There’s a new soft mat indoor bowling venue at The Holbeck (the renamed Working’s Men’s Club). I joined the group of players on Thursday evening (23 April 2015) headed by bowling veteran Terry Nichols.
It’s the psychic medium tonight downstairs and the bowling upstairs, so I don’t want to get the two mixed up. I head straight upstairs. The last time I came here was for wrestling, now the space lends itself perfectly to two 35ft x 6ft lush green runners.
Terry, who is in his 80th year and has been coming to the Club since he was a boy, applied for Community First grants from the Beeston & Holbeck and City & Hunslet panels.
“This is an opportunity to get more people from the community involved in the sport, for new and more proficient players to meet”.
However, it doesn’t come cheap, costing just over £3,000 for two mats, a set of 8 bowls ranging in size from 0 to 2, two spinners (for the middle of the mat). I’m told that like the crown green in exterior bowling, the techniques are totally different.
“It’s a game of friendship and we’re all mates together” says Terry.
However, it’s a welcoming sport and I’m immediatley given a bowl. Terry delivers strict instructions on whether I’m going to use a finger or a thumb to determine the bias. (This was not like my ten pin bowling experience on Saturday night). I take a shot and watch my bowl happily roll off the mat. I soon improve like in about 20 minutes as Barrie poses for the camera when my bowl wins, coming closet to the jack and misses the defender! Yeah!
The hope is to get more people drawn into bowling when the winter sets in. The funding came through in spring so Terry and his friends are giving this run through during the more favourable months. Usually at this time of year people are outside bowling, but I learn that it’s a different technique indoors. Everyone was still adjusting to the environment.
So if you want to join the friendly bunch, make your way to The Holbeck on Jenkinson Lawn on Thursday evenings at 7pm. You don’t have to be a member of the club and it’s free for the time being. So come along and learn some top tips on indoor bowling, and you can have a pint too!