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20 November 2017

32 teams of short mat bowlers from Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and beyond gathered at Bromyard Leisure Centre for the 25th annual Macmillan Charity Fours tournament. Through a combination of entry fees, raffles, donations and cake & merchandise sales a magnificent total of £1,700 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support over the course of the day. Peter Rowland of Macmillan Herefordshire, who has been involved with this tournament from its inception, once again thanked the players for their generosity and the helpers for their efforts in putting the event together. Special thanks went to Rita Hancock and Herbie Renfield for organising and running the day; umpire Richard Bemand; Sue Stannard and Madge Daines for looking after the refreshments stall; and Anthony Rogers and his team of helpers for transporting and laying the mats.

Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association Chairman Ian Park presented the trophy to the winning Larruperz team of Linda Lewis, Luke Rawlings, Hazel & Tony Vitale who won all of their games over the day, pipping the defending champions Ali & Ian Roe, Les Williams and Dave Watkins (Ross), who also won their four games, by 4 shots overall. A third team, from Ripple in Worcestershire, also won their four games but were a further 8 shots adrift.

12 November 2017

The County Fours championship was held at Ross Bowling Club and Weston-under Penyard bowler Harold Aubrey reached his third county final of the season but was left still searching for his first title.

At the semi-final stage two Ross teams remained but both were defeated as Les Williams’ team lost out to Aston Ingham whilst Ian Park’s quartet were defeated by Weston. In the final the Aston Ingham four of Dean Rudman, Mike Conway, Terry Griffiths and Rita Hancock made a storming start, establishing an 8-0 lead in the first 3 ends before Gill & Tim Rigden and Betty & Harold Aubrey started their comeback. The Weston team won all of the remaining 5 ends but with a tight measure by the umpire determining the result of the 8th and final end they remained a tantalising one shot short, leaving Aston Ingham as champions by a slender 8-7 margin. The Aston Ingham skip, Rita Hancock, thus won her second consecutive Fours title, albeit with a completely different supporting team, and Harold will have to try again in the Pairs competition in a couple of weeks to find that elusive title to top off an otherwise very successful championships season.

7 November 2017

The County Triples Championship, won for the last 3 years by Ross teams, was contested by 12 teams and a 4th consecutive win was still a possibility until the semi-final stage when Les Williams’ Ross trio were defeated by John Mills, Shirley & Becci Cox from Woolhope. In the other semi-final, a victory for the Weston team of Fran Jones, Betty & Harold Aubrey over Tony Vitale’s Larruperz triple meant that Harold would contest his second county final in 8 days following his run to the singles final the previous week.

The final was a see-saw affair with Weston starting strongly and establishing a commanding 6 shot lead with 2 ends to play but scores of 4 and 2 brought Woolhope level and took the final into a tense tie-break end. Consistently accurate bowling took the jack gradually back towards the ditch and Harold seemed to have clinched the match with his pinpoint final wood but Becci delivered a stunning final wood of the match which crept around Harold’s to take the shot and the match for Woolhope, leaving Harold with his second runners-up spot in a week.

The County Premier team completed a double over Avon with a comfortable 28-12 win to consolidate second place in their inter county championship qualifying group and ensure that progression to the main competition knockout stages rests in their own hands with just the home match remaining against Oxfordshire, their rivals for the runners-up spot. The A team are also well placed to progress following a 24-16 home win against Hampshire to avenge their earlier away defeat and their fate will rest on the results of home and away matches against local rivals Gloucestershire.

21 October 2017

The first county championship discipline of the season, the Singles, has been played at Ross Bowling Club. 29 bowlers competed in round robin groups with the top two in each group proceeding to the knockout stages. By the semi-final stage, only one former winner, Anthony Rogers (Woolhope), survived and he lost in a close match to Joe Loveys (Gorsley Chapel) who thereby reached his first county singles final. In the other semi-final the highly experienced Harold Aubrey (Weston – under - Penyard) defeated another Woolhope player, John Mills, to reach his first singles final although he has won every other county championship discipline over the years.

In the final, which pitted youth against experience, the youngster Joe prevailed, matching Harold in the early stages of a tight contest before easing away towards the end of the match. Going into the last end with an important lead, Joe coolly trailed the jack into the ditch to make sure of his win, leaving Harold still searching for the singles win to complete his set of county titles.

