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North Yorkshire Short Mat Bowling Association

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Content reviewed 5/9/18

This page contains thumbnail profiles based on details provided by club Secretaries for publication in past issues of our annual Handbook.

As some references may be contemporary and a little out of date, the year of the relevant Handbook is shown at the beginning of each profile.

From  Bilsdale in the North York Moors to Eggborough, near Selby in the south and from Sawley and Darley in the Dales to Scarborough on the East coast,

our 43 member clubs are spread right across the county of North Yorkshire - the largest county area in England with an area of over 3,300 sq miles.




(2006) The Barns existence is primarily due to the enthusiasm and hard work of Howard and Margaret Burdock who moved up to Osgodby from Doncaster in 1996. There they had been Short Mat Bowling (of a sort) for several years but being “strangers in a strange land”, they were not initially aware of our Association or of any clubs in their area. However, they were determined to continue their bowling. Immediately they hit…….

Problem No.1 - There were no local halls they could use. Undeterred they somehow persuaded the landlord of their local pub (yes, you’ve guessed it – “The Barn”) to let them use his lounge area in which to lay a mat. Great… came with its own bar! But….

Problem No.2 – They did not have a mat! However they discovered that a sports centre on Filey Road was prepared not only loan them one but also to deliver it almost immediately. Problem solved? Oh no, not quite……….…

Problem No.3 – Having watched four men carry the mat into its new home they discovered that not only was it 62 feet long but also nearly 8 feet wide! Bye-bye free mat!! The sports centre then put them in touch with Edwin Smith of Scarborough SMBC who in turn put them in touch with Alan Barningham at Flixton SMBC. Alan was most helpful in loaning them a mat as and when they wanted it providing they would pick it up and then return it the next day and this they did for several weeks. During this time, the sight of the two of them playing in the pub soon got others interested especially after one fateful night when they found “their lounge” double booked with the local Neighbourhood Watch several of whom immediately showed interest. It was not long before they had enough people interested to formally set up a club and buy the Flixton mat outright. This led to several months of stability until along came…..

Problem No.4 – The pub was sold and they found their precious lounge area was to be redeveloped into what is now “The Poachers Pocket”. They had no alternative but to move out into Cayton Village Hall to play on a Wednesday afternoon. By 1998, they had obtained a second mat and had grown large enough to have sufficient interest to want to join the Scarborough league which gave rise to.…

Problem No.5 – Cayton VH was not available in the evening. So once again they uprooted to move to Jubilee Hall, still in Cayton, where they have been ever since.

So, having joined the Association in 1998 with 25 members they then started league bowling with two teams. At first they floundered a bit around the bottom of the league but each year since has seen steady improvement and this year saw both teams playing in Division 1 (finishing 4th and 8th). With a current membership of 36 there are currently only five bigger clubs in the county and with the enthusiasm for the game shown right from the start continuing, the future looks rosy and hopefully free of any more problems

Resigned 2015

Bempton Joined 2014

(2004) The home of this, one of our remotest clubs, is the village hall at Chop Gate some 12 miles north of Helmsley. It owes its origin to Roy Barker, who in the winter of 1994 organised a trip to Sessay for a mini-bus full of locals to play a strange game called carpet bowls which most had never heard of. The evening was enjoyed so much by all who went that Roy organised another trip not long after, this time to Helmsley SMBC to play another strange game……short mat bowls.

After that, fired with enthusiasm for this new game, the club was set up with two second hand mats from Helmsley which unfortunately had to be cut back to the minimum length due to the size of the hall. Friendly games with Kirbymisperton and other local clubs followed (Trevor Collier being a great friend and helper) as well as some tuition from Edwin Smith and Dorothy Knaggs of Scarborough. In 1995, having gained some experience, they affiliated 14 enthusiastic members to the County Association and applied to play in the Kyle Valley league. They were warmly welcomed into both these organisations and the latter even modified their minimum distance stipulation to allow them to join in. Since that time they have gained much experience and in 2000 with the help of lottery funding the village hall was extended allowing full size mats to be used at last.

