How it’s Played

Short Mat Bowling history shows it originally started in Ireland, coming to England in the early 1900’s, when outdoor bowls was already a popular sport. Not surprisingly, after the start of World War I, people were forced to find alternatives, leading to the creation of short mat bowls. Popularity gained during the 20th century, and by the 1950s it was a popular indoor sport. During the 70s the International Short Mat Bowls Council was formed to regulate the sport. The English Short Mat Bowling Association (ESMBA) was formed in 1984 and is now the governing body of the sport in England.

As the name implies, the short mat game is played over a much shorter than the outdoor flat green game. It is played on a carpet between 40 – 45ft (12.2m – 13.7m) long and 6ft (1.8m) wide. Each end there is placed a wooden fender. There are various permanent markings on the mat. Including at each end, a line presenting the ditch a distance of 1ft (0.3m) from the end. Others depict sideways limits for the bowlers legal standing position, a minimum bowl distance line

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