11 October 2017

Both of the county teams currently sit in second place in their respective qualifying groups of the National Inter County Championship competition.

The Premier team started their campaign with a comfortable 26-14 away win at Avon, who have entered a team in the Premier competition for the first time in several years. The Herefordshire side then faced successive fixtures against their local rivals Gloucestershire who boast several England players in their strong squad. The home tie was the closest match between the two sides for several years and Gloucestershire ended up squeezing the narrowest possible 21-19 victory by securing the bonus points on the final discipline. The return match in Gloucester was also closely fought and, although Herefordshire won 7 of the 16 matches they conceded all but one of the 8 available bonus points so slipped to a 25-15 defeat. The strong performances in the two Gloucestershire matches will have left the team confident going into their remaining matches against Avon and Oxfordshire.

The ’A’ team also started with an away win at Avon which reached an exciting climax as the result rested on the last match being played. A Herefordshire win in that match saw them secure a 21-19 victory. They then travelled to Hampshire for their second match to face a team which they had not played for several years. Hampshire proved to be too strong in the Singles and Pairs disciplines, where they had concentrated their strongest players, and, despite stronger performances in the Triples and Fours, Herefordshire slipped to a 27-13 defeat but will be looking to bounce back when they play the reverse fixture at home in a couple of weeks.

23 August 2017

The county summer league season came to a conclusion with the Summer League Final at Upton Bishop. 10 teams played in two divisions across the summer with the two divisional winners, Woolhope 1 and The Lea, contesting the final. Woolhope, the defending champions, made a good start with a win and a draw in the two disciplines in the first session. Merion Attwood’s draw with John Mills in the singles proved, however, to be the highpoint for The Lea who, despite a strong start in the second session when they led in the early stages of both the pairs and triples, succumbed to the stronger side on the night. Woolhope ran out winners in both of the second session games to secure a 9-1 victory and take the trophy for the 3rd time in its short history.

Over the summer months short mat bowls has been re-established at Bromyard Leisure Centre after a 10-year break. Following 6 weeks of taster sessions facilitated by county association members and Sports Partnership Hereford and Worcester, Halo Leisure have given short mat bowls a permanent slot at 10.30 to 12.00 on Wednesday mornings. The sessions are open on a pay-and-play basis to anyone in the Bromyard area or beyond who wishes to try out or take up this accessible, low impact sport and there is already a core of regular players. Equipment for new players is provided and players simply need to wear flat soled shoes.

Photo: Ian Park presents the Summer League Winner’s trophy to Woolhope

3 May 2017

The Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association, in conjunction with Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire and Halo Leisure are running a series of drop-in sessions at Bromyard Leisure Centre in an attempt to resurrect the sport in the town after a ten-year absence. Short mat bowls, which is played on a 45’ long mat, is an adaptation of the outdoor bowls game for play in an indoor, community hall type environment and already has a well-established club presence in Herefordshire, particularly in the South of the county.

As Jamie Harris, HSMBA Chairman, explains ‘Bromyard had a thriving short mat bowls club for around 15 years before a membership decline led to its demise in the 2006. Fortunately, the equipment was retained by the leisure centre, where the club was based, and everything is in place to try and re-ignite interest from local people’. Sue Bentley, Club and Community Development Officer at Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire, recognises short mat bowls as a truly inclusive community activity, having recently been involved in the establishment of new playing groups in Ewyas Harold, Colwall and Holme Lacy. As Sue says ‘one of our main challenges is usually the sourcing and funding of the equipment but in this case the equipment is already here so the focus is on attracting participants from the local community who may be interested in trying the game out and hopefully establishing the momentum to sustain a regular playing group or fully fledged club’. Bromyard Leisure Centre has been no stranger to short mat bowls as it has hosted the association’s largest annual event, the 40 team Macmillan Charity Tournament, since its inception in the early 1990s and Jon McLaurin, Halo Manager, is supporting this initiative in an attempt to build on this foundation by re-establishing a regular bowling group at the centre.

The open sessions, facilitated by association members, are running at Bromyard Leisure Centre from 10.30 to 12.00 on Wednesday mornings until 7th June.

29 April 2017

The annual Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association presentation evening was held at the Larruperz Centre, Ross. Chairman Jamie Harris compered the event and the awards were presented by President Norman Allen to the year’s league and competition winners.

