Pensioners in bowls club go to war over scandal of the missing £3.60

Click to follow

A power struggle between two crown bowling teams has shattered the serenity of the sport in Rochdale and may result in several pensioners being expelled from their club.

A power struggle between two crown bowling teams has shattered the serenity of the sport in Rochdale and may result in several pensioners being expelled from their club.

Peace between Cronkeyshaw and Falinge, which both compete in the Central Lancashire Bowling League, has been uneasy since 1991, when Falinge gave Cronkeyshaw - known locally as Cronkey - permission to share its two greens.

Falinge Park's greens management committee voted to evict Cronkey at the start of the season, and, when its players arrived for an evening fixture last week, they found themselves locked out.

Falingesays the ground-share was always intended to be temporary, and has tabled a list of nine complaints about Cronkey to Rochdale Borough Council, which owns the greens and must referee the spat.

These include anxieties about Cronkey's alleged late payment of £6 green fees, an inadequate contribution to the upkeep of the pavilion and its members' refusal to contribute £3.60 to a kitty covering refreshments at each game.

Cronkey, which congregates at a social club 100 yards from the greens, said it preferred to pay for 15p cups of tea as and when they were consumed.

The council - which has operated the greens in partnership with Falinge since 1973 - has threatened to close down the club if it does not readmit the Cronkey members.

"They are trying to run it as a private club and it is not," said Paul Guy, the council's assistant director of recreation and community services.

This threat has not deterred Falinge. Mr Key arrived at the club by prior appointment to take the pavilion keys and tell members to remove their belongings. He encountered 150 people and met 20 committee members in the pavilion where a general meeting was voted for, postponing the threatened closure until later this month.

The genteel image of crown green bowling has been damaged several times in the last year, most seriously last October, when a 70-year-old man was banned by the West Yorkshire Country Parks Bowling Association after head-butting an opponent.

Comments