History of Short Mat Bowls

Short Mat Bowls (Not to be confused with Carpet Bowls) is a version of the ancient game of Bowls and is played in village halls, social clubs, sport centres and even schools by a ever increasing number of people, currently more than 30,000 in UK alone.

The game is said to be originated when an Irish bowls team, travelling home after a rained off match, decided that a public house on route had a back room of sufficient area and a carpet suitable quality on which to play (this is the reasons why Belfast and surroundings has upwards of 70 Short Mat Bowls Clubs in existence.

From those simple beginnings the sport has expanded so much that there are now international matches, inter county championships and a number of County organised Championships, Summer and Winter Leagues and competitions comprising events for Fours, Triples, Pairs and Singles. 

The rules of the game follows more or less those laid down for the traditional game of Bowls (outdoor or indoor "rinks") with the difference that a block of wood 15" wide is placed in the centre of the carpet so the bowler has to use the "bias" of the bowl to guide it round the block on either side in order to rest closely as possible to the target "jack". The bowls themselves are identical to those used in the "long" game.

The sports controlling body for Dorset is the Dorset Short Mat Bowling Association, which is itself answerable to the English Short Mat Bowling Association.

Most of outside competitions in the County are organised under the auspices of the DSMBA, which itself arranges its own Championships, tournaments, Leagues and Inter County events.