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We have had a healthy new intake of bowlers this season; please let us know if you'd like to join us!  

Bowls is a sport for all ages.  Children's membership is always free!


Barham Bowls Club was founded in 1930 and caters for bowls players of all ages and abilities (including beginners). We have qualified coaches who are dedicated to teaching new bowlers all aspects of the game and helping to improve the skills of the more experienced players.

Barham is a small, relaxed, friendly club. Although competitive, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and play the game with a lot of good humour. We play both friendly and league, home and away matches against other clubs in East Kent as well as intra-club games.  We use a WhatsApp group to help include more people in our roll-up casual play sessions.
New members of any ability are always welcome. We hold a number of taster and open days for those who may be interested in giving bowls a try - just ask and we'll make it easy for you.  We give you full training with our qualified coach. 

If you're interested in having a go, please use the 'contact' page of this site or email directly to:

Outdoor Lawn Bowls

We are one of the most relaxed and friendly outdoor bowls clubs in the county, welcoming all-comers regardless of age or any other factor.  We play regular matches against other teams and are part of a mixed league, as well as playing a number of internal competitions.  Our green is open for people to roll-up every afternoon and evening when matches aren't being played.  New bowlers will be able to practise and receive coaching, but are encouraged to play in competitive matches as much as possible.  Bowls are available to be used by new bowlers, but we encourage everyone to buy their own as soon as possible (second-hand is a lot cheaper!)  

The new junior section is a rarity in the sport, but we have a set-up that encourages families to play together and become involved with the club matches.  We have an active membership and try to arrange sessions for the juniors to get to know each other and play in friendly, short-length competitive matches.


Indoor Short Mat Bowls
Barham Bowls Club has always been an outdoor club, with a green and clubhouse right next to the Village Hall.  However, a recently introduced activity for the bowls club and Barham is short mat bowls. This takes place in the Village Hall on Mondays at 19:00 and on Wednesdays at 14:00 (see dates below - generally through autumn to spring). No experience of playing bowls is necessary and bowlers and non-bowlers are welcome to come along and try the game of short mat bowls.

Short Mat Bowls History
The Short Mat Bowls game was first played in Wales by two South Africans who came to work in the area. They had played bowls outdoors in South Africa and, perhaps due to the poor climate and the long close season in this country, they began to play a simulation of the outdoor game on a strip of carpet in a church hall. Some time later, they moved to Northern Ireland and took the new game with them. Rules and conditions of play were drawn up and the game soon became well established in the Province. It was introduced into England by Irish
expatriates, but development was slow until the 1980s when its potential as a low cost sport for people of all ages was realized. The English Short Mat Bowling Association (ESMBA) was formed in 1984, and is now the governing body of the sport in England. The latest figures from the ESMBA puts membership at 25211 bowlers in 928 clubs. The ESMBA rules of the game are followed by the affiliated clubs. Most clubs arrange competitions among their own members as well as allowing time for those not wishing to take part in competitions to enjoy informal bowling.

Equipment (provided by the club)
Foam or rubber backed rink mats, permanently marked with the required lines. In addition each mat comprises two fenders, block, jack and two foot mats.

Where the game is played
Short mat bowls is an all-year sport unaffected by weather conditions and it does not require a permanent location as the rink mats can be rolled up and stowed away. This makes it particularly appropriate for small communities as it can be played in village halls, schools, sports and social clubs, hotels etc.

How the game is played
The game is played in broadly the same way, and provides the same enjoyment and has the same attractions as lawn bowls and, indeed, many players participate in both games. The bowls themselves, and the smooth soled heel less footwear are the same as those used outdoors.

The object is for each player in a singles game or each team in a pairs, triples or fours to gain as many shots as possible by getting their bowls nearer to the jack than their opponents, and so outscore them.
The main differences in the playing conditions are the size of the playing area, the block that occupies the mid-position of the rink mat, and the ditch, which is actually a defined area of the mat surface. The intimidatory presence of the block, which prevents players from playing with force directly towards an opponent's bowl to knock it out of a scoring position, and the narrow playing area, requires players to develop skill in using the natural bias on the bowls to bowl round the block. Bowls that touch the block, and those that come to rest in the dead area or in the ditch (other than those that touch the jack before going into the ditch) are declared "dead" and removed from the mat before the next bowl is delivered.

The primary skill requirement is in the fact that no two mats perform identically and all village halls have floors that are not perfectly flat therefore every competitive match is a measure of the ability of the visiting team to conquer an unfamiliar playing surface.

Outdoor Bowls Calendar 2022:
Have a look at our match fixture list, but that's only half of it.  You'll be free to use the green most days to practise, and there are roll-up sessions each week.

Indoor Short Mat Bowls 2022-3:

Normal timings:

Monday evenings from September until April.

Wednesday afternoons from September to April.

NB Taster Days (booked in advance) comprise of basic skills coaching and fun bowls events. No advance booking is required for Open Evening Sessions, which you can try the game for as long as you like.

For further information on short mat and bookings, please contact Neil Sladden at; for outdoor lawn bowling it's the same email, but address enquiries to David Hatton.  We'll try and get back to you straight away!

Barham Bowls Club CT4 6NX (next to Village Hall) Barham Bowls Club CT4 6NX (next to Village Hall)