North Devon & North Cornwall

Short Mat Bowling Federation


2018 - 2019



N.B. There are Some Rule Revisions for the 2018/19 Season.  Please especially note Rule A6 and ‘Re-arrangement of Matches’ Rule 3 and recent amendments (15/1/19) to section A8


1. In order to be eligible to play in Federation Competitions ALL players must be registered  with the ESMBA through their respective County Association, the appropriate fee paid to the  County, and a  registration number obtained.  Players must also then be registered with the  Federation Competitions Secretary at least 48 hours PRIOR  to playing in any matches, and  their ESMBA registration number supplied.  (Fees for entries into Federation Competitions  are a separate matter).

 (NB - ESMBA registrations need to be renewed and the fee paid annually.  Federation  registrations renewed each season).

2. A player may register for one club in the afternoon league and for a different club in the  evening leagues providing always that this complies with the constitutions of both clubs.   Such a player may only play for the club for which they have registered in the evening  leagues in club knockout competitions such as the Alan Wright and Tony Stephens.

3. A player changing clubs in mid season will only be eligible to play for their new club AFTER  the Competitions Secretary has been notified of the change.  The player remains Cup Tied if  they have already played in a federation knockout competition.

 The relevant County Registration Secretary MUST also be informed of the transfer.

4. All matches in all competitions are to be played under current ESMBA and Federation Rules  including the dress code (see also Appendix A).

5. Refreshments should be provided at the conclusion of a match.

6. All players in any TEAM must have identical stickers on each side of all bowls (or none at all for all players).

If a player does not have the correct stickers attached to all bowls used, then the non-offending team captain may refuse to play the fixture and claim a penalty under rule B4.  If it is agreed by both captains, the game may proceed if all players in the offending team remove all stickers from their bowls before play commences.

In line with ESMBA guidance there will be exceptions to this rule where the individual player needs visual or tactile indication of the orientation of his or her bowls, or to overcome difficulty caused by any physical or mental impairment.

7. Results of matches must be sent to the relevant results secretary within 7 days of a match  being played.


The intention is that all fixtures should be fulfilled, and that they should be played on the date agreed before the start of the season.  Wherever possible fixture secretaries should check if all players for a team are available before agreeing dates.  This ensures that everybody receives sufficient notice so that they can make all appropriate arrangements, such as. . .

Booking the venue – many clubs use communal buildings and booking needs to be made well in advance.

Publishing information – Some clubs publish fixture books or lists incurring costs.

Scheduling – some clubs have other events which need to be scheduled in advance.

Personal arrangements for – holidays, work and other events.

There are a variety of circumstances where a particular fixture cannot be fulfilled such as. . .

Unable to raise a team due to unavailability of eligible players.

Unable to transport the players to a venue due to lack of transport or drivers.

Venue unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances.

If a match re-arrangement is required for any reason the Club Fixtures Secretary must contact the Federation Competitions Secretary beforehand for advice so as to avoid inadvertently contravening the following rules and incurring unnecessary penalties.

1. Inability to Raise a Team - A fixture must be fulfilled even if a full team cannot be raised. A fixture can be played with ‘Absentee Players’ in accordance with ESMBA rules.  A Triples match can be played with minimum 4 Team Players and a rinks match with minimum 6 Team Players.  If a team refuses to play a fixture when minimum numbers of eligible players are available, the non-offending team may make a claim to the Competitions Secretary for a penalty to be applied in accordance with rule B4. When considering any declaration under this rule the Competitions Secretary will take into account the number of eligible players that any club has registered with the Federation

If a penalty is not claimed then the match must be either ‘postponed’ or declared ‘not played’ in accordance with rules 2 or 3 below. If the fixture is played with ‘absentee players’ the order of play will be in accordance with ESMBA rule F9 ‘Absentee Players’ (See also Appendix C).

2. Postponed Match - If a fixture needs to be postponed for a reason other than ‘Inability to Raise a Team’, every effort must be made by both team captains to agree a convenient alternative date.  The new date must be confirmed in writing or by e-mail, within 2 days of the agreement, to the opposing team and the Competitions Secretary. If a mutually convenient date cannot be agreed then the club requesting the postponement must concede the match and 3 points and 20 shots will be awarded to the opposing team.

3. Match not played – A match that has not been played by the end of the season, with mutual agreement of both team captains, will be recorded as having been played but with no points or shots awarded to either team.  The Competitions Secretary must be informed of this in writing or by e-mail as soon as it has been agreed.

