Lawn bowling or “bowls” is a casual sport where the objective is to roll a biased or weighted ball so that it stops as close as possible to a smaller, target ball named the kitty, or Jack.
The first set of lawn bowling rules was published in 1864, by a cotton merchant in Glasgow called William Wallace Mitchell.These rules still form the basis of how we play Bowls today, although some people have also adopted their own versions of the game.
All you need to play a game of Bowls is a set of foot mats, a playing surface, the jack (or kitty) and a set of bowls.
The balls used for lawn bowling are available in a variety of sizes, but they all have a bias in weight which causes them to roll in a curved path. Your ability to judge where your ball will end up is where the challenge of the game comes in.
In a game of Bowls, the green is split into individual rinks, where games are played one vs one, two vs. two, triples or in fours.
A point is awarded to any player whose bowl ends up the closest to the jack at the end of a round. The number of points needed to win a game can vary, but usually the first player or team to reach 18 or 21 points is declared the winner.
Players can also use “sets” where the first person to score a certain amount of point wins a set.
Indoor Lawn Bowls is basically the same game as outdoor. The same bowls, mats, jacks can be used.
For a proper facility to play regulation indoor bowls there must be a minimum of 25 meters length of playing area with about 10 feet wide per rink.
Edmonton Indoor Lawn Bowling Club uses 3 soccer centers for winter bowling. Each center has one rink that is covered in a felt like material. It is surprisingly similar to grass in the way it affects the bowls.
Crown green bowls is played on a specially prepared short-cut smooth grass surface known as a bowling green or simply the green (usually 45×45 yards). The green usually has a raised centre known as the crown which can often be as high as 30 centimetres above the edge of the green. The green has a ditch around the edge, and slopes on all sides from the crown towards the ditch. Greens are usually rectangular or square, but L-shaped and circular greens also exist.
Competitive games are usually held between two people with the winner being the first person to accumulate 21 points. An unlimited number of ends are played until someone wins. Variations exist where players can have more than two bowls, games are played to 31 points or more, or players form teams of two or more players.
As the title implies, the game is played over a much shorter length than the flat green game. The carpet is between 40-45ft (12.2m – 13.7m) and 6ft (1.8m) wide. At both ends, there is a fender, and 1ft (0.3m) in from the fender there is a white line, representing the ditch.
Equipment to be used is the same as that for playing on the larger indoor or outdoor surfaces. There are regulations as regards the weight or size of the bowl to be used but, in the main, those who have the necessary equipment for playing the outdoor or full-length indoor flat green game would be correctly set up to play the short mat game.
The basic skills required for playing the short mat game are exactly those for playing the flat green game indoors and outdoors. These are, of course, line and length.
A game may be arranged to last until a fixed number of points (shot points plus penalty points) has been scored by the winner, or a fixed number of ends has been played or a fixed period of time has elapsed. If an end has had at least one bowl delivered at the time limit, then the end shall be continued, but will not be replayed if that shot becomes dead or penalty points are incurred by knocking off the jack. If the total number of points is equal at the conclusion of a match of a fixed number of ends, or a fixed period of time, the match shall be a tie. If a winner is required, an extra end shall be played, and the opponents shall toss as for the beginning of a game. If, during the playing of such an extra end, the jack is knocked off the carpet, the penalty shall be scored and the game therefore ended. If the winning total, in a game of a fixed number of points, is achieved through a penalty score, the end is not replayed. Control of the carpet passes to the opposing side as soon as the preceding bowl has come to rest.
• In a fours game, each plays two bowls, the leaders play their two alternately, then similarly with the seconds, the thirds and the skips.
• In a triples, the leaders and seconds each play three bowls and the skippers two bowls.
• In a pairs game, the leader and the skipper shall each play four bowls. The leaders deliver their bowls alternately, after which the skippers do likewise.
• In a singles, each player shall use 4 bowls, and deliver their bowls alternately.
Edmonton Seniors Centre West has a carpet bowls group