“YOU have a long, flowing, natural swing and delivery, Felicity.”
I couldn’t believe it – these were words I never expected to hear to describe my very first attempt at lawn bowling.
My “hilarious” news editor thought it would be funny to try to humiliate me by sending me out on an assignment at Eldon Grove Bowl’s Club’s open day to have a shot at the sport.
But his attempts at trying to make me look like the Mail’s answer to Bridget Jones failed because it turns out I’m not bad. And that’s from the experts!
I was put on a team with experienced bowlers Norman Bell, Mike Pears and Kai Sanders, who were very welcoming and gave me a brief rundown of the basic terms and rules of the game.
The balls are called “woods” because they were traditionally made out of wood, despite them now being made from a mixture of plastic and metal.
Each wood is a slightly mishaped ball with two different sized circular markings on either side – the smaller of the two indicating which direction the ball will swing in (they do not go in straight lines as I soon found out).
And you basically have to throw the bowl at a small white ball called the “jack”, watched by an elected member of each team called the “skips”.
You’ve also got to keep one foot on a bowls mat, and make sure you don’t put too much power into your throw otherwise your wood will end up in a ditch on the other side.
Not much to think about then. Good job I’m a woman and can multi-task – must have taken some practice for the fellas in the club (I’m joking...honest.)
Anyway, after watching the fine swings of my team mates, it was my turn to take to the green.
My first shot was not perfect to say the least, with the bowl curving to the left, well away from the jack.
But after learning from this experience, my subsequent shots were really quite good, with one of my bowls getting the closest to the white jack ball.
One club member hollered over: “You have a long, flowing, natural swing and delivery, Felicity. Have you played before?”
I asked if this kind gentleman was “taking the mick”, but he wasn’t apparently.
Club president David Payne echoed his fellow member’s opinion, saying: “I think you did very, very well for your first time. As our 91-year-old honourary life member Francis Lancaster always says, “it’s all about the length, the line and the look”.
“If you can master that then you’ve got it.” I was chuffed to bits. I still am, and I’d recommend the game to anyone.