“That’s 110 points!” I announce, as I mark the latest competitor’s card, signing my initials with a flourish of my biro. “Are you quite sure?” she asks me – which is the
point at which I start to have a few doubts in my Aptitude as a Scorer.
Here I am at the Bowls Club’s Annual Fun Day, in aid of Captain, Our Captain’s
chosen charity, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust. I’ve just stepped over to help out at the Shuttlecocks game while somebody goes to get a well-earned cup of tea. So, really, you can’t blame me for getting the scoring all wrong.
Let me explain the game to you. There are five shuttlecocks set out at some considerable distance and competitors have four chances to bowl in between the shuttlecocks.
If they make it right through the middle gap, then that is 20 points; each bowl to pass through the outside gaps earns the bowler 10 points. Except that I have got it into my head that it is 50 points for straight through the middle and 10 points each for
the sides. The chap on duty at the other end, nearest the shuttlecocks, has obviously got wind of my mistake (This might have been because he picked up on the excited yells of “110! 110!”) and is quick to put me right. I have to approach
the Excited One, shamefacedly, to break it to her that she has actually only scored 50 points. She is very gracious about it, all things considering.....
of the time I am on the Jack Rolling game. The rules of this game have been changed since last year to make totting up a high score much easier. What’s more, it is possible for a really accurate bit of jack rolling to result in a bonus of 40 or
50 points. When explaining this to new players, I find myself referring to this as a “Brucie Bonus”. Please, please, please don’t tell me I am turning into a female equivalent of Bruce Forsyth. Please, please, please, stop me from saying
“good game, good game!” whenever anyone rolls their jacks into perfect placements. Next thing I’ll be doing a soft shoe shuffle or striking that quite ridiculous pose – you know the one I mean.
When it is my turn to take a break I decide to have a go myself at all the games. It is amazingly good value – just £1 for all five different games. Up on the board the overall score to
beat – 471 points by someone called “Lucky Liz.”
I start badly in the putting where I don’t manage to get a single golf ball through the
holes in the board. This is usually one of my strongest games so it is a poor start. On the next game I actually manage to score 160, rolling balls into holes on a padded mat. I am brought back to earth with a crashing bump in the next game where my aim is
so poor that the scorer gives me one point for effort. You know you are a lost cause when people start giving you points for effort. Though it’s marginally better than when they give you points for just turning up.
On the shuttlecocks I score a miserable 20 points, bringing my Grand (if you can call it that) Total to 180. But, hey, here I am on the Jack Rolling and surely to goodness I must have learnt something
from watching all those competitors I have encouraged through their paces throughout the afternoon? Have I not been watching their technique? Studying the way they hurl the jack forward? Assessing pace and distance? I try, I really try. I am, as Mr B is always
keen to point out to anyone who will listen, very trying. However I am ashamed to say that I couldn’t manage to get a single jack to roll on target. I slink up to the Judge’s Desk and hand over my card, face down to hide my miserable score.
Lucky Liz (whoever she is) has absolutely nothing to fear from me...