During the winter, after the outdoor bowls season has finished, we play Short Mat bowls in our cosy clubhouse. Poole Park has a thriving and enthusiastic short mat section that runs from late September to March (see below for dates) regardless of if you bowl outdoors or not. They have four roll-up sessions a week and have two teams in local leagues which means that they travel around to play other clubs in bowls clubs, village halls and the like. Apart from the competitive aspect there is always a strong social element to short mat and many find it a welcome distraction from the wind and rain of the long winter days.
What is Short Mat Bowls?
Short mat bowls is similar to outdoor bowls in some ways but also a very different game in many other ways. Like outdoor bowls the aim of the game is still the same, get as close to the jack as possible with as many shots as you can. Instead of playing on a green, it is played indoors on a mat roughly 40 feet in length with a wooden block in the centre of the mat at the halfway mark. You must bowl around the central block to get to the jack, which is trickier than it sounds as you cannot bowl off the edge of the mat or touch the block. The weighted jack is not bowled, but placed at varying lengths decided by the skip, on a centre line at the other end of the mat. The position you bowl from is fixed and your feet must be kept inside a specified area in front of the mat. Like outdoor bowls, there is a ditch area at the end of the mat that woods must stay out of unless they are a touching wood or the jack. Games can be played at singles, pairs, triples and fours.
Short mat is a very social game, arguably more social than outdoors given that it is played in a close and intimate environment. It is a great way to keep your hand in over the winter months and for some people is their main bowling game. Either way, a lot of fun is had and everyone is always welcome.
Can I Give It A Try?
Of course, we would love to see you. You could start by contacting the Short Mat president (see Contacts for details).
When are we open?
We are sorry to say that Short Mat will not be starting until the New Year at the earliest. It is an indoor sport and we have to be very careful that everyone who plays is safe from this nasty disease.
We also have to adhere to government restrictions
We will post arrangements here once dates are finalised. Pay us a visit in the new year to check.
Social bowling takes place every weekday and is open to players of all abilities.
Details of session times can be found here
We run 1 team in the Dorset Short Mat League they are in Division 1. The team consists of a fours and triples rink and matches are normally played at home on a Friday evening starting at 7pm.