Bowling Green Etiquette
i.e. Good Manners
(for bowlers and spectators)
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Green Etiquette Page
Many of our older players will
say that twenty or thirty years ago much more attention
was paid to bowling green etiquette but lawn bowls remains one
of the few sports where common courtesy and etiquette is still
prevalent. We should be proud of this and in order to make the
game as enjoyable as possible bowling green etiquette should
be promoted to members old and new. Much of this is common sense
but here are some of the main rules of etiquette.
appropriately and ensure that you know the dress code for each
game or match in which you are participating. Do not show disrespect
for your opponent(s) by arriving late, ensure that you leave sufficient
time to change before the game. If you are representing the club
on another bowling green you should remember that you are an ambassador
for the Vale of Leven Bowling Club. Behave appropriately.
Enter and leave the bowling green
by the steps provided. Do not walk across rinks that other people
are using and do not stand or sit on the banks while waiting to
play. Note that it is not the banks that are the main problem.
We have artificial banks that will withstand some abuse but people
sitting on the banks tend to place their feet on the edge of the
green causing serious damage.
Introduce yourself and shake hands with your opponent(s)
both before play commences and after the game is complete.
During the game do not move around
the head when your opponent is about to deliver his bowl. Stand
well back from the head, keep quiet and do not do anything that
would distract your opponent. Wait until the bowl has been delivered
If you are at the same end as the player
delivering a bowl you must stand behind the mat thus staying out
of the player's line of vision. Here is what the SBA rule says
about this. "Players of each team not
in the act of playing or controlling play shall stand behind the
Jack and away from the head or 1m
behind the mat. "
Bear in mind that some people like
to see the rink boundary markers and the centre pin while playing
so make sure that you are not obscuring them. On sunny days you
must also ensure that your shadow does not fall on the jack.
who are in the player's line of vision should also keep still
while bowls are being delivered and they should not distract players
on the green. For example if you need to arrange a tie with another
member don't try to do this while he is playing someone else!
At the Vale we are privileged to have two of the
best bowling greens in the area. Look after them! Don't drop your
bowls onto the green and ensure that your delivery is not causing
scuff marks or otherwise damaging the green.
Place litter and cigarette ends in the bins and
ashtrays provided for this and do not spit on the green.
Observe the rules for possession of the
rink on the Bowling Green!
Here is the SBA ruling on this ..
"Possession of the rink shall belong to the team
whose bowl is being played. The players in Possession of the rink
for the time being shall not be interfered with, annoyed, or have
their attention distracted in any way by their opponents.
As soon as each bowl shall
have come to rest, possession of the rink shall be transferred
to the other team, time being allowed for marking a 'toucher'. "
you have delivered a bowl and before it has come to rest you have
two options. If you want to track your bowl's progress you
must be behind the head as it stops. In other words you
must beat it to the head. If you don't go to the head you
must be behind the mat as your bowl stops. This ruling
is quite clear but unfortunately many players, including
many of those who should know better, show disrespect for
their opponents by failing to observe it.
How many times have you been on the mat, ready to
play your bowl, when you have had to wait for your opponent to
complete his stroll up the green or back to the mat? If
your opponent is guilty of this you should ask
him to stop. Remember that it is he who is in the wrong.
website is a bit more succinct than I have
been. Here's what it says about etiquette.
BOWLING GREEN ETIQUETTE HINTS TO
1. Players should use the
steps provided when going on or off the Bowling Green.
2. Bowls should not
be dropped on the Green.
3. Do not stand on the
4. Matches, cigarette ends, etc., should
be placed in the litter-baskets and not in the Ditches.
should not be kicked in until the shot has been decided.
delivering a Bowl, a player should either retire behind the Mat
or advance to the head. He should not take
up a position in between.
7. Don't delay the
8. Don't wander around or move about the
head when a player is about to deliver a Bowl.
a Fours Game, the 'second' keeps the score; in a Pairs Game the
'Skip' keeps the score.
10. Bowling is a friendly
game and all players should show courtesy and good sportsmanship.
All Bowlers should know the Rules as laid down by the World Bowls
12. Mobile Phones should not be used
on or around the green.
