A seaside town is fighting to regain the lawn bowls crown with a top competition planned for the summer.
Enthusiasts feared that the world class facilities in Worthing would start to decline following the relocation of the National Men’s Championships to Leamington Spa last year.
But Worthing Pavilion Bowling Club has announced that it has been chosen to host an open tournament based on the Planetbowls format, which anyone can enter.
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The Jack of Clubs competition over the three-day May bank holiday weekend will be the format’s first outdoor with the overall winner pocketing £1,500.
Malcolm Gilbey, chairman of the club in Pavilion Road, said: “Worthing Pavilion Bowing Club has some of the best greens in England, which are looked after by their over 30-year serving full-time professional greenkeeper Vince Ruttledge, which is why pavilion was chosen for the first outside venue.
“The directors of Worthing Pavilion Bowling Club are very pleased that their venue has been chosen for this most prestigious competition.”
The relatively new concept of Planetbowls attracts some of the top bowlers in the UK.
It includes a host of open singles events which operate on a straight knockout with an open drawand best of two sets.
At the end of each season the topranked players on the rankings list qualify for the grand prix events, which are streamed live on the internet for bowls fans all over the world.
It will go some way to replacing the national championships, which took place at Beach House Park in Brighton Road, Worthing, for more than 25 years.
A message on Planetbowls’ website said entries are already “flooding through the letter box in Worthing”.
Worthing Borough Council leader Paul Yallop said: “I know a lot of bowlers were disappointed to be told the national championships would not be returning to Worthing.
“We have some world class bowling greens and so it’s great to hear the tradition of top class bowling will continue with or without the support of Bowls England.
“We were just disappointed that we were not given a fair chance to retain the championships. We made them a very fair offer which did not really get considered.”