Bowls Etiquette

1. Bowls Etiquette


Bowling is one of the few sports where true sportsmanship still prevails. This is a position that should be jealously guarded, and by following the few simple principles, listed below, you can help to maintain the sportsmanship and courtesy that has characterised the game of bowls for so many years. As you become an established player, the etiquette of the game will become ‘second nature’ to you.

The following basic principles are good for us all, and if adhered to, can only enhance our sport, and give a good impression to those who as yet do not play. Text in italics are comments and are not to be confused with the true etiquette of the game.

2. Before the game

1. Check that you know the correct dress for the occasion, and wear it. This will normally be Greys unless playing in Club Competition Finals or for Inter-Club matches against other Clubs, where Whites may be worn.

2. Make sure that you know the starting time of the game and be there in sufficient time to change your footwear and be on the green ready to start at the appointed time. If you are unable to play, inform your team captain, for ‘in-house Leagues, contact another member of your team to substitute for you.

3. In a game, against other Clubs, be there in time to welcome your guests.

3. Starting the Game


1. Position your bowls on the carpet - don't drop them

2. Shake hands with your opponents and team mates before (and also after) the game and say a greeting, such as 'have a goood game'. Introduce yourself if your opponents may not know you and they should do the same. Otherwise ask your opponents their names if you do not know them, or, are unsure who they are.

4. During the game


1. Stand behind the head, or if standing to one side, ensure that you are behind the ‘Jack’.Stand still while your opponent is about to play.

2. Do not infringe the laws of rink possession. The player whose turn it is to bowl has possession of the rink (holds control of the playing area) from the time the last bowl played, comes to rest.

3. Do not cause a distraction in any shape or form to the player delivering the bowl.

4. Bowls that touch the ‘Jack’ as they are bowled, are ‘chalk-marked’. This must be done before the next bowl comes to rest. If the bowl cannot be ‘chalk-marked’ before the next person, an opponent, is ready to bowl, stand still, and mark the bowl as the next bowl travels towards the head.

5. Commend an opponent's good bowl; a common saying is “well-you-bowl”.

6. Acknowledge bowling the wrong bias, and apologise to your ‘Skip’.

7. Unless you have been delegated to decide the shots at the completion of an end, do not interfere in any way with this process.If an umpire has been called, stay well clear of the head until a decision has been made.

8. It is usual for all players, with the exception of ‘Skips’ to kick the bowls back to the end of the rink to start another end. It is true etiquette to wait until the result of the end has been decided before kicking any bowls. However bowls outside of the ‘head’ are often moved whilst measuring is being performed - but be careful to keep bowls away from the measurement area of the ‘head’.

9. On completion of the End, the lead player of whichever team lost the End should hand the ‘Jack’ to the opposing team’s lead player, to commence the next End. Alternatively, the mat can be handed over, but this could be interpreted as trying to rush opponents, particularly when games are timed.

10. Never be heard to criticise the carpet, or your opponent. Never use bad language.

5. After the Game


1.Shake hands with your opponents and team mates.

2. If you have lost the game remember to congratulate your opponent. If it is a 'Knockout' competition wish your opponent success in the next round.