Bowling's Wembley in dire straits

The Waterloo Bowling Club at Blackpool, the Wembley of crown green bowling, appears to be in dire financial trouble after issuing pleas for help from the bowling world.

The previous management team seem to have withdrawn their involvement and a new team is in place attempting to come to terms with saving the site intrinsically linked to all that is best in crown green bowling. Even before the coronavirus pandemic had affected the bowling programme, all early events for 2020 at the Waterloo had been cancelled with the likely intent to cancel all events in 2020 due to several factors. These included negotiating a new lease agreement with the freeholders and a new 10-year lease has subsequently been agreed in principle but not yet signed by either party.

It also included the demolition of the East Stand for safety reasons and this has been completed. There is also a long list of structural problems to the other three stands including some asbestos-related concerns that needed addressing before any competition can be staged at the venue.

A recently released set of figures shows that the new team has just £2,682.98 in the bank and a long list of structural problems to tackle before reopening the venue.

A recently released statement from the new team is below.

We are focussing on what we can do and there are two things we want to bring to your attention with a view to 2021. 1. Accounts – we have prepared some accounts from when we took over in August 2019 to April 2020.

2. Structural work funding – when we do get to the bottom of the structural work required and the agreed cost – this will need funding. In simple terms – if we can’t fund it – the work won’t be able to be done and we are unlikely to be able to continue bowling at the facility.

The accounts show an inherited balance of £7,568 on 1 September 2019 and a new balance of £2,683 as at 20 April 2020. The records show that they received donations totalling over £10,000 in that same period so the situation could have been even worse without that income.

The statement goes on to ask for help and volunteers to address all these problems and more information about all this can be found on their Facebook pages. At the same location you can also see the previously mentioned set of accounts and the lengthy report on the structural problems that need addressing.

At the same time they are seeking some commitment from the BCGBA to holding future tournaments and finals on that green as this income is key to their continuing existence. All in all it is not a good picture that is being painted and the future looks very bleak for this iconic venue.

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