ACOMB Bowling Club members have played the last game at the club’s home of more than a century.

The club – which was founded in 1900 and is thought to be the oldest in York – has been struggling for membership and has sold off its land to a property developer.

York West Developments will acquire the site on which 10 houses are planned to be built, on the proviso that they pay £20,000 to York RI for the expansion of bowling facilities in the city.

At their peak, Acomb had around 150 members, which started to decrease in the 1990s and finally reached its present number of 18.

And on Sunday, September 30, at 2pm as usual, the nine remaining active members of the club took to the lawn for a defiant last outing.

With so few still playing, the club had not been able to bowl competitively last season, although in previous years, they have enjoyed great successes. In the 1980s, for example, the club enjoyed no fewer than four county honours, and was home to six county-standard bowlers.

“It’s a very sad day for us,” said the chairperson of 24 years, who didn’t want to be named.

“We’ve had to end 118 years of bowling because of a lack of members. We used to have over a hundred, now we have 18. And nobody’s coming into the game, as far as we’re concerned.

“Eight or nine members bowled through this summer, but the remainder of the members are either ill or not in a position to bowl anymore.

“We have been very competitive and well-known. In the past we have had some fantastic bowlers who have been Yorkshire presidents and captains.

“But bowling, as a sport, is on the decline and we have come the end of our ability to continue.”

The club was founded by railwaymen at the turn of last century, and the small pavilion at the entrance is a first-class train carriage, which was extended in the early 1980s, with members putting in money they never asked for back – and they did not regret the personal expense as it meant the “exciting” prospect of owning their own club.

Now, the clubhouse has been cleared of belongings, spread between St Sampson’s Centre, other bowling clubs and West Yorkshire cricket clubs. On October 20, a group of North York Moors railway enthusiasts will are going to pavilion to see if there is any cladding they can salvage from the carriage. Any offer of payment was asked to be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.