In a role reversal, the final award of the evening, the Llangarron Achievement Award, was presented by Jamie Harris to the retiring President Norman Allen, who has decided to step down after a long involvement with short mat bowling in the county. Norman was a member of the founding committee of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire SMBA when the sport was first formalised in the two counties in 1992. The two counties were strong enough to form separate associations in 1999 but links have remained strong over the years, thanks in no small part to a competition, the LEH Team of Ten Competition, which Norman established for clubs across both counties to contest annually and which he has sponsored ever since.

The full list of league, competition and award winners is as follows:

Burden Cup - Singles  Ian Park (Ross)

D&H Luther Cup – Pairs  Hazel & Tony Vitale (Larruperz)

Norman Davies Shield – Triples Ali & Ian Roe, Ian Park (Ross)

Mercian Cup – Fours Rod Dawson (Woolhope), Carole Rowland (Fownhope), Terry Darrington & Rita Hancock (Aston Ingham)

Townsend Shield – Mixed Fours  Elaine George, Ian Roe, Pam & Ian Park (Ross)

Summer League   Woolhope A

Winter League Division 1 Woolhope A

Winter League Division 2 Fownhope

Bromyard Challenge Cup – Triples Elaine George, Les Williams, David Watkins (Ross)

Macmillan Cancer Support Trophy - Fours Ali & Ian Roe, Les Williams, Dave Watkins (Ross)

Macmillan Cancer Support Junior Dominic Rogers (Woolhope)

Llangarron Achievement Award   Norman Allen (Fownhope)

LEH Two Counties Team of 10 Competition Woolhope

National Qualifier Winners Singles – John Mills (Woolhope)

  Pairs – Tony Vitale (Larruperz), Ian Park (Ross)

  Triples – Ali & Ian Roe, Ian Park (Ross)

  Fours – Dominic & Anthony Rogers (Woolhope), Ian Roe & Ian Park (Ross)

  Mixed Fours – Ali & Ian Roe, Pam & Ian Park (Ross)

  Under 18s – Dominic Rogers (Woolhope)

A full photo gallery for the evening can be seen on the Association’s website at

22 March 2017

The final county short mat bowls tournament of the season, the Bromyard Triples Club Challenge, was won by the Ross team of Elaine George, Les Williams and Dave Watkins making it 3 wins in 4 years for the Ross club.

The field of 16 teams from 9 different clubs played in 4 round robin qualifying groups to earn a place in the quarter finals where three clubs - Larruperz, Lea and Ross - were represented by two teams each. Both Ross teams made it through to the semi-finals where they were joined by Weston-under-Penyard and Woolhope. Whilst the Weston team of Fran Jones, Betty & Harold Aubrey despatched one Ross team, Woolhope ran the eventual winners very close, losing out by a single shot in a very tight game. The final was equally close, again being decided by a single shot in Ross’s favour, and the result meant that Dave Watkins and Les Williams each reached 5 individual wins in this tournament, bettering the previous mark of 4 wins which they shared with Sandra & Anthony Rogers of Woolhope.

16 March 2017

It was a good week for Woolhope Short Mat Bowls Club as they secured two titles.

The Woolhope A team wrapped up the county league Division 1 title with a convincing away victory against their nearest challengers, Ross A. This left them requiring only 2 points from their final two matches which they comfortably achieved in their next home match. This is Woolhope A’s 14th Division 1 title in the last 16 years (and one of the ones they missed was won by the club’s B team) as they continue their dominance of the county league.

Woolhope then followed this up by winning the LEH Trophy, the knockout cup competition contested by clubs across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. The final at Upton Bishop Millennium Hall was an all Herefordshire affair contested between Woolhope and Ross, the county’s two most successful clubs this season. The first session saw Woolhope’s Anthony Rogers defeat Ian Park by 8 shots in the singles but the overall lead at the break was only 4 shots due to Elaine George and Ian Roe earning a 4-shot victory for Ross in the pairs. A sumptuous buffet supper was then served to players and spectators courtesy of the efforts of Rita Hancock and Sue Stannard before play resumed for the final two disciplines. Woolhope’s victory was assured with a resounding 13 shot win by their triple of Dominic Rogers, Shirley & Becci Cox. The fours contest was a tight affair with Charlie Cox’s four edging the win with 2 shots on the final end to give Woolhope their third discipline win out of four and seal a deserved overall victory by 19 shots. The tournament sponsor, Norman Allen, presented the trophies and thanked all of the organisers and helpers for their efforts.

