Bowled out! OAP turfed out of 140-year-old bowling club after complaints of 'rowdiness and vandalism'

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New Inn Bowling Club members (l-r) Peter Watts, Mike Defaye, Ron Worthington (old landlord of pub) and George Smith (Secretary for 40 years ), and Len Gillmen, pictured in 1991 (SWNS)

Elderly members of a 140-year-old bowling club have been turfed off their green - after complaints of 'rowdy behaviour and vandalism' during matches.

Pensioners at the New Inn Bowling Club in Harborne, Birmingham, were stunned when killjoy officials kicked them out last week due to 'poor levels of etiquette'.

The OAP bowlers, some in their late 70s, were accused of noise nuisance, damaging toilets and not bringing in enough revenue.

The new licensee of the pub, landlord Matt Scriven, has now banned the 35 members from the plush 82ft (25m) bowling green - and plans to turn the playing surface into a beer garden instead.

The New Inn is the oldest bowling club in Birmingham, having attracted teams four times a week since it opened in the 1870s.

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Senior members at the club, some of whom have just shelled out £500 on fees as the new season approaches, have vowed to fight the ban.

Club members say it's the 'end of an era' - and have insisted they've only received one direct complaint about their behaviour.

Club chairman John Beeston, 76, said: "In 30-years I've been a member we've only had one complaint, and that was from the pub manager.

"As far as the noise is concerned, I thought that was quite accepted - you get teams cheering on their players.

"It's the end of an era, but we're not taking this lying down.

"We were told the club members had poor levels of etiquette but I find that staggering.

"Everyone who plays here just wants to have fun and play bowls, we're hardly football hooligans."

One regular, who did not want to be named, added: "We have made this place what it is over the years.

"The bowling attracts custom and what pub doesn't have a bit of noise outside.

"We are all granddads we're hardly yobs keeping people up until the early hours. It's just a bit of fun."

But defiant pub boss Mr Scriven - who took over in April - claims he has been swamped with complaints from local residents and the council about the groups noisy antics.

Licensee Matt Scriven claimed the bowling club had been threatened with a noise abatement order from Birmingham City Council last August.

He also said the club only generated £2,000-a -year for his business and turning the unusual L-shaped green into a beer garden would bring in more cash.

He added that only 16 members of the club play regularly, and that as their fixtures are not publicised, they get very little support and are not generating enough cash.

Mr Scriven said: "We have had a number of noise complaints, many about the level of etiquette from the bowlers on the green.

"We've had letters from residents and the council which puts us in a difficult position.

"During the last game of the season the manager asked them to keep the noise down and there was an act of vandalism in the toilet.

"We were anticipating hosting nice genteel games of mature gentlemen all wearing white uniforms but this was not the case.

"There was alcohol served and people can be over exuberant when they've had a drink.

"It was decided that, in the best interests of the venue, the club should find an alternative place to stage their games."

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