Nostalgia by Robert Heaven

AT ONE time, Ciren had many Societies and Clubs that catered for a wide range of interests in things that are now either defunct, or fallen out of fashion. Societies for example that promoted pipe smoking, caged birds and sports such as water polo at the Ciren open pool.

One ancient game that was popular in Ciren many years back was Quoits - one of many such games played by the Romans.

Moving forward in time from the Roman “tournaments”, I remember playing it just down the road from the Forum in the playground at Lewis Lane Council School.

Back then we had plaited rope quoits and a wooden stake to throw the quoits over that had probably been made by “Jobe” Lock, the well loved Ciren teacher of woodwork.

As I recall, there was a variant on the game we played at Lewis Lane that was a lot like “hopscotch” which involved aiming the quoits towards marked out squares.

It was rather more formal than the version of the game that we played on the Beeches estate where we chalked on the pavement and threw stones to select which square to hop onto.

Quoits as a formal game has several in different forms, according to which part of the Country it’s played and whether or not its indoor or outdoor.

The outdoor games were formalised in 15 rules published in The Field in 1881 and has remained largely unchanged since that time.

I can’t think of any pubs in the area that have the indoor version, but perhaps that's because it’s too dangerous - a modern day quoit as defined by the National Quoits Association, (formed in 1986) measures about 5½ inches in diameter and weigh around 5½ pounds.

On the other hand skittles are about the same weight and that’s certainly still played, and for now, without the need for hard hats and fluorescent yellow safety jackets.