“CRIPPLING” rent and utility costs are the reasons behind the closure of Rugby Snooker Club after 74 years.
Formerly known as Rugby Billiard Club, it was located above retailers Burtons in High Street and has been home to Rugby’s elite snooker players for decades. The club’s former owner, Colin Peake, who ploughed tens of thousands of pounds into the club, died late last year, making the club’s financial future even more uncertain.
Tina and Andy Brough took over the day-to-day running of the club as Mr Peake’s health deteriorated. Andy was a member of the club for 25 years and owner of the club’s academy, which worked with Rugby youngsters.
He said: “The club’s closure is a sad reflection on Rugby’s dramatic decline in town centre trade. Every other shop in our High Street is empty and our business just doesn’t attract people any more.
“The huge supermarket chains have taken over and the internet boom means people, especially youngsters, just don’t spend as much time on games like snooker any more.”
Mark Wakelin, a member of the club since he was a child, said: “Myself and other members are gutted. My father played there, I played there and my son has also played there but now it’s all gone.
“One of my fondest childhood memories is of watching Willie Thorne and Rex Williams play there when I was eight, but now the place is gone forever.”
He added: “It’s a sign of the times - snooker is dying out because younger people are more interested in playing video games.”
If anyone has cues or other belongings in the club, they can contact Ant on 07742 825191.