Advantages Interesting sport, for all ages and abilities, super venue and location
|Value for Money|
|Is it part of a chain?||no|
First off I have to say I don’t know what Ciao were thinking when they put a picture of ten pin bowling pins and a bowling ball with holes as the picture for Taunton Deane Bowling club – it would send many of the members to their grave if they saw it! Taunton Deane Bowling club is in fact a bowling club as in bowls – the centuries old sport as practised by Sir Francis Drake before his defeat over the Spanish Armada and the two entirely different sports should never be confused.
So, how come a young lass like me knows anything about a bowls club I hear you ask, surely bowls is an old man’s game? A common misconception and slight prejudice that I have become very familiar with over the past few years, in actual fact my husband and parents-in-law all play bowls and my sons (aged 10 and 12) play for the county as well as the club so I know a wee bit about the sport. I have always resisted becoming an actual member because I simply do not have the time – I spend far too much time being a spectator which is probably why I know a fair amount about the sport and Taunton Deane Bowls club in particular.
When I first walked into the bowls club I have to say that I was impressed. The venue is modern, clean and very well laid out and the sheer size of the places could be a little overwhelming for a first time bowler I would think. Inside there are six rinks available for use which means that six games can go on at any one time. The rinks are concrete which means that the green carpet is laid over concrete as opposed to wood which is quite common in older clubs – concrete means that the woods (bowls) run faster so if you are used to playing on wood, it will take some getting used to. All of the rinks are immaculately kept and a recently installed electronic scoreboard keeps score of the game.Outside the green is just as impressive in size – there are eight rinks outside but this summer there were a few problems with the playing surface which meant that play was suspended until next year to give the grass time to recover. There is a large covered seating area for spectators as well as a few benches scattered around the edges - there is nothing more relaxing than watching a game of bowls whilst sitting in the sun and I have spent many hours doing exactly that.
There are plenty of lockers in which to store your belongings – we have a couple as it is easier to keep the woods and shoes at the club and that way I know that they will not be forgotten! A £10 one off fee is charged for a locker but if you lose your key, it’s gonna cost ya! There are changing facilities – separate for men and women – within the club, and of course toilets. The most twee and cleanest toilets that I have ever seen at a sports club and therefore a pleasure to use!
It is difficult to put a price to the club but I can give a rough indication. Initial coaching is needed - this consists of six sessions with a trained coach and costs £30, after that you are essentially on your own and able to develop your own game. Adult membership is £60 annually regardless of how much you play. League matches usually cost £2.50 per session, but other matches can cost more and even more if food is provided during or after. I pay £1.20 per session for each of my boys which I think offers good value for money in comparison to other activities that they have done, junior membership is £6 per year which I can just about manage!
I strongly believe that most of the members join the club for the social side of the sport as well as the actual playing. Taunton Deane Bowls Club comes into their own on this front and host many brilliant social events throughout the year including a New Years Eve party, valentines supper, Christmas Dance and a BBQ in the summer. There is a large bar area with comfortable seats as well as tables and chairs and also a dance floor complete with glitter ball! The bar is well stocked and the prices are ridiculously low making it a popular choice among the members. The food that comes out of the kitchen is amazing, don’t get me wrong we are not talking Michelin starred here but they do have five stars from the local authority! Whether it is for a sit down three course meal, a sandwich after the match or a buffet for an event the catering is first class and considering everything is done purely by volunteers, I take my hat off to them.
Blackbrook Pavilion, Blackbrook Way, Taunton, TA1 2RW. 01823 353 644www.tauntondeanebowls.com
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