27 February 2017

As the short mat bowls winter season heads towards its conclusion the defending champions, Woolhope A, are maintaining a commanding lead over second placed Ross A and look odds on to retain their title. Ross themselves have a healthy lead over the rest of the division and it seems unlikely that they will be challenged for the runners-up spot. Newly promoted Escley have struggled in the top division and a return to the second tier is inevitable whilst Gorsley Chapel A, after their first two seasons in the top flight, are reliant on other teams finishing the season badly if they are to avoid occupying the second relegation spot. The race to top Division 2 is a very tight affair with Fownhope currently holding an 8-point lead over Ross B although Ross have a match in hand over the leaders. Whilst the champions are likely to come from these two teams, Dewchurch Warriors and Weston-under-Penyard B lie just behind and could slip into a promotion spot if either of the leaders should falter in their final matches.

Both of the county teams were eliminated from the Inter County Championship at the preliminary knock-out stage. The Premier side lost 24-16 to Essex whilst the ‘A’ team went down 25-15 to Kent. Both teams had good early sessions in their matches but faltered later in the day and the ‘A’ team were particularly disappointed with their defeat after a very strong qualifying campaign.

A stalwart of the county game was recognised at the recent Herefordshire Sports Awards. Sue Stannard, a member of the Fownhope club since 1997, was Highly Commended in the Services to Sport category of the awards which were presented in a ceremony at Hereford Shire Hall. Sue has played club and county bowls for many years and served for 6 years on the Fownhope committee and she is familiar to players around the county in her role as County Secretary, a post she has held since the formation of the county association in 1999. Not only has she fulfilled that demanding office, but for the majority of that period she has also been County Membership Secretary. She has also regularly helped other committee members run the county competitions and organise other events, most notably the annual Macmillan Cancer Support charity tournament which Sue has been involved with since its inception and which has raised well in excess of £25,000 for the charity. This award is well-deserved recognition of her invaluable contribution to short mat bowls in Herefordshire.

22 December 2016

The short mat bowls league season has reached its halfway stage. In Division 1 the defending champions, Woolhope A, have an unbeaten first half of the season and lead the division by 22 points although Ross A, in second place, do have a match in hand. The next 3 teams are separated by only 5 points so the race for second place, at least, could be tight. At the bottom of the division both of the most recently promoted clubs, Llangarron and Escley, have a fight on their hands to avoid an immediate return to Division 2.

Ross B currently lead Division 2 by 7 points with the additional buffer of having played a match fewer than the 3 teams immediately behind them. Those chasing teams, Gorsley Chapel B, Fownhope and Weston-Under-Penyard B, are themselves separated by only 3 points so here too there looks to be a tight race on for at least second place.

The county qualifying competitions for the National Championships took place over two weekends recently and Ross club, and Ian Park in particular, built on their recent county championship successes with wins in 4 of the 5 senior disciplines. At this stage, only the competition winners are guaranteed a place in the national championships in April although additional places may be awarded depending on entry levels nationwide. John Mills (Woolhope) won the Singles competition for the second time and then Ian Park (Ross) and Tony Vitale (Larruperz) won the Pairs. From that point, Ian Park and Ian Roe (Ross) swept up the remaining places playing with Ali Roe (Ross) in the Triples; with Dominic and Anthony Rogers (Woolhope) in the Fours and with Ali Roe & Pam Park (Ross) in the Mixed Fours. Dominic Rogers took the place in the Under-18s competition.

16 December 2016

The county ‘A’ team have completed a successful qualifying campaign to top their regional group of the Inter County Championship. After a flying start, when they gained back to back wins against local rivals Gloucestershire and a home win against Worcestershire, their progress was interrupted by successive away defeats. They first suffered a narrow defeat in the return match against Worcestershire before being beaten in Solihull by a strong West Midlands side who seemed, at that point, to be heading for victory in the group. Herefordshire, however, were not in the mood to relinquish top spot and, in their final match, the home leg against West Midlands, they produced a convincing 26-14 victory to overhaul their opponents and top the group. They now progress as group winners to the knockout stages of the competition in February.

