Skittles in Devon is a game played with 9 skittles called pins, either made of wood or plastic and 3 balls, usually made of hard rubber. Teams are generally of 8 players per side. The 9 pins are arranged at one end of an alley in a diamond shaped area, the alley being about 6 feet wide and can be between 27 to 39 feet long. Looking along the alley at the diamond, there are 3 pins in the middle row, 2 each in the rows either side and a single winger each side. The gaps between the rows are wider than the ball and hence it is perfectly possible to put the ball through the gaps and miss the pins.

The object of the game is to knock as many skittles over as possible. Players throw individually one ball at a time. After the third ball their go is completed. If the first ball knocks all 9 skittles down, (termed a flopper) they are all replaced. If the second ball does the same or knocks the remaining pins from the first throw down (termed a spare) they are replaced again. Hence the maximum score per three balls is 27. This is a rare occurrence. I have only seen it done a couple of times.

Place the cursor over the image to see a ball nearly getting a flopper.


Each team's players throw and then the opponents throw, completing a leg. The game consists of 6 legs. On our alley an individual's total score in the sixties is very good, and in the fifties or high forties quite good. The team who knocks the most skittles down wins.

There are 16 teams which play in our league, all based at the Alphington Sports Club in Exeter. Each team plays every other twice, the season runs from September to May. My team are the Mavericks and these are our webpages.

For a good site to explain the variations in skittles around the country, go to