Belfast Telegraph

Ban on cricketers using Euromillions lotto winner's estate spreads to Sion Mills' bowlers

By Adrian Rutherford

First it was the cricketers, now it seems that Sion Mills' bowlers have fallen foul of Euromillions winner Margaret Loughrey.

The village's bowlers have been banned from using their green after allegedly disrespecting the £27m lottery winner.

It comes just days after it emerged the local cricket team had to forfeit two home games after being locked out by the millionaire owner of the grounds.

Ms Loughrey acquired the pitches after purchasing the Herdman's Mill site, but said this week that the bowlers are no longer welcome after being unimpressed with their attitude during a recent encounter.

She told the Strabane Chronicle: "I was up there one night with a friend.

"And the attitude from the bowlers wasn't great.

"One of them said to me: 'What are you doing here?'

"I just thought: 'Where are the manners?'"

A member of the bowling club's committee told the Strabane Chronicle that members had been shocked by the development.

"It was the same as with the cricketers, we were phoned to say we weren't allowed to use it (the bowling green) any more, and that was it," they said.

The cricketers and bowlers are hoping to sit down with Ms Loughrey in the coming weeks to try and resolve the matter.

Ms Loughrey said she didn't have time at present for a meeting. "It's down the line, and it's something that I can deal with later," she said.

The cricket club first hit problems in late August.

It was prevented from playing a home fixture on August 30 for the first time in its 150-year history.

The club said at the time that it hoped the dispute would have a positive outcome.

"This incident has created a lot of apprehension in the village and throughout cricketing circles in the north west," officials said.

However, last Saturday the club forfeited its second match, the final game of the season, because the gates to the site were still locked.

Background

Lottery winner Margaret Loughrey was hailed as a hero after buying a derelict mill at Sion Mills and saving it from being turned into a bio-waste plant. Residents have thanked the £27m lottery winner who is now planning to turn the Herdman's Mill site into a tourist attraction with sports facilities. The Strabane woman (49) – who was unemployed when she won the EuroMillions jackpot last December – is believed to have bought the 62-acre Mill site for around £1m, but it will cost millions more to turn it into a tourist attraction. The purchase of Herdman's Mills included land owned by the village's cricket and bowls club.

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