Aylesbury Vale Short Mat Friendly League started in the early 1990’s in this area when the game was still in its infancy only appearing in this country in the 1980’s. It was said to be introduced to this country by a couple of South Africans working in Wales who could not understand that outdoor bowls was not played all the year round. It was they who come up with the idea of playing in Village Halls indoors. They then went to work in Ireland and eventually the game came across the Irish Sea initially into the Liverpool area.
The Current Aylesbury Short Mat Friendly League (often called the Two Mat League) consists of 12 teams: Beacon, Chinnor, Haddenham Blues, Haddenham “C”, Hawkslade, Marsh Gibbon, Stewkley, Wendover Dark Green, Wendover Light Green, Westcott, Wing, and Winslow. During the Season each team plays a “Home” and an “Away” games (22 games in all). The teams comprise 4 teams of triples (12 players). The scoring is 2 points for each winning Triple, and two points for the overall shots winners (10 points in all). Late in the season, there is a Presentation Evening. This was originated as a “Winners versus the Rest” but over time has become a straight forward end of season get together when the League Shield is presented to the League winners.
During the season there is also a “John Robinson Competition”. Consisting of two Leagues. Each team has 12 players whose names are drawn. The game consists of Two “Singles”, Two “Pairs”, and Two “Triples”. The draw decides who plays with who and in what position. The Game is decided on the winning overall shots score. The John Robinson Final (when the two League winners play each other) is in April and is always played at Wing (John Robinson’s Team).
The Single Mat League originated as an outlet for the players who were not able to play in the Two Mat League but over time these Leagues have obtained their own identity. There were two reasons for this, the first was that this enabled those village halls/schools/clubs who only wanted or had, space to only accommodate one mat could join in external competitions.
Currently there are two leagues of single mat teams:
The Red League: Bellingdon “A”, Chesham “A”, Haddenham, Hardwick, Holmer Green, Railway, Widmer End “B”, and Wendover “B”
The Blue League: Amersham, Bellingdon “B”, Chesham “C”, Chinnor, Sands, Wendover “A”, Wendover “C”, and Widmer End “A”