HOW BOWLS IS PLAYED
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AFTER READING THIS BEGINNERS SECTION
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The following introduction covers
the basic aspects of the game, as normally played in the UK. It is not
intended to be a complete definition of the game or the rules.
many games, the object of Bowls is essentially simple. It can be played
by almost anyone, but to play consistently well demands determination,
concentration and practice.
The game of Bowls is played on a 34
to 40 metre square of closely cut grass called the green. The
green is divided into playing areas called rinks.
The green is surrounded by a small ditch to catch bowls which
leave the green, and a bank upon which markers indicate the
corners and centrelines of each rink.
The green: rink
positions are moved and rotated every few days to ensure even wear.
The object is to get one or more
bowls closer to the jack than those of the opposition - one point is
scored for each counting bowl. After playing all the bowls in one
direction, and agreeing the score, the direction of play is reversed -
the next end is played back down the rink in the opposite
The blue and
white bowls are the nearest scoring two. No
other bowls count.
can be played as singles, or in teams of pairs, triples, or fours (a
team of four is also known as a 'rink'). In fours or rinks games,
each team member has a particular role to play:
The normal game formats are as
- The first, or
places the mat, delivers the jack and centres it before attempting
to bowl as close as possible to the jack.
- The second or
keeps the score card and scoreboard up to date. The two will
normally be required to improve or consolidate the position achieved
by the lead.
- The third or
three may be called upon to play different types of shots in order to
score more, or to place bowls tactically to protect an advantage.
The three also advises the skip on choice of shots, and agrees the
number of shots scored, measuring if required.
- The skip is in
overall charge of the rink, directs the other players on choice of
shots, and tries to build the 'head' of bowls to his or her
Although these are the most common
formats, variations are allowed by the controlling bodies. Matches may
be mixed or single-sex.
- In Fours or
play, the lead, two, three and skip each deliver two bowls for
- In Singles, the two
opponents deliver four bowls alternately. The first to reach
shots is the winner.
- For Pairs, the
players deliver four bowls each. The team scoring the most shots
after 21 ends is the winner.
- In the Triples game,
the lead, second and skip deliver three bowls each, for
Can I try it?
First of all, if you would like to come
along to Panteg Park to have a look, please feel free
at any time. Club night is every Tuesday evening and there is
plenty of seating around the green for spectators, just ask for
If you wish to try your hand at bowls, the best thing to do is
speak to one of our bowlers, who should be able to arrange for
you to have an introductory session with an instructor, or who
may even offer to accompany you for a 'roll-up'.
Club bowls, overshoes, mats and jacks are available for beginner
bowlers to use. New bowlers are encouraged to take some
instruction - coaching sessions can be arranged, and you'll
always find other bowlers prepared to offer guidance and
Panteg Park will encourage you to join the club so that
additional instruction can be obtained.
What will I need?
If you decide to start
playing bowls, you will need some basic clothing to begin with,
if you are just practising you will require flat soled bowling
shoes to walk on the green although slipovers are available.
For club matches, you will need white clothing - white
trousers, white shirt, a Club tie, and other white clothing as
required, depending on the weather! For certain other games,
grey trousers are required.
It's probably not a good
idea to purchase your own set of bowls immediately. The Club has
various sets of bowls for beginners to use, and it is wise to
experiment to find the most suitable size. When you're ready to
buy your own woods, you may find suitable sets for sale second
hand, either privately or in some bowls shops; or you can buy a
new set for around £85 to £130.
Bowls come in matched sets
of four. A range of sizes and weights are available, within
certain limits. Each wood is shaped (not weighted) to make it
follow a curved path. This is called the bias - and again
the amount of bias must be within certain limits. Most bowlers
will be happy to advise you on choice of bowls, but as personal
preference plays a large part, expect some conflicting
Players must follow the rules of the game and as well as
these rules, a certain amount of 'etiquette' is
normally followed, in order to make the game as enjoyable as
possible for everyone. Some guidelines are offered here - they
should be noted by beginners and experienced bowlers
For Bowlers and Spectators
Before the Game
- Do not distract
bowlers who are bowling towards you, by moving or walking
across the end of the rink. Wait until the bowl has been
delivered, then move.
- It is not good
etiquette to interrupt other players when they are on the
green, particularly during competitive matches. If you need
to speak to players it should be before or after their game.
- Respect and protect
the green - the Club's most important asset.
- Do nothing in your
actions, words or appearance that will reflect against your
During the Game
- Make sure you know
the rules of the game or competition you are playing.
- Know the correct
dress (it will differ for different types of games) and
ensure you arrive correctly dressed, with time to spare.
- Ensure that jacks,
mats, scoreboards and other equipment are in place ready for
the beginning of the game.
After the Game
- Enter and leave the
green by the banks and footpaths - do not walk across other
- Do not drop your
bowls on the green.
- Do not drop litter
on the green or in the ditches.
- Don't sit on the
bank - it can cause unwanted wear on the edge of the green.
- 'Possession of the
Rink' must always be respected. Stand well behind the mat or
the head, keeping still and quiet while others are
delivering their bowls.
- When at the head,
bear in mind that some bowlers like a clear view of the rink
- When at the head in
sunny conditions, or as the sun sets, avoid standing where
your shadow is cast over the jack, making it difficult to
see from the mat.
- Similarly, standing
directly behind a white jack in white shoes can make the
jack difficult to see.
- Follow the
direction given by the 'skip', whether or not you agree.
- Remember that the
directions for the 'skip' are only given by the number three
in rinks, or the number two in triples. Other players should
not interfere, unless asked.
- The result of each
end (including measuring where required) is determined
between the threes (or twos in triples). Other players
should not normally interfere.
- Do not disturb the
head until the result of the end has been agreed.
- Encourage, rather
than criticize - no one delivers a bad bowl intentionally.
- Commend good shots.
- Learn to accept
lucky shots, both for and against you - they will balance
out in the long run.
'Flukes are simply revelations of unrecognised
A knowledge of the above
will make you a better respected bowler, and will contribute
towards the enjoyment of the game for everyone involved, both on
and off the green.
- Shake hands.
Congratulate the opposing team and offer to buy your
opposite number a drink (after singles matches, your
'marker' should be included in the invitation). Remember
that your opponent is a guest of the Club.
- Ensure that jacks,
mats, scoreboards and other equipment are returned to the
- Avoid making
excuses for your lack of success the topic of conversation.
OK GIVE IT A TRY
MALE OR FEMALE
12 YEARS AND OVER
EMAIL PAUL BELOW
OR JUST TURN UP ON TUESDAY
AND GIVE IT A GO.
"Beginners section reproduced with permission of
Highworth Bowls Club",
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