Bowls is a strategic, challenging and fun sport that can be enjoyed by anyone. It is played on a large smooth grass surface called a “green”. Lawn bowls are large, hard resin balls with a bias to them, so that they travel along a curved path, rather than going straight. The object of the game is to roll your bowls closer to the target than your opponents. The target is a small white ball called a “jack” and it is rolled the length of the green to start play. Then players from each team take turns rolling their bowls down the green toward the jack. When all all the bowls have been played in one direction the players have completed an end.
Object of the Game
The object of the game is to deliver bowls closer to the jack (target) than your opponent.
The player or team with the closest bowl to the jack earns one point for each bowl closer to the jack than the nearest opponent bowl.
The game of Bowls is played on a 120 foot square of closely cut grass called the green. The green is divided into playing areas called rinks. Each rink is 14' wide and with the rinks placed side by side, multiple games can occur at the same time.
The green is surrounded by a small ditch to catch bowls which leave the green, and a bank which has marks indicating the center side lines of each rink.
Click image to enlarge.
Bowls come in sets of four and each set has its own unique symbols engraved on the sides to identify the owner. Bowls are perfectly smooth and round in one direction, but slightly flattened in the other. The bowls are weighted on the side of the small emblem, causing them to curve in that direction when rolled. This is known as the bias and allows you to curve your bowl around others. Bowls come in different sizes, weights, colors and biases.
The "jack", a small white ball similar to a pool cue ball, is the target in the game. The object of the game is to roll your bowls as close as possible to the 'jack'.
To roll or deliver their bowl, each player stands on a mat at one end of the rink. The 1' x 2' mat ensures that all players in the game roll their bowls from the same point on the rink.
There are two key things to decide before the game begins:
How many players will be on each team;
How how many ends will be played, thus determining how long the game will last.
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:
An end is when all players on both teams have delivered their bowls toward the jack in one direction. At this time the points are counted and the end is complete.
The next end, all bowls are delivered in the opposite direction and so on.
Keeping score with either a score card or scoreboard looks the same.
The ends are usually numbered down middle and each team's score is on either side.
After each end is finished the score is entered in the team's left column and added on to the right column.
This blackboard shows that Bob's team started great with a 6 point end and it took a couple of ends for Frank's team to score. We know they weren't playing singles since the maximum score on an end in singles is 4 (each player would use 4 bowls). It also shows Bob's team scored one on the last end played and moved ahead 13 to 12. Seeing they had played eleven ends indicates that the game was not over! Games typically involve a fixed even number of ends so that all bowls will end up at the starting point.