Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Half Moon, Kempston, Bedfordshire
Table Skittles, of the type most commonly played in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, is a game which can also be found to a lesser extent in some of the surrounding counties. The northern half of Bedfordshire is one such area, though here as elsewhere the game has declined significantly in more recent years, such that it may well have disappeared entirely from the pubs of Bedford town itself. You'll need to venture out to the suburbs and surrounding villages of Bedford to find a pub or club with a table now, though I'm pleased to say that when a table can be found, leagues play is still very much in evidence.
Kempston, a village located on the south-western edge of Bedford, is still a bit of a skittles stronghold. Teams from a number of pubs and clubs in the village play in the North Beds and/or Bedford & District Skittles Leagues, the Half Moon being one of the best examples and well worth a visit. Recently refurbished, the interior is immaculately presented, with a comfortable lounge/dining area, and a separate thoroughly traditional bar. It's the bar which houses the beautifully maintained Skittles Table, upholstered in vibrant reddish leather work, a good contrast to the Boxwood pins and cheeses. Darts, Cribbage, and Dominoes are also played at the pub, and perhaps surprisingly there is also a twin Pétanque (or Boule) piste at the rear which is available for functions during the Summer months.