28 November 2016

The final county championship competition of the year, the Mixed Fours, saw the title retained by the Ross team of Elaine George, Ian Roe and Pam & Ian Park who defeated the previous weekend’s Fours competition winners Rod Dawson (Woolhope), Carole Rowland (Fownhope), Terry Darrington and Rita Hancock (Aston Ingham) in the final. Having built up a 5 shot lead going into the last end of the final the Ross team simply had to limit any losses but Rita Hancock was not letting the chance of a second county title in a week go without a fight, firing the jack off the mat and killing the end when a win was no longer possible. Ross developed another strong position in the replayed end, this time with the jack trailed back to the edge of the ditch where a kill was not possible, and thus secured their win and ensured that a third county title came to Ross, following earlier successes in the Singles and Triples.

21 November 2016

144 short mat bowlers in 36 teams from Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and beyond gathered at Bromyard Leisure Centre for the 24th running of the annual Macmillan Charity Fours tournament. Through a combination of entry fees, raffles, donations and cake & merchandise sales a total of £1,900 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support over the course of the day. Peter Rowland of Macmillan Herefordshire, who has been involved with this tournament from its inception, once again thanked the players for their generosity and the helpers for their efforts in putting the event together. Special thanks went to Ian Park and Rita Hancock for organising and running the day; umpire Richard Bemand; Sue Stannard, Claire Lloyd and Jamie Harris Jr for looking after the refreshments stall; and Anthony Rogers and his team of helpers for transporting and laying the mats. The organisers also thanked Oscar Wright and Matt Smith from Halo Bromyard for their hospitality and help on the day.

Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association Chairman Jamie Harris presented the trophy to the Ross team of Ali & Ian Roe, Les Williams and Dave Watkins who won the trophy for the second time. They were one of only two teams to win all of their games, the other being the Westbury-on-Severn team of Annette Gayther, Rosemary Turner, Brian Wyman and Mike Edgington, but the Ross team had the superior shot difference. The award for the best junior competitor went to Dominic Rogers of the Woolhope club.

The latest county championship competition, the Fours, saw the team of Rod Dawson (Woolhope), Carole Rowland (Fownhope), Terry Darrington and Rita Hancock (Aston Ingham) triumph from a field of 13 teams. By the semi-final stage, the success of teams made up of players from different clubs meant that at that stage players from 7 different clubs were still involved in the competition. Teams from Llangarron and Weston-under-Penyard / Escley went out at the semi-final stage with the Ross team of Elaine & Rob George, Dave Watkins and Les Williams losing a tightly fought final to Rita Hancock’s four who edged away towards the end of the game to take the title.

30 October 2016

The latest short mat bowls County Championship competition resulted in a third consecutive victory in the triples discipline for Ross Bowling Club.

Defending champions Alison & Ian Roe and Ian Park once again won all of their matches throughout the day to triumph in the 19-team competition. After a very tense semi-final against John Jillings and Shirley & Becci Cox (Woolhope), which the Ross side only edged with Ian Park’s last wood of the match, they came up against another Ross side in the final. Elaine George, Dave Watkins and Les Williams had defeated Rod Dawson (Woolhope), Terry Darrington and Rita Hancock (Aston Ingham) in their semi-final and the final was a tight match whose outcome was in the balance until the last couple of ends when the defending champions edged ahead, eventually winning 9-5 and keeping the trophy at Ross for the third successive year. The county association vice chairman, Terry Darrington, presented the trophy to the winning team.

24 October 2016

The County Pairs Championship was held at Ross Bowling Club and saw 30 pairs competing for the title. The high number of entries necessitated a re-jig of the normal format and after 10 round robin groups the field was split into a main competition comprising the top 16 teams and a plate competition for the remaining 14.

By the semi-final stage of the main competition 5 clubs were still represented. Hazel and Tony Vitale of the Larruperz club had to come from behind to defeat John Davies (Gorsley Chapel) and Terry Griffiths (Weston-under-Penyard) whilst in the other semi Rod Dawson (Woolhope) and Mark Cinderey (Llangarron) came through against father and son pairing Dominic and Anthony Rogers (Woolhope). The final saw the 2012 winners, Hazel and Tony Vitale, produce a commanding performance to take their second county pairs title.

