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A whole different bowl game

June 25, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

"That's it Richard. Come on Richard," says Daris Phillips, encouraging teammate Richard Bittle's ball to get closer to its target.

A few turns later Richard is giving teammate Nadine Frush the OK sign from across the long bowling lane at Hagerstown's Pangborn Park after she bowls her ball just inches from its target.

The team isn't trying to knock down pins, but get their balls, or "bowls" as they are called by the U.S. Lawn Bowls Association, as close to the target as possible. The target is a small white ball known as a jack or kitty, according to the national association.

After each round, the team with a ball closest to the jack gets a point and additional points for any other of their balls close to the jack, but not beyond an opponent's ball.

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This goes on until a team scores 21 points to win.

Longtime bowler Harry Snook says he believes turf or lawn bowling began in Hagerstown around 1939 in the backyard of Park Loy near the old Hagerstown High School.

He recalls people playing there before the game moved to Pangborn Park, where it also was played on grass. At some point the grass got too rough due to holes, and the lane surface was changed. It's now Har-Tru, finely ground stone.

About 50 people play in the Hagerstown Turf Bowling League on Tuesdays or Wednesdays starting at 7 p.m. If anyone is interested in playing as a substitute ($1 a night) or starting a four-person team ($10 per person a year), call Pauline Butts, league president, at 301-790-1210.

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