Francis Drake's British bowling green faces closure

3rd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The bowling green where Britain's Francis Drake played as the Spanish Armada were sighted off England's south coast could be closed as part of sweeping public spending cuts.

Drake, who went on to lead the English fleet, is reputed to have said "there is plenty of time to win this game and thrash the Spaniards too," after being told of the Armada's arrival.

The green on Plymouth Hoe, southwest England, will close unless the users of the facility decide to pay for its upkeep themselves.

The three clubs that use the green claim that their income is not even a quarter of the 20,000 pounds (32,600 dollars, 23,500 euros) a year needed to run the facility.

The local council can no longer foot the bill due to a 10-million-pound reduction in its budget.

Ron Williams, captain of the City of Plymouth Bowling Club, pleaded with the authorities to keep the clubs running.

"Our green must be the most important and historic bowling green in the world," he told The Times newspaper.

"It would be devastating if it went into ruin. Obviously we are very worried about the future," he added. "None of us are in great health and the bowling provides us with recreation and wellbeing."

Bowls is believed to have been played on the green prior to Drake's victory over the marauding Spanish fleet in 1588. Its clubhouse was damaged by a German bomb during World War II when it housed an anti-aircraft battery.

© 2011 AFP

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