Sunday, 20 May 2012

Dog & Gun, Walton, Leicestershire

In common with most traditional pub games, Table Skittles is a very simple game at heart. Three Cheeses, nine Pins, a maximum score of 27. That's it really. But Table Skittles, as played in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, and a few surrounding counties, is not a national game with a standardised set of rules, which is where it gets a bit more complicated.

In Leicester, the pins and cheeses (and possibly the tables) are quite different to those used in the Northamptonshire game (see here), being made of hardwood and of a more slender geometry. In the area south of the county of Leicestershire, the standard is similar to the Northamptonshire game, but with one significant difference. In the Northamptonshire leagues, traditional Boxwood pins and cheeses are the norm, but in the Dunton Bassett and Lutterworth leagues, more often than not these are made from tough yellow plastic. Plastic cheeses and pins are generally frowned upon in the Northants game, though needless to say there are enough exceptions to make this anything but a hard and fast rule.

There are also wide variations in the rules, including sequence of play, scoring, permitted throws, removal of 'dead wood', scoring from rebounds off the back of the table etc. The rules of play can even vary between different leagues in the same area!

These differences only add to the fascination of the game. The Dog & Gun in Walton village play in the Dunton Bassett League, where plastic pins and cheeses seem to be the norm.


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