Although still a small club, their members have had their share of success. Their team has been Kyle Valley East Division runners up for the last three years whilst some club members have regular games playing not only for the White Horse Region in the Yorkshire (North) league but also for the NYSMBA County team. In 2001 members Arthur Jackson and Heather Allen were in the counties Mixed Fours team that reached the ESMBA National semi-finals in Daventry and the following year, these two, along with Len Lofthouse and Max Cook became North Yorkshires first winners of the Rinks Cup in the Northern Zone Championships at Barnard Castle. More recently the club was a founder member of the White Rose (summer) League and were runners up in their inaugural season last year. The Chairman, George Cook, also carved and presented this new league with its new annual shield. George, his wife Nancy (Treasurer), and fellow founder members Gladys Garbutt, Les Featherstone and Ron Knaggs feel that sportsmanship has always prevailed in the club and although it has now grown to 20 members they are always looking for others to join. 

Bolton Abbey Resigned 2007

(2003) The historic town of Boroughbridge lies at the confluence of the Rivers Ure and Tutt and on the route of the Great North Road. Just an arrows flight away to the south east lie the remains of the Roman town of Isurium Brigantium (Aldborourgh) whilst to the south west can be found the bronze age megaliths known as the Devils Arrows which at 22 feet stand taller than Stonehenge.

Much more recently, in February 1997, Short Mat Bowls took root in the local Leisure Centre when several keen and committed players from other more established clubs decided to strike out on their own. These included Jean & Ken Calvert, Richard & Dorothy Kay, Barbara & the late Ron Pickles, Jean Dixon, Kath Ogden and Eric Richardson. Such was the enthusiasm of the original 17 members that they had no hesitation in entering two teams in the Kyle Valley League in their very first season and with such an experienced core of players, success was never going to be far away. After coming second in their KVL Division in that first year they became overall League Champions in 1998/99. A quiet season followed when the club move to the newly built Coronation Hall – appropriately on the site of the Battle of Boroughbridge (1322) but they soon bounced back to take the leagues KO Cup in 2001/02 and the league Championship once again last season. In 1997 they were also one of the founder members of the Vale of York Pairs league and having been runners up in three of the last four years will be continuing to strive for the top place next year. Two years ago the club started an annual friendly contest with neighbours Yoredale and last season this was expanded to include Knaresborough. The clubs play for the “Calvert Cup” (presented by Jean & Ken) and is based on matches played during the afternoons only.

Apart from their league successes, Boroughbridge SMBC has several players who have achieved wins across the county in open competitions and who have qualified on several occasions for the Northern Zone Championships. Several play regularly for the County Team and a few have also been down to the National Championships as our county qualifiers. The club house is also the home for the Ousedale region of the Yorkshire (North) League. Most notable are Jean & Ken Calvert who between them over the years have had success in all four disciplines in most of the counties key competitions. Having together won the Northern Zone Pairs crown several years ago, 2003 saw them once again making their mark with Jean’s triple just missing out on the Championship title whilst Ken became our first winner of the Singles title.


Click on link to view separate BSA page

Branton Resigned 2018

(2001) Carpet Bowls was played in the Village Hall (for the "over 50s) from around 1982 but eventually it was perceived that Short Mat had a better future. A grant enabled a new mat to be obtained and the old carpet mat was also lengthened (??). The players gradually migrated over to "proper" woods. 1991 saw a move into the new Leisure Centre from the Village Hall and initially this was not popular and membership dwindled.  However, after an abortive attempt to set up an outside green, a dedicated core carried on and promoted the game as a winter evening activity, joining the Selby league in 1993. This move led to renewed interest and membership soon recovered and the club now has two teams in the league and one in the Tuesday Triples. They still have no outside green and continue to play Short Mat throughout the summer. 

