Shroggs Park BC a victim of price hike

Shroggs Park Bowling Club
Shroggs Park Bowling Club

Historic Shroggs Bowling Club has folded after being unable to meet a massive hike in green fees charged by Calderdale Council.

The decision was taken at the AGM at nearby Lee Mount Club when it became apparent that a falling membership could not afford the £1000 bill for 2015.

Secretary David Wright said: “We have had a falling membership over the years. We have not got any younger bowlers and some of the older ones have died off.

“The levy to the council has increased significantly from £300 last year and for a small club with a small membership it was not affordable.

“Everyone realised that the figures just did not add up.”

Wright thought Shroggs Park had been founded members of the Halifax League, which was formed in 1929.

It had been a thriving and successful club for many years and used two greens until recent times.

Shroggs won the inaugural Halifax League Division One title and lifted it 11 times in total, their final success coming in 1970.

However, Wright said vandalism, which included locals playing football and golf on the playing surface, had forced some better players to leave.

Last season the club competed in the Elland League on Monday evenings, the Sowerby Bridge League on Tuesday evenings and the Halifax Veterans League on Thursday afternoons.

Wright didn’t blame the council for the club’s demise. He said the green had been cut regularly and well looked after.

However, there is a fear more Calderdale clubs could go to the wall, particularly as the council is set to up charges to a minimum of £1,500 per green in 2016.

Alan Dean, secretary of the Sowerby Bridge League, said Shroggs’ decision was sad.

“For many years they were a major club in local bowling and it is another tragedy that they have followed the likes of Akroyd Park, Wellesley Park and Mackintoshes in recent years.”

Halifax League secretary Malcolm Edmondson wasn’t aware of any other local clubs using council greens being in danger of folding.

He said that bowls was still a relatively inexpensive sport for most players.

“It is still a cheap game. Many clubs charge £20 to £30 annual membership and at my club (Ripponden) the match fee is only £1.20,” he said.

He said that paid for a drink for opposition players and a league levy of 25p per player per game.

Meanwhile, Halifax League clubs are to be given longer to decide how many teams they wish to field next season.

The deadline for entries has been put back to January 31 as Edmondson tries to avoid a repeat of the disruption caused by three late withdrawals last year.

The Halifax League is set to have at least one new team for 2015 with Ladyhill BC from Thornton Road, Bradford wanting to join.