Father Ted and the Webmaster
After the Game you should once
again shake hands with your opponent(s) and congratulate/commiserate
with them appropriately.
It is also customary to offer to
buy them a drink if you have won the game. Where a marker
has been involved in a singles game you should also offer
him a drink.
Knowledge of the above will make you a more
respected bowler, keep things friendly and contribute
towards the enjoyment of the game for everyone involved,
both on and off the green.
The Players' Roles in Team Games on the
In all team games it is the skip's job to direct
the play. Other players should play the shot directed by the skip
even if they don't agree with it. In fours games the 'third' should
direct the skip when required to do so. In Triples or Pairs the
Second or Lead may do this. Other players should not interfere
unless invited to do so.
Here is what rule 51 in the SBA rule book
says about players' roles.
The Skip shall have sole charge of his team, and his instructions
shall be observed by his players. With the opposing Skip he shall
decide all disputed points, and when both agree, their decision
shall be final.
If both Skips cannot agree, the point in dispute
shall be referred to, and considered by, an Umpire whose decision
shall be final.
A Skip may at any time delegate his powers or any
of his duties to other members of his team provided that such delegation
is notified to the opposing Skip.
51(b) The Third
The third player may have deputed to him the duty of measuring
any and all disputed shots.
51(c) The Second
The Second player shall keep a record of all shots scored for and
against his team and shall at all times retain possession of
the score card whilst play is in progress. He shall see that
the names of all the players are entered on the score card; shall
compare his record of the game with that of the opposing Second
player as each end is declared, and at the close of the game
shall hand his score card to his Skip.
51(d) The Lead
The Lead shall place the mat and shall deliver
the Jack ensuring that the Jack is properly centred before playing his first
In addition to the duties specified in the preceding clauses any
player may undertake such duties as may be assigned to him by
the skip in clause 51(a) hereof.
is also worth emphasising that the head must not be disturbed
by any player until the shots have been finally agreed. When
the Thirds or Skips are deciding the shots the other players
should stand well back from the head and give them the space
to do so.
During the game encourage your team mates, do not
criticize them. Commend good shots and learn to accept that flukes
are a part of the game. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes against.
Etiquette for Markers on
the Bowling Green
"So if you would a Marker be
Then make it worth your while
To do the job quite capably
And do it with a smile."
During the season, when we are heavily involved
in singles ties, markers are required every evening. Consider making
yourself available as a marker whenever you can. We all know that
there is nothing worse than playing an important tie without a
marker. Traditionally, the Vale has been one of the clubs where
markers were always available but recently ties without markers
seem to be becoming more common. It is not good etiquette to watch
games from the sidelines or from the clubhouse while there are
people playing without markers. If you have the time get out there
marker is serving two people. If we all marked one tie for every
two we played there would not be a problem. We are fortunate at
the Vale to have a few people who happen to like marking ties and
they are seen on the bowling green every other night. We all know
who they are and they are to be commended. Perhaps there should
be special prize awarded for this?
If you are marking a tie the following rules should
be observed. (Note that these are not the formal SBA rules related
to official markers. These rules are what is expected of a marker
on the Vale Green in domestic tournaments.)
When a player has delivered the jack the marker
should centre it then stand back and to one side,
ensuring that all rink markers are visible to the players.
should answer any specific question (from the player in possession
of the rink) about the state of the head. He should not offer any
additional information that has not been requested. For example
if someone asks, "Who is lies the shot?",
you should just answer that question, eg. "you are" or "he
is". You should
not say anything like, "You are lying two shots".
you are unsure of the situation, for example you cannot decide
who is lying, don't guess. You can offer an opinion but make sure
that the player who is asking the question is made aware of this.
marker should mark all touchers immediately they come to rest and
remove chalk marks from non touchers. He should also remove all
dead bowls from the rink with the players' agreement. He should
also mark the position of touchers and or the Jack which are in
The marker should not move any
bowls until the end is complete and the players have agreed the
number of shots.
shall measure disputed shots when required but once again he should
not move the bowls until the players agree. If an Umpire is available
then he may be called upon for a decision. Where no Umpire is available
the marker may select one. Both players may also agree that the
marker should make the decision. This is acceptable at local level.
If anyone has any comments
or anything to add
list feel free to
let us know about it.
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