Resigned 2017  

Burton Leonard Resigned in 2011
Campsall Resigned in 2011

(2004) Lying on the A1041 about six miles to the south of Selby, Carlton (along with Eggborough) can lay claim to being the southernmost of the counties clubs. It was in 1987 that a small group of enthusiastic people including Joyce Gregory and current Secretary, Mary Dickinson, introduced Short Mat Bowling to the list of activities carried out in the village hall after the idea was suggested by the Selby Sports Council. They had little knowledge of the game, but after borrowing a mat from Nobby Clark and some sets of bowls from Selby Sports Council they soon “got the bug”.

Within three years, after friendly games with such clubs as North Duffield and Tate & Lyle and with a growing membership, they had sufficient money (with the help of a few grants) to purchase their own equipment. By 1991, confidently sporting new red club jumpers they joined the Selby league, albeit with some trepidation. In 1995 they had progressed enough to gain promotion to the Division 1. There was a temporary crisis when in 1997 when they had to withdraw from the league due to falling numbers but in 1998, they were back on their feet, re-entering the league and winning Division 2 to gain promotion for the second time.

Since then, their team has performed consistently well and remained in the first division ending up in fifth place in the last two seasons. With five new members joining recently, they are hoping for another good season in 2004/05, perhaps improving their league position at the expense of one (or more) of the four “big boys” (Tate & Lyle, Escrick and Market Weighton B & C)!         

The club meets on Friday evenings throughout the year with an additional session on Sunday evenings during the winter and would welcome new members.

Resigned 2018

Cayton Awaited
Church Fenton (Profile added 2016) Church Fenton Bowling Club (Outdoor) was formed in 1986, and plays in the Selby Leagues.

In 2010 it was decided to start playing the Short Mat game during the winter months, playing in the Selby Short Mat Midweek League and the Selby Tuesday Triples League, with our home matches being played in the Village Hall (a challenging experience for all!). The Club was grateful to NYSMBA who awarded us a grant towards the cost of a new mat. The decision was also taken that year to extend our original Clubhouse and in May 2011 the building work was started, and completed in the summer of 2012. Since then we have had our own facility which can accommodate 2 mats.

In our first year (2010) we gained promotion to the first division finishing as runners up, and have remained there ever since. Due to the popularity of Short Mat Bowling, a B team was formed in 2012, which competes strongly in the Second division. The Club goes from strength to strength with a lively Club Night on Monday evenings.  There is always has a warm welcome for new members, who are encouraged from the outset.

Web address

Coxwold Resigned in 2012
Crossgates Awaited
Cyphers Resigned in 2004
Darley Resigned in 2013
Easingwold Click on link to view separate EASINGWOLD page
East Cottingwith (2005) Situated in a small village to the SE of York, the club started life in 1991/92 thanks to Frank Arnold, then a member of Melbourne. Initially this required some structural alterations to the village hall to open up the playing area which originally had a dividing wall. As a small club they admit to lacking strength in depth but with occasional flashes of brilliance they have twice proved good enough to gain promotion to the Selby Leagues first division (only to find themselves dropping back in the following year). However they are proud to have produced the counties 2004 Junior Champion in Francis Boatman (currently at University). Their Secretary Gail, invites any Short Mat bowler to join them for an evening where they will be warmly welcomed. 
Eggborough (2000) The club started life in 1983 as a carpet bowl section of the new flat green club constructed by the Eggborough Power Station. After a disastrous fire in 1984 destroyed the club house and all equipment the Power Station then constructed a larger club house with new equipment and carpet bowls continue until 1987. In that year the Selby league was formed and Eggborough decided to change to Short Mat, entering one team. It was not long before a third and then a fourth mat were obtained and a second and then a third team were entered in the league. They meet on Monday afternoons (1-3pm) and Wednesday evening (7-1030pm).
Escrick (1999) Founded in 1985 this small club is one of the oldest in the county. Although they have only 2 mats, a small membership and only meet once per week on Wednesdays (7-9pm), their team is one of the most successful in the Selby league (of which they were co-founders).


