The Etiquette of the game of bowls is a combination of good manners, sportsmanship and sociability; these are best described as the unwritten Laws of the Game !!

  • Be aware of the Laws of the Game and observe them.
  • Be punctual for matches and ready to commence play on time.
  • Come to each game and matches correctly attired.
  • Be aware of other players in adjacent rinks.
  • Do not to move when players are on the mat.  A lot of players are easily distracted by movement at the end of the rink.
  • Do not obstruct the view of the opponent when it is not your mat!
  • Always allow your opponent the right to the head as spelled out in the Laws of the Game – Law 35 – Possession of the Rink.  Failure to do so decreases the enjoyment of the game.

The Law states

“Possession of the rink will belong to the player or team whose bowl is being played”

“As soon as a bowl comes to rest, possession of the rink transfers to the opposing player or team after allowing time for a marker to indicate a toucher as soon as it comes to rest”.

What does this actually mean? 

  1. When your bowl / your team’s bowl has come to rest.
  2. You / your team MUST be either behind the mat OR behind the head.
  3. You / your team cannot call out directions down the rink;                   
  4. You / any member of your team must NOT “step into” the head;

Basically, and in a nutshell, to save any embarrassment or ill feelings during a game “when it is not you / your teams turn to bowl, you should not interfere in any shape or form with the rink”!

  • Always walk down the centre of the rink, with minimum delay, so as not to disturb players on adjacent rinks.
  • Never deliver your bowl before the previous bowl has come to rest.
  • Every player at the head end should assist in collecting the bowls when the end has completed.
  • It is a nice gesture to lift the mat and place it on the bank following delivery of the last wood of the end by your opponent.  The mat must be placed wholly on the bank i.e. not part of it showing over the edge of the bank!
  • Always allow your skip to instruct you. Don’t step onto the mat and indicate which way you intend playing, wait for the skip’s instruction.
  • Refrain from applauding a “lucky bowl / result”, accept it graciously.  Never complain about lucky bowls, they will even each other out over the season.
  • If you lose, be a good loser, don’t blame your loss on other people, or the green.
  • If you win, be a good winner and whatever the result, offer your opponent a drink afterwards.

But most importantly          ENJOY YOUR BOWLING

Please click here for those that need something more, the new Crystal Mark Fourth Edition – Laws of the Sport of Bowls.