Four Royston members ventured into the centre of London to try out the new Festibowl pop-up event.
With a 1hr. dedicated rink booking at the Potters Field Park venue (adjacent to Tower Bridge), our research team of Stewart Brown, Heather Stapleford, Sally Ann & Steve Hart were on a mission to gather intelligence on this novel approach to the promotion of bowls to new generations.
The plan had been to quietly immerse themselves in the proceedings as beginners, but within seconds of taking the mat (following a couple of obligatory cocktails) their cover was blown when Heather was recognised by Chris Falkner, co-organiser and husband of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ellen – however the discovery led to some great behind-the-scenes insight, much merriment and even a bit of extra mates-rates time on the rink (and more cocktails).
Festibowl is aimed more at non-bowling folk (‘buggles’?), and is geared up for both general public participation as well as corporate team-building outings. It does have a deliberately unconventional approach and definitely not for the purists – when one of the team produced a standard bowls string measure to settle a count, it was promptly confiscated by the green’s MC and replaced by a builder’s style steel tape measure!
Standardised woods are provided, colourfully finished in vibrant swirling patterns and custom-made for the event – they actually played rather nicely on the artifical grass green. Rinks are unidirectional and on the narrow side, separated by thick boundary ropes to protect from the inevitable stray bowls. The green itself is fully outdoors although bowlers at the mat end would be protected from any rain by the overhang of the bar and seating area’s awning. This is an event that is certainly improved by a drop of sunshine.
At the end of the day, some people just can’t help themselves, with Heather taking a win in the Great British Bowl-Off (held after every 1hr. session!).
Breaking: exclusive footage of the winning bowl… pic.twitter.com/m6eWpWGafE— Royston Bowling Club (@RoystonBowls) July 6, 2019
Festibowl London continues at the London Bridge venue until 14th July, then re-appears at Canary Warf in August (further details)