Parker to leave Waterloo

The Waterloo Bowls final in Blackpool ended in controversy when finalist Steve Freer from Birmingham declared himself unfit to play, handing the trophy to Whitfield's Gary Ellis without a wood bowled.'Gary (centre) accepts the trophy from organiser Jim Parker (left) and Dave Mitchell from sponsors Osprey.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'19-9-2012
The Waterloo Bowls final in Blackpool ended in controversy when finalist Steve Freer from Birmingham declared himself unfit to play, handing the trophy to Whitfield's Gary Ellis without a wood bowled.'Gary (centre) accepts the trophy from organiser Jim Parker (left) and Dave Mitchell from sponsors Osprey. PIC BY ROB LOCK'19-9-2012
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Waterloo bowls manager Jim Parker is quitting the job at the South Shore stadium after 12 years.

And one of the green’s flagship competitions, the Spring Waterloo, which starts on Friday, has been switched to the Raikes Hall Hotel green in the resort and hastily renamed the Spring Classic.

Parker is leaving the job after failing to agree terms of a new contract with businessman Peter Flynn, who holds the lease for the Waterloo pub, which is currently closed, and the iconic green which is known as the Wembley of crown green bowls.

Parker said: “The package offered to me for running the Waterloo was just not feasible. No way could I make a living or even survive on that rate.

“I have tried over the last 12 years to help the Waterloo survive and it has been a struggle.

“Hopefully, I have done that, but it has been at great expense to me and my family.”

“I am sure this will be a shock and possibly a worry to many, but the proposal put to me just made it impossible for me to survive with the amount of work that is needed to organise these events.

“I feel the new set-up is something I don’t wish to be part of. The new proprietor and the present owner are talking about putting substantial investment into the public house and the stadium to improve facilities, which has been needed for years.

“I hope the people who run the Waterloo all the success for the future.”

Parker said he had taken entrance money for the Waterloo spring competition which would now be moved to the Raikes.

The Waterloo stages a wide range of bowling tournaments for men, women, juniors and pairs, highlighted by the autumn handicap, the most-coveted crown green bowls event in the country. Its list of winners is a Who’s Who of the game’s greats.

It was first staged in 1907 and is a Blackpool sporting institution.

The competition is played at the only purpose-built outdoor bowling stadium in the country.

Leaseholder Flynn said he would only comment about his plans for bowling at the venue after a meeting of interested parties today, though he did indicate that the outlook for the green and the Waterloo pub was positive.