Lavington Sports Club closure | Lawn bowlers can still use greens

PANTHERS Group management hasn’t ruled out allowing Lavington bowlers to stay permanently at their rinks despite the closure of the licensed club.

Group chief Warren Wilson met bowls officials yesterday and they were given an assurance they could continue at the club until a buyer came forward.

Mr Wilson said long-term it would be up to the bowlers to negotiate with the future land owners.

The club has 70 male members and its annual meeting was only held last week.

It is largely self sufficient with volunteer staff, including president Mike Hodgess and Ross Forbes, helping with greens maintenance.

“We are still going,” Mr Hodgess said.

“At the moment it is business as usual.

“Until something is settled we are still bowling.”

The Lavington Football-Netball Club will need to find another place for post-match functions at its home games.

The sports club is a sponsor, but the Panthers are not bankrolled by the sports club like they were in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Panthers president Peter Barwick said his biggest concern was for the sports club staff.

“Our thoughts are with them at the moment,” he said.

“It is definitely a kick in the guts to the Lavington community to lose a facility like that.”

Mr Barwick said it was premature to speculate whether the club would return to calling itself the Blues after it was renamed the Panthers in 2001 when the Panthers Group took over the sports club.

The Panthers football and cricket teams have a long-term lease with Albury Council to use the oval.