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The etiquette of the game of bowls is a combination of good manners, sportsmanship and sociability. These courtesies are best described as “The Unwritten Laws of the Game”, and have resulted in the excellent reputation for friendliness and sportsmanship that the game has rightly earned.
1. Be conversant with the “Written Laws of the Game” and observe them.
2. Respect the decision of the Umpire, if your game is being played with one. It is polite to thank the Umpire of the Day before leaving the club.
3. Be punctual to commence play at all matches. Good practice is to aim to arrive not less than 30 minutes before your game is scheduled to start. This allows time for delays en-
4. Attend each game correctly attired. The Dress Code for different matches is set out at the back of the Fixtures List and on the notice board.
5. Stand well behind and away from the mat when another player is bowling. Respect the right of players to be able to concentrate by keeping quiet whilst they are on the mat until they have delivered their bowl. In particular do not engage in loud discussions with other players on your rink or on other rinks and refrain from moving. Do not stray onto an adjacent rink.
6. Always stand still at the head and, where practical, behind the longest wood when a player is about to bowl and allow the “number two” (in Triples) or “number three” (in Rinks) to have the clearest possible view of the head. Avoid blocking the bowler’s view of the rink-
7. Only the “number two” (in Triples) or “number three” (in Rinks) should give guidance to their team’s “Skip” about the head. The other members of the team should keep quiet -
8. Only the “number two” (in Triples) or “number three” (in Rinks) is permitted to discuss, measure and agree the score for each “end” with their opposite number on the opposing team.
9. Unless it has been agreed before playing a friendly or drive match with other club members, that the jack be in a fixed position or maximum length for that match, in order to allow all those playing to have a reasonable chance of contributing to the game, then the jack will be in play in accordance with usual rules of the game.
10. Allow your opponent the right to visit the head as prescribed in the Laws of the Game.
11. When changing ends, walk close to the centre of the rink, with minimum delay.
12. Keep track of play and be ready to bowl when it is your turn.
13. Allow the previous bowl to come to rest before delivering your next bowl. You do not have possession of the mat until this has happened.
14. Do not move any bowls until it is clear that all bowls have been played for that “end” and then not until the score has been agreed. If it is not obvious which of two bowls is the nearer, get down and measure them. Do not circumnavigate the head many times indecisively -
15. You should assist with helping the “Lead” of the losing end to collect the bowls when the end has been completed, but only after the score has been agreed. Bowls should then be placed behind and to the left or right of the mat to avoid a bowler stepping back onto a bowl with potentially disastrous consequences – it happens only too frequently.
16. Await instructions from your skip before bowling. Don’t step onto the mat and indicate which way you will be playing. Your skip has a better view of the state of play than you do. Remember to check the bias last thing before delivering your bowl.
17. Applauding lucky or unlucky bowls is not considered to be “a good thing”. Accept good fortune graciously and bad luck in a similar manner. Difficult sometimes!
18. Respect the surface of the green at all times. Always use the wet mats if instructed or if damage is being caused to the green.
Damage can be caused by: -
It takes a long time for a damaged green to recover and, by the end of the season, accumulated damage makes for a very unpleasant surface on which to bowl.
19. Make sure that all mobile phones are turned off.
20. Always inform your opponent if you wish to leave the green.
21. Try to be a good loser. Don’t blame your loss on other people, the green, the weather, the tea, too many biscuits etc.
22. Win or lose, shake hands with your opponent/s and thank them for the game.
23. If facilities permit, it is customary for the home team player to offer his opponent a drink after the game.
24. If playing singles, whether you have won or lost, remember to thank the marker for his time and include him/her in the drink offer.
25. Learn to be a good marker. You will need to request the services of a marker in due course and should be willing and able to offer your services as well.
26. If you have indicated that you wish to be selected for a particular league or friendly game or special event, please keep a regular eye on the notice-
27. Play and practice as often as you can. Join in the Club Nights (currently Wednesday evenings) when play commences at 6.00pm (5.30pm in May, August and September). These are the best ways in which you will improve your game. You will also meet other club members, who will be glad to help you develop your skills.
28. Come and play in the special club events – Captain’s Day, President’s Day etc. There is no need to view these with trepidation. Come along and join in. BUT if you cannot come after having put your name down, please let the organiser know. A lot of time and effort is involved in picking the teams and deciding the format for the games – triples, rinks etc. There is also catering involved, so the number of people attending is important.
Lots of do’s and don’ts, but they are all important in running the Club and maximising everyone’s enjoyment of our great game. Please help by observing these simple requests.