SPORT FROM THE PAST: There’s an obstruction on the green

St Nicholas' Primary School football team in 1963.
St Nicholas' Primary School football team in 1963.

A major tactic in the sport of bowls is to obstruct your opponent. But - by any standard - this was just pushing things too far.

In 1963, Boston A were in Denny Cup action against Whitley Bay and Monkseaton.

But it wasn’t until they team arrived at Newcastle that they came across a very strange tactic by their opponents.

As The Standard explained back then: “The ‘green’ at Newcastle is a covered-over Corporation swimming pool, the surrounds being of glazed tiles and glass.

“When the game was about the start, the Newcastle players put an obstruction in the middle of the rink.”

Although the obstruction wasn’t named in the paper, the reason for it being put down was.

“It is to stop firing shots. We do not want any of ther tiles or glass broken,” they opponents said.

“You must always draw round the obstruction.”

Whether this was a tactic to halt Boston or an edict from the local council was unknown, but the hosts were adamant they had special permission to twist the rules of the game.

However, the Boston quartet of J. Grigor, C. Walkley, A. Dickinson and F. Pitcher refused to play unless the obstruction was removed.

The home side refused to give way and a phone call was made to the English Bowls Association HQ in London, where the official on the line refused ever giving Newcastle permission to place an object on the green.

So Boston had their way, but it wasn’t to be on the green as the hosts claimed a 31-15 success.

Boston’s other rink of A. Bates, J. Stone, E. Leeson and H. Gibson earned a convincing 27-14 victory over Newcastle’s second foursome.

However, it was the north-eastern side who progressed in the national tournament with an overall - but extremely narrow - victory, seeing them win 45-42.