Lawn Bowls is the anglicised variant of a family of sports in which several larger balls or biased bowls are rolled or thrown at a smaller target ball.
Such sports have spread across the world and have taken on a variety of forms, Bocce (Italian), Bolla (Saxon), Bolle (Danish), Boules or Petanque (French) and Ula Maika (Polynesian). The original English version of the game came about, like many other games, on a grass lawn because that suits the climate in England. In France and Italy, where the hotter weather makes lawns a rarer commodity, they play on gravel or dirt pitches.
 
The second distinguishing feature of English Bowls is that the balls are rolled rather than thrown. And the final important factor is that the balls are usually not balls at all - they are slightly eccentric which gives them a bias. The important and skilful aspect of Lawn Bowls is that bowls do not travel in a straight line.
The most famous story in lawn bowls is with Sir Frances Drake and the Spanish Armada. On July 18, 1588, Drake was involved in a game at Plymouth Hoe when he was notified that the Spanish Armada were approaching. His immortalised response was that "We still have time to finish the game and to thrash the Spaniards, too." He then proceeded to finish the match which he lost before embarking on the fight with the Armada which he won. Whether this famous story really took place has been heavily debated.
 
In 2005, I was introduced to a new sport, that of Bowls, by Past President, Paul Warren and his wife, Sherrin and joined the Hutt Bowling Club which was founded in 1904.  This was the first year that women were able to belong to the Hutt Bowling Club and 16 of us joined that year.  Paul & Sherrin also felt that it would be good for me to meet another sector of Lower Hutt’s population and be involved in a weekend activity.   Sherrin showed me how to put a bowl down a line in her lounge on the carpet and then took me down to the club in Myrtle Street to practice on the grass rinks.   For the first three Saturday afternoons I wondered what on earth I was doing amongst all these ‘old’ people trying to get a bowl down to the little white ‘jack’ at the end of the rink.    On the fourth Saturday, I suddenly caught on to what this game was all about and that was the start of a love affair with the game of bowls.
I played almost every spring & summer weekend for two years and was taken to other clubs to play in inter-club competitions, every now and then playing a good game.   However, work became very busy and I was also becoming involved in Rotary, being nominated President Nominee in 2008.  Along with this involvement and regularly travelling overseas to see my daughter and grandchildren in England, something had to give, and it was bowls.   I did not miss it and delighted having my weekends to myself and my garden certainly looked good.   However, in planning my retirement, I again took up the game and once retired, could play during the week as well. 
 
Bowls attracts a wide range of people involved in a variety of roles in the community and this makes for very interesting conversations.   From labourers to executives, there is a wide spectrum of knowledge and always someone to enjoy a drink with.   Three of our Eastern Hutt Rotarians belong to the Hutt Bowling Club as well as a longstanding member of the Hutt City Rotary Club. 
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