Bowls players win season opener

BOWLS players in north Suffolk have won their first match of the summer season even before a wood is bowled.The sportsmen and women, including many elderly residents, were horrified to learn that Waveney District Council intended abolishing season tickets this summer in a move expected to provide a saving of £6,000.

BOWLS players in north Suffolk have won their first match of the summer season even before a wood is bowled.

The sportsmen and women, including many elderly residents, were horrified to learn that Waveney District Council intended abolishing season tickets this summer in a move expected to provide a saving of £6,000.

Bowlers contacted council officers and officials to register their disapproval of the plans and suggested other ways of securing the saving needed.

David Young, leader of the Liberal Democrats and a member of the council's Executive, was one of a number of councillors who asked for the matter to be reconsidered.


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"The issue of abolishing season tickets at this late stage has upset a large number bowls clubs and individuals," he said.

Following a meeting with representatives of the bowls players council officials have re-instated season tickets and set out a new range of charges.

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Season tickets will cost £132 for the coming season, up from £105 last year, and will give holders unlimited play on council greens from May to September.

Concessionary tickets, available to people qualifying for a Passport to Leisure discount, will go up from £68.35 to £99.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council, said: "After taking the bowlers views on board officers looked at the practicalities of abolishing the season ticket for 2003.

"A downturn in games played may occur.

A 10% downturn was allowed in our calculations but as this is an unknown factor it could result in a greater downturn creating less income."

This was a point made by Mr Young at a meeting of the council's executive.

"Far from bringing in extra revenue, abolishing season tickets will discourage many people from playing and the council will actually be worse off," he said.

Another reason for the change is the difficulty of collecting the fees for the bowlers if they were all charged at an hourly rate.

"The amount of time and cost of labour to collect all hourly rates every day for every player would increase considerably.

"It will now be possible for the attendant to carry out some gardening works in the parks while keeping an eye out for customers wishing to play bowls," said the council spokesman.

As many large matches involve up to 40 bowlers it would have taken some time to collect their hourly fees.

"The bowls clubs have already arranged and secured their fixtures for 2003.

"To abolish season tickets at such a late stage could affect their membership," said the council spokesman.

The bowls players will now be hoping for some fine weather to enjoy their sport during the summer months.

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