Skittling was and still is a major sport in Wiltshire. Many pubs have a skittle alley and there are often several teams who compete in a local skittles league.

The Kings Arms had an alley and had teams playing there until closure a couple of years ago. The only reminder left of those days is one skittling ball, found in the pub by the Market Lavington Museum curator when he was given the opportunity to take a look.

It is not the most photogenic object, being a plain black ball some 12 centimetres in diameter.

Former Kings Arms skittle ball, now at Market Lavington Museum

The photo shows the scars of skittling from when the ball, of some kind of rubberoid material, crashed into the nine pins at the far end of the alley.

Skittles, as opposed to ten pin bowling, is a low-tech game. There’s no automatic re-standing of the fallen pins and no auto return of the balls to the players. And of course, the scoring had to be done by the players, with scores chalked up on the handy board provided. It was and is a friendly and cheerful game.

The Green Dragon still has a skittle alley in Market Lavington. Long may it continue.

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