Copyright © VSMBFL 2020

Vale Short Mat Bowls Friendly League

Match Rules

Vale Short Mat Bowls Friendly League


(a) The Rules of Play shall be as described in Clause 5 – Match Rules and shall adopt ESMBA and BSMBA rules as appropriate.

(b) The Rules of play shall be reviewed from time to time and amended and additions incorporated as necessary. The approved amendments and additions shall take effect commencing a whole playing season.

(c) Any questions or matter arising which is not provided for in the Rules of Play, shall be dealt with by the Management Committee whose decision shall be final.

(d)  Note: introducing Rules of Play during a VSMBFL match which are not part of Clause 5 shall not be permitted in any circumstances.


A club team competing in the VSMBFL League and Cup Competitions shall consist of a group of registered players which shall be sufficient in number at any time to accommodate selection and provide contingencies. From a group of registered players twelve shall be chosen to represent a Club Team. The compositions of the twelve players may be varied from match to match at the discretion of Clubs, but shall be selected from the registered group with no other exceptions as provided for in the Rules.


a) Only registered players are eligible to play in the League and its competitions.

b) Players must be registered at least seven days prior to playing in any match or competition but registration can take place at any time.

c) To register a player the League Fixture/Competition Secretary shall be notified in writing and the relevant fee paid to the Buckinghamshire County Membership Secretary.

d) Where a Club has more than one team in the League then the players shall be registered for one team only. Interchange of player or players among the teams in a multi-team Club shall not be permitted in any circumstances.

(e) The Fixtures/Competitions Secretary (VSMBFL) requires a list of each club’s registered players at the start of a new season.


a)  League and Association fees shall be paid before the season commences for both League and individual Club Membership.

b) Registration fees shall be paid by the 30th September in each season. Failure to meet these requirements shall result in forfeiture of all relevant matches until the fee is paid.


a)  Each team of twelve players shall play as four teams of triples.

b)  Each triple shall play one game of ten ends. No roll ups. 1 shot scored on the first two ends. Jack off the mat 2 shots away except first two ends when only 1 is scored.

c) A match shall consist of four games.

d)  Each player shall play with three bowls

e)  For under strength teams i.e. only 10 or 11 players available. Lead’s and two’s from the first games draw for the lead(s) only- on a different mat if possible (no limit to use). Nine players or less: concede 2 points and 10 shots for each game not played.

f)  League Matches not played: 7 points to 3 points + 40 shot against defaulting team (last resort as there is a full season to fit it in), TIME OF COMMENCMENT for all matches: Home Captains to confirm match date and start time (7.15pm – 7.45pm-latest) with away team Captain and welcome them on the night.

g)  Points shall be awarded on the following basis:- 2 points to the winner of each game: 1 point each for a draw: 2 points for the highest number of shots.    

h)  Each team captain shall be responsible for the selection of his/her triples and in which order they are to be played. A scorecard shall be made out by each captain, clearly listing the players and the order of play and the numbers one to four to indicate the order of his/her games.

i)  Captains to toss for the match jack.

j) The team with the highest number of shots after the completion of the games will be declared the Winner of the Match. Should the scores be tied the match points will be shared equally. The game points will stand as previously awarded.

k) At least six players from each team must be present at the Time of Commencement.

l) All players at the bowling end shall be positioned behind the mat (where possible) when not in charge of the rink.

m) Leads and Seconds shall not proceed to the head end of the rink until the final bowl delivered by the Seconds comes to rest.

n) For all practical purposes the Delivery Lines shall be judged to extend into the ditch.

o) Visits to the head to be restricted to one visit by the skip prior to bowling the last wood of an end.

p) No Coaching from Spectators. All team members can advise, with a maximum of 2 team members on the mat at one time taking care not to disturb the head but only 1 person can instruct skip.

q) Firing: A visible and verbal warning must be given, including adjacent mats. Please be careful.

r) Fenders: check position prior to each play - foot BEHIND FENDER not on it.

s) Jack or bowl over fender – 3 shots away.