4. Abandoned Match – If a match in progress has to be abandoned due to any unforeseen circumstances (e.g. power failure or sudden illness), and at least 10 ends on both mats have been completed, then the score at the last completed end will stand and be recorded as the result.  If 10 ends have not been completed on both mats the match must be postponed or agreed ‘not played’ in accordance with rules 2 and 3 above.


B1. General Rules

1. Clubs with more than one team in the same division are to ensure that fixtures against   each of those teams are played before playing other clubs in their respective divisions.

2. Points will be awarded as follows:-

 One point will be awarded for the win on each mat, or 0.5 points to each team if the game on  that mat is tied.

 A third point will be awarded to the team with the overall shot win.  If however both teams  have the same number of shots, 0.5 points will be awarded to each team.

3. At the end of the season, if two or more teams in a division tie on points at the completion of  all matches the shot difference will decide the winner.  If still equal, the shot difference in  away matches will determine the winner.

4. Within their club Players may play for a team in a higher division than they are    registered for, for up to 3 matches, but cannot play in a lower division.  After playing   four matches in the higher division the player automatically becomes a member of   that higher team.  They may not then return to play for their original team.  This    should mean that teams with a club side in a lower division should always be able to   raise a team.  

B2. League Fixtures

1. All League fixtures should be arranged as soon as possible following the publication of the League Groupings.

2. Club Secretaries must then confirm their fixtures in writing or by e-mail to all clubs with whom they have arranged fixtures.

3. A copy of these fixtures together with a list of the players registered with each team must be forwarded at least 2 weeks before the start of each season to the Competitions Secretary.  A minimum of eight players (fours) and six players (triples) must be registered to each team.  Alterations to these lists prior to the commencement of the season must be notified immediately to the Competitions Secretary.

4. All Winter League fixtures must be completed by 31st March and Summer League fixtures by 31st August.  Any fixtures not completed by this date will be recorded as a Match Not Played.  Only in exceptional circumstances (such as extended severe weather) will the Committee consider extending the season to permit unplayed matches to be completed.

B3. Leagues

Clubs may only enter teams in either the Evening Triples or Fours – not both.

B3a Winter Evening Fours League

1. Teams shall consist of eight players, each player using two  bowls.

2. Matches to be played as follows:

 Each team to play each opposing team in their division twice, once at home and once  away (two mats at the same venue and on the same evening).

3. Each match will be played over eighteen ends.

4. All division winning clubs will receive a shield to be held for one year, winning club to be responsible for engraving.

B3b Winter Afternoon & Evening Triples Leagues and Summer Evening Triples League

1. Teams to consist of six players, each player using three bowls.

2. Matches to be played as follows:

Each team to play each opposing team twice, once at home and once away (two mats at the same venue and on the same day).  Matches in the Summer Evening League may only be played in the afternoon by mutual agreement of both clubs.  

3. Each match will be played over eighteen ends.

4. All division winning clubs will receive a shield to be held for one year, winning clubs to be responsible for engraving.

B4 Penalties for Rules Contraventions:

 A player who plays for two teams in the same division


 A player registered for a higher division team playing for another club team in a lower  division


 A player registered with a team in a lower division playing 4 times for a team in a  higher  division and then reverting to playing for the lower team


 A team failing to comply with any other Competition Rule (or Appendix)

 shall incur the following penalty:-

 The result of the match in question shall be declared void and the offending team shall be  deducted 3 points and 20 shots.   Their opponents shall be awarded a win by 3 points and 20  shots unless the actual result of the match in question was greater than this score, in which  case the actual score will be recorded.


C1. General Rules

1. In the knockout competitions players are cup tied and may only represent one team in a competition during that season.

2. Arranging knockout trophy competition fixtures:

a. A minimum of three dates must be offered by the home team to their opponents.

b. The Alan Wright, Mary Kent and Tony Stephens Knockout Trophies are evening competitions and times prior to 7.30 p.m. should not normally be offered but may be agreed by mutual consent.

c. Dates offered should not include holiday periods and should not be consecutive days.

d. Saturday and Sunday dates will only be acceptable by mutual agreement and should   not be included in the given dates.

e. Dates should be offered within fourteen days of the  conclusion date for the previous   round.

f. The away team’s Secretary should contact the home team if they have not been contacted by the due date as failure to play will result in both teams being eliminated.

