Beginner guide to bowling

Below you will find a brief guide to the rules of lawn bowling, for a much more comprehensive guide to lawn bowling, including Crown green bowling, please have a look at

Head view

The aim of the game is simple. Get your bowls as close as possible to a small white ball called the ‘jack’.
It might sound easy, but the fact that the bowls do not travel in a straight line seriously adds to the tactical challenge.
Bowls can be played indoors or outdoors, and the rules are the same.

The playing

All the play takes place on a standard bowling green, which is a flat square 34-40m long. This is divided into six playing areas called rinks. After a coin toss, the first bowler (the lead) places the mat and rolls the jack to the other end of the green as a target. The jack must travel at least 23m and, when it comes to rest, it is moved across to the centre of the rink.
The players then take turns to bowl.
When all the bowls have been played, a competitor or team gets one point for each of their bowls that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest bowl.
After all the bowls have been delivered, the direction of play is reversed. This is the end of an end!

Sounds easy yes? If you are a natural then maybe but most find it, at least initially, a little more challenging! Have a read of the first tries of BBC journalist Mark Ashenden

Bowls can be played in singles, pairs, triples and four-player teams. Each player has four bowls per end in singles and pairs competitions, three in triples, and two in fours. The team captain, or ‘skipper’, always plays last and is instrumental in directing the team’s shots and tactics.

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 sets or three sets. Each set is won by the highest scorer after nine ends and, if a third set was required, a tie-break was decided over three extra ends. “Set play”is based on winning ends, not total number of points. Regular inter-club games are normally based on the number of points over 21 ends.