Short Mat Bowls

Roade Rollers Short Mat Bowling Club

Short mat bowls gained popularity in England in the 1980's having started in Ireland in the 1940's, and is a miniaturised version of full length, outdoor or indoor, bowls and is played in village halls. As in all bowls the aim is to bowl a 'wood' up to the 'jack'. In short mat bowls a mat, 6 feet wide and between 40 and 45 feet long, is laid down and a central block, 15 inches long, is placed in the centre of the mat to prevent straight shots at the jack.

Roade Rollers Short Mat Bowling Club was formed in 1994 on the initiative of Chris Perks, the manager of the Willison Centre at Roade School. The school had received a large grant to build the centre plus the all weather outside floodlit sports facility area and one of the conditions of the grant was that the school should make all of the old and new facilities available to the local community.

The school purchased all of the equipment for two mats plus new sets of woods. In the first six months all fees were paid to the school but after six months the club, with 25 members playing on a regular basis on Tuesday and Friday evenings and Sunday mornings, formed an affiliated club with a constitution. With help from local authority grants the club purchased all the equipment from the school.

As membership continued to grow to over 40, a third mat was purchased by the club with the school paying for a fourth mat plus equipment. Short Mat Bowls then became part of the school curriculum and the club began to flourish. In 2000, however, the club became independent of the school and moved to Roade Village Hall.

Some of the original members remain with the club and a membership limit of 50 was introduced to avoid overcrowding. The club raises monies for a local charity every year. Several social events take place during the year and the club also organises Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours competitions for members.

The club has two day and two night County League Teams, which are played in the autumn and winter. In the spring and summer the club play in the South Northants League competitions.

Club nights are held at Roade Village Hall on Tuesday evenings starting at 6.45pm, and Thursdays, starting at 1.45pm. The club offers 3 free taster sessions and coaching to all new bowlers. Equipment is provided but players must wear smooth soled shoes with no heels, flat slippers, or they can play in socks. Enquiries regarding membership are welcome. Please contact our Secretary, Graham Holden on 01604 864537.