Bowled over at Hollywood BowlBy Phil Creighton
February 10, 2011
I didn’t mind – being stuck in the goal watching the action suited me fine.
Indoor sports appealed to me more. Chas ‘n’ Dave and Bullseye gave me a passion for snooker and darts respectively, but it was in 10-pin bowling that my heart lay.
As a teenager living in Canterbury, Margate’s Hollywood Bowl was a frequent destination. And I got quite good, even gaining a nickname: Roadrunner.
It was in honour of a dude who was bowling badly but still treating every go as if he’d knocked everyone’s pins down; he was failing to impress his girlfriend in the process. His antics in the next lane had our team in stitches and in his honour, I adopted the moniker he’d given himself to look even cooler to his date.
As well as the corny name, I also managed to win a cup for my efforts. I’ve still got it and am very proud of it. Admittedly, it’s more of a mug than a cup and it was won by throwing a game to get a precise score rather than winning the league. But I still won it and it’s my only sporting trophy.
All this is my way of saying that I love bowling. A lot.
And, being ever-so slightly competitive, winning is a serious business for me in the one sport I’m not too bad at.
So imagine my wife’s delight when we went bowling the other week and
I lost. To a two-year-old.
I’ve not been able to live it down – nor has my nearest and dearest stopped reminding me of this fact. And then laughing loudly.
We’d visited Bracknell’s Hollywood Bowl with some good friends to let our children try out its new Incredibowl’s promotion.
Until the end of May, children can enjoy a game of bowling, a drink and something to eat for just £4.25 per person. The deal for mum and dad’s is slightly more, but a still reasonable £9.95.
Meals for youngsters include pasta with garlic bread, fish fingers, chicken nuggets and pizza slices; favourite meals to ensure that their visit is a hit.
Us adults were treated to a selection of dishes from the menu, so we could see what was on offer. There’s lots of nachos, hot dogs, burgers and pizzas, all ideal while having a great night out.
It was brought out to us by chef Darren – he did this for everyone else waiting in the centre’s cafe and made time to talk to each customer. That’s great service.
After eating our meals, we headed to the lane to enjoy a game of bowling.
With special lane bumpers in place to stop the balls going down the gulley, there’s no chance of your little ones scoring nul points. It’s something I discovered to my cost.
Also on hand to help the little ‘uns get the heavy bowling ball down the lane, each lane has portable ramps. You put the ball in the ramp and, when you’re ready, let go. Perfect for little ‘uns wanting to show Daddy up.
Each bowling lane also includes a special button that activates a bat signal at reception. Within moments of pressing for action, a lane host will come along and take your order if you’re thirsty, hungry or need help with the computerised scoring system.
It’s so easy it’s child’s play.
My toddler and her friends had a great time trying out the Incredibowl promotion, enjoying being able to bowl and see the pins go down. I was enjoying myself right up until the last round. Well, I was in the lead at that point. Then said two-year-old bowled me out of the park.
I think a rematch is on the cards. Next time, I will not be so lenient.
Hollywood Bowl, The Point, Skimped Hill Lane, Bracknell