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About The Game Of Bowls

"Like many games, the object of Bowls is essentially simple. It can be played by almost anyone, but to play consistently well demands determination concentration and practise."

How Bowls is Played

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lawn bowls, sixpenny handley, dorset, social club, clubhouse, all weather rinks

Players deliver their bowls alternatively from a mat at one end of the rink, towards a small white or yellow ball called a jack at the other end. The bowls are shaped so that they do not run in a straight line, but take a curved path towards the jack. It is therefore delivered to the jack not at it. To be successful the bowl must be delivered with the correct weight, along the correct line. It may be delivered either forehand or backhand. (In right handed players forehand is a line to the right of the jack with the bowl curving inwards to the left, backhand is a line to the left of the jack curving inwards to the right.)

The object is to get one or more bowls closer to the jack than those of the opposition - one point is scored for each counting bowl. After playing all the bowls in on direction, and agreeing the score, the direction of play is reversed - the next end is played back down the rink in the opposite direction.

Bowls can be played as singles, or in teams of pairs, triples or fours (a team of four is also known as a 'rink'). In fours or rinks games, each team member has a particular role to play:

  1. The First, or Lead, places the mat, delivers the jack and centres it before attempting to bowl as close as possible to the jack.
  2. The Second, or Two keeps the scoreboard up to date. The two will normally be required to improve of consolidate the position achieved by the lead.
  3. The Third, or Three may be called upon to play different types of shots in order to score more, or to place bowls tactically to protect an advantage. The three also advises the skip on choice of shots, and agrees the number of shots scored, measuring if required.
  4. The Skip is in overall charge of the rink, directs the other players on choice of shot, and tries to build the 'head' of bowls to his or her advantage. The Skip is also responsible for keeping the score card up to date throughout the game liasing with the opposing team's Skip.

The normal game formats are as follows:

  1. In Fours or Rinks play, the Lead, Two, Three and Skip each delivers two bowls for 21 ends.
  2. In Singles, the two opponents deliver four bowls alternatively. The first to reach 21 shots is the winner.
  3. For Pairs, the players deliver four bowls each. The team scoring the most shots after 21 ends is the winner.
  4. In the Triples game, the lead, second and skip deliver three bowls for 18 ends.

You should use every delivery to collect data about the rink, the changing weather conditions, and whether or not your aiming point needs to be adjusted. Notice how various coloured grass areas impact bias or length, where there's a rut or a wrinkle that you may want to avoid in future.

Perhaps the most important data you can capture from each and every shot has to do with the "muscle memory", the force you expend and how far it propelled the bowl.

lawn bowls, sixpenny handley, dorset, social club, clubhouse, all weather rinks
lawn bowls, sixpenny handley, dorset, social club, clubhouse, all weather rinks


Short Mat Bowls

The game is played in broadly the same way, provides the same enjoyment and has the same attractions as lawn bowls and, indeed, many players participate in both games. The bowls themselves, and the smooth soled heel less footwear are the same as those used outdoors. The object is for each player in a singles game or each team in a pairs, triples or fours to gain as many shots as possible by getting their bowls nearer to the jack than their opponents, and so outscore them.

The main differences in the playing conditions are the size of the playing area, the block that occupies the mid-position of the rink mat, and the ditch, which is actually a defined area of the mat surface. The intimidatory presence of the block, which prevents players from playing with force directly towards an opponents bowl to knock it out of a scoring position, and the narrow playing area, requires players to develop skill in using the natural bias on the bowls to bowl round the block. Bowls that touch the block, and those that come to rest in the dead area or in the ditch (other than those that touch the jack before going into the ditch) are declared "dead" and removed from the mat before the next bowl is delivered.

The primary skill requirement is in the fact that no two mats perform identically and all village halls have floors that are not perfectly flat therefore every competitive match is a measure of the ability of the visiting team to conquer an unfamiliar playing surface.











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Sixpenny Handley Bowls Club competes in the following leagues:-
Bowls Dorset - East
Westbrook Mixed Triples League
Blackmore Vale League

Supplied and Installed Synthetic Outdoor Bowls Green
for Sixpenny Handley Bowls Club

Dorset SMBA
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