IT’S TAKEN more than 100 years.
But at last women have been allowed to grace the green at an historic bowling club in Huddersfield.
Girl power has struck at Lindley Bowling Club after grandmother Karen Stott became the first woman to persuade the club to surrender its old-fashioned tradition of male members only.
The club, off Daisy Lea Lane, was set up by a group of wealthy businessmen in 1895 as a gentlemen’s club.
Until this month, women were only allowed to play if they were accompanied by their husbands.
And they were forbidden from competing because they were not members.
Now, the committee has voted to allow women to join in a bid to boost membership.
And a women’s team is already being planned for 2013.
Karen, 59, of Birkby is delighted. She said: “My husband Geoffrey joined here and I could only come as a guest. I have been bowling here a while and it is a lovely club.
“It is moving with the times. I did accept it was a gentlemen’s club but my husband is on the committee and said women should be allowed to bowl, as they are just as competitive.
“I believe there was some resistance but in the end, the majority voted for it.
“I think it will bring a lot more members.”
Another nine ladies have already signed-up and there have been more membership enquiries from couples.
Treasurer Philip Walker said: “This is something that has evolved.
“There was a proposal four years ago which was only narrowly not accepted.
“In the past few years, the vast majority of people who have become members have recognised women should be allowed.
“We are moving with the times and maybe this time next year we will even have a ladies’ team.”
The club – which has 130 members – competes in a number of different bowling leagues including Elland, Brighouse Veterans, Huddersfield Veterans, Huddersfield Works, Colne Valley and Huddersfield.
It launched its first competitive bowling team seven years ago and now has 10.
Philip added: “In the past, there have been a few couples interested in joining but the fact that we were men only put them off.
“We hope this encourages people to join us.”
President John Ryan said: “We are welcoming the first lady member. This is one of a number of initiatives we are adopting to attract new members.
“Together, with these initiatives, it should help to make Lindley BC a more attractive and inclusive club to join.”
A HANDFUL of other men-only clubs still exist.
The Garrick Club based in London’s West End, which was founded in 1831 as a place where “actors and men of refinement and education might meet on equal terms”.
Today it has 1,300 members including many of the most distinguished actors and men of letters in England.
Augusta National Golf Club – which is home to a top annual golf tournament in America – has had an all-male membership since its opening in 1933.
Royal St George’s Golf Club, in Sandwich, Kent, continues to allow men-only.
In 1999, Lord’s Pavilion’s Long Room turned over 200 years of male-only tradition to allow women to be admitted for the first time.