MEMBERS of a Denton sports club were bowled over after the opening of a new £50,000 clubhouse.
It was described as a “phoenix” moment after Tameside Mayor Cllr Denise Ward cut the ribbon at Denton Park Social Bowling Club’s new base which literally has risen from the ashes following an arson attack at Victoria Park.
Tameside Council has provided the replacement clubhouse which is leased to the bowling club which has 70 members aged between 22 and 91 years and is run entirely by volunteers.
The new clubhouse signals the dawn of a new era for the club which was made homeless after an arson attack on its clubhouse in 2017.
It is a dawn of a new era as there has been a change of name from Denton Bowling Club as it is looking to be more inclusive.
Club secretary Tony Moran said: “The change has been made as we want it to be more than a bowling club.
“There are people lonely at home and we would like them to visit us, if only for a cup of tea.
“We are also trying to encompass dementia groups.”
Chair John Pyne spoke about the devastating effect the blaze had.
“We lost half our membership and three teams which equates to three teams,” he explained.
In the season immediately following the arson attack, the five bowling teams temporarily played on greens in Hyde and Ashton.
Last season two teams returned to Victoria Park but there was no plumbing in the new clubhouse which was an inconvenience.
The three other teams remained in Hyde and Ashton.
This season all five teams are back in Denton for their campaigns in various Tameside and Longdendale leagues and John described it as a “new beginning”.
One player delighted to be back in Denton is 91-year-old Ken Street who has been bowling at the club for 26 years after taking up the sport seriously following his retirement.