About the HSMBA


The Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association came into being in June 1999. However, the origins of the association go back to 1992 when five local clubs, three from Gloucestershire and two from Herefordshire, formed a group to play the first Macmillan Charity match. Lea and Fownhope from Herefordshire, together with Listers, Quedgeley and Brockweir representing Gloucestershire, formed this group. Brockweir were the first winners of the trophy.

These five clubs became the founding members of a joint association of Short Mat Bowling Clubs in the two counties. The rules of the English Short Mat Bowling Association at that time required a minimum of five clubs to form a county representation. Because of this, recognition of a ‘dual county’ status was sought.

Herefordshire and Gloucestershire SMBA was duly accepted by the ESMBA. The inexperience of players, coupled with limitations because of club size, restricted the group to playing friendly games in those early days. These included competitions in conjunction with Worcestershire and Shropshire. They ranged from large clubs with outdoor bowling greens to quite small clubs which met in village halls.

Norman Davies of the Lea SMBC (Herefordshire) was appointed as first chairman of the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire SMBA which was appropriate as he was a driving force behind the establishment and growth of Short Mat Bowling in the area. Others on the founding committee were: Treasurer – Norman Allen of Fownhope SMBC (Herefordshire) and Secretary – Tom Hughes (Gloucestershire). Norman always held that the joint status of the original association would be temporary, however this arrangement remained until 1999. At this date, by mutual agreement, both groups decided that they were each strong enough to support individual membership of the ESMBA. This was duly acknowledged by the ESMBA. Following this rearrangement both counties were accepted for the inter-county ‘A’ Team competition in the millennium year.

The HSMBA now comprises 16 registered clubs. The Association is managed by a Committee of 12 elected annually from amongst its membership and serves to promote the sport generally within the county as well as running a number of leagues and competitions across the year. Herefordshire is affiliated to the English Short Mat Bowls Association (ESMBA) and enters the national Inter County Competitions (ICC) with both Premier and ‘A’ Teams as well as running qualifying tournaments for the National Championships each year. Leagues run all year round with a County Double Rink League over the winter season and a County Multi-Discipline Summer League running from May to August.

Interested in having a go?

Please visit our Registered Clubs page to find a club near you.