Get on the Green
If you’re looking for a sociable sport that keeps you active, then crown green bowling could be for you
When it comes to crown green bowling, Lancashire led the way back in the 19th century and is still a key county when it comes to the game. Probably more widely known for being played up north and in the Midlands, Blackpool and the Fylde is just one of the many areas, where people can enjoy it.
So why is it called crown green bowls? Lawn bowls and crown green bowls are both played outdoors, however instead of playing on a flat green, the main difference is that the centre of the bowling green has a raised surface called the crown.
Not to be confused with flat green bowling. Flat greens, known as rinks, are on a large surface of grass as level as possible. On one area there can be many rinks of around 16 feet wide and 120 feet long. This is the standard flat green rink size and can only vary very slightly.
Many may think crown green bowling isn’t really a sport, but it became more popular after it began to be televised, back in the 1960s when the BBC went to the Waterloo Hotel in Blackpool to record a tournament.
It’s a game of skill, concentration and not only is it a social sport but it’s good for you too as you are outside and it’s a gentle way to keep active.
Whilst it may seem like it’s a game that is played by the more mature or retired person, it is actually a game for all ages, sex or physical abilities, with many clubs having junior teams.
I spoke with Peter Jose who is secretary of three leagues on the Fylde Coast. He said: “The cubs around here have been established for some time,” he said. “There’s a mixture of mixed teams, men’s, ladies, vets or juniors. Although at the moment we are not seeing many juniors come through. It’s not really something that’s promoted at school and so they don’t necessarily know about it, unless they have a parent or grandparent who plays it. I’d say any youngsters from the starting age of 8-10 can have a go.
“It’s a great social sport that everyone enjoys. However, it can get quite competitive on the green sometimes.”
The season starts from 1st April and goes on to the end of September and is usually played in all weather, providing both captains are happy to play on.
So, what are the rules? “The game is played with bowls and a jack,” said Peter. “The leader must bowl the jack to set a mark of around 19 metres. The opponent may make objection after the first bowl has been played, a measurement then takes place to decide the objection. The method of scoring is one point for each bowl nearer to the jack than an opponents. No player is allowed to change the jack or bowls unless they are so damaged as to be unplayable. At the conclusion of an end, neither the jack or any bowl which is claimed to count is allowed to be moved without the consent of the opponent. If the home team wins on aggregate, they will get two points, if the away team wins on aggregate, they will receive three points.”
For team matches, they play home and away and depending on the number of teams in a league, can be playing up to 46 matches per year.
With green locations in Lancashire covering everywhere from Blackburn and Darwen to Preston, Lancaster and Morecambe, Blackpool and Lytham, there really will be a club near you.
“If you are looking to find out more about crown green bowling,” said Peter, “the best bet is to come down to a few different clubs and have a look round. Depending on the club will depend on what day or evening they play, and the facilities and membership fees will vary from club to club.
“It’s all about enjoying ourselves, meeting new people but there’s a serious side to the game as well.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about joining a crown green bowling club on the Fylde Coast, can email Peter at: firstname.lastname@example.org