The Chance Inn in the village of Guston was the choice of venue for club members who met to enjoy the outdoor version of the game called Skittles. Not to be confused with the well known sweets of that name.
If you look Skittles up you get varying explanations of when it was first played. This seems the most obvious one – a historical lawn game, some say a forerunner to outdoor bowls, a target sport of European origin from which the modern nine pin bowling, including bowling alley format, is derived. In early France Skittles was known as “Quilles” and then became popular in England in the 14th Century. There are indoor versions as well with different rules on how to play it. It was played by the gentry as well as anyone else, sometimes involving betting. No betting took place in this challenge. The only money changing hands being for drinks purchased at the bar.
There were two keen teams Ladies v Men – alas, not equal numbers so it became A & B instead. If truth be told they made up their own rules, though the basic idea was to see how many pins you could knock down by rolling the wooden balls (3 balls per go, per person). There was a line like the oche in darts, service line in tennis and any line you can think of which you were not meant to cross – well with your feet anyway. There are a lot of eyes that need testing that’s for sure! There was much good-hearted banter, applause, along with the usual comments during play; perhaps the usual accusation of the umpire/scorer being biased. The weather was on our side and at half time refreshments were served in the form of home made chips with bread and butter to make ‘chip butties’. At this stage there was only 7 points difference between the teams. After suitable respite the game commenced with the final score being Team A 80 points and B Team 101 points. Close by any standard with no penalty shoot-outs in sight.
An afternoon of laughter and fun enjoyed by all. Thanks to John Pitcher for organising and The Chance Inn for their hospitality.
Thursday 10th August 2023-All photos Sue Slater & Carol Barrett.