(1999) Founded back in 1986, the club has remained a 2 mat club playing in the local village hall. In 1993 they were one of the founder members of the Scarborough league in which they managed to field 2 teams from the start. They became the first winners of that league and have had much success since, with 3 further league championships and three Challenge Cup (KO) wins to the credit of one or other of their teams. Club members have also notched up wins in other competitions including the Scarborough Pairs, the Ampleforth Pairs and the Kirbymisperton Pairs and Triples. Several of their players have also represented the county in the NZ IC league.

Resigned 2015 to join Humberside SMBA

Great Ouseburn (2002) This club was formed around 1990 after some of the early members had been to see the game being played at Ampleforth. Initially using a mat hired from Harrogate Council, loans from the Village Hall and several of the founder members soon enabled their own equipment to be acquired. In 1993 they joined the NYSMBA with 21 members and were one of the founder clubs of the Kyle Valley league in which their best placing so far was 3rd place in 2000/01. A small but enthusiastic and competitive club, they now have two Kyle Valley teams and one on the Vale of York (pairs) league. Club members have seen success in the Ripon Triples, the Swinton Triples and the Kirbymisperton Triples as well as contributing to the successful Ousedale side that were placed first in the Yorkshire (North) league in 2001/02. Several members also regularly represent the county in the Northern Zone IC league and have also qualified for the finals at both the Northern Zone Championships and the ESMBA Nationals.

(2002) This small club got going in 1986 with 10 members as a way of utilising the local Village Hall on Wednesday afternoons. Membership slowly grew and extra sessions were introduced and friendly games were played against neighbouring fledgling clubs. In 1993 they joined the newly formed Scarborough league and regular competitive bowling began. Although without league success they remain very keen with two teams now in the Scarborough league and an active social bowling program.

With membership dwindling down to 5 in 2010/11, they left the Association in 2011.

Guisborough Folded up in 2007
Hambleton (2000) Founded by John and Shirley McDermott (ex Easingwold SMBC). the club, named after the local district council, finally saw the light of day in 1994. With three mats and an initial membership drawn primarily from the Thirsk Athletic and Sowerby Flatts outside clubs, there was an immediate thirst for competitive bowling and the new club immediately joined the Kyle Valley league, finishing as runners up in their second season. Since then, the club has a very consistent record, finishing 1st or 2nd in this league (in which they now have 3 teams) in every year. In 1997 they were founder members of the Vale of York league taking the title in the inaugural season and finishing in the top 3 ever since. Several of their members play regularly in the county team. They also play in the White Rose Summer league 
Helmsley (2001) In 1989 the Helmsley Town Hall Management committee approached the outdoor bowling club to see if there was any interest on Short Mat bowling. They offerred not only to provide two mats but to allow use of the town hall premises free of charge! Several outside players who were looking for a winter activity found this offer too good to refuse and on January 22nd 1990 the club was born with around 18 members, Robin Carpenter as Chairman, John Harforth as Secretary and Jean Potter as Treasurer. They soon organised friendly matches again local clubs Ampleforth, Slingsby and Welburn and it was not long before they formally set up the Ryedale league (the first such to the north of York). In 1993 they were also one of the 7 founding clubs for the Kyle Valley league. They continue playing in these 2 leagues through to the present day (2006).

