There is little doubt that most pub games are not nearly as popular as they would have been in the days when pubs themselves were enjoying a peak of popularity. The decline of traditional pub games has been attributed to many factors, but it's perhaps the current decline in pub going itself, and particularly the community locals where these games have traditionally thrived, which is the main reason that fewer people are participating these days.
The chance are, if you can find a community or village local which is still thriving, and thankfully there are still a few, there's a very good chance you'll find games being played, often with teams represented in a local league. Conversely, there are many pubs which rely for their success on regular team fixtures throughout the week.
A league or friendly game of Northamptonshire Table Skittles will usually guarantees a pub a minimum of fourteen people (seven per team), supping drinks in their bar for several hours on what may otherwise be a quiet weekday evening. If the pub can generate enough interest to field both 'A' and 'B' teams, that ensures a home fixture every week during the season. That could be the difference between a pub struggling, or making ends meet.
On the evening I visited the Queen Adelaide in Kingsthorpe, the Ladies team were just about to start a game on the beautifully maintained Black & Son skittle table. The cosy skittles area adjacent to the bar was packed with the two teams and associated friends and spectators. It's always a pleasure to walk into a pub with a lively pub game in progress, because it's always a pleasure to walk into a busy pub.
I'd like to thank the Ladies of the Queen Adelaide skittles team for allowing me to interrupt their practise ahead of the game. Sadly they were a camera shy lot, and needless to say it would have been an absolute no-no to take pictures during the match itself so no action shots were taken.