FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

What should I check when buying bowls?
A set of four bowls must be a matched set.  They must be the same make/colour/size/weight/serial number, and each must have a legal date stamp.

What is a trial end?
Trial ends are played to assist you to assess Weight and Line at the commencement of a game.  Normally one trial end is played in each direction using two bowls (one forehand and one backhand).  They are not mandatory and are subject to agreement reached before a game.

Can different bowls be tried during the Trial Ends?
Bowls can be changed during or at the end of the Trial Ends.  The new Bowls must be properly marked.

Where is the mat placed?
The Mat is placed on the centre line of the Rink with the leading edge a minimum of 2 meters from the front edge of the ditch.  It can be placed further towards the opposite end of the Rink, but must be a minimum of 25 meters from that end, but if legally placed, must not be moved again during that End.

Where does the Jack go?
The Jack must have travelled at least 23 meters from the front edge of the Mat when it has been aligned with the centre of the Rink.

Who Delivers the Jack?
A coin is tossed to ascertain which team has the option to deliver the Jack for the first end of a game.  The winner of the toss can deliver the Jack or can ask his or her opponent to go first.

What happens if the Jack strikes someone on the Rink as it is being delivered?
If the Jack strikes an opponent, a neutral person, or some object, it is re-delivered.  If it strikes one of the team delivering the Jack, the opposition then delivers it and can position the Mat where they wish, but they do not play first.

What happens if the Jack does not travel 23 meters, goes in the opposite ditch, or off the rink?
If the Jack cannot be centred in a legal position because it has been delivered incorrectly, the opposition then delivers the Jack, but they do not play first.  If it again cannot be centred in a legal position, it is placed 2 meters from the edge of the opposite ditch, and the original player can place the Mat in any legal position and plays first.

What is a Toucher?
A Toucher is a bowl which, during its line of travel upon delivery in that end, touches the Jack, or falls onto the Jack before the next bowl is delivered.  If it is the last bowl of an End it must fall within 30 seconds of coming to rest.  If, during an end, a Toucher is subsequently propelled into the ditch, it remains active.

Is there a time limit for marking a Toucher?
A Toucher must be marked with chalk by a member of the team which delivered the bowl, or (in singles) by the marker, as soon as it comes to rest.  It can be nominated as a Toucher if marking it may cause it to move.  If it is not marked or nominated before the next delivered bowl comes to rest it is no longer a Toucher.

What happens if a newly delivered bowl strikes a Jack which is already in the ditch?
The bowl is dead and is removed from the ditch.

What is Rink Possession?
The Rink is possessed by the player or team whose bowl is in play. As soon as that bowl comes to rest, Rink Possession passes to the opposition and, except for marking a Toucher, the first player or team must be behind the mat or have passed and be clear of the head.  Questions can only be asked, and answers given, by the team in possession of the Mat.

What happens if the incorrect bowl is played?
The bowl is replaced with the correct bowl.  If the bowl was a Toucher, the replacement bowl is marked as a Toucher.

What happens if someone plays out of turn?
The opposing skip or the marker (in singles) can stop the bowl and return it to the player to play in proper order.  If it has come to rest and has not disturbed the head, the opposing skip can return the bowl or leave the head as it is and have two bowls played by his team to return to proper order.  If the bowl had disturbed the head the opposing skip must either choose to leave the disturbed head and have two bowls played by his team to return to proper order, or replace the head in its former position and return the bowl to be played in the proper order, or declare the end dead.

What happens if a bowl or Jack rebounds from the back bank onto the Rink of play?
If it is a non-toucher, the bowl becomes dead, and if any of the bowls or Jack on the Rink have been disturbed after the bowl rebounds they must be replaced as near as possible to their original position.  A Toucher or a Jack rebounding remain in play and are allowed to disturb the head.

What happens if the Jack is knocked out of the Rink by a bowl during play?
The end is declared dead and is replayed in the same direction, unless the skips decide it is to be played in the other direction.  The Jack is delivered by the player who delivered the Jack for the dead end.

What happens if the end is tied?
If it is not possible to determine a winning bowl on any end it is declared a tied end.  The end is included on the score card and counts as an end.  For the next end the Jack is delivered by the player who delivered the Jack for the tied end.

If you are unsure about any aspect of the Rules, refer to the ‘Laws of the Sport of Bowls’, a copy of which is with the measuring set in the Clubhouse.

Types of games

One against one, using two or four bowls each end, and normally played for the best of 21 shots.

Two against two, using two or four bowls each end, and normally played for 18 or 21 ends.

Three against three, using three bowls each end, and normally played for 18 ends.

Four against four, using two bowls each end, and normally played for 21 ends.

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