Formed in 2014 after rebuilding of village hall

Resigned 2018 due to lack of active members

Kirbymisperton Click on link to view separate KIRBYMISPERTON page
Kirkbymoorside (2000) In early 1992, a group of Kirkbymoorside bowlers who had been playing in the Helmsley SMBC since 1990 decided to form their own club. Investigations showed that a defunct Carpet Bowls Club in their town had left a Cup, a Shield and a little cash in the kitty, which the trustees agreed to release to help get the new Short Mat Club off the ground. On 13th April 1992, Don Glensor and Teddy Sunley convened a meeting at which the 18 people present agreed on the setting up of the club. A committee under Don as Chairman with Dr Peter Smith as Secretary was then elected to progress things further. They negotiated a reduction from £6 to £4 per hour for the Memorial Hall and grants were obtained from Ryedale DC and the Yorkshire Rural Community Council to raise the £1200 required for equipment. The 25 initial members met socially on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons although once they joined the Ryedale leaguefor the 92/93 season they had to play matches in the evening. In 98/99 they also joined the Scarborough league in which they now have 3 teams (2006).
Kirklevington Awaited
Knaresborough (1999) The club was formed in 1995 after an initiative by Malcolm and Marion Richardson and is now one of the largest in the County. They have 4 mats at their main venue at Scotton Village Hall where they meet Monday morning and evening and  Friday afternoons. They also have 3 mats at the Knaresborough Community Centre where they play on Thursday evenings. They have 2 teams in the Kyle Valley league, one in the Vale of York league and also participate in the White Rose Summer league.
Marton (2000) Marton got its first taste of Short Mat in 1991 as a result of a "Sport forAll" initiative by Ryedale Council. In 1992 there were more "taster" sessions and finally the club was launched in November 1993. However for the first few seasons there was only social bowling due to the irregularity of the floor. This was rectified in the summer of 1997 when it was completely re-laid on a solid concrete base. Thus with a new floor and a little experience, Marton joined the Scarborough league for the 97/98 season during which they gained promotion to the top division. Currently they have 3 teams in this league as well as some members who regularly represent the Ryedale region in the Yorkshire(North) league. They are a 2 mat club meeting on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings (+Monday evenings for league matches) but during the summer bowling is limited to Wednesday afternoons.

(2007) Melbourne is a small village to the south east of York. Short Mat was introduced to the village in 1986 by the late and much missed Frank Arnold with the objective of keeping the members of the outside club together during the winter. For a couple of years we had no mat and no home venue. However thanks to Nobby Clark, the village hall at North Duffield was initially used as our base and eventually, in 1988 the outside club invested in a single mat on the understanding that thenceforward the Short Mat side of things would be self sufficient!

It was not long before some members were instrumental in the formation of two ‘spin-off’ clubs in the adjacent villages of East Cottingwith and Sutton-on-Derwent. Although this resulted in a drop in membership we were able to keep going and played regularly in the Selby league from the early days. Along with several other clubs in the Selby area we eventually joined the Association in 1998 and registered 20 members.

Our team tends to end up in the middle of Division 2 although we did manage to get to the Final of the Tate & Lyle KO Cup a couple of years ago, losing by just 2 shots to the “big-boys” from Market Weighton! There is no shortage of enthusiasm however and internal singles, pairs and triples competitions are held each year in which all members participate. There is also a social evening at the end of December in which members take part in a target competition (not as easy as it looks!) for a trophy donated by Pat Etherington in memory of his wife Betty. The season concludes with a social/presentation evening for members with their family and friends.

2007 see us celebrating 21 years as a Short Mat Club  and I am pleased to say that we remain financially sound and in good shape. With 29 registered members we are now one of the largest in the county (only 9 are larger) and once again all our members, from teens to 95, are looking forward to the start of yet another season. 

North Duffield Click on link to view separate NORTH DUFFIELD page
Pateley Bridge (2001) In 1987, the late Douglas Brown, then Chairman of the Memorial Hall decided to bring Short Mat to Pateley after seeing the game being played in nearby Dacre Banks. The local high school donated a very old mat and with the help of the School Secretary (Margaret Collins) a new mat was obtained for £650 (one third funded by Yorkshire Rural Communiry Council and two thirds by Memorial Hall). In 1988 John & Jean Foster were appointed as the Secretary and Treasurer and the next few years brought many afternoons of happiness and fun. Sadly in September 1991 John died leaving Jean very unhappy and sad and not wanting to carry on bowling. However, the other club member rallied round and persuaded her to keep going and soon after she was elected as Secretary (with Sarah Ducker as Treasurer and Fred Spence as Chairman). In 1993 with over 30 members and money in the bank, new trophies were obtained and the Annual Presentation dinner was started. At this the local press were invited and their reporter commented on the "remarkable atmosphere of camaraderie generated by the members".

