Bowlers forced to roll over as brewery sells up

St James' Bowling Club
St James' Bowling Club
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A bowling club which has played on the same green for more than 90 years has been ordered to leave within days.

St James’ Bowling Club received a letter on Friday stating it should leave the bowling green on Eaves Lane, Chorley, by Thursday.

The letter was dated April 24 and was sent on behalf of Samuel Smith Old Brewery.

It said the neighbouring social club was closing and the bowlers would have to leave.

The letter continues: “We have now reached the point where we feel we have no alternative but to put the entire premises in the hands of an estate agent with view to accepting the best offer that comes forward.”

Members of the bowling club said they had no warning they would have to move.

Gordon Griffith, club secretary, said: “No-one can believe it. It’s like a bad dream.

“We are in complete shock. We don’t know what we can do.”

It came as a particular shock because the bowlers had spent around £3,000 in the past few months improving the bowling hut.

The club does not have enough money to pay for a solicitor to fight the eviction.

So members have just a few days to move all of the equipment and find a new home. They have already contacted the office of Chorley’s MP, Lindsay Hoyle, for help.

But they fear it may be difficult to find a new home due to the reduction in bowling greens around Chorley and the number of bowlers using those which remain.

Bowler David Gardiner said: “We can’t go on other bowling greens because there are already people playing on them.

“We have several teams and we have nowhere to go.”

The bowling green opened in 1923 and the club has played there ever since.

It now has seven teams and members fear they will be penalised if they move, as fixtures have been set.

But the consequences could be even more serious.

Gordon said: “Our future is definitely at risk. If we can’t find a green, we have had it.”

The Guardian attempted to contact a spokesman for Samuel Smith Old Brewery but received no reply at the time of going to press.