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An Introduction to Carpet Bowls

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 needed, revenue.

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 60’s 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 rules.

And you can see how the game is played in practice, by visiting our YouTube channel where there are videos of various championship matches.

All photographs courtesy of Shirley Watkins.