Glossary of Bowls Terms

GLOSSARY OF BOWLS TERMS *

* adapted from the English Bowling Association’s ‘Guidance for New Bowlers.’

1. BOWL

Usually a set of four identical bowls, manufactured according to official guidelines. They come in different sizes and weights and it is essential that all bowlers eventually bowl with the right size and weight bowl for them, something which can be decided through trying out different bowls.

2. BIAS

All bowls are manufactured with an inbuilt bias; the bias causes the bowl to travel in a curve as opposed to a straight line.

3. FOREHAND

For the right handed bowler the bowl is delivered so that it curves from right to left towards the objective.

4. BACKHAND

For the right handed bowler the bowl is delivered so that it curves from left to right towards the objective.

5. STANCE

The position adopted by the bowler on the mat prior to delivery.

6. DELIVERY

The act of delivering the bowl. The moment the bowl leaves the hand.

7. FOLLOW THROUGH

The natural, and essential, forward movement of the arm and body following the delivery of the bowl.

8. THE GREEN or THE LINE

The curved line the bowls takes as it travels towards its objective.

9. THE SHOULDER

The point of the green  (line) where the bowl begins to curve towards the objective.

10. FOOT FAULT

One foot must be on or over the mat at the moment of delivery; if not the player could be penalised.

11. THE MAT

A bowler must make his or her delivery from the mat, (the dimensions of the mat are laid down in the laws.)

12. USING THE MAT

Where a bowler places the mat (within the limits of the laws) for the purpose of lengthening or shortening the length of the jack.

13. THE JACK (or KITTY)

The round white (or yellow) ball towards which play is directed. The size of the jack must conform to the laws of bowls.

14. LONG JACK

Near to the greatest distance allowed from the front edge of the mat to the jack.

15. SHORT JACK

Near to the shortest distance allowed from the front edge of the mat to the jack.

16. THE GREEN

The playing surface, the measurements of which are laid down by the laws.

17. FAST GREEN

Usually a dry and closely cut surface which offers little resistance to the progress of the bowl so that it takes a longer time to reach its objective. This occurs because the green line is much wider and therefore the bowl is said to ‘take more green.’

18. SLOW or HEAVY GREEN

Here, the surface offers greater resistance to the progress of the bowl, (it might be damp or longer grass) but the bowl will usually take a shorter time to reach its objective, because the green line is much narrower.

19. TAKING THE GREEN

The bowler takes the correct line to the object, wide enough to the shoulder for the bowl to finish where desired.

20. DITCH

The green is surrounded by a ditch or gutter which marks the boundary of the playing surface. Measurements of the ditch need to conform to the laws of the game.

21, BANK

The outer wall of the ditch which surrounds the green; the bank is higher than the playing surface.

22. RINK

Rectangular area of the green not more than 5.8 m or less than 4.3 m wide on which play takes place.

23. CENTRE LINE

An imaginary line that runs lengthwise down the centre of the rink.

24. PACE OF THE GREEN

(see 17 and 18)

25. PACE or WEIGHT

The amount of force with which the bowl is delivered to execute a particular shot.

26.  DRAW

The basic delivery in bowls. A bowl attempting to ‘draw’ with the correct pace or weight, and with correct green, to the jack.

27. DRAWING THE SHOT

A bowl delivered at the correct pace or weight, and with correct green, that achieves its objective.

28. REST THE BOWL

The bowling of a bowl which brings it to rest against another bowl previously bowled.

29. WREST THIS BOWL OUT

The bowling of a bowl with enough pace to push a bowl sufficiently from its former position.

30. PUSH AND REST

The bowling of a bowl of sufficient pace or weight that it pushes a bowl from its position so that that position is taken by the bowl just delivered.

31. TRAIL THE JACK

A bowl that strikes and pushes the jack ahead of it to another position on the rink.

32. RUB OFF

A bowl which during its running course comes into light contact with an other so that the line of direction is affected.

33. WICK OFF

A bowl travelling at a certain pace which comes into an angled contact with another bowl so that the course of the moving bowl is definitely altered.

34. WRECKED

An attempted shot frustrated by contact with another bowl lying between the mat and the jack.

35. BLOCKER or STOPPER

An bowl delivered with enough pace to stop short of the objective, in the hope that it will prevent an opponent being able to play a certain shot.

36. SPLIT THESE BOWLS

A request to the bowler to bowl a bowl with enough pace to force apart other bowls that has enough momentum to carry beyond that point.

37. FIRE or DRIVE

Definitely not a ‘draw’ shot but a shot where the bowl is delivered at a very fast pace.

38. TOUCHER ON THE GREEN

A bowl which during its course has touched the jack. A bowl which has come to rest and falls over to touch the jack before the next bowl is delivered. A bowl which, if it is the last to be delivered, falls and touches the jack within a period of half a minute. All the above shall be marked with a chalk mark.

39. TOUCHER IN THE DITCH

A toucher as above which has fallen into the ditch shall be a ‘live’ bowl, but not if it has come to rest outside the confines of the rink.

* adapted from the English Bowling Association’s ‘Guidance for New Bowlers.’