Monday, 14 April 2008

A new season begins (sort of).

No, it's not Darth Vader behind the mask — it's Dave on Monday morning giving the bowling green a final trim before the first game of the season.

3pm Monday afternoon and none of the men from West End have turned up to launch the 2008 bowls season at Lenton Recreation Ground (except me and I've only come to take pictures). Instead the honour will be going to two ladies from the Hillside and Sherwood bowling clubs — once the rain stops and they can leave the Club House!

3.15pm and the rain has stopped. It's wet under foot, but the ladies are determined to play their first outdoor game of the season. Well, a few ends anyway, so they make a start. They asked me not to show the bowls around the jack and how could I refuse — given that it's the first end of the season.

3.30pm and the law arrives, alerted beforehand to possible crowd control trouble on the first day of the bowling season. James watches the ladies and decides to show them how to do it. He's never played bowls before, but no matter because he's a fast learner — his wrist action and the bend of the knee suggest a champion in the the making! I can read the ladies' minds. It's written all over their faces, but as to what they are thinking I leave it up to you.

The pictures tell their own story. Officially, the bowling greens at Lenton Recreation Ground opened for business on Saturday, but such was the weekend weather that there were no takers. The West End men play every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon during the season, so I fully expected them to turn up this afternoon no matter what. Last year they played the first games of the season, but this year they were nowhere to be seen. All of them had a good reason for not being there.

I learnt all this when I arrived to take their pictures for this blog. Instead I found two ladies sheltering the Club House waiting for the rain to stop. Then, as I was about to leave, the law arrived in the shape of James and he started to do what he does best — public relations. It was an example of community policing at its best. If the chief constable of Nottinghamshire or the Home Secretary had seen him mount his charm offensive on the bowling fraternity they would have awarded him a medal on the spot!

So, on an afternoon when the most I expected was a bunch of old men I found myself in the company of two delightful ladies and James. It was, with apologies to the West End men, better than I had expected and, all in all, a lovely start to the 2008 bowling season in Lenton.

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