Give short mat bowls a try

April 29 2019

YOUNG people in Downend are being given the chance to take part in a challenging sporting activity – short mat bowls. A new club is being set up at Christ Church parish hall on Saturday mornings, aimed at boys and girls under 18. The invite also extends to interested parents.

Pete Chard, one of the organisers, said: “Bowls isn’t a sport that is often associated with the younger generation but youngsters may well be surprised how fun and challenging the short mat version actually is. The principle is very similar to lawn bowls – teams take it in turns to bowl balls towards a smaller yellow ball known as a jack with the aim of being the closest. Short mat differs from the more traditional outdoor version in that it is played indoors on a specially made mat at a faster pace. I know it sounds very simple but it really isn’t! It’s an easy game to get started in but it takes control, precision and tactical play in order to master.”
Saul Featherstone, another of the organisers, who  currently plays for Gloucester County, said: “Short mat bowls is a format that is growing in popularity. In areas where younger players have taken up the sport, numbers have grown rapidly. Dorset, for example, currently has seven players representing England in the Under 21s team. This is certainly something we aspire to. It would be great to see more young players from this area get into the sport and reach the same level.”
With this in mind, Pete and Saul are part of a group who are determined to share their love of the sport with young people in the Downend area by setting up the Downend Colts Short Mat Bowls Club.  
Pete added: “The aim is that the club should be a place for young people to come and discover something different. So, if you’ve tried other sports and not found one that is right for you,  give it a go - it may just surprise you.”
A  free taster session takes place at Christ Church Parish Hall on May 25 from 11am -12.30pm. All necessary equipment and tuition will be provided. Anyone is welcome to drop in for a quick demo or stay for the whole session.
For further information email Mike Parsons at