Covent Garden market swaps carrots for carrom

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Carrom, an ancient Middle Eastern game that provided the inspiration for billiards and snooker, came to Covent Garden market in central London yesterday when the UK Carrom Club held its tenth national tournament, attracting players from throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Players use tactics similar to those of croquet in what is described as "a game of hand-to-eye skill and confidence" on a special board (above).

Gordon McLeod (left), of Oxfordshire, is one of 15,000 Britons who play regularly. Most Europeans first see the game on the Indian sub-continent, its strongest base.

Photographs: David Sandison