Fury as ‘state of green’ sees contest cancelled

PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Henry Edwards and fellow members of the Preston Blind Bowling Club on Moor Park
PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Henry Edwards and fellow members of the Preston Blind Bowling Club on Moor Park
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Members of Preston’s blind bowling club today told of their upset after being forced to cancel a landmark tournament – claiming council bosses have not stumped up cash to improve the greens.

Town Hall bosses announced earlier this year their intention to spend almost £200,000 on making much needed drainage improvements to Moor Park.

But members of the blind bowling club say they have been lobbying for two years for simple improvements to the bowling greens, but claim they have repeatedly been told there is not enough money.

The work would involved scarifying and fertilising the greens.

Now the club states they are in such a state, the club has been forced to cancel a major Guild tournament which would have seen clubs from all over the country travelling to Preston.

But the council today says the greens have been maintained over the winter and the authority cannot be held responsible for vandalism through regular public use of the park.

Henry Edwards, 71, from the bowling club, said: “Every time there is a major event in Preston – the last Guild year and the Millennium – we have had a big tournament over the weekend, bringing teams from Gateshead, Bristol, London.

“We told the council if the greens were not brought up to standard they would look a disgrace. But they have not done it so we have had to cancel this year’s tournament.

“About a fortnight ago they said they were going to spend £200,000 on Moor Park. For two years we have had meetings with the council trying to get the greens brought up to standard and they have always said they have got no money.”

Mr Edwards, from Leyland, says the club, which was founded in 1982 and currently has 12 visually impaired bowlers, has members competing to be part of the England set-up.

But he says members struggle to play on pristine greens elsewhere after having to adapt to playing on Moor Park’s divot-strewn facilities. A spokesman for Preston Council said: “The bowling pitches have had full winter maintenance this winter and we have maintained them as much as we can.

“They are public bowling greens and as a result they do suffer from things like people playing football on them.”