conditions of play & general rules

Conditions of Play

As per laws of the GAME 

Trial Ends Prior to scheduled start of play, one trial end may be played in each direction.

Obligations of Players: (a) In team play, while a player has control of the playing area

other team’s players at the bowling end must keep clear and stay behind the player’s line of vision.

(b) In Team play, the players at the end opposite the bowling end

(with exception of the Skip and the Three) must keep clear of the head (preferably on the bank) and be as still as possible while a bowl is being bowled.

(c) Players must be allowed to bowl their bowls and Skips to

issue their instructions without interference from their opponents or other persons. Unnecessary speaking shall be regarded as interference under this law.

(d) In team play, all players other than the Skips must remain at

the bowling end until it is the Skips turn to bowl. The Skip whose team has charge of the bowling area may call up the member of the team whose turn it is to bowl to approach the head and give instruction. The Skip may approach the head for the same purpose.

(e) The Skip shall have complete charge of the team and the Skips instructions must be obeyed by all team members.

(f) At the discretion of the Skip the Lead places the mat at a certain

distance on or up from the 2 meter mark and delivers the jack as close as possible to a distance determined by the Skip.

(g) At the conclusion of each end, only the Three in Fours, the

Two in Triples and the Lead in Pairs will decide the shot bowl(s) and measure if necessary. All other team’s players must stand well behind the head (preferably on the bank) and not interfere with their decision making. If measuring is indecisive an Umpire will be called, all players move well back from the head. The Umpires decision is final.

(h) The players responsible for marking the score cards shall be

the Skips in Pairs and Triples and the Twos in Fours, ensuring each scored end corresponds with the scoreboard.

(i) Footwear: To protect the Greens, players shoe or sandal soles and heels shall be flat, smooth or fine treaded. Footwear that will damage the Greens will not be accepted and the player concerned will be asked to remove and replace their shoes.

(j) Members are asked to help mark out the rinks, put out score boards and other equipment props. Also after end of their last game on their rink, are asked to put away their score board and other props into the appropriate sheds.

General Rules on the Greens 

Mat and Jack 

If the skip asks for the mat to be put on the 2m mark, the front edge of the mat goes onto the 2m mark (2m from the back ditch).

The jack is to be delivered a minimum of 23 meters from the front edge of the mat.


The best chalk to use is the spray toucher chalk. Always mark/ chalk touchers immediately. Make sure you carefully watch the bowl coming toward the jack to ensure it is a toucher. If the bowl is standing on its edge be very careful not to move the standing bowl. It is good practice to mark the toucher bowl on two sides to safeguard in case the bowl is moved and it is more likely to still see at least one of the chalk marks. If a bowl that has touched the jack is not chalked and subsequently it is put into the ditch, it is a dead bowl and must be removed from the rink.


•To determine the shot, measure with a tape or calipers and NOT your hands/fingers or feet.•General rule is to measure the flat bowl first, NOT the bowl standing.•Remove shot bowls from the head by lifting them and NOT using your feet. You only move the opponents shot bowls, NOT your own bowls and place the shot bowls on your duster to help determine number of shots for the opposition.• Have a good look and walk all around the head before agreeing with your opponent on the number of shots scored.

•Always measure getting down onto the ground on one or both knees (no bums in the air), after first bowl measure ALWAYS get up and move between measuring each bowl so as to avoid NOT flipping the measuring tape over.

•Ensure your measure is straight and stable by ensuring your palm is resting on the ground.

•Always watch what’s happening on the head and be alert. Do not take the opponents word for granted.

•If you’re not sure, MEASURE without delay, it could be the crucial shot you require.

•After each end played always make sure the directors of the head agree on who has the shot or shots and advise your skip.

Jack Displacement During Measuring

•Law 33.4.1 If for any reason the jack is displaced by the equipment being used by a player during measuring, the opponent has the right and should put it back to its former position after which there is concurrence from his/her opposite player.

Rink Boundary / Bowl or Jack – Alive or Dead

•The CENTRE of the boundary pegs are the side boundaries of the rink of play. In other words, the imaginary straight lines connecting the middle of the two boundary pegs.

•Whilst sighting a jack or bowl you MUST be behind the boundary peg. If any part of the jack or bowl is in line with the centre of the peg, it is alive (this even means the very outside edge of the jack or bowl, i.e. if 98% is out).

Hints for Markers As per Laws of the Game

Marker: Apparatus The Marker shall have in their possession a flexible and/or a rigid measure approved by BNZ, a score-card, pen or pencil and chalk.

Duties: The Marker shall: 

(a) Align the jack after satisfying him/herself that it has come to

rest within the prescribed limits of the rink. Should he/she be uncertain that the jack rests within the specified limits, he/she shall notify the Opponents accordingly and await their decision

(b) Chalk all touchers. Only indicate the position of the jack or a

toucher if in the front ditch and remove any dead bowls from the ditch or adjoining rink.

(c) Measure shots only when requested to do so.

(d) Stand slightly off the centre line of the rink and at least 2

meters behind the jack or beyond the face of the front bank.

(e) Only when asked, answer when the player in possession of

the rink enquires as to: (1) whether a bowl is jack high/ low or in line with the jack or (2) which bowl is shot or (3) any other legitimate fact

(f) At all times offer no opinions, observe strict neutrality and give neither direction nor advice to the playing opponents.

(g) As agent of the opponent(s) place or replace the jack or

bowl(s) and stop or lift bowls as instructed or empowered and, if so required, remove the mat from the Green

(h) After each end record the shots scored on both the

score-card and the score-board. At the conclusion of the game ensure that both opponents are agreed of final score and have signed the score-card accordingly. Circle the name of the winner and hand the score-card to the Umpire or Match Committee member.

Care of the Greens 

The first priority of any Bowling Club must be the maintenance of its Greens to the highest possible standards and it is to this end that the Greenkeeper and the Greens Superintendent direct their efforts both during the recess period and throughout the playing season. Much of this effort can be nullified by lack of co-operation and care by ALL members and their visitors they bring along to play. There are a number of ways in which wear and damage to the Greens can be minimized and members are asked to take note of and to make every effort to implement the procedures set out below.


Players with a bad delivery (DUMPERS) cause considerable and frequent damage, especially at the beginning of the season when the Greens are tender. If your delivery is not good ask or more of our Club coaches for assistance in improving your delivery. DON’T wait until it is necessary for you to be admonished.


Taking short cuts across Greens instead of walking around them to get to your rink at the commencement and the end of play. Dropping bowls from the bank instead of placing them on the bank or on the rink and excessive movement about the “Mat End” of the rink before delivering your bowls are all practices which cause additional compaction of the Greens. Compaction is a major factor for inhibiting the ability of the plant to maintain vigorous and healthy growth.

Mat Positions 

Under the revised Rules it is only when Scrims are being used that the mat must be laid on the 2 metre mark. Skips and Threes will greatly assist in preventing excessive wear at the ends of the rinks if they will make sure their Leads regularly vary the mat position.


Care should be taken in handling the fiberglass “Scrims” (repairs and replacements are costly). The nails can readily be withdrawn by the thumb and fingernail before lifting the material. Particular care must be taken not to leave any nails lying on the Greens (they cause much damage to the grass mowers and Greens).

Bowls on the Greens 

Don’t leave bowls left lying on the Greens during breaks in play (morning tea, lunch or between games) as they can cause grass burning. Place them on the bank or in the ditch. 

Laws of the sport of Bowls 

A complete worldwide edition of the Laws of the Game has been produced. Ask the Club Secretary if you need assistance obtaining a copy.