All sports have traditions and procedures which stretch beyond the playing rules set out in the Rule Book, and bowls is no different.  There are numerous ‘niceties’ which have grown up over the years, some being extensions of Rules, some being merely friendly gestures to our opponents.  The hints on etiquette which follow have little to do with the laws of the game of bowls – the most important of those will have been explained during your coaching sessions – but it covers some things a new bowler will need to know when he, or she, plays the game for the first time.

  • It is usual to shake hands with your opponent and introduce yourself before a game starts and to shake hands again at the end of the match.
  • When standing at the delivery end, or at the head, keep still and do not distract the player on the mat.
  • Always stand between the head or mat and the ditch and towards the side of the rink.
  • Do not criticise your opponent or your team member during or after the game.
  • Congratulate your opponent or your team member for a well played bowl.
  • Do not occupy the mat, or deliver your bowl, until the previous bowl has stopped.
  • Be ready to bowl as soon as it is your turn.
  • Do not leave the mat, or turn your back on your delivered bowl, until it has come to rest.
  • Remember that your Skip has charge of the rink during your occupation of the mat.  Await his or her instructions before delivering your bowl, and follow the instructions to the best of your ability.
  • Do not interfere with the head or express an opinion about it, unless asked by your number three (two in triples).
  • Be careful not to damage the playing surface or surrounds.
  • Do thank your opponent(s), and if present the marker and Umpire, for their attendance and the match.
  • If you are marking a singles game, ensure that you have read and know the Duties of a Marker.
  • If you are a spectator, do not distract a player on the green when he or she is engaged in the play.


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