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BOWLS ETIQUETTE

• Dress appropriately and ensure that you know the dress code for each match in which you are participating.

• Do not arrive late. When the rinks are called you should be ready to play.

• Do not walk across rinks that other people are using and do not stand or sit on the banks while waiting to play.

• Introduce yourself and shake hands with your opponent(s) before play commences and after the game is complete.

• During the game do not move around the head when your opponent or team mate is about to deliver his or her bowl. Stand well back from the head, stand still, keep quiet and do not do anything that would distract your opponent or team mate. Wait until the bowl has been delivered before moving.

• If you are at the same end as the player delivering a bowl you must stand behind the mat thus staying out of the player's line of vision. Bear in mind that some people like to see the rink boundary markers and the centre pin while playing so make sure that you are not obscuring them.

• On sunny days you must also ensure that your shadow does not fall on the jack.

• Spectators who are in the player's line of vision should also keep still while bowls are being delivered and they should not distract players on the green.

• Don't drop your bowls onto the green and ensure that your delivery is not causing scuff marks or otherwise damaging the green.

• Treat a bowls match as a serious sporting event. Your opponents have turned up to play a competitive game of bowls and will not want their afternoon or evening spoiled by people clowning around. Remember it’s the club’s reputation not just yours that is on the line.

• Place litter and cigarette ends in the bins and ashtrays provided. But for the comfort of other players it is better to not smoke on the green.

• After you have delivered a bowl and before it has come to rest you have two options. If you want to track your bowl's progress you must be behind the head as it stops. In other words you must beat it to the head. If you don't go to the head you must be behind the mat as your bowl stops.

• After the game you should once again shake hands with your opponent(s) and congratulate or commiserate with them appropriately.

• It is also customary to offer to buy them a drink if you have won the game. Where a marker has been involved in a singles game you should also offer him/her a drink.

PLAYERS' ROLES IN BOWLS MATCHES
 
It is the Skip's job to direct the play. Other players should play the shot directed by the Skip even if they don't agree with it. In Fours games the 'Number 3' should direct the Skip when required to do so. In Triples or Pairs the ‘Number 2’ or Lead may do this. Other players should not interfere unless invited to do so. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Skip shall have sole charge of his team, and his instructions shall be observed by his players. With the opposing Skip he shall decide all disputed points, and when both agree, their decision shall be final. If both Skips cannot agree, the point in dispute shall be referred to, and considered by, an Umpire whose decision shall be final.  A Skip may at any time delegate his powers or any of his duties to other members of his team provided that such delegation is notified to the opposing Skip. The Skip also keeps the score.
 
Number 3 must be able to play a variety of shots. He/she can be asked to draw, play with weight, or play for position. He will usually measure any and all disputed shots. He/she should be able to 'read a head.' 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Number 2 backs up the lead or plays positional woods as directed by the skip.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Lead shall place the mat and shall deliver the Jack ensuring that the Jack is properly centred before playing his first bowl. He/she should place the mat and bowl a Jack length as indicated by the skip. Bowling the Jack is a skill and should be practised. Do not bowl the Jack aimlessly, and do not throw it from a standing position. Get down and bowl it from the same position as you'd deliver a wood. Having the Jack at the correct length will help you win matches.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
It is also worth emphasising that the head must not be disturbed by any player until the shots have been finally agreed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When the Thirds or Skips are deciding the shots the other players should stand well back from the head and give them the space to do so. 
 
INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEW BOWLERS. If you have played other sports in the past you will find that your ball game aptitude will be invaluable during your bowling career. Good sportsmanship is essential.
 
YOUR GREEN. Being a greenkeeper is a very difficult job. Often he is maintaining a playing surface under adverse conditions. He is striving to grow grass for us to play on under all weather conditions.
Players continually walk over the green, place the mat without any consideration for wear and expect to play afternoon and evening up to seven days a week.
Do nothing to damage the green, either in your delivery or in any other way. It is essential that you develop clean grassing of your bowl without any bump.
 
YOURSELF. You will find that you will get out of the game of bowls just what you put into it. Your approach should be one of enthusiasm, friendliness, sportsmanship and a determination to win.
 
By your desire to learn the game and accept responsibilities as a good member you will quickly be accepted by the more experienced members. Remember it is the calibre of individual members which combine to make a club. So play your part and make yours a good club.
 
ETIQUETTE. According to the dictionary, etiquette means ‘the art of behaviour.’
Friendly sporting acts towards your team mates and opponents are appreciated and usually reciprocated. Such acts could be - to keep still while others are delivering their bowls; stand behind the jack and away from the head, perfectly still, or one yard behind the mat. Commend good shots by a team member or opponent. Be frank in admitting a fluke and remember it when at some later time your opponent gets such a fluke against you.
 
DRESS. You must wear an approved club shirt for all matches and competitions. Grey trousers/skirts are worn in midweek matches and white trousers/skirts are worn on Saturdays. White means white - not pale grey or light fawn or any other shade of nearly white.
You must always wear flat, smooth soled white or brown shoes to protect the green. Trainers with any form of treaded or patterned soles are not acceptable. Blazers should be worn on arrival at match venue.
 
