Bowls Rules & Etiquette

GENERAL RULES OF PLAY and ETIQUETTE (updated October 2023)

In general Club play will be conducted in accordance with the English Short Mat Bowls Association Rules and Regulations, which Members should be fully acquainted with. However, it would not be practical to stick rigidly to all these rules, but we do however like to adhere to certain rules and points of etiquette.

1. Stance on delivery mat A player at the moment of delivering his/her wood, shall have one foot entirely within the confines of the delivery mat, either on or directly above. The other foot must be within the delivery lines marked. Failure to observe these rules constitutes a foot fault. A player guilty of foot faulting should be warned initially, a repeat offence will be penalised with the removal of the bowled wood.
2. Fender The end fender must be in the correct position, with the ends level with the ‘DITCH’ line.
3. Keep quiet and refrain from moving when players are on the mat.
4. Stand BEHIND the mat while your opponent’s bowl.
5. Players should NOT follow their woods down the playing mat. Any player doing so shall have their wood removed.
6. Do not delay play. Always keep track of play and be aware, and ready when it’s your turn to bowl.
7. Pay attention and respect your Skips advice and instructions.
8. Respect the Mat at all times. DO NOT drop bowls onto the Mat.
9. No Player is to visit the Head until all, except Skips have finished bowling and shall remain at the bowling end, or to the side, NO further than the block from the delivery end.
10. Touchers should always be marked, unless to do so could result in the wood and/or the jack being moved. In which case the toucher may be nominated.
11. Chalk Marks must be removed before playing a wood.
12. BOTH Skips are to move to the delivery end at the same time, after the Thirds (Seconds in Triples) have completed bowling.
13. Skips may visit the Head ONLY before delivery of their last wood.
14. ONLY Thirds (Seconds for Triples) to advise Skips and decide shots AND MEASURE.
15. Jack Off Rink In the event of the jack being knocked from the playing area, no penalty will be awarded. The End will be replayed from the same end.
16. Touching Woods. Players must NOT touch the woods whilst they are in play. Except to mark Touchers.
17. WIN or LOSE please respect your fellow players, and shake hands at the end of each game.
18. FIRING Whilst a fast bowl (Heavy Bowl) is perfectly acceptable play, due to space restrictions and safety “FIRING” is NOT allowed.

PLEASE note that whilst a degree of good-humoured banter during play is acceptable, PLEASE be aware that some people’s level of understanding and tolerance of this means it COULD quickly become offensive.