Pembrokeshire are UK short mat bowls champions!

The delighted Pembrokeshire team

Pembrokeshire Short Mat bowlers  have been crowned ‘Top Team Champions for the first time since the competition began in 1995 after beating off the strong challenge of English county champions West Midlands and Northern Ireland’s top zone team Mid Tyrone.


After two full days of intense competition at the splendid facilities at Heatherton Park Pembrokeshire won from the final delivery from a Mid Tyrone skip failed to wrest the initiative from a local team skipped by Sion Hughes alongside colleagues Mark Thorpe, Carl Symonds and James John-Davies – and as realisation dawned on the entire team and supporters that they had edged home there were celebrations that will long remain in their memories of all involved.


First-ever win for Pembrokeshire and chairman John was delighted!


The competition began 24 years ago and the hosting rotates annually between the three countries, with their champions participating on their countries’ behalf – and this was the second occasion that Heatherton has played host, with owner Charles Davies, telling,

“We are delighted to offer our services because short mat bowls is played here a great deal, and are absolutely thrilled that Pembrokeshire were winners.”


Joining him in congratulations for the Pembrokeshire squad of 24 players was John Munt, the chairman of the Pembrokeshire SMBA, who has played previously for the county but on this occasion was a match official.

“Pembrokeshire have been Welsh Champions on no fewer than 15 occasions but are proud to be the first team from Wales to receive this special trophy.

Match officials from all three countries

Two days’ play went right down to the wire


“We had total commitment from our team throughout the full two days, with no fewer than nine rounds of singles, pairs, triples and rinks, with each team taking on the other two twice in that format.

“I am very proud we have finally brought the silverware to Pembrokeshire after qualifying in the Welsh Championships, and I congratulate our entire squad, superbly led by Rhydian Rees as captain.


Although the two days of matches went right down to the wire there is no doubt that the platform for victory was laid in the earlier matches beat West Midlands 9.5 matches to 3 and England by 10-2.

The Hudson family with guest event opener Bill Carne


The Hudson quartet play a real part – as did captain Rhydian Rees


County skipper Rhydian Rees in actionCertainly enjoying the moment more than most was the Hudson family because all four were totally involved, with mum Julie taking on the role of results recorder and doing a great job.

Husband Paul is a Welsh international, as is son Andrew, who doubles up as the youngest president of Pembrokeshire Short Mat Bowls Association – whilst daughter Kate Hudson-Brown was the only lady in the county’s squad!

As skipper Rhydian Rees, who also plays cricket for Cresselly, told us,

“It was a tremendous competition throughout and played in the best spirit possible – and I would like to thank my squad for their total support!”

Pembs president Andrew Hudson shows off his skills

**Lots more more pics, generously suppled by Tracy Beynon,including all the teams, in our 'Photos of the Week' section!**