I do love a game of bowls. Indoor bowls. Short-mat bowls to be precise. It is nothing like the high-tech, razzmatazz of ten-pin-bowling to be sure. Nor the more sedate outside game which is played on fine green lawns in all kinds of British weather! This is a game created e for small villages and scaled down from the longer rinks of 'proper' indoor bowls clubs, especially to fit into village halls and community centres.
The sponge-backed mats are around 13 metres long and are set down with a block of wood across the middle for added interest (and annoyance)! A game of great skill, it's rather a shame it suffers from a dull image as it can get very competitive and noisy at times! Many, indeed most of the players are senior citizens who enjoy the socialising and buzz of competition and it's good to see folk getting out and about, visiting different venues.
Often our club hosts other teams from our local league and vice versa. The groups usually turn up in team colours and their bowls, which are weighted so they move with a bias, are marked with coloured team stickers. My own bowls are quite small compared to some of the those the gents use so I am disadvantaged sometimes as mine tend to rebound off the bigger ones. Conversely, I can sometimes use their smaller size to 'trickle' through to the small, heavy cott (or jack) via narrow gaps!
All teams observe the formalities of a friendly handshake at the beginning and end of each practice game or competition match and we generally have a good experience though some, it but be said, take the game a lot more seriously than others.
It's a pity more young people don't play either long or short mat bowls. One or two are now coming through and I must say jazzier clothing and the newer coloured bowls are a step in the right enticing direction. They're proving very popular and lend bright touches to the rinks. Our team shirts too have brightened up. We are now kitted out in white with orange and black trim. Very snazzy!
Our small club usually languishes somewhere in the middle of the league tables but this season, dressed to kill, we're determined to be promoted. We shall see...