The Game Blackpool Short Mat Bowls League

 

 The Mat

The mat is 6 feet wide and between 40 and 45 feet long, this is pre-maked with various lines.

A white wooden block or 'helicopter' is placed on the line across the centre of the mat.

This block prevents direct firing shots down the middle of the mat and forces the use of a wood’s bias.

At each end of the mat is a wooden fender which defines the limits of the ditch area.

At the beginning of each end a rubber delivery foot mat is placed in the pre-marked central position at the end of the mat that an end is to be played from and the jack is placed on the centre jack line at the opposite end of the mat.

At eather side of the centre Jack line are 2 lines called the delivery lines and a players feet must remain within these lines whilst bowling a wood.

Ahead of these lines and before the block is the 'dead line', bowls must reach this and fully pass it to be counted on an end.

 

The Woods

Any Indoor, Crown Green or Flat bowls can be used in the Blackpool Short Mat League, but during a match cannot be changed once the first bowl has been sent down the mat at the start of a game.


Mats and Floors

Part of the skill of the game is due to the fact that each mat in each venue will have its own characteristics and peculiarities which need to be identified and overcome by players.
Different mats can be ‘faster’ or ‘slower’ than others as a result of the texture and age of the mat and the speed of a mat is also influenced by the surface it is laid on. There are extremes of fast and slow mats in the Blackpool League.
The underlying surface will also affect the performance of the mat as few venue floors are perfectly level and imperfections in the surface can cause ‘runs’ on the mat where woods deviate from their normal curving path or can cause a mat to have a ‘straight’ side and a ‘swinging’ side. A gradient running down the mat may cause one direction to play faster than the reverse direction (effectively playing uphill and downhil -- or even round corners ! )
Experienced players quickly identify the peculiarities of mats and adapt their play to overcome or to utilise their characteristics ( usually after quite a lot of moaning about how bad the away mat is ).

 

 

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