on the top 6 terrains.
In August 2015 work began on an additional 9m x 15m terrain. This was used for the first time for the Poppy Appeal Open Doubles in November of that year. January 2016 saw the addition of two extra floodlights to illuminate this area as well as lighting under the ‘bus shelter’. This new terrain was to be the first step in achieving a long term aim for an indoor terrain for use in the winter months.
In April 2018, the surface was removed from the top 3 terrains and replaced by 6mm limestone with the aim of creating a different surface suitable for practicing lobbing. This proved to be a bit too deep and some of this topping has since been removed and spread across the terrain extension.
In February 2019, thanks to funding from Closewood, the floodlights were upgraded to LEDs.
For a variety of reasons, it was decided in 2019 to drop the idea of a terrain cover. The plan is now for the money raised to be used for general improvements that will benefit all members throughout the year.
The first of these improvements were carried out in August/September 2020 with the wooden fencing surrounding the terrain completely replaced and metal fencing installed in front of the gas cylinder. The Cobbetts Boules Club sign was also replaced.
In March 2022 the paving slab pathway was extended to the far end of the terrain. A big thank you to Paul and Jimmy Bone for carrying out the this work.
Further planned improvements include extending the shelter to the end of the hedge, moving the lighting cable to the far end of the terrain in preparation for extra floodlighting and replacing the non-slip strips with something more permanent.