Pateley joined in the newly launched Dales (now Nidderdale) league in 2000 and in 2001 Jean handed the Secretaries baton over to Barbara Todd. The presentation dinner is still a very sociable event and now includes dancing and games (led by Harold Holdswoth) and the club also organises other social activities and outings such as rambling for the benefit of members

Resigned 2008


(2007) The village of Raskelf lies just off the A19 north of Easingwold. In late 1994, shortly after the erection a new Village Hall, conversation in The Three Tuns, one of two local pubs, centred on how best to make use of these new facilities. Short Mat Bowling was a prime candidate and with the support of the local Leisure Committee a Bowls committee was formed. This had its first meeting on January 5th 1995 at which a constitution was drawn up and fund raising ideas were initiated. The first of these, a sponsored walk around Sutton Bank, took place on a very misty April 30th and was closely followed by a clay pigeon shoot, raffle and bar-b-cue, all of which were very successful in raising enough funds to purchase their first mats. They had soon attracted enough members to enter the Kyle Valley league for the 1995/06 season and after a couple of years they entered a 2nd team. In 2001/02 they had gained enough experience to win the annual Challenge Cup, a feat they repeated the following year. 1998 saw them enter the Vale of York pairs league in which they topped the 2nd division in 2002/03 and 2004/05. Last year they also topped the 2nd Division in the Kyle Valley league so the season ahead will see them compete in the top division in both their leagues for the first time. They also play throughout the summer in the White Rose league. A profile of Raskelf would not be complete without a mention of Dennis Jarvis, one of their original members, who has played in the county team for the last 11 years making more appearances than any other player. Dennis, a steady and dedicated player, has also been our county Pairs Champion twice in the last 4 years.      

Riccall (2002) The outside bowlers of Riccall formed the Short Mat section in 1987 to maintain their bowling interest during the long winter months having seen a demonstration at Sturges Chemical (now Tate & Lyle). Second hand mats were soon acquired and a team was entered in the Selby & District league, in which they now have two teams. A strong membership and recent promotion to division one indicates their true potential is still to come.  

(2009) Sawley is to be found just west of Ripon off the B6265 Pateley Bridge road. In 1995 after the closure of the local school, the building was converted into a Village Hall and extended with a lovely functions room built on. Norman Nichol came up with the idea of using this new facility for playing bowls and encouraged by friends, obtained an old mat from the Darley club. Soon Norman and several friends were meeting on Wednesday afternoons the following year numbers had increased so much that another mat was required. With only limited funds available, everyone clubbed together to buy another second hand mat and some more bowls. In 1997 the landlady of the local “Sawley Arms” kindly donated a brand new mat for the club. However this turned out to be a very fast one and even to this day is not popular with everyone! In 1998 they joined the Yorkshire (North) league and registered players for this via the Darley club. In 2000 they joined the NYSMBA in our own right and registered 16 players which enabled them to take part in the newly created Dales league (now defunct).

With the help of the village hall committee, they obtained a grant to enable the purchase of 2 new medium pace mats complete with bowls etc. In spring 2007 a Singles competition was launched for the players in the Dales league and this took place on neutral territory in Grantley Village Hall and they also joined in the Boroughbridge Challenge Cup (afternoon) league in 2007 which they won in 2009.

We still have 25 members with an average of 15 turning up on Wednesday afternoons (1pm-4pm) all year round. We are a happy bunch and will welcome any new players.

