Today sees Coventry Backgammon Club fielding a team in the UK Backgammon Federation’s UK Clubs Championship in York.
Backgammon is one of the oldest games still played in the world with a history dating back over 5000 years to Mesopotamia (now part of Iraq). It was popular throughout the Mediterranean countries and was further spread throughout the Roman Empire. It has continued to be played in Britain ever since being widely known as “tables” up until the 17th century.
I set up Coventry Backgammon Club around ten years ago. Our original venue was in Whitefriars Olde Alehouse in Gosford Street. The club was featured in the English Heritage book, “Played down the Pub”. I have recently heard that the building is due to be converted into a Chinese restaurant. I would imagine that the medieval mural on the wall upstairs in the building will become a talking point among diners.
The Club’s latest home is Coventry & NW Sports Club on Binley Road where I hosted the first UK Clubs Championships a few years ago. I passed the club yesterday on the way to Sphinx Drive to watch Coventry Sphinx and Coventry United fight out a 1-1 draw in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup. I couldn’t help reflecting on the fact that United share Coventry Rugby Club’s Butts Park stadium. Many towns and cities have areas known as “The Butts”. These were the locations were archery was practiced and may have received some disgruntled backgammon players – the game was actually banned during the time of the Crusades as it was considered to be distracting the nation’s young men away from the sport of archery.
There will be more about the area around The Butts and sport in the city in upcoming posts as the ramble goes on......