The county A team is taking its inter county championship qualifying group by storm with 3 wins out of 3 to top the group at the half way stage. Home and away victories against Gloucestershire were followed by a convincing home win against Worcestershire. With the away match against Worcestershire and then a pair of fixtures against West Midlands to come Herefordshire are well placed to progress to the main knockout competition. The Premier team have had a frustrating qualifying campaign. They were drawn into a group of only 3 teams and then one of those teams, 8 times county champions Cheshire, surprisingly withdrew from the competition, leaving only two matches to play against West Midlands, both of which resulted in defeats. There is now a long wait until the knockout stage of the competition commences in January.

12 October 2016

The first county championship tournament of the new season, the Singles Championship, saw the Ross club continue last season’s successes by winning the one title which eluded them last year when Ian Park won his record third singles title, defeating club-mate Ian Roe in the final.

The tournament, played as a trial over a new 2-day format, attracted 27 entries with players competing in 7 round robin groups on the Saturday to reduce the field to 16 for a further round robin stage and then the knockout rounds on the Sunday. By the semi-final stage Ross were dominating the competition with only defending champion John Jillings (Woolhope) standing between them and a full set of county titles. In the semi-final between the two previous years’ winners Ian Park was victorious against John Jillings whilst the other semi-final was an all Ross affair with Ian Roe overcoming George Marshall to reach his first singles final.

The final was dominated by Park who produced consistently accurate draw bowling to put Roe on the back foot throughout. Trailing by 5 shots going into the penultimate 9th end, Roe had to score to force a final end. In the face of Park’s relentless head building, he was forced into killing the end 3 times, something of a minor achievement in itself, before forcing a single shot to take the match to its final end but he was unable to prevent Park completing his victory and become the first player to win the title for a third time.

The tournament umpire, Richard Bemand, presented the trophy to Ian Park.

23 September 2016

The county Premier team made the best possible start to the new season by qualifying for the finals of the National Inter County Rinks competition. In their qualifying group they began by defeating Surrey by 46 shots to 30 but then came up against last year’s losing finalists, Essex. In a very tense finish that match was eventually drawn 46 shots each but Surrey’s consequent defeat of Essex meant that Herefordshire topped the qualifying group and now progress to the finals in January. The A team came up against strong opposition in a group containing Devon and Somerset and lost both of their matches to go out of the competition.

The first round of Inter County Championship matches produced mixed fortunes. The Premier team, once again in a strong qualifying group containing Cheshire and West Midlands, both of whom have much more national and international experience at their disposal, began with a visit to West Midlands. Herefordshire produced a phenomenal morning session to rock their higher ranked opponents and win 5 of the 8 games but West Midlands rallied strongly and swept through the afternoon session to secure the match 26-14. The morning session had, however, shown the progress that the Herefordshire team has made to a point where they can compete with some of the stronger counties in the country. The A team started their campaign very strongly with a resounding 28-12 home victory over neighbours Gloucestershire and this strong squad looks well placed to perform well in a group which also contains Worcestershire and West Midlands.

23 August 2016

The county Short Mat Bowls summer league has come to a close. This year’s summer league comprised 11 teams drawn into two divisions with the division winners meeting in a well-attended play-off final which took place at Upton Bishop Millennium Hall this week.

The Larks division had for some time looked like a tussle between Woolhope A and Ross 1 but a convincing home win for the Woolhope team over their rivals left little doubt over the destination of top spot and in the event they won the division by 19 points with Ross 1 a further 19 points clear of 3rd placed Aston Ingham. In the Swallows division, Gorsley Chapel 1 finished their fixtures early and had a nervous wait for the chasing teams to play their remaining matches but they had just enough points in the bag to hold off the challenges of Woolhope B and Weston Wizards.

Woolhope took control of the final in the first session with Anthony Rogers comfortably winning the singles and the Woolhope four skipped by Becci Cox snatching a very tight game by a single shot thanks to a 4 shot turnaround in the final end. After the break, the second session saw Woolhope always in control as they completed a clean sweep of disciplines with wins in both the pairs and triples to secure the honour of being the first club to win this competition for a second time.

The county association chairman, Jamie Harris, presented the trophies to both teams and thanked umpire Richard Bemand and the helpers on the night.

19 July 2016

More than 120 pupils from the Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoats School have been given an introduction to short mat bowls as part of the school’s end of term enrichment programme. The sessions were facilitated by volunteers from the Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association, including Dominic Rogers, a year 8 pupil at the school who is also a member of the England Under-21 squad. The association and its members provided the equipment for the 3 days of sessions and the main school hall was an ideal short mat bowls venue, comfortably accommodating 4 mats on what proved to be an excellent floor.

