Short Mat Bowls


Short mat bowls is not something I ever thought I would be doing in my lifetime, least of all actually enjoying it!

I added it to the Challenge200 list, to just do that, try things I just wouldn’t have gone for. I added Short Mat Bowls as I noticed there was a club in my local village, so I thought it would just be an easy and local one to cover to break up the adrenaline fueled list I had put together. I knew nothing about it and have never even come across it.

I popped in to my local village hall on a Sunday afternoon to see if there was a chance I could find out more and possibly have a go. The club were very welcoming, and a lovely lady took me under her wing and got me on a mat straight away.


I won’t lie, I was the youngest there by about 30 years, but one of the reasons for doing the Challenge200, is to break down some of these perceptions in particular sports. Bowls is often looked at, especially by the media, as one of the ‘silver haired brigade’s’ chosen sports, but in fact, its open to all ages, and younger people are starting to come in to the sport. More to the point, it was addictive and fun!

I was talked through the rules and idea of the sport, so basically to get your ball closest to the white ball or ‘jack’. But there is a certain width to the mats and a block of wood in the middle, so this is where the skill comes in. The balls or ‘woods’, to use their technical name, are weighted. So after putting it in your hand the correct way around depending on what side of the wooden block you are aiming for, it’s all about betting a smooth and steady roll, and a weighted one. Again skill is needed in placing your woods to block your opponent or knock their woods away from the jack.


I did find myself running down the hall chasing woods that had rolled off the matt a fair bit, but every now and then I managed to pull off a great shot, with one wood resting on the jack!

It was very addictive and I was really getting the hang of it by the end of the session. A huge thanks for the lovely lady, who had the patience of a saint and really sold short matt bowls to me. It was fun, relaxed, and addictive!

Shortly after this session I was talking with a few friends about it, and two of them admitted having had a go at it and enjoying it too. My Challenge200 was paying off, opening my eyes to other sports that are really good fun, but I may well have just overlooked due to common misconceptions!


To find out more about short mat bowls check out the following websites.

English Short Mat Bowls Association

Pucklechurch Short Mat Bowls Club

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