Unhappy bowls clubs fight on

THE STRUGGLING Northern Bowling Association claim to have been charged £6k in 2020 even though they have not been able to use their Delancey Park green.

Delancey bowls green. (Picture supplied by Andrew Le Poidevin, 28652922)
Delancey bowls green. (Picture supplied by Andrew Le Poidevin, 28652922)

Although the Guernsey Sports Commission stepped in to pay half that amount, the 90-year-old club with perhaps one of the best views of any bowls green in the world faces a tough future – but they won’t go down without a fight, promises their enthusiastic captain Paul Wakeham.

Membership numbers at the NBA have been falling steadily for many years but a club EGM recently voted unanimously to return to Delancey after a year of sharing the GBC’s Beau Sejour green while theirs was out of action due to leatherjacket beetle infestation damage.

They are now busily preparing for a big open day tomorrow week at which they hope to start a sustained recruitment drive that would keep their heads above water.

‘The [States] charge is £700 a week if we play on the green. It’s a lot,’ said Wakeham, who added there is now a clear realisation within the club that they have to work much harder to get in new members to stay alive.

‘It [the EGM] seems to have changed the attitude and everyone’s pushing behind the club. I’m so proud of the members.’

While unimpressed with Bowls Guernsey’s published stance on taking the sport forward – the umbrella body having threatened to develop their own green to play island competitions and international matches – Wakeham agrees a greenkeepers’ partnership between the three clubs could work.

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Bowls Guernsey’s acting supremo Garry Collins has put forward plans for the three clubs to share equipment and running costs but there is a thought that won’t be possible if GBC continue to use Beau Sejour.

Chris Dyer, captain at GBC, said yesterday that may not be the case after all, but felt let down by Bowls Guernsey.

‘We are extremely disappointed that our club’s business had been openly discussed by Bowls Guernsey before we have had to discuss it with our membership.

‘We read what Bowls Guernsey say about bringing over international players and making money from it, but our bowlers just want to play their club bowls,’ said Dyer.

As for possibly setting up a home home at the Corbet Field utilising the space of the disused carpet green, Dyer said that they needed more information from the States.

‘If we had an exit strategy that said we are prepared to give you X amount, it would help. But we are not getting any information.’

Dyer insists that their club has to become sustainable, but added: ‘we’re in a better position than we have been for a few years.’

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