The inclusion of short mat bowls in the programme of activities was the brainchild of Mark Cinderey, a teacher at the school and a keen club bowler, but was willingly adopted by both the school and the county association. Norman Allen, HSMBA President, attended the first session and was pleased to see so many youngsters enthusiastically embracing a sport which often has an outdated association with older people even though younger players dominate at the most competitive levels. Jonathan Nicholas, Deputy Head at the school, who also took a keen interest in the sessions, added ‘we are delighted that so many of our students were able to try something that they have never experienced before. The team's commitment and enthusiasm ensured that our young people enjoyed the challenge and many of them were quite good after only 2 hours of play.’

Having successfully formulated these sessions the association is hopeful that the format can be replicated, adapted where necessary and delivered to other groups to encourage wider participation in the sport across the county.

22 April 2016

The short mat bowling season drew to a close with the annual Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association presentation evening held at the Larruperz Centre. League and competition winners from tournaments across the year were presented with their awards by President Norman Allen and Chairman Jamie Harris and the attendees then enjoyed a buffet supper. The full list of league, competition and award winners was as follows:

Burden Cup - Singles  John Jillings (Woolhope)

D&H Luther Cup – Pairs  Joseph Loveys (Gorsley Chapel) & Kate Williams (Ross)

Norman Davies Shield – Triples Ali & Ian Roe, Ian Park (Ross)

Mercian Cup – Fours George Marshall, Ian Roe, Pam & Ian Park (Ross)

Townsend Shield – Mixed Fours  Elaine George, Ian Roe, Pam & Ian Park (Ross)

Helen Davies Shield – Under 18’s Luke Rawlings (Larruperz)

Summer League   Ross 1

Winter League Division 1 Woolhope A

Winter League Division 2 Llangarron

Bromyard Challenge Cup – Triples George Marshall, Les Williams & David Watkins (Ross)

Macmillan Cancer Support Trophy - Fours Jeanne Marshall, Judith Bradley, Randolph Ball & Peter Rawdanowicz (Forest of Dean)

Macmillan Cancer Support Junior Luke Rawlings (Larruperz)

Llangarron Achievement Award  Jack Smith (Lea)

Tony Lee Administration Award  Ian Park (Ross)

LEH Two Counties Team of 10 Competition Gloster Knights (Gloucestershire)

National Qualifying Competition Winners:

Singles   Tony Vitale (Larruperz)

Pairs   John Jillings & John Mills (Woolhope)

Triples   John Mills, Shirley & Becci Cox (Woolhope)

Fours   John Jillings, John Mills, Shirley & Becci Cox (Woolhope)

Mixed Fours  John Jillings, John Mills, Shirley & Becci Cox (Woolhope)

Under 18’s  Luke Rawlings (Larruperz)

A special presentation was also made to players in the county premier team who reached the final of the national Inter County Championship consolation competition.

A full photo gallery for the evening can be seen on the Association’s website at

12 April 2016

The Herefordshire short mat bowls winter league has ended with a return to a familiar scenario. After being dislodged for a season by their club’s B side, Woolhope A dominantly reclaimed their position at the top of the table with their 13th title in 15 seasons. At the culmination of a very tight race behind the leaders, Ross A leap-frogged their challengers with a win on the final day of the season to claim the runners-up position by a single point from Larruperz A who had finished the season particularly strongly. That final match of the season also saw Weston A gain the points they required to move out of the bottom 2 and leave Tarrington in the relegation places with Fownhope.

In Division 2 Llangarron took the title after looking strong all season and secured the promotion spot that they have been so close to in recent years. Escley had also been around the top of the table for much of the season and took the runners-up spot and the second promotion place.

21 March 2016

The final county competition of the year, the mixed fours, was contested by 15 teams at the Larruperz Centre and it saw a continuation of Ross’s recent run of success with a victory for Elaine George, Ian Roe and Pam & Ian Park. After victory over the defending champions Sue & John Dix (Ross) and Betty and Harold Aubrey (Weston) in the semi-final the Ross quartet came up against Hilary Carpenter, Dominic, Sandra and Anthony Rogers who had defeated their Woolhope team-mates John Jillings, John Mills and Shirley & Becci Cox in their semi-final. Woolhope took the initiative early on in the final, establishing a 5-1 lead with a rare 3 shot end in what was an otherwise tight scoring contest. Ross, however, clawed their way back in with singles and set up a tense finale, tying the match after the regulation 8 ends and forcing it into a tie-breaker end. Ross then built a position around the jack which Woolhope were unable to disrupt and garnered the club their fourth successive county competition win.

