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The layout of the game

An introduction to the game of Lawn Bowls.

Unlike many other games, Bowls has no element to blame. In Golf you can blame the club, in Cricket the bat, in Tennis the racket…..in Bowls your game is in your hands - literally.

It’s just you and the Green, the (hopefully) perfectly level area of grass you are playing on.

Greens will typically have between 4 and 8 rinks on them.

How it works.

A form of bowls called '3 Bowl Triples' is most commonly played.

Here there are 3 players on each team and each player has three bowls. i.e. 6 players, bowling a total of 18 bowls.

There are usually 16 'Ends' (games) in a match. The match being won by the team scoring the most points. Points are scored by the team having their bowl(s) closest to the cot. In the diagram opposite the team with the brown bowls are currently 'holding two', (brown have two points).

The three players of each team are called the 'Lead' [Leed] who go first, the 'Second' who go second(!) and the 'Skip', the boss, who goes last. The Skip may also advise you as to where they want your bowl to end up.

Skips are full of optimism!

So what do you do

You take a bowl which fits comfortably in your hand and line the grips on the bowl up parallel with your fingers. Now, standing on the rubber mat you aim for the white ball (the cot) which has been placed about 20m (~65ft) away from you. You now deliver the bowl by swinging your arm down and releasing the bowl as close to the surface of the Green as you can so that your bowl ends up close to the cot.

All, however, is not what it seems. Your bowl is not spherical, it’s had a bit shaved off one side so it is unbalanced - it has a bias. So having delivered your bowl, it skims serenely across the Green and now seems to take on a mind of its own. As you watch with trepidation and anticipation it begins to turn and you end up with the realisation that it will end up close to the spot where the Skip asked you to place it (elation), or miss by miles (consternation). And that, in a nutshell, is the game of Bowls.

How the team works.

At the start of each End the Lead and Seconds are at the mat, the Skips are where they hope the 'Head' will be.

After the Leads and Seconds have finished bowling, the Skips come down to the mat and the others group to the 'Head'

The Lead:

The Lead of the team that won the last End is responsible for placing the mat and bowling the cot, ensuring it is lined up correctly. 

The Lead from the team that lost is responsible for the collection of all the bowls and ensuring they are put to the right of and behind the mat. 

The Leads bowl first, alternately.

The team that won the last end starts.

The Second:

The Second from the winning team is responsible for agreeing the score at the end of each End, (taking measurements where necessary) and recording the scores for each End.

The Second from the other team is responsible for ensuring the scoreboard is up to date.

They can also advise their respective Skips as to whether the team is 'up' (winning) or 'down' and give advice on the best shot to be made.

The Skip:

The Skips organise the way in which the End is to be played. They bowl last, building on the position that their Lead and Second have left them with. During the End they encourage, cajole, coerce, instruct and entice their team to produce their best shots, always wearing a happy smile(!)

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