MILLPORT Bowling Club will roll back into action on Saturday - but have had to put plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary on hold.

Established in 1871, its greens has hosted many club and national tournaments - including one of the oldest tournaments in Ayrshire which is still played annually between Largs and Millport.

The club hoped to stage a major party to mark the milestone, but this had been put on ice as members try to plot a path out of lockdown.

The club picture - taken in March 2020 before Covid arrived - was a sign of happier times, but 2020 proved to be a year to forget say club bosses.

President Christine McCubbin, who has been a member since 1985, says the committee is determined to chart a course to recovery.

She said: "Before the virus, this was a very busy club with a licensed bar.

"We hosted a lot of events all year round, including a New Year's Day party, two bridge clubs and the island's only 18 hole putting green.

"We are trying to make it semi-normal on May 1 with the delivery of the jack and declaring the club open for the season.

"We are hoping that later in the year we can have a proper celebration. Because of the Covid-19 rules at the moment we can't use the kitchen.

"We have such a long and proud history, with photos of every president since the club opened in 1871, it would be a real shame not to mark that properly."

The general membership of the club stands at 60 and Christine says government grants and members paying their fees last year, despite bowling being limited to only a few months, saw them through.

She told the News a lot of work has gone into making this weekend's opening as memorable as possible, giving 2021's significance.

She added: "We have a similar situation to Douglas Park where North Ayrshire Council tend our greens and cut our grass and we pay them. It is a great arrangement.

"We have done a lot to modernise parts of the club and we have been working very hard over the past fortnight or so to have the place looking as it good as it can be for its 150th anniversary year."

Some remarkable artefacts from days gone by have been found within the grounds of the club during the clean up - including an original scythe for cutting the grass and an old roller to flatten the green.

Largs and Millport bowling clubs annually play for The Forest Trophy which has been a regular fixture between the clubs since the 1870s.