Resigned 2012

Scarborough Click on link to view separate SCARBOROUGH page
St. Cuthberts

(formerly Ampleforth)

Click on link to view separate ST. CUTHBERTS page

Seaton Ross

(2009) Situated some 7 miles from Pocklington in the East Riding, Seaton Ross is a charming small rural village with a great community of around 500. The club was formed 3 years ago by a group of enthusiastic people who were looking for ways to improve village life. They knew absolutely nothing about Short Mat bowling but knew of some adjacent villages where there were clubs so it seemed a good idea to give it a go!  Their first set of equipment was loaned thanks to help from Peter Fridlington of the Melbourne club.

After obtaining funding from ‘Sport for All’ they eventually obtained two brand new mats and other equipment then joined the NYSMBA and the Selby League in which they know they can only improve! They also take part in the Tuesday Triples League at Bubwith and were pleased to end last season in 11th position (out of 17). They also reached the semi-finals of the Tate & Lyle KO plate competition before being knocked out.

They normally meet on Wednesday and Sunday and during the summer they play on Wednesdays only.

Slingsby Resigned in 1995
Snaith Awaited
Stewart Awaited (joined in 2012)

(2006) Stillington is one of numerous pretty villages situated to the north of York. It lies on the  B1363 route to Helmsley on what was the former Oswaldkirk toll road and within what until 1630 was the Forest of Galtres. According to the 19c historian Thomas Gill it derives its name from “stealing town” or “town of thieves” whose livelihood was 'robbing the king's forest of its deer and the packman of their merchandise'. However the origin of the name is actually far less romantic and in fact is much older and appears in the Domesday Book (1086) as “Stivelincton” from the saxon Styfel and Tun (Styfels farm).  

It is doubtful that Styfel played Short Mat Bowls as the club records showed that the club was not formed until 1993! Current members, including one of their founders, Mavis North, who has been Treasurer from the beginning, are a bit hazy as to how it got started. However they do recollect that carpet bowls was being played when Short Mat started up in other villages. So maybe it was a case of “let’s try playing with big woods rather than tiddlers”! The club joined the Association in 1994 with just 9 members, was a founder member of the Kyle Valley league at that time and more recently joined the Vale of York league in 2002. They now have 17 members and still play in their small village hall where they meet for three sessions each week on two mats. League success has so far eluded them and they usually finish in the bottom half of their division. However visiting teams underestimate them at their peril and the ladies and gents of Stillington can always look back to 1998 when they did find themselves as runners up in the annual Kyle Valley Challenge Cup that year.

Stillington epitomises what Short Mat is all about. Primarily an important part of village winter social life with friendly competitive bowling added to give it a little bit of added zest!

Strensall Resigned 2008 but rejoined in 2009. Resigned 2018
Sutton 0n Derwent Awaited
Selby IBC Joined 2015
Selby WMC

(formerly Tate & Lyle)

(2003) Geoff Dye and Geoff Whitehead, committee members of the Sturge company Sports & Social Club in Selby, approached the management back in 1985 to request the inclusion of Short Mat Bowling as one of the facilities available to employees. Approval was soon gained and a single mat obtained making it one of the oldest clubs in the county. The following year a team was entered in the newly formed Selby League which they won for the first time in 1987/88 and have more or less dominated ever since. In fact they have gone on to win this league in no less than thirteen of the leagues seventeen years also taking the KO Cup on four occasions and the Tuesday Triples league in three of its first four years. The two Geoffs are still key to the clubs success and Geoff Whitehead will not forget his win over the English National Champion, Philip Mills, when the NYSMBA team played the England team in 2001.  

Unique amongst North Yorkshire clubs this is the only “works” club not open to the general public but it still has to compete for members from employees who have Pool, Darts, Dominoes and Table Tennis available to them. The company, in spite of ownership changes (Sturge became Haarman & Reimer then Tate & Lyle), has continued to support the club (and the Selby league) by providing equipment and cups.  However the works canteen does not have an ideal floor so the club, numbering around 25 social and league players, still only play on a single mat laid down in the optimum position.

