AVON COUNTY SHORT MAT BOWLS ASSOCIATION
Avon County SMBA was formed in July 1993 and still has one original member serving on the Committee in an unbroken run. Although Avon as a County was subsequently split under new boundary changes into the 4 unitary areas of North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), Bristol City and South Gloucestershire, the name has been retained in agreement with the ESMBA and continues to cover these 4 areas. Avon County is a separate SMBA from Somerset and from Gloucestershire.
Starting with just 10 Clubs, *8 of which are still in existence, the County Association currently has 18 affiliated Clubs - *Banwell, *Farmborough, Farrington Gurney, Fear (Keynsham), *Hillside (Bath), Hutton, *Kewstoke, Midsomer Norton, Patchway, *Pucklechurch, *Saltford, Sodbury, Stockwood, Stoke Gifford, Timsbury, Westfield (Radstock), *Whitchurch and *Winterbourne. There are also other clubs in Avon where less competitive bowls are played.
Avon has had an Inter-County team since September 1993, originally in the ‘A’ Division but now playing in the Premier Division, with 3 founder members still playing regularly. Avon has at various times played against Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Wiltshire and Worcestershire in the round robin stages. In the Knockouts we have been drawn against Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and West Sussex, so we are widely travelled though we do now use a coach for away games.
The team has reached 3 Quarter Finals but despite lack of further success enjoy a good team spirit. Our Home venue is currently the Bristol Bowls Club at South Liberty Lane, Ashton Vale. Previous venues have been Winterbourne Community Centre; The Tropicana, WSM; Hutton Moor Leisure Centre; The Wharf Leisure Centre, Portishead; and Pucklechurch Community Centre. Our County team colours are a white sweater with the County logo of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, navy blazer, navy, claret and gold striped tie/cravat and claret & gold bowls stickers. The ties/cravats were changed from the original navy in 2001, and the stickers from white.
Since 1994 Avon has run annual Championships in the 4 disciplines (and Under-18s when numbers allow), for members of Affiliated Clubs, as well as Open Pairs (2001) and Open Fours (1995) Competitions, at the Bristol Bowls Centre. Through the years Avon Clubs have also taken part in various Competitions such as the ESMBA National Championships; the St Loyes Competition culminating at ISCA, Exeter; and the Mary & Roger Gardiner Competition, with varying success. Many Avon Clubs take part in the Bristol and District League formed in 1998, although some in the ‘outer reaches’ of the County prefer to play in the Mendip or Woodspring Leagues.