Bowlers and snooker players claim they are no longer welcome at the Canalside sports complex in the wake of Huddersfield Town’s promotion to the Premier League.
Long-term users of the facility, which is owned by Town chairman Dean Hoyle, say they have been treated badly by the club over plans to reduce snooker provision and bulldoze one of the club’s two bowling greens.
Snooker players in their 60s, 70s and 80s are set to meet with club management on Tuesday evening (June 20) for an update on changes, which began five years ago when two snooker tables were removed.
Now they expect to see the remaining six tables reduced by three, with the inevitable knock-on effect on games and tournaments.
And bowlers say Town has given notice to six teams that currently play on the site’s back green to leave by the end of the month as the space is needed “in connection with their Premier League status.”
Town took over the former Syngenta sports club in 2011 pledging not to change facilities used by existing groups for at least 15 years.
That changed 18 months later with the loss of two snooker tables, angering veterans who played in the Huddersfield Snooker League. They also revealed that there had been changes to charges and at one point players were refused access to the tables until 9am, two hours later than before.
Mervyn Williams, 83, who is captain of the Veterans’ ‘B’ snooker team, said: “There’s great anxiety and disgust in many cases. I am sure the young lads feel the same. I have tried to get in touch with the club secretary but I was told that I could not have his number. Whenever we want something there seems to be a barrier between us, the people behind the bar, and management.
“Previously it’s been very harmonious. Now they are riding roughshod over anyone to do with snooker or bowling in order to do whatever they need after entering the Premier League.”
Bowler Philip Walker said the timing of the redevelopment could not be worse.
“It comes in the middle of the bowling season. All six teams can’t be accommodated on the front pitch and the chances of the teams being found alternative greens is not good.
“This is yet another blow to Huddersfield bowlers following the loss of facilities at the new sports centre.”
A spokesman for the club said he was unable to comment prior to the meeting with members.