t) Foot faults: warning given for first offence – wood removed thereafter. However if whole foot is over the line the wood will be removed immediately.

u) Player taken sick during game: replace like for like e.g. lead of lead (on different mat)

v) CLUB BOWLS STICKERS must be used for all league & JR matches. Bowls without club stickers are to be removed.

w) At all times players shall wear flat smooth soled heel-less shoes when on the mat. Members shall wear plain white tops or club colours above the waist and mid grey below at all League and Cup Competitions.

x) Players belonging to more than one club should nominate the preferred club to play for regarding the forthcoming season.

y) There will be NO SMOKING within the playing venue.

z) The consumption of alcohol is not permitted on unlicensed premises e.g. School Halls.

5B John Robinson Memorial Cup Competition Rules where different from League

a) Teams of 12 players play in positions drawn on the night.

b) 2 Singles games drawn from 6 nominated players. Then the next 10 positions drawn in order 3 to 12.

c)  If only 10/11 players: draw as normal Singles, Pairs, Triples. Single(s) play lead(s) in Triples i.e. Single 1 plays position 10 and Single 2 would play position 7. If only 9 Players concede last triple with 10 shots.

d) If unable to play game and no alternate date available: shots 55 – 25 against defaulting team.

e) Only shots count( points not available ). All other League rules apply. If none then ESMBA rules apply.


Infringement of Rules of Play shall empower the Management Committee to implement any of the following penalties:

(a) Forfeiture or reduction in League/JR points.

(b) The cancellation of any particular result with or without the instruction  to re-play

(c) A temporary or permanent suspension from the VSMBFL

The above penalties may be applied to any player, or team or Club and may be implemented or enforced in any combination.


Before the season commences each team shall state a fixed night on which it will normally play home matches. Any home matches that cannot be played on this fixed night shall be discussed with the appropriate away team and an alternative night agreed. This night can be anytime up until the end of the season. If both teams agree, a home fixture can be swapped with their away fixture.  Should, during the season,  a fixture problem arise then this will be discussed by both teams and an alternative date agreed: Should this happen less than 7 days before the planned match then the opposing team can either agree to a change or claim the match under rule 5A(f)



Should it become necessary (and in exceptional circumstances only), a match may be postponed

By mutual consent of both teams. It is the duty of the team requesting the postponement to notify the League Fixture/Competition Secretary immediately. Note: For the purpose of rules 6&7, shortage of players shall not be treated as an exceptional circumstance.


A match result sheet (issued by Fixtures Secretary) shall be supplied by the home team and made out (with full names) and signed by both captains.  It is the responsibility of the home team to ensure that the result sheet is in the hands of the League Fixture/Competition Secretary not later than seven days after the match has taken place. Failure to comply with this fully shall result in an AUTOMATIC loss of all points in that match.



A VSMBFL Club which fails to provide a team or any part of a team for a scheduled League match at the TIME OF COMMENCEMENT shall, as described hereafter, incur the consequent penalties unless provided for elsewhere in these Rulers.

a) The non arrival of a team shall lead to the forfeiture of the match by 7 – 3 points and 40 shots.

b) A match may proceed with 9 players. The un-played game concedes 2 points and 10 shots.

c) Appeal: A team wishing to appeal against a forfeiture decision shall lodge its appeal with the League Fixture/Competition Secretary within twenty four hours of the committed offence.


Any match remaining uncompleted through contingencies arising beyond the control and solution of the competing teams shall be reported to the League Fixture/Competition Secretary including notification of revised arrangements to complete the match before the season ends. Upon resumption of a match game shall recommence from the last completed end prior to suspension.


Prior notice of a dispute or complaint shall be submitted to the League Fixture/Competition Secretary within three days of the occurrence unless otherwise specified.  The Secretary of the team or Club concerned shall also be notified. The matter shall then be considered by the Management Committee, whose decision shall be final.

For the purpose of settling disputes which occur during play:-

At all matches the Home Team Captain will have available an up to date copy of both the League Rules and the ESMBA Rules. When matches are played at neutral venues BOTH TEAM  CAPTAINS will carry these Rules.