Shuffling along to the new game in town

A 22-FOOT long slab of waxy wood imported from Northern Ireland is providing plenty of fun for punters at a Rotherham sports bar.

Shuffleboard has been around for centuries — it was played by Henry VIII — but the game is sliding its way to new popularity in pubs.

And the single-piece board at Irish sports bar Walsh’s, on Domine Lane, is thought to be the only full-size one in the area.

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Luke McGrail, son of bar owner Mark, travelled with pal Dan Hutchinson to Enniskillen to bring the £5,000 board back to Rotherham.

“It’s an actual competition board,” said Luke.

“It was a friend of a friend of my dad’s who said we could have it if we went there.

“He’d had a lot of interest in it but people couldn’t get out to see it.

“Me and Dan went out to see it. We drove to Liverpool and got the ferry over.

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“We had it in the back of our lorry but it was big! It was hanging out of the back on the way home.

“We had to call at Screwfix for strips to hold it in place.

“We needed to be really careful because you can’t have a scratch on it.

“It was a two-hour drive to the overnight ferry.

“We were paranoid about damaging it. People wondered what it was as we were driving around.”

The playing surface needs to be treated with silocone and wax to provide the perfect sliding speed. This also means avoiding water.

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“The guy in Ireland had said don’t get it wet, whatever you do,” said Luke. “It was raining when we got home so we left it in the lorry.

“Dad spotted it early the next morning, brought it down here and tried to move it into the bar himself... and it was raining then, too!

“It was 7am or 8am. Luckily, the builders were here working on the bar downstairs and they helped him get it indoors.”

He added: “There’s been quite a lot of interest.

“Before, we just had more tables here but this catches people’s eyes when they come in. It’s definitely got that ‘one more go’ factor.

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“It’s become a big thing now in Sheffield and Leeds but I’d not even tried it until we got it set up here. Now we could do with setting up a league!”


Two teams of up to four players, taking it in turns to shoot towards the same end

The team with their puck nearest the end without falling off takes the points each time

Points are only scored for pucks further advanced than the opponents’ best effort

The team who wins the end slides first in the next round

First team to score 15 points wins