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Short mat bowls is an all-year sport unaffected by weather conditions and 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. where space is restricted and is also required for other purposes: it is even played on North Sea oil rigs where space is really at a premium. The foam-backed rink mats range from a minimum length of 40ft to a maximum of 45ft. The width is 6ft. The game is played in broadly the same way, and provides the same enjoyment and has the same attractions as outdoor bowls. 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. The bowls themselves, and the smooth soled heel less footwear are the same as those used outdoors. The presence of the block, which prevents players from playing with force directly towards an opponents bowl in order 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.
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