3. All matches must be completed within the time allocation and scorecards returned as soon as possible.

4. If no scorecard is received within three days of the final playing date both teams will be omitted from the next round.

5. Players can only play for one team in any knockout competition.  They are then cup tied even if that team is eliminated from the competition.

6. Penalties for Rule Contraventions:-

 If a player plays for two or more teams, any team other than the original one will be  eliminated from the competition, as that player was cup tied.

C2. Tony Stephens Knockout Competition

1. Clubs may enter one or more teams in this competition.

2. The format shall be the same as that for the Winter Evening Fours League except that it shall be one leg only and not home and away.

3. The draw for the first round and the second round shall be made by the Management  Committee and circulated with the league groupings so that fixtures may be arranged.  The  draw for subsequent rounds will be made within one week of each round’s completion date  and clubs will then be notified of their next opponents.

4. In the event of a draw at the conclusion of eighteen ends, an extra end shall be played on both mats until a result is achieved.

5. Semi finals and finals will be played at neutral venues arranged by the Committee.

6. The winning team will receive the Stephens Shield and the Runners up will also receive a shield, both to be held for one year, winning team to be responsible for engraving.

C3. Mary Kent Memorial Triples

1. Entries of teams of three players shall be returned to the organiser by the due date on the form provided.

2. The draw for the whole competition will be made on a suitable occasion by the organiser, usually following a match so that observers from more than one club are present.

3. Matches to comprise of eighteen ends, each player using three bowls.

4. The three players entered should play all matches with only one reserve permitted per round providing that the reserve has not previously played in the competition for another team.

5. In the event of a draw after eighteen ends a further end will be played to decide the winner until a result is achieved.

6. The semi finals and final will be played at neutral venues arranged by the Management Committee.

7. The winning team will receive the Mary Kent Trophy and be responsible for its engraving.

8. All finalists will receive a memento of the occasion.

C4. Alan Wright Memorial Trophy

1. The competition shall be between teams of ten players.

2. The matches except the semi finals and final will be played on a home and away basis and must be completed on or by the due date.

3. Players may only play in this competition for the club with whom they are registered with the  ESMBA via their County Association.

4. Play will consist of four games of ten ends each, being one singles, one pairs, one triples, and  one four.  The singles player using four bowls, each of the pairs players using three bowls,  each of the triples and fours players using two bowls.

5. The triples and fours will play first, followed by the pairs and singles.

6. The home team in the preliminary rounds will decide upon which mat each game will be played (two games on each mat).

7. The winner will be decided by the total number of shots scored over the whole match.

8. The home team will be responsible for supplying a marker for the singles match.

9. The semi finals and final will be played on neutral mats as arranged by the Management Committee.

10. In the event of a tie the match will be decided by one sudden death end played between the two singles players.



Dress code applying to the North Devon & North Cornwall Short Mat Bowling Federation matches:

a) Players should be encouraged to play the game and dress code should not preclude them.

b) Players should play in either white or club colours above the waist and in grey or club colours below the waist.

c) It is up to the individual club as to what their players play in but should encourage it to be as uniform as practicable.

However: County and above matches and some tournaments may have a different dress code set of rules.



1. Where there are sufficient teams in a League, the Committee may decide to create two or more divisions.

2. Where a division contains 6 or less teams, the top team will be promoted (if there is a division above them); and the bottom team will be relegated (if there is a division below them).

3. Where a division contains 7 teams or more, the top 2 teams will be promoted (if there is a division above them); and the bottom 2 teams will be relegated (if there is a division below them).

4. Where the promotion/relegation is between one division with 6 or less teams and the other division with 7 or more teams the Committee will determine the number of  teams promoted/relegated taking into account the balance of teams in the whole of that league.  This decision will be published before the start of the season.

5. Where the number of  teams in a League changes between one season and the next, the Committee may, at its sole discretion, vary these arrangements and any such decision will be final and binding on the Clubs affected.  Any such variation will be published before the start of the season.


Where a Club changes from one League to another at the end of the season, the teams will enter the new League in the lowest existing division.


Format for Playing with one player missing

ESMBA Ruling

“Absentee Player”

“A Triples or Fours game will commence with the missing player being considered as the ‘second’ and a definite order of play will be maintained. It shall be;



‘A’ is the team with a player short”.