Last Friday night, (18th September) the Gaunt Francis team decided we’d try our hand at Bowls. Mistakenly assumed to be a past-time only for the aged, we were surprised to discover that our very own social secretary, Mike, plays regularly, it’s a game suitable for all ages, and we were delighted to hear that he could teach us how to play. So, we gathered our waterproofs and headed to St. Fagan’s Bowls Club.
The evening was a lot of fun. We split into six teams of four, and played in group pairs against each other. The aim of the game is to get your team’s bowls as close to the jack (the white ball) as possible. Not only this, but each bowl is weighted, so that it curves in a particular direction. This meant that team tactics had to be strategised! Of course, barely any of these went to plan, and for some teams, game time consisted of apologising for barging into a neighbouring game when your bowl rolled wildly off course.
You can knock other players’ bowls out of the way with yours, or build a defensive line around the jack. You can curve your bowl around others to get closer to the target, or you can line up your next shot to block the way for the opposing team. Or you can do what we did- lob the bowl and hope for the best!
It’s not supposed to be a particularly physical game, so it was surprising to see the amount of dangerous-looking lunging going on!
We also found that there was a very structured approach to playing, which involved bowling your bowl, and then standing motionless, waiting to see how far into another group’s game you ventured, or whether you’d bowled too hard and ended up in the ditch at the end of the green. One of our directors, Toby, illustrated this sequence for us.
Skill levels ranged from the mildly talented to the mildly dangerous, and the green really did take quite an assault with mis-bowled bowls making quite large dents in the perfect lawn. But the rain held off, and we had the perfect weather to play in and eventually, a beautiful Welsh sunset. When it got too dark to continue playing, we moved inside the club house for a well-deserved buffet and drinks, to chat, and most importantly, to see who would be awarded the Gaunt Francis Architects Social Event Champion’s Trophy.
One particular staff member’s incredibly accurate bowling triumphed over all others that evening, and so the Winner’s Cup passed from Gavin (one of our directors), to Toby (who had “never played bowls before”), with whom the cup shall remain until the next office social. An honourable mention goes to Mike’s son, Dylan, who at the ripe age of nearly 2, was considerably better at bowls than the majority of the rest of us.
So a big congratulations to Toby, and an even bigger thanks to Mike, his wife Claire, and St. Fagan’s Bowls Club for organising such a great evening.