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Title What a Load o' Bowls or I'm All Right Jack!
Author Don East
Publisher Stanley Paul & Co Ltd, London
First published 1987
ISBN 0-09-173787-7
Edition reviewed 1st
Hardback/softback Softback
List price £4.95
Cover size (cm)
(height x width)
23.4 x 15.2
Number of pages 160
Number of pages with Coloured photos Black & white photos Line drawings
  None None 118
Synopsis The game of bowls is not easy, some would say not possible. For the basic shot, called the draw, the bowler bowls a ball called a bowl towards a ball called a jack. He must be vigilant never to bowl at the jack, or look at the jack. He must look at another spot, which may either be visible or invisible. If it is visible and it moves, he may go off half cock. If it is invisible, it is called a shoulder, and on such shoulders rests the success of one's draws.

This book is a genuine hybrid, part sports manual, part humorous novel. It tells the affecting tale of Ralph, a batsman manqué who has turned to bowls as an alternative to cricket after damage to his groin. Little does he suspect that this graceful game of gentlefolk, this adult marbles, will prove far more menacing. From the moment he presents himself as a novice at the Highcliffe Bowling Club, he realizes he is in deep trouble regarding overshoes, the size of his balls, and the style of his delivery, whether plonker, pitcher, flicker or wobbler. Seized by the hypnotic thrill of his bowl heading smoothly down the green, however, he flings himself into a world of back bowls, positional woods, skips talking twaddle, disappearing markers and cheating on a sizeable scale, to emerge in the end as his club's 'most valuable player'. And the reader learns, without once seeming to have been instructed, how to play the game rather well.