Short mat bowling was probably introduced into Cornwall by Tony Stephens of Westward Ho in Devon.
In 1986 he supplied mats to Crackington Haven, and the Crackington Haven and Morwenstow Clubs became involved in regular tournaments at Westward Ho at weekends.
In 1989 there were three Clubs in Cornwall affiliated to the English Short Mat Bowling Association through the South West Region who administered the game in the South West at that time. These were Callington, Crackington Haven and Morwenstow. The two clubs in the North were playing in leagues and tournaments with North Devon clubs, and Callington was similarly involved with East Devon clubs.
In the Autumn of 1989 Derek Styles of the Callington club organised a tournament at the Callington Community College involving the three affiliated clubs, together with Camelford, Coads Green, Kensy Vale and Stratton who competed by invitation. This has become an annual event, but it is now played between the first seven Clubs in the County to be affiliated. Derek Styles also contacted Clubs in the east of the county and an east Cornwall league was organised before the county association was formed.
In 1990 more Clubs had affiliated, and a meeting organised by Rae Francis was held at Callington on the 19th May 1990 to discuss the formation of a county association. Present at this meeting were 8 affiliated Clubs together with 3 intending to affiliate. It was agreed that a county association should be formed.
The Cornwall County Short Mat Bowling Association (CCSMBA) was formally inaugurated at a meeting held at Luxulyan on the 21st July 1990 chaired by Rae Francis. 9 Clubs were present and 2 others apologised for not being so. A constitution was agreed and a management committee formed. The newly formed association affiliated to the ESMBA through the South West Zone (formerly the South West Region). The committee immediately swung into action and arranged tournaments and a league program.
At the association's second AGM held on the 7th March 1992 the County ceded from the S.W.Zone and affiliated directly to the ESMBA. The S.W. Zone has now disbanded as all the S.W. Counties have affiliated directly to the ESMBA.
The association grew rapidly reaching a peak of around 75 clubs and 1500 affiliated bowlers. Currently, in September 2016, there are 57 Clubs and around 1000 players affiliated. For administrative purposes the county is divided into four areas. Each area has a representative on the management committee who also chairs an area committee. This committee organises its own area league and is an effective link between the clubs and the county management committee.
The county committee organises a full program of county championship and other tournaments. The county also enters two teams in the Inter County Championships organised by the ESMBA and is well represented in the annual National Championship. In 2015 Tom Westlake, Luke Jolly, Ed Dyer and Karen Watson claimed the Cornwall's only National Championship success to date winning the Fours title.
Several bowlers from the county have represented England over the years with the highlight being Peter Hore winning the World Pairs with Christopher Willies of the West Midlands in 2016.
Original text by John Barlow in 1992 subsequently revised by John Jones in 1994 and on several occasions thereafter by Nicholas Truscott.