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A Lawn Bowls team measures its shots toward the jack (Photo by Chris Frost)
Friday, May 10, 2019

By Chris Frost


Oxnard--- Sunny skies and warm weather meant a big crowd at the Oxnard-Joslyn Lawn Bowls Club at the Wilson Senior Center, May 3, as a large group enjoyed the afternoon, got some exercise and had some good-spirited competition.


Lawn Bowls, known to many as "Bowls" is played throughout the British Commonwealth on a 120 ft. X 15 ft. rink within a 120 ft. Square green. The objective of the contest is to roll the bowl the closest to a small white ball, called the jack, at the other side of the rink.


The bowl is biased, not round, so when someone throws the bowl, it travels in a curve.


Competitor Dick Gibson said lawn bowls is a sport that requires more skill than bocce.


"We have a biased bowl, which means you can throw it to make it go to the left or the right and that is the big thing," he said. "We play on grass all the time, and you play bocce on crushed lava, sand or grass, and it's a lot more forceful game."


Emily Rendon added that bocce players throw the ball straight, while in lawn bowls, you throw the ball in an angle and rely on the curve.


"My strategy is the get the bowls as close to the jack as possible and on my rink," she said. "It's 80 steps."


Gibson said he is a finesse player but admitted that some people play aggressively.


"If someone is close to the jack then I try my best to get close to the jack myself," he said. 


Rendon said the games are for practice, but there are tournaments you can get into that are internal and external to the club.


"These are practice games for the fun of it," she said. "It's for bragging rights."


She enjoys the fresh air and socialization involved with the club.


"It's a good amount of walking back-and-forth," Rendon said. "There are a lot of different things out here."


Gibson said there is a lot of camaraderie when they play.


"Everybody enjoys coming out here and maybe throwing a dig at somebody for the way they bowl, but it's all for fun," he said. "You'll walk a little over a mile by the time we're done."


He said there are no set teams.


"It's the luck of the draw," Rendon said. 


Bowls competitor Peter Nicholas has Parkinson's Disease and can't play golf anymore, but he and his nurse enjoy playing bowls.


"It's wonderful," he said. "It's the best exercise I can think of, and these are wonderful people I am competing against," he said. "They are the kindest people I've met in a long time."


Nurse Joel Ackerson said his background is in training and exercise and he enjoys helping Nicholas.


"The environment, the exercise, and the positive attitude makes all the difference in the world," he said.  


The Oxnard-Joslyn Lawn Bowls Club is located at 350 North "C" Street.