A BOWLING trophy has come home to Slaithwaite - after more than a century!

The silver-plated trophy was presented to the winner of the Slaithwaite Spa Bowling Championships in 1891.

But it has travelled the world ever since, surviving scrapes along the way.

It has been returned to Slaithwaite by a woman from Harrogate who, as a young girl in 1970, found the cup on an embankment near the Doncaster to Pontefract railway line.

In 1971, she and her family emigrated to South Africa and took the cup with them.

The woman moved to Harrogate several years ago and was given the cup while visiting relatives in South Africa this year.

She was asked to find a new home for it, so she contacted Slaithwaite Cricket and Bowling Club.

Vice-president Neil Pogson looked into the history of the cup and found many details of the Slaithwaite Spa Bowling Championships.

He said: "The championships were held at the spa which had tennis courts, baths, a grandstand and a bowling green.

"A lot of people do not realise Slaithwaite had a spa. It was very popular until its waters were polluted during the Industrial Revolution."

Mr Pogson also found information about the cup's winner, Fred Rusby, by looking at the 1881 census on the internet.

He discovered that Mr Rusby was a Glossop-born cotton twiner who lived at New Street with wife Leah and daughter Mary.

At the time of the census he was 28.

Mr Pogson said: "He would have been 38 when he won the cup. We don't know what happened to the cup between when he won it in 1891 and 1970. It is just a blank."

Mr Pogson arranged for the cup to be brought to Slaithwaite by his neighbour, through relatives who live in Harrogate.

It now has a new home at Mr Pogson's club and there are plans to hold a special competition for it.

Mr Pogson said: "We are proposing to run the Fred Rusby Slaithwaite Spa Bowling Championship in memory of him. It will be a good way of celebrating the cup finally coming back home."