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Sports club bowled over by £30K present for centenary
Buy this photo » Peter Rogers, Bill Turner, Colin Turner, Alan Cruttenden and John Davie will now be able to bowl indoors
A SPORTS club has been bowled over by a 100th birthday present of a lifetime.
Abingdon Bowling Club has been given almost £30,000 by Sport England to celebrate its centenary.
The club can now transform its Albert Park clubhouse so that members can play short mat bowls indoors in the winter. It also means that, for the first time, the club will be able to operate all year-round.
Club chairman Colin Turner, 79, said: “This will transform the life of the club.
“We had been considering installing an indoor green for at least four years.
“For the first time we will be able to play indoors and maintain comradeship with our players throughout the year.
“A lot of people would like to play short mat bowls, and it also gives people an excuse to get out in the winter.”
He added: “We are delighted to be able to offer an extra facility to the people of Abingdon.”
To transform the clubhouse, a partition wall will be removed, adding six vital feet to make the hall the legal length for short mat bowls. The heating system will also be upgraded.
The majority of the club’s 160 members are aged between 55 and 85. But one of its youngest players is 17-year-old Jordan Sanders, who also plays indoor bowls for Oxfordshire.
The Larkmead School student said: “This is great news – our club is growing bigger every year and the junior section is thriving.”
Joshua, who lives in Abingdon, was introduced to the sport by his great-grandfather. He tried his hand at an open day and it turned out he was a natural and so stuck with it and had some success.
He said: “It is a great sport. I get as much excitement out of bowling as I would out of football or cricket.
“When you have the ball in your hand you get the same thrill.
“It is very addictive.”
From April through September, ABC plays outdoor ‘rink’ bowls, with room for eight people in each of the club’s six rinks. Now it will be able to run the remaining six months of the year, and members will get double their money’s worth.
ABC applied for the £28,867 grant just 10 weeks ago, costing the project exactly, down to the last pound. It even had to demonstrate that it would run the new installation profitably.
Now the bowlers are just hoping the work will be finished in the autumn, in time to start playing indoors in the winter.
Adult membership for the club costs £89 a year, with reduced membership for younger players.