A presentation also took place during this event to mark the sponsorship of the Herefordshire county teams by Westons Cider who have assisted with the purchase of a new county kit. Jamie Harris, county association Chairman, had expressed his delight at securing a partnership with Westons, a prestigious national brand who nevertheless value their roots and standing in the local Herefordshire community. Gemma Evans, Westons Communications Officer, presented the new county shirt to the Herefordshire premier team captain Becci Cox and said how pleased Westons Cider was to be able to support a local sporting body.

The final of the LEH Two Counties trophy, the annual knockout competition for Herefordshire and Gloucestershire clubs, was contested for the second consecutive year between two Gloucestershire teams. Gloster Knights, seeking their third consecutive title, lined up against Tewkesbury. The first session was a very tight contest which was edged by Tewkesbury who won by a single shot in the singles and won the pairs by 2 shots despite trailing 5-0 after the first 2 ends. The match was therefore delicately balanced going into the second session but the Knights made a storming start and after 4 ends they led 10-1 in the triples and 6-0 in the fours. The Tewkesbury triple then came back strongly and narrowed the gap to a single shot before slipping back slightly to lose by 3 shots. In the Fours, however, there was to be no comeback and the Gloster Knights four ran out winners by 11 shots to give their team a 40-29 victory overall. Norman Allen, Herefordshire association president and tournament sponsor, presented the trophies and complemented the participants on the high standard of bowls. He also gave thanks to the organisers, particularly Rita Hancock who provided a wonderful buffet at the mid match interval.

14 March 2016

Ross continued their excellent recent run in county tournaments with a win for George Marshall, Les Williams and Dave Watkins in the Bromyard Triples, held at the Larruperz Centre in Ross. Having qualified as winners from their round robin group they defeated an Escley triple before winning through a tight semi-final against the Larruperz team of Sheila Whittingham, Margaret Davies and Tony Vitale. The second semi-final was an all Woolhope affair with Dominic, Sandra and Anthony Rogers edging out John Mills, Shirley and Becci Cox. In the final the Ross team stormed out of the blocks and established what proved to be an unassailable lead in the first half of the contest, enabling them to keep the following ends tight and force their opponents to concede the match with an end to spare.

7 March 2016

The Herefordshire county team played in their first ever final at Premier level when they contested the Inter County Championship Premier Consolation Final against Northamptonshire at Daventry Indoor Bowling Centre. A comprehensive 28-12 semi-final win over Wiltshire at the same venue had brought them through to the final against a highly rated Northants side but the Herefordshire team put in a highly creditable performance, finally slipping to a 23-17 defeat. The Northants victory was underpinned by their two singles players, both experienced internationals with national championships titles to their names, who took all 10 points in the Singles discipline. Herefordshire more than held their own in the rest of the match, winning the Pairs 7-3 and the Triples 6-4. Although the Fours shared their matches they lost the shots bonus to go down 4-6. Becci Cox, the Herefordshire captain, praised the team’s performance and expressed her hope that the team could continue to build on its progress next season when they are faced, once again, with an extremely tough qualifying group containing Cheshire and West Midlands, two of the sport’s strongest counties.

11 January 2016

The latest County Championship competitions resulted in a pair of victories for Ross Bowling Club.

In the Triples competition the Ross team of Alison and Ian Roe and Ian Park won all of their matches throughout the day to triumph in the 19 team competition. In the final they defeated Dominic, Phil and Anthony Rogers (Woolhope) who were appearing in their third consecutive final but who have now lost out to different Ross combinations in the last two of those.

The Fours competition the following day attracted 15 entries and resulted in another unbroken run of victories for a Ross team, the two Ians being partnered this time by George Marshall and Pam Park. Their final hurdle in this competition was the Weston-under-Penyard team of Betty & Harold Aubrey and Gill & Tim Rigden who had reached the final for the 3rd time in 5 years but who had already come up against, and been defeated by, the Ross team in the round robin stage. The Ross team ran out victors for the second time in the day in an exciting final which at one stage looked to be heading for a comfortable win for Ross before Weston rallied strongly and took it to a tense final end.