Thousands of members at a Cowley pool and snooker bar were able to play on tonight after the business was rescued from administration.

Rileys Sports Bar, in Between Towns Road, was one of 78 across the UK bought by private investors securing the future for 5,000 members and eight staff.

It escaped the cut after 25 clubs ceased trading and 146 jobs were lost as bosses called in the administrators.

Chief executive Maurice Kelly said: “We are desperately sorry that we could not take everyone with us but we’ve worked hard to rescue the majority of our clubs, saving 625 jobs.

“Continuing cash flow and trading difficulties on the high street have forced this administration but the new company has been fortunate in securing significant investment from private sources to take the business forward and to secure one of the oldest names in British sport.”

Mr Kelly also blamed the failure on the smoking ban and changes to the Gambling Act which disadvantaged commercial snooker clubs.

But he added: “It is really encouraging to be able to attract new investment to take the company forward.”

It is the second time the Milton Keynes-based business has gone into administration in recent years.

In 2009, 198 staff lost their jobs when the company called in administrators after suffering from a downturn in trade and large debts.

Rileys, which operated 165 clubs at its peak, was founded in the 1870s by Irish entrepreneur E J Riley, who lived in Manchester.

Allan Graham, joint administrator and restructuring partner at finance specialist KPMG, said: “The business has a large and loyal membership base, which made it an attractive acquisition opportunity.

“We are pleased we have been able to rescue the majority of the business.”