Thornton Dale (2002) The club was opened on December 1st 1985 by John Spence (then Ryedale MP) after obtaining a £500 grant from the Sports Council Small Projects fund. Under Chairman Roy Manthorpe the first six years provided social bowling to a membership whose ages ranged from 14 to 90. After they affiliated 21 members to the newly formed NYSMBA in 1991 they started league bowling with the Ryedale league. In 1994 with a peak of 33 members they joined the Scarborough league in which they now have two teams. Although they have never won either of their leagues, their members have won the prestigous annual Ampleforth Pairs on no less than three occasions (1991, 1993 & 1995)
Thornton Le Clay

 Ceased to exist in 2001 due to lack of support (A profile was printed in the 2001/2002 Handbook showing the reasons for the decline)

Tollerton (2005) The club originated in the autumn of 1983 after several village people got together to play Carpet Bowls. A local benefactor, Mrs Harrison, generously donated their first carpet as well as helping several other local villages to get started and the initial committee was formed and the club officially set up in the following year. A league was soon formed (the Vale of Mowbray Carpet Bowls league) by clubs operating in Coxwold, Alne, Easingwold, Huby, Newton and Shipton as well as Tollerton and for about 10 years most club members found this a very enjoyable game.

In the early 1990’s, some members “discovered” Short Mat Bowls, probably through contact with other clubs, and Tollerton were invited to the inaugural meeting of the Kyle Valley League. In fact it was Tollerton’s Frank Raper who suggested the name after the beautiful little valley he and other Tollerton members worked in which flows from Tollerton, through Alne Park to Tholthorpe. After affiliating to the NYSMBA in 1993 and with much “carpet” experience behind them, Tollerton bowlers quickly adapted to Short Mat and were soon setting the standard in this new league. In fact they came top in three of the first four years and also won the annual Challenge Cup four times in the first six years! (Of particular note is Richard Clark who was a regular member of the County team for 12 years during which he played in a record 81 games.)

However, in the latter part of the 1990s and early part of the 2000s several very experienced and long term members tragically died and this has rocked the club enormously. However, with the dedication of the remaining members and some new members joining, the club remains very active in both the Kyle Valley and Vale of York leagues. Having just held their 21st AGM the Club is looking forward to a long future and new members would be very welcome.     


(2004) Jim Rose of mat makers Regalgrene was active in the county during 1984, running demonstrations of the game in various village halls. One of these was at Welburn, a small village close to Castle Howard where several players including Sid and Audrey Gibson, Eddie Coulson and Mike and Ann Kitchen had already “tasted” the game at Slingsby which had recently started up a Short Mat Club. After Jims visit, at a well attended meeting on January 9th 1985, the club was formed and a committee elected. Sid subsequently organised a grand Bingo session in Malton which raised £689 and together with a loan from the Village Hall, the first equipment was bought.


Like many of the early clubs, games were mostly played on a friendly basis for several years including some at Whitby where the rifle club had converted a disused indoor rifle range into a bowling rink. Welburn affiliated to the ESMBA in 1986 and in 1989 club members Ron and Mabel North were winners of the Regalgrene Trophy in the 4th Ampleforth Pairs competition. In 1990 the club were founder members of the Ryedale League in which they were runners up in the first year. They affiliated to the NYSMBA in 1991 with 23 members and in the following year both Eddie and Mike had several games for the newly formed County Team.


Since then their success has been limited although they were runners up in the League once again in 1993/94 and also runners up in the Tilley Cup in 2001/02. However, as with much in life, perseverance pays off and in 2003/04 they were justifiably proud to take the KO Tilley Cup away from defending champions Helmsley after a convincing 50-36 victory in the Final.   


Although they now have only 17 members their enthusiasm for the game remains high. They get together in the Village Hall on Tuesday evenings and if you know of anyone who would like to join them please contact their Secretary.     

Wilberfoss Awaited
Yedingham Awaited
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