guide is not, and cannot be, a complete guide to the game of bowls.
this to be an introduction to the basics of the game, with particular
relevance to newer bowlers.
best way to learn is to play and, while doing so, watch and listen to your
team mates, your opponents and other players.
be afraid to ask questions. All the members started as complete novices at
some time and will be more than happy to relay the help that they received
to Louth and District Indoor Bowling Club. Now that you are a member of the
Club you assume responsibilities and become a working part of it. You will
get out of the game of bowls just what you put in to it .Don't be upset by
the first minor mishap.
find that the officers of the Club give their time and energy so that you can
enjoy and play your game. Do everything you can to make their work as easy as
possible; be punctual and willing to abide by their decisions, realising that
they are made not just for you, but for the betterment of all. Support the
social functions, as they are organised for the good of the Club and your
let your Club down and be proud of it. Do nothing in your actions, words or
appearance, which will reflect against you or the Club. Do your part to
enhance its reputation so that it will continue to be known as a fine Club.
sporting acts towards your team mates and opponents are appreciated and make
the game of bowls more sociable and enjoyable.
and after the games, all the players shake hands with each other and, if
necessary, introduce themselves.
still and quiet whilst others are delivering their bowls.
the mat end, stand at least one yard behind the mat when not bowling.
the head end, stand still, well behind the jack and away from the head. Do
not obstruct the view of the head. Unless by prior agreement, only the
number 3 (or number 2 in triples) should give advice to the skip.
a good shot, from either side.
clearing bowls from the head after the end make sure you leave a clear path
directly behind the mat.
changing ends walk down the centre of the rink to avoid the bowling line on
delivering your bowl, do not stray across onto the adjoining rink. Watch your
bowl until it comes to rest and note if your skip indicates how long or short
your delivery was. If you step forward off the mat as you bowl, make sure you
get back behind it before the bowl stops.
considered bad form to applaud a lucky or fluke shot. As with a net cord in
tennis, an acknowledgment to your opponent that the success was undeserved is
matter how disappointed you may be with your efforts, swearing or other
displays of bad temper are not acceptable in this game. Please restrain
yourself, and if you do weaken, apologise immediately.
bowler who intends to fire or play a weighted shot should advise the other
players of his/ her intent.
at the head should be ready to protect adjacent rinks from stray bowls,
whether they are the result of a weighted shot, a wrong bias or a wide
should always be worn:
from the waist up.
skirts or trousers in grey.
cream skirts or trousers when playing representative matches or Club finals.
shoes of any colour may be worn in club games
or brown shoes when playing in white skirts.
Club waistcoat (green) must be worn when representing the Club.
from the waist up for all games.
trousers and socks when playing representative matches or Club finals.
bowling shoes or white shoes when playing county games.
shoes of any colour may be worn in club games.
White or brown shoes must be worn when wearing “whites” in county matches and
Socks must be white when wearing “whites” in county matches.
require a set of 4 bowls, often referred to as woods. Each set must bear the
official testers stamp, which must be 2002 or later and legible.
is the draw or curve the bowl makes in the course of its movement down the
green. The side of the bowl with the small disc is bias; it should always be
towards the inside of the bowling line.
Distance from the Jack
Indication of the weight of a bowl is given in relation to its
distance from the jack, as though it had been on the centre line, not its
actual distance from the jack.
Distances are often signalled visually by hands held apart, hands held
above the floor or by a number of fingers held up (this usually means yards),
rather than being called out. If you are not sure what has been signalled to
you, ask before you deliver your next bowl.
Pay attention to what your skip says or signals, particularly if your
bowl contacts another one before stopping. Some skips will tell you where you
have actually finished, whilst others will estimate where you would have
finished without the contact. Make sure you know what your skip is telling
The Game of Bowls
Bowls is usually played in one of
the following formats:
Two players deliver 4 bowls alternatively, the winner being the first
to score 21 shots.
players in a team: The leads play their 4 bowls alternatively, followed by
skips, who play their bowls alternatively. The game is played over 21 ends,
the winner being the pair which has scored the most shots.
comprises 3 players: leads, seconds and skips, each playing 3 bowls
alternately. The game is played over 18 ends; the team scoring the most shots
is the winner.
Fours or Rinks
A team of
4 players, each playing 2 bowls alternately for 21 ends; the winner is the
team scoring the most shots.
With the exception of singles,
domestic games are played to a time limit of 2 hours.
There may also be variations on
the number of ends played within the two hour limit depending on the specific
The Duties of the Players in Rinks Play
Having tossed a coin with the opposing
lead to see who lays the mat for the first end:
Lays the mat (if the toss or
the previous end was won)
Delivers the jack.
Plays mainly draw shots to lay
a good foundation for the development of the head.
In representative games, keeps
the scorecard and, when the home team, updates the rink scoreboard and main
In domestic games, home second
keeps the scorecard each end, away second alters the score board.
At the end of Club games, gets
the signature of the losing skip on the card and puts the card in the box or
gives it to the winning skip.
Acts as measurer to determine
Advises the skip, which shot to
play when requested.
Marks touchers (bowls that come
in contact with the jack. See further along for a fuller explanation). (In
Triples, the no. 2 usually keeps the score as well).
Stands at the opposite end of
the rink and directs the other players of the team.
Plays last and should be an
team members other that the number 3 (number 2 in triples) stay well clear of
the head until all shots have been decided.
The scoring is 1 point for each of the
team’s bowls nearer to the jack than their opponents nearest bowl when the
end is completed.
Should you find yourself
in a position where you are required to measure, adopt the following
Initially try to agree with your opposite number
how many shots are awarded to which team by simply looking to see which bowls
are closest to the jack.
Do not spend too long doing this, if it is not
immediately obvious, it is usually quicker and always more accurate to
measure. If you are in any doubt, measure.
Remove any bowls which are clearly holding shots;
place them all in one position away from the head so that they don’t get
measured twice. (This may eliminate the need to measure, as the situation may
The player contesting the next shot measures from
the jack to his/ her opponents bowl first then measures his/ her own teams
bowl, seeking agreement with the result from the opposing player before
moving a bowl.
If several shots are in dispute, measure the odd
one out first and then go round the others to see which, if any, are closer.
There are other refinements to the process, such
as wedging unstable bowls, measuring into the ditch, etc, but this will give
you a good basis from which to start.
Live Bowls ( toucher or chalker)
If a bowl
touches the jack while it is on its original run down the green, it is marked
with chalk and remains live, i.e. in play, even if it goes into the ditch, in
which case a red marker is put on the bank above it and can count in the
score. (If it goes off the side of the rink it is no longer live and is
removed.) If an un-chalked bowl touches the jack later, because either it or
the jack has been moved, this does not make it a toucher.
Marking a Singles Game
Should you be asked to mark a singles game,
remember the following basic points:
Stand well behind the head. Watch for, and mark,
touchers and be ready to protect adjacent heads if necessary.
Give information to the players only when they
ask for it, in which case you answer their questions as literally as you can.
The marker is neutral. This is the one situation
in which you should not publicly applaud good shots.
The players decide the score, not the marker, who
measures only when asked to do so by one of the players.