A DECADES-OLD bowling club struggling to stay afloat as a result of a dwindling membership has launched an urgent appeal to prolong its future.

Over the last year, Royston Bowling Club, on Drift Green, has seen key members of the club step down including the chairperson and treasurer.

This has left the 20 remaining members scrambling to ‘restore it to its former glory’.

John Vickers, a member of the club, believes it’s a part of the fabric of the village and hopes residents will register their interest now that coronavirus restrictions have eased.

The 67-year-old told the Chronicle: “I joined Royston Bowling Club more than two years ago and we had around three separate teams.

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“Around a year ago we had a fair number of key players leave the club - it’s gone downhill ever since and we need to save it.

“At the moment, we have 17 registered bowlers competing in a league and around six social bowlers who come along to enjoy themselves.

“We want to modernise it and bring it into the new century but we’ve not got enough resources.

“I’ve had to turn to grants and funding to keep us going.

“Our aim is to keep the club afloat and restore it to its former glory following a very difficult year.”

John hopes that younger people will take an interest in the game and has reached out to local schools for support.

“It’s no secret that we’re getting older - we get no assistance from Barnsley Council for the upkeep and maintenance of the green so instead there’s only three of us - aged 67 to 80 - left to sort it,” he added.

“We pay for the grass to be cut which is a huge strain on our finances and it’s no longer sustainable.

“We’ve reached out to local schools and youth clubs in the hope of starting an inter-schools challenge or league which will hopefully attract younger players to bowl.

“We’ve got lots of ideas on the horizon but we need people to get behind it or face losing it.”

John has slowly started to grow the club since coming out of the lockdown by recruiting three new members.

He hopes that the growth will start to pick up more frequently in the next few weeks.

“We had around 22 people express an interest in coming down to the greens and giving it a go,” he said.

“Unfortunately only three people actually followed up on their intention which is slightly disheartening. However the three that did show up made it all worth it.

“People are willing to travel out of the area to play bowls but don’t take advantage of the best green in the area at their front door.

“We want to make this more than a bowling green. It’s a hub for people to do gentle exercise or come to socialise after a lonely year.

“It’s at breaking point - we either back it or lose it.”

If you’re interested in joining the club, visit Royston Bowling Green from noon until 3pm every day.