WHAT IS THE GAME OF BOWLS?
The game of bowls is played on a level, grass covered bowling green, by competing teams of 1-4 players. The basic aim is to roll a bowl which curves (takes grass) in the right direction and with controlled force ("weight) so that it comes to rest as close to the small object ball ("jack) as possible. The team that scores the highest number of points (shots) wins the game. However, bowls is a tactical game, with many permutations, where sometimes aggression is required and at other times finesse.
INNOVATIVE ADDITIONS FOR BLIND
Bowls is an ideal sport for the blind. The rules of the game for sighted and blind are the same. There are, however, a number of innovations which enable the blind to play at a high level of proficiency.
Every blind bowler has their own coach/director who assists them with delivery and orientation and provides them with constant information as to the position of all bowls, according to the clock method.
For the blind, a centre string is strung down the middle of the rink and forms a ninety-degree angle with the mat. By varying the position and angle of the feet, the coach can orientate the bowler to a consistent stance and make finding the correct grass easier. The coaches may also use their foot or voice to assist the bowler to find the right grass.
Distance markers are placed on the side banks of the green, at two meters intervals, from 23-33 meters, to indicate the distance of the jack and to help the blind bowler gauge the optimum weight needed.
Blind bowlers fall into one of four sight categories, from B1 to B4 which determine the extent of their vision or lack of it. This helps to level the playing field in competitive play. (see full sight categories).
SINGLES OR TEAMS
Bowls games can be either SINGLES, (a player and opponent), PAIRS (two against two), TRIPS, or FOURS. Singles and Pairs players will deliver (play) four bowls each, Trips players three each, and two bowls each in Fours. All delivered bowls and the jack constitute the head.
How To Play Bowls
THE BOWLING GREEN
The bowling green is approx. 37 metres wide and is divided into six lanes (rinks). The surface consists of finely manicured grass and the green is surrounded by a 30 centimetre high grass bank and a shallow ditch, filled with sand.
JACK OR KITTY
The white object ball ( jack or kitty) is 3 inches in diameter and is solid. The player, while standing on a small mat placed at variable distances in the centre of the rink, can roll the jack to any legal distance, between 23 and 33 metres. Upon coming to rest it is centred (placed on the centre string).
Because of the unique construction of the bowl, (it has high and low shoulders on the running surface), it will run in a straight line for 2/3 of its journey and then curve either to the left(forehand) or right (backhand). By placing the high shoulder,(indicated by the big ring emblem), on the outer side when gripping the bowl, the player can choose the side ("hand") which is preferable.
As the delivered bowl will curve as it slows down, the bowler will have to find a line (take grass) in the general direction of 1 o'clock for the forehand and 11 o'clock for the backhand. Consistently finding the right grass is a key element in becoming a good bowler.
Probably the hardest aspect of the game is "weight control" - the ability to fine-tune the exact amount of force necessary to reach the jack at constantly varying distances. If you have too much weight you will be "heavy" and run past the jack, while with too little weight you will be "short".
SINGLES OR TEAMS
Bowls games can be either SINGLES,(a player and opponent), PAIRS, (two against two), TRIPS or FOURS. Singles and Pairs players deliver will deliver four bowls each, in trips three bowls each and two bowls each in fours. Delivered bowls and the jack constitute "the head". When the jack and ALL the bowls have been played it is referred to as a completed "end".
HOW TO SCORE IN BOWLS
At the completion of the head, the players will determine the outcome. The bowl nearest to the jack will earn 1 point. For every other bowl belonging to THE SAME side which is closer to the jack than the NEAREST OPPOSITION bowl, an additional point will be scored. In singles, the first to 21 points is the winner, while team games are determined by the score at the completion of a specified number of ends.