The various sporting clubs based at Shaw Lane are determined to help the umbrella organisation in its fight for survival due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The venue has been running for more than 150 years and hosts Barnsley’s rugby union, cricket, squash, bowls and archery clubs as well as Barnsley Harriers running club.  Director Mick Dewsnap is hopeful it will survive but admits the loss of income during the lockdown is causing major problems.

Ian Meade is the chairman of both Barnsley Squash Club, which plays in the Yorkshire Premier League and has had a series of internationals in recent years, and the Harriers. Each club has more than 200 active members. He said: “Both of the clubs I am involved with will do everything they can help to help Shaw Lane. Speaking on behalf of both clubs, we love it there and it is a fantastic facility. The idea of it not being there doesn’t bear thinking about.

"The squash club has been there since the early 1970s and it is the biggest section that pays rent, which is many thousands of pounds per year. That has been paid in advance. It would be very very difficult to play squash anywhere else in Barnsley. The athletics club just use the changing room and showers and some of the members have a drink in the bar. But they very much enjoy those facilities and are happy to be based there.”

John Tumman’s Barnsley Karate Centre had only moved to Shaw Lane from the town centre in January.  He said: “We had been there for ten weeks when we had to close.  “We had just got our numbers up to the point where I had to stop taking new starters. I really feel for Shaw Lane and we need to make sure that they are there for everyone when we come back. I didn’t realise until we moved, how much they do – especially for kids and for older people. There is a real family feel to it, not a corporate feel. It’s a big part of the town. In my opinion, it is too big to fail but I don’t know any details about the finances.” 

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Barnsley Cricket Club has been based at Shaw Lane for more than a century, although it is now called Barnsley Woolley Miners and also has a base in Woolley.  Cricket chairman Phil Chapman said: “Every section is going to be struggling.  Barnsley cricket has been associated with Shaw Lane for so long and the likes of Darren Gough, Dickie Bird and Martyn Moxon have played there. If we have to work alongside the Shaw Lane club to help them through this, we are definitely willing to do so. We have already paid our rent for 2020 and that has been covered by an emergency grant we have received from Sport England.”  

Full story in this week's Chronicle.