Torbay Short Mat Bowls

Please ensure that all participating team members arrive at the venue by 5.30pm at the latest for pre-event registration and briefing.

Playing by the rules

The game of short mat bowls will be played in teams of 4. 
Each team must be mixed gender.  

This event is for fun so will not have the formal bowls dress down code so normal wear can be wornthe exception is shoes – bowls shoes, slippers or socks (slippers must not have been worn outside) 

A set of bowls consists of four bowls
You are able to borrow bowls at the venue or bring your own.

The rink mat 

The maximum length of a mat is between 12200mm and 13750mm with the width 1830mm. The diagram only shows half a mat with the exact same the opposite side. 


Basic principles of play 

To delivery bowl you must use a delivery mat placed in position C. 

When a player makes a delivery, his foot must be on the delivery mat and when delivering the bowl his leading foot must be within lines marked with a B. 

When the delivery is made the bowl must not touch the block line marked with G, if the bowl touches the block line the bowl becomes dead. 

If a bowl is carried or rolled beyond the dead line marked with an E the bowl becomes dead. 

To start the game the jack can be placed anywhere on the jack line marked with an F. 

If bowl touches or enters the front ditch line marked with D and C without touching the jack the bowl becomes dead and must be removed from play. 

Once a bowl has been delivered it can come to rest anywhere in the live area. 

If a bowl comes to rest anywhere in the dead area it must be removed from play 


FOURS       Played by two contending teams, each of the four players each playing two bowls who shall play singly and in turn, Players order of play Lead (first bowler) Second (second bowler) Third (third Bowler) Skip (forth bowler) 

All of the above shall be played until the time limit. 

Before the game starts there will be a briefing on how to play but in short  

Short mat Beginners Guide 

For a bowl to be legal, it must: 

  • Reach the line at the other end of the mat 
  • Stay on the mat 
  • Not hit the block in the middle of the mat 
  • Not go in the ditch without touching the jack

When you deliver a bowl, you must have one foot on the foot mat. There are several other more intricate rules but for the purpose of this evening, the above is all you will need to worry about. 

if you do want some details beforehand here is more information…  

England Short Mat Bowls Society say… 

Make sure that you are ready in plenty of time, if the skip has not done so, introduce yourself to the opposing side. 

One of the team will toss a coin to determine who has the mat (i.e. who will place the mat and deliver the jack and first bowl). The winner of the toss has the choice of taking the mat or give it to their opponentIn subsequent ends, the winner of the previous end will take the mat and bowl first. 

After deciding who delivers the first bowlthe delivery mat is placed between the area C on the diagram with the back of the delivery mat placed against the fender (the back line of area C) The jack is placed by the skip anywhere on-line F to an agreed position by the lead. The bowls will then be delivered in turn until the last bowl has been delivered. After all the bowls have been delivered your team or your opponent’s whoever is the nearest to the jack will be counted. Sometimes to determine the nearest to the jack a measure will be required. 

If in the course of a delivery a bowl touches the jack irrespective of how many bowls it touches on the way, the bowl will be chalked to mark it has touched the jack, This means that if at some stage, in the end, this bowls enters the ditch (see diagram area D) the bowl remains live and may be counted as part of the result, any bowl that has not touched the jack and comes to rest in the ditch area is a dead bowl.   

When single games require a marker they will assist the players by marking any touchers, undertake any measuring and monitor the games functions, i.e the mat and fender are correctly aligned, remove dead bowls, adjudicate on line decisions, answer questions from players etc. The umpire may be called on by the marker to advise. The Umpires decision is final 

When delivering the bowl some people stand on the mat with both feet parallel slightly apart facing the line along which they intend to send the bowl and take a step and deliver their bowl, another option is to  crouch down and place one foot on the delivery mat with your front foot extend in front of you facing the way you deliver.  If on your delivery your foot is not fully on the delivery mat, it will be judgedas foot fault and bowl removed from the mat. When delivering the bowl your stance and grip on the bowl should be comfortable. 

Bowlers who stand with two feet on the delivery mat would normally stand so that the bowler has both comfort and control and bowl on a line just outside the right hip (right handed bowlers) allowing an unimpeded backswing. 

Bowlers who crouch down and have their back foot on the delivery mat and their front foot extended normally deliver the bowl between their legs.  A smooth follow through is important regardless of your delivery stance. 

Time / Location

30th April 2020


TLH Leisure Resort, Belgrave Rd, Torquay, TQ2 5HS

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