Hundreds turn-out to get Marlpit Lane’s season underway

Hundreds of Croydon residents – and quite a few from further afield – turned out to celebrate the reopening of the bowling green in Coulsdon Memorial Ground last Saturday.

Andrew Newell putting the greens to good use at Marlpit Lane last weekend

Andrew Newell putting the greens to good use at Marlpit Lane last weekend

The event was organised by the Friends of Marlpit Lane Bowling Green, the local volunteers who have restored the green after the council ceased support in 2011.

A day of free play and free putting equipment-hire proved a massive draw on the Easter Saturday, with the first visitors arriving almost an hour before the event was due to start. After the unexpectedly early opening, the Friends were ably assisted by the scouts in the morning, and leader Neil Burtenshaw took a hand in coaching the younger players. Proving that lawn bowls is open to players of any age or background, the Junior Ace bowls were scarcely out of use all day.

The scene at a busy Marlpit Lane opening day last Saturday. The bowling green is open from 2pm most days, circumstances permitting

The scene at a busy Marlpit Lane opening day last Saturday. The bowling green is open from 2pm most days, circumstances permitting

Local bowling figures in attendance included Andrew Newell of LawnBowls Jamaica and Ron Collingridge, local author of Bowls, not Balls, who took a turn coaching during the afternoon. Candidates in the upcoming local elections, Gill Hickson, Margaret Bird and Charles King all lent their support.

The event closed almost an hour later than expected, with the final bowlers leaving the green just after 5pm.

The putting green, re-opened as an additional attraction this year, was similarly busy throughout the day, as many golfers turned up to try-out the re-cut course. Equipment was available from the bowling hut, and proved to be in high demand. Two holes-in-one were scored during the day, even if the full 18 holes were a bit too much for some, who cut their round short to visit the 19th hole at the Poppy Cafe.

The bowling green will now be open from 2pm to 6pm (circumstances permitting) throughout the remainder of the bowling season. Season tickets and household season tickets are also available.

Before it closed, the green was one of the few public greens in the area and open to anyone to turn up and play. With the bowling green now restored to playing condition, the Friends aim to offer the same opportunity.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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