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Competition Rules
(and a little advice)


1.       All In-house competition entrants must be current members of the club.

2.       The greenkeeper decides which direction of play, rinks, and colours are to be used. Players must not change any of this.


3.       Dress for all league and competitive matches is flat-soled shoes, white or club shirt, grey trousers/slacks or regulation shorts for men, and grey slacks, cropped trousers/regulation shorts or a skirt for ladies. This is not optional.


4.       Scoreboards are to be used for all matches. Scorecards for the men's championship must be retained after the match.

5.       Practice on the rink allocated for the match are not allowed, unless agreed by players / team captains.

6.       In singles competitions, one of the players must appoint an independent marker, who must be dressed as for play. Refer to 3.

7.       For health and safety, smoking of any kind is forbidden on the green. Taking food or drinks onto the green is not permitted. Players should not run along the rinks. At the start or completion of an end, the bowls must be collected and placed behind the mat.  

8.       Walkways around the green should be kept clear of clothing and luggage. 

9.       Players must be punctual. If a player is more than 30 minutes late, and has not informed his / her opponent, or the marker, then he / she is considered to have forfeited the match.

10.     It is the responsibility of the players to mark the competition sheet with the name of the winner. The winner must be entered on the sheet before the cut-off date. All matches must be completed by the cut-off date.

for everyone's benefit

Bowls is recognised as a game based on friendship and good sportsmanship. Rudeness, or loud, abusive behaviour is not acceptable; neither is the making of unwanted comments by players or spectators. During a match, spectators must not distract the players and players must not communicate with spectators.

It’s usual to shake hands (Covid restrictions permitting) with opponents at the start of a game, and to wish them well in the game ahead. It's also usual to congratulate or commiserate with your opponents in similar fashion after the match.


The rink is considered to be in the possession of the player who is about to bowl. It remains in their possession until their bowl comes to rest. Please note:

1.       All walking to and from the head must have stopped.

2.       There must be no kicking of bowls, no movement, no talking, no coughing or sniffling, and no whistling or humming as a player is about to bowl.

3.       None of the other players should attempt to speak to the player about to bowl. To ensure they are not in side view, they should stand back by at least 1 metre, and keep still.

4.       The opposition skip should stand back from the head. Other players at the head must stand behind the skip, and keep still. They must not allow shadows to cross the head.

5.       The player who is chalking a ‘toucher’ must not distract the player about to bowl. A bowl can be verbally nominated until it can be marked at a convenient time.

6.       The opposing side does not pass information, or instructions when not in possession.

7.       A player may follow their bowl up to the head, but must keep at least 1 metre from the moving bowl.

8.       The next player to bowl only comes to the mat when the previous bowler has left it.

9.       Other players must not start to walk up to the head until the last bowl has stopped.

10.     Bowls are cleared, with or without the pusher, but only when the scoring has been decided.

11.     Some bowlers use visual markers as a guide as to how much green to take. Other players should take care not to block their line of view, and should change position if asked.

12.     No matter how fierce or friendly the competition, it is bad manners to applaud fluke shots, or the bad luck of opponents. Either acknowledge your own good fortune, or say nothing. The best response to fluke shots of your opponent is dignified silence.

Duties of a Marker

The marker should:


• Check that both players are wearing the club shirt, or white above the waist and grey below. The marker has the authority to delay a match until both players conform to these requirements. 

• Enable the toss.

• Centre the jack and check that the jack is at least 23m from the mat line. The measure is in the Captain’s locker.

• Place a full-length jack 2m from the ditch, then stand to one side of the rink and away from the head.

• Answer any specific question about the head that is asked by the player in possession of the rink (on the mat).

• When asked, tell or show the player in possession of the rink the position of the jack and which bowl he/she considers to be shot.

• Mark all touchers with chalk and remove the chalk marks from non-touchers as soon as they come to rest.

• If both players agree, remove dead bowls from the rink.

• Mark the position of a jack and any touchers in the ditch.

• Not move, or cause to be moved, either the jack or any bowls until the players have agreed the number of shots scored.

• Measure any disputed shot or shots. If the players are not satisfied with the marker’s decision, the marker should ask the umpire to do the measuring. If an umpire has not been appointed, the marker should choose a competent neutral person to act as the umpire. The umpire’s decision is final.


When each end has been completed, the marker should:

• Record the score on the scorecard and scoreboard.

• If asked, tell the players the running total of the scores.

• Remove from the rink the mat used during the previous end.


When the game has been completed, the marker should make sure that the scorecard contains the names of the players, the date, and the title of the game that was completed.


Removing bowls

• With the agreement of both opponents, the marker can remove all dead bowls from the green and ditch. The marker shall not move either the jack or bowls; the players agree to the number of shots before moving the bowls.


Good sportsmanship

The marker should check that both players maintain etiquette and good sportsmanship throughout the match. This means, in practice, checking that all unnecessary distractions are avoided.

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