to Carpet Bowls
was devised as a scaled down version of indoor bowls and was
designed to be suitable for playing in small halls.
It has flourished in many rural areas,
particularly in the North East, and Eastern England, becoming
an important part of the community activities of many villages
around the country. It has also become the main factor in saving
many village halls from closure, generating a regular, and much
The principle aim of the game, is the same
as all other bowls disciplines, to deliver your wood closer to
the jack than your opponent, but changes had to be made to suit
the required equipment.
The game is played on a mat approximately
30 feet in length and 6 feet wide, using biased bowls of 4 inches
in diameter. On the centre of the mat there is an 18 inch block
and the delivery of the woods takes place from a designated area,
this prevents the game continually being killed by the firing
shot and creates a more interesting and skilful game.
All bowlers use the same woods, this removes
the need for players to purchase equipment themselves, making
it a relatively inexpensive sport to take up. The mats are manufactured
so they can be rolled up, and stored easily.
Another important aspect of the game is
that it is a sport that is played with no discrimination. Both
male and female, children of all ages, as well as less able-bodied
people have the ability to compete on an equal footing, at all
levels of the game. At County level, there is more than one county
with wheelchair-bound competitors. This makes the game fully
fall under the category of Sport For All'.
The game is played at a number of different
levels. Social bowling is played in many halls, all around the
country, by school children, over 60s clubs, village clubs,
sports centres and many other situations. All county associations
run their own competitive leagues, with other organisations contributing
other affiliated competitions.
At the higher level there are the inter-county
competitions, that require a more sustained and consistent game,
but still played with the same respect and sportsmanship that
is experienced in the social game.
More details on how the game of Carpet
Bowls is played can be found in the
All photographs courtesy
of Shirley Watkins.