Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Muskham Ferry, North Muskham, Nottinghamshire

Skittles is the game of choice for pub goers in the Newark area. Long Alley in the Summer, and up until very recently Table Skittles (or Devil Amongst The Tailors) during the colder Winter months.

The local Newark Table Skittles league was one of the last of its kind still active in England. Revived only a few years ago following its untimely demise, the league has now hit the buffers once again. I guess a Winter league is always going to be that little bit harder to sustain, particularly if travel outside of the immediate locality is involved. It's a great shame, you only have to look at the handmade table shown here (and the similarly impressive model already featured on this blog at the Royal Oak in Newark) to see how important the game was to the area at one time.

I'm pleased to say that the Muskham Ferry team are still keeping their hand in though, with a friendly match lined up at a nearby pub on the evening I visited.

Another handmade Skittles Table, this one by Bernard McLean, and very similar in design to the one at the Royal Oak, right down to the neat little drawer for the pins as opposed to the cribbage board lid seen on most manufactured tables. The games room at the pub also features Darts, Pool, and a Shove Ha'penny.

The Skittle Alley was out of action for the Winter off-season when I visited the pub, league play starts towards the end of April come rain, shine, or indeed blizzard! In common with many Notts/Derby alleys, the throw is located in the car park, and in this version of Long Alley, the Sycamore balls are thrown on the full-toss, and must clear the metal sheet in front of the pins to score.

The two pieces of green painted metalwork seen here fit together to form a ball return. More durable than a wooden chute, and a little more elegant than the industrial plastic piping used at most alleys.

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