Our Members and guests were totally “bowled over” by an opportunity to learn how to play bowls at Canterbury Bowling Club as part of our outing to the club for our lunch meeting on Tuesday.
The bowling club was first established in 1897 and is situated very near the Kent & Canterbury Hospital, where it's been located for around two decades. A couple of our Members (PPs Mike Talbot and Alan Mepstead) are also members of the club so, together with their fellow bowlers, welcomed us there.
After lunch cooked by the catering staff at the Club, a thank you to the cooks, a welcome to visitors (including Momtaz Chowdhury, who we’ve written about separately), and a brief introduction to Maddie McConomy (head of coaching), we all headed to the beautifully kept bowling green. Flat shoes (without heels) are a must to preserve the green - as is the need to be respectful of it when playing the game.
We were reminded that "bowling is a game for everyone...it's not too strenuous so it doesn't matter too much how fit you are".
Those that wanted to have a go at bowling were divided up into groups, with each group being assigned a member of the club to teach us about the bowls and how to play the game. As well as Maddie, Mike and Alan, one of the people who helped instruct us was Michael Hutchison, an English Bowls Coach who was going to be playing in the first round of the National Over 55s Singles later in the day!
The first thing we had to do was to collect the right set of bowls - according to our hand size. We learnt how to hold the bowl correctly, and were told the significance of the circles on either side of the bowl and we learnt about bias. The challenge of course is that the bias means the bowls do not travel in a straight line, but curve in.
A yellow jack was put into place - the aim for us being to get our bowl as close to the jack as possible. (Usually you would play as teams but we didn't do this as we were very much at the learning stage.)
During our session we were reminded how bowls is a sociable activity and suitable for people of all ages, young or old. As Mike says "Literally, just have a go!"
Our Members and guests certainly had a super time - although some proved to have more natural skill than others. "I was awful," laughed one Member. "I don't think anyone would want me on their team, but it’s really lovely to have this chance to find out about the game, so a big thanks to all those who took time to organise our visit and help us."
To find out more about Canterbury Bowling Club, click here. They are always on the lookout for more members.
Picture: Past President Martin Ward and others have a go at bowling. Picture credit: Rotary Club of Canterbury.
We will have more pictures on our Facebook page soon.