I was just locking up the club, and on my way to pick up two of our players to take them to High Hazels for our Social League Division E fixture (on 12th June).  The heat of the day was still immense, even at 5.30, and when a burly chap with a small bag questioned why I was locking the gate, I wanted to stay in the shade for the conversation he required.

90 minutes later I was back inside our club, the trip to High Hazels cancelled, drenched to the skin, and playing a new sport on our green: Burling.

For anyone not familiar with Burling, it is best described as a cross between Bowling and Curling.  You start of playing bowls on a green as hard as a car park, wait for a long, heavy summer storm (remaining on the green until water levels reach the top of your shoes) and then brush off the resultant puddles with long handled brooms while people try and roll bowls around you.  Burling is a fun spectator sport.  That is, it fun for the spectators.  Still, it is easier than bowls, and your humble reporter is quite good at it.

But how did we come to this?  It turns out that our June fixture with High Hazels had originally been schedule for Meerbrook Park.  However, with the return fixture due in September, Terry had arranged for the venues to be swapped, allowing the September game to move under the floodlights at Meersbrook Park.  Somewhere this message had not reached the High Hazels team who were so keen to visit that they started turning up an hour early.  With the wonder of mobile phones we were able to regroup both teams and start more or less on time (at the wrong venue).

3 games of bowls were at mid-point when we all decided to switch to Burling.  Jon had a slender lead but Linda and Agnes were behind while Jim trailed something like 17-3.  Jon won the burling and went on to win his bowls game too.  Jim rose like Neptune between the puddles and, with an incredible comeback nearly won.  Agnes and Linda continued to splash enthusiastically but had to accept defeat.

Because of the time lost to Burling the second doubles match was started early which made the green’s island chain even more crowded.  It suited Tom and Paul though who won a cliffhanger.

The Egginton boys were struggling.  Not only had they had to travel to High Hazels and back before they could even begin, but Andrew was hindered with a back injury and Terry further damaged a weak wrist.  Skipper, Terry, once again showed his experience – not entering the green until the storm was over – he was the only player on either side never to feel a drop.  His bowling was smart too, and his win took the match score to 3-3 with Meersbrook Park only to be denied on Aggregate (cumulative score of all players) and left wet and winless but champion Burlers.

Wrong Venue, Wrong Weather, Wrong Sport