The Honeymoon Bay Carpet Bowlers captured bronze at the Mid-Island Carpet Bowling playoffs last week, which were hosted in Honeymoon Bay for the first time.
Although the tournament winners — from the Valley Seniors Organization in Duncan — will advance to the Vancouver Island Championships in April, the tone of the competition was amiable throughout.
“Winning or losing doesn’t mean a thing, we’re here to have a good time,” said Chris Vanderstoep, president of the Vancouver Island Carpet Bowling Association.
“I don’t care about how good or bad they throw the ball, as long as they’re out here having a good time and getting some exercise, that’s the main goal, as far as I’m concerned, with carpet bowling.”
Teams participating in the mid-Island tournament were from Honeymoon Bay, Duncan, Crofton (which came in second place), Chemainus and Nanaimo.
Carpet bowling requires players roll weighted balls down the length of a nine-metre green carpet, aiming to land as close as possible to a small white ball called the “jack” (similar to the button or bullseye in curling).
It’s an eight-end game with teams scoring up to eight points per end.
Although the game is primarily played by people over the age of 55 who are retired, Vanderstoep said it’s open to all ages and abilities.
“I don’t care what age you are or how handicapped you are, we have people playing with canes and what have you, and people who are partially blind they can come out and play. We teach them how to play,” he said.
The tournament was hosted by Cowichan Lake Recreation in partnership with the Honeymoon Bay Carpet Bowlers.
“It’s also a social activity. It’s not just for watching and playing, but also to get connected with people in the community,” said Tanya Kaul, recreation programmer with Cowichan Lake Recreation. “We would love to see carpet bowling played at Youbou at the community hall, so if there’s a group out there would like to contact me…we could start up a group.”
Gordon Kent from VSO in Duncan said he enjoys the competition and the camaraderie of the game.
“It’s a much more friendly game. You can sit with [your] team members and converse, or the opposite team and converse with them,” he said.
“There’s a rivalry but a friendly rivalry, and that’s what makes it.”