THE GAME OF BOWLS. Bowls is a relatively simple game. The action required to deliver a bowl is based on a fairly natural physical movement. It is not too difficult to learn and there are a number experienced bowlers willing to teach beginners. It is important to learn a good delivery action so that you can bowl without bouncing or wobbling. It is difficult for 'bad action' bowlers to progress in the game.
 
STARTING OFF. The beginner is often able, within a relatively short period of time, to bowl with some measure of success. It can be the case that anyone visiting their local bowls club would find some member who might introduce them to the game of bowls.
The instruction they offer will be practical, on the green and geared towards getting the beginner bowling as soon as possible. The beginner will need to have a pair of flat soled shoes or overshoes, and for this first session would be able to borrow a set of four bowls to use.
 
OBJECT OF THE GAME IN ALL FORMATS. The object of play is to direct your bowl as near as possible to the jack, or such positions as indicated by the skip. Play is always from the mat.
After the completion of playing all the bowls from the mat, an end has been completed.
After the completion of an end the number of your teams bowls which have finished closest to the jack count. Thus, if you have three bowls closer than your opponent's nearest, your score is three for that end. Do not disturb/remove any bowl from the head until the score has been agreed by both sides.
 
POSITION ON THE MAT AND STANCE. The feet should be parallel and slightly apart, pointing along the line on which the bowl is going to travel. The stance should be well balanced and comfortable. The bowl should be held so that the bowler has both comfort and control, and on a line just outside the right hip (for the right handed player) so allowing an unimpeded backswing. Eyes should be looking along the delivery line.
At the moment of delivery of the bowl, one foot should be wholly on or within the confines of the mat.
A smooth follow through is desirable, as in other sports the follow through is most important. The right hand should be brought forward parallel with the body throughout its movement, and continue, even after the bowl has been delivered.
Concentration is of course an essential requirement for any bowler aspiring to an improved standard. So many players allow outside factors to interfere with their concentration that it is probably the greatest single reason why they fail to improve.
 
COMPETITIVE BOWLS. Bowls is a splendid medium for limited exercise, sociability and competitive recreation. The sportsmanship of the player is always to the fore, and this attribute is a vital necessity to all who play it.
The newcomer to the game is strongly advised to play in as much competitive play as possible as this is the means of improving his/her performance, developing his/her knowledge of the game, and enjoying still further the opportunity of making new friends.
It has been said of bowls that it is a contest calling for courage, skill and self control. It is a test of temper and certainly a revealer of character. It provides not only physical health but moral stamina.
 
SCORING. Scoring systems vary for different competitions.
It is usually the first player to reach 21 points, or the highest scorer after 18 or 21 ends.
Another system used is "set play".
For example, the first to reach seven points is awarded a set, with the match played best-of-five (or three) sets.
 
THE DITCH. Bowls reaching the ditch are removed from play.
However, if they touch the jack before heading into the ditch they remain 'alive' and in play.
If the jack is knocked into the ditch it remains 'live' unless it is out of bounds to the sides of the rink. If out of bounds it is a 'dead' end and is replayed.
 
TACTICS. There can be a large number of bowls on the green towards the conclusion of an end - particularly in the team games - and this gives rise to some complex tactics.
 
ETIQUETTE FOR MARKERS. During the season, when players are heavily involved in singles matches, markers are required almost every evening. Consider making yourself available as a marker whenever you can. We all know that there is nothing worse than playing an important tie without a marker.
 
It is not good etiquette to watch games from the sidelines or from the clubhouse while there are people playing without markers. If you have the time, get out there and mark. 

A marker is serving two people. If we all marked one tie for every two we played there would not be a problem. We are fortunate to have a few people who happen to like marking ties and they are seen on the bowling green every other night. We all know who they are and they are to be commended. Perhaps there should be special prize awarded for this? 

If you are marking a tie the following rules should be observed. These rules are what is expected of a marker in domestic tournaments.)

When a player has delivered the jack the marker should centre it then stand back and to one side, ensuring that all rink markers are visible to the players.

He should answer any specific question (from the player in possession of the rink) about the state of the head. He should not offer any additional information that has not been requested. For example if someone asks, "Who is shot?" you should just answer that question, eg. "you are" or "he is". You should not say anything like, "You are holding two shots".

If you are unsure of the situation, for example you cannot decide who is holding, don't guess. You can offer an opinion but make sure that the player who is asking the question is made aware of this.

The marker should mark all touchers immediately they come to rest and remove chalk marks from non touchers. He should also remove all dead bowls from the rink with the players' agreement. He should also mark the position of touchers and or the Jack which are in the ditch.

The marker should not move any bowls until the end is complete and the players have agreed the number of shots.

He shall measure disputed shots when required but once again he should not move the bowls until the players agree. If an Umpire is available then he may be called upon for a decision. Where no Umpire is available the marker may select one. Both players may also agree that the marker should make the decision. This is acceptable at local level.