A SPORTS club in Witham is teetering on the brink of closure within sight of its 30th birthday due to a lack of members.

Mill Lane Bowls Club, which was established in 1990, has seen membership fall drastically in the past eight years, from 62 in the early-2010s to just 20 active members today.

Club leader Andy Tutton is now urging anyone who is interested in the sport to go along and give it a try.

He said: “We had a meeting at the end of the season because the membership was so low.

“Every winter, with old age and people moving away, we lose five or six.

“If you’re in reasonably good health you can play into your 80s.

“We’ve got a couple of options. We could join with another club, we could change the way the club works, we could stop doing tournaments.

“We’ve got money – we’ve got a couple of grand in the bank.

“The council has been very generous, they’ve given us a couple of grants.

“The issue is that people see bowls on TV and they see old people playing.

“The ideal member for us is somebody who’s just coming up to retirement.”

Andy said the club, whose members have an average age of 70, has put on open days to boost interest, but these have fallen short of their desired impact.

There are two bowls clubs in Witham. The other is Witham Bowls Club, on Collingwood Road, which was established in 1904 and today attracts high-calibre local players.

Andy said that if Mill Lane closes, its members are unlikely to transfer across town.

He said: “We’re trying to get a deal together with Hatfield Peverel Bowls Club who are in a similar position to us.

“We’re in the North Essex League and we’re doing quite well.

“We’re in the B Division which is quite good for a small club.

“But the main thing we have is a ‘roll up’, which is a casual event we have every day at 1pm.

“It’s such a friendly atmosphere.

“It’s a very social game, the etiquette is part of the rules.

“We’ve got all the kit. All you need is to come along with flat shoes and have a go.

“You can pick up the basics in the first couple of sessions which we teach.”

Membership at Mill Lane is £40 a year. To find out more, call 07967 309883.