Affiliated to: Bowls England, Bowls Hampshire, P&DBA, P&DWBA
Bidbury Mead, Bedhampton, PO9 3JG

Basic Introduction to Lawn Bowls

Introduction to Lawn bowls

The objective of Lawn Bowls is very basic – to get one or more bowls (woods) closer to the Jack (small white or yellow ball) than those of the opposition.

The game of Bowls is played on a 31 to 40 metre square called the green, Bedhampton Bowling Club has an artificial all weather carpet which enables us to bowl all the year round, clubs that play on a grass surface cannot bowl during the winter season. We welcome players from other clubs to join us for the Winter season.

The green is divided into areas called rinks.  The green is surrounded by a ditch to catch bowls which leave the green, the end banks of the green are marked to indicate the extremities of each rink and the side banks of the green are marked with a 2 metre mark and another mark 23 metres on from this point.

Copyright Bedhampton Bowls 2018

The rink is also marked in the same way for the opposite direction of play, so you will see a total of 4 marks on the side edge of the green

The first person to bowl (normally referred to as number 1) will place the mat on the green at a minimum distance of 2 metres from the ditch and then deliver the jack down the rink.

The Jack must be delivered at least 23 metres from the mat position to be valid. Players deliver their bowls alternately from this mat from one end of the rink, towards the jack at the other end. Once all players have delivered their bowls the end is complete.

As mentioned, the idea of the game 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 – (referred to as an “End”) the next end is played back down the rink in the opposite direction.

Bowls that enter the ditch after delivery are deemed dead and are removed unless the bowl has touched the jack (the wood that touched the jack is also marked with chalk or spray) prior to entering the ditch, this bowl is left in the ditch and remains live until the conclusion of the end, the position of this wood is indicated to other players by the use of a ditch marker (normally coloured other than white).

If the Jack is pushed into the ditch by a wood it remains live and the position of this jack is also indicated to other players by the use of a ditch marker (normally white).

If the Jack is pushed outside the extremities of the rink it causes the “end” to be dead and then replayed.

Credit BBC – Bowls for beginners guide

Bowls can be played as singles, or in teams of pairs, triples, or fours (a team of four is also known as a ‘rink’). The normal game formats are as follows:

In Singles, the two opponents deliver four bowls alternately.

For Pairs, the players deliver four bowls each.

In the Triples game, the lead, second and skip deliver three bowls each.

In Fours or Rinks play, the lead, two, three and skip each deliver two bowls.

These are the most common formats, the scoring for each type of match may vary from club to club, but it will either be the first to a set number of points (21 in singles) or the greatest score after a set number of ends to determine the winner of the game.

The bowls are shaped so that they do not run in a straight line, but take a curved path towards the jack, this is called the Bias, the Bowls are marked to show which side of the bowl has the direction of bias or curve.

To be successful the bowl must be delivered with the correct weight (the amount of power applied), along the correct line to rest close to or hopefully on the jack. The bowl can be delivered either forehand or backhand.

Each manufacturer will produce bowl types with different Bias but each set of bowls will have the same characteristics, the choice of bowls bias is dependent on the individual’s needs and when starting to play lawn bowls it is better to try a few different types of bowls to determine what works best for you.