Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Like Knights of Olde
When I read Simon Armitage's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I was struck both by the fabulous muscular language that he injects into his writing and also by the way a tale of a manly quest still has the power to grip. It was to such a quest that the gentlemen of St John the Baptist Church, Hey went on Saturday evening: the inaugural Annual St John's Crown Green Bowls Tournament.Ten men stepped out on to the velvet sward at Springhead Liberal Club; but only one returned victorious.
Crown Green Bowling differs from it's Southern cousin in that there is little or no dress code (flat caps are, I am afraid to say, not compulsory) - there is no requirement to wear white; and the task of getting your bowls, or woods as we call them, close to the Jack, or block as its known by the cognoscenti, is made more difficult by the obstacle of the raised centre of the green: the crown. Of the ten combatants no one declared themselves as having existing skill, indeed many declared themselves - as I - a Crown Green virgin; but as the evening progressed it became clear that four players had hitherto hid their lights beneath their proverbial bushels.
The semi-finalists 'I helped organise this but haven't played before' Phil; 'I've only ever played a couple of times' Steve; 'I only know what I've learnt from t'internet Andy; and 'how can a Geordie IT teacher be any good at this' Tony; battled it out to the death leaving Tony and Steve to enthrall the crowd, gathered in the encroaching dusk, with a thrilling fifteen point climax. In the end, churchwarden Steve proved the mightier and, just like head boy at school, showed he was good at everything. Magnaminous in defeat Tony accepted his runners up cup (actually it was a mug) with only whispered mutterings about the next contest being a science fiction literature quiz and seeing who'd win then.
All in all given the high quality of last weekend's sport: Rugby World Cup, Football International and Italian Grand Prix, I know which classic conquest was my highlight.
Me? I was knocked out in the quarter finals by the eventual victor.