George Gibb admits he wore the look of an anxious man as he peered across the green at Caerleon Bowls Club earlier this summer.
“It was a bit of a jungle, to be honest,” says the club’s former chairman.
“We were looking out and worrying a little at the state of things, which weren’t good. Our regular contractor who maintained the green wasn’t able to do it and after a lot of rain earlier in the year, things were starting to grow very quickly.
“The thing about a bowls green is that if you lose control, then it can take quite a lot of time to get it back to a good condition.
“Once a green has moss growing on it and then bare patches appear, it can quickly become unplayable.”
Fortunately, for the 50-odd members who play at the venue just across the road from the town’s football club, help was at hand in the form of emergency funding from Sport Wales.
£400 grant from the Be Active Wales Fund
The club made an application and received a grant of £400 from the Be Active Wales Fund, which has allowed them to keep not so much the wolf from the door, as the moss from the edge of the turf.
Founded in 1951, Caerleon are a members’ club, who run four men’s teams and one women’s team, all of which compete in local leagues. Four qualified coaches offer skills sessions on a Thursday night.
The club have run their own facility at Cold Bath Lane on a lease from Newport City Council since 2013.
Since that year, they have also shared their green with Newport Athletic Bowls Club, who were left without a home when the Dragons rugby region decided to re-develop Rodney Parade.
Without the grant to pay for green maintenance, then up to 100 bowlers in Gwent would have been left without somewhere to roll their woods on a summer’s evening once coronavirus pandemic restrictions were eased enough for socially distant bowls a month ago.