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BEGINNERS


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HOW BOWLS IS PLAYED

IF AFTER READING THIS BEGINNERS SECTION
WHY NOT COME ALONG TO THE PARK AND GIVE IT A GO
WE HAVE ALL THE EQUIPMENT FOR YOU TO TRY

  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.  
     
  Like 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, divided into rinks
The green: rink positions are moved and rotated every few days to ensure even wear.

 
     

Delivering a bowlPlayers deliver their bowls alternately from a mat at one end of the rink, towards a small white ball called the jack at the other end. The bowls are shaped so that they do not run in a straight line, but take a curved path towards the jack. To be successful the bowl must be delivered with the correct weight, along the correct line. The bowl can be delivered either forehand or backhand.

     
  A rink, showing the lines to the jack
Forehand and backhand lines to the jack (for a right-handed bowler)
 
     
     
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 direction.   The head: showing two shots to Highworth
  The blue and white bowls are the nearest scoring two. No other bowls count.  
     
     
  Bowls 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 first, or lead, places the mat, delivers the jack and centres it before attempting to bowl as close as possible to the jack.
  • The second or two 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 advantage.
The normal game formats are as follows:
  • In Fours or Rinks play, the lead, two, three and skip each deliver two bowls for 21 ends.
  • In Singles, the two opponents deliver four bowls alternately. The first to reach 21 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 18 ends.
Although these are the most common formats, variations are allowed by the controlling bodies. Matches may be mixed or single-sex.

 

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 Paul.

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 encouragement.

Panteg Park will encourage you to join the club so that additional instruction can be obtained.
 
     

What will I need?
 

 
  Shoes
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.  
   
  A shiny new set of Henselites!  
   
  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 recommendations!  
 

 

Etiquette  
 
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 alike.

For Bowlers and Spectators
  • 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 Club.
Before 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.
During the Game
  • Enter and leave the green by the banks and footpaths - do not walk across other players' rinks.
  • 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 markers.
  • 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 opportunities'.
After the Game
  • 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 store.
  • Avoid making excuses for your lack of success the topic of conversation.
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.

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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Last modified: 30-09-2012
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