Bowls has been traced certainly to the 13th century. The game eventually came under the ban of king and parliament, both fearing it might jeopardise the practice of archery, then so important in battle. Statutes forbidding it and other sports were enacted in the reigns of Edward III, Richard II and other monarchs. By a further act of 1541—which was not repealed until 1845—artificers, labourers, apprentices, servants and the like were forbidden to play bowls at any time except Christmas, and then only in their master’s house and presence. National Bowling Associations were established in the late 1800s. Today the sport is played in over 40 countries with more than 50 member national authorities.
About The Game
Bowls (lawn bowls, flat-green bowls and crown-green bowls) is a sport in which the objective is to roll biased balls or woods so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a “jack” or “kitty”. It is played on a pitch which may be flat (for “flat-green bowls”) or convex or uneven (for “crown-green bowls”). It is played outdoors when the surface is either natural grass or artificial turf or indoors on a specially designed carpet.
In the Laws of the Sport of Bowls the winner in a singles game is the first player to score 21 shots. In all other disciplines (pairs, triples, fours) the winner is the team who has scored the most shots after 21/25 ends of play. Often local tournaments will play shorter games (often 10 or 12 ends). Some competitions use a “set” scoring system, with the first to seven points awarded a set in a best-or-three or best-of-five set match. As well as singles competition, there can be two (pairs), three (triples) and four-player (fours) teams. In these, teams bowl alternately, with each player within a team bowling all their bowls, then handing over to the next player. The current method of scoring in the professional tour (World Bowls Tour) is sets.
Variations in Play
Particularly in team competition there can be a large number of bowls on the green towards the conclusion of the end, and this gives rise to complex tactics. Teams “holding shot” with the closest bowl will often make their subsequent shots not with the goal of placing the bowl near the jack, but in positions to make it difficult for opponents to get their bowls into the head, or to places where the jack might be deflected to if the opponent attempts to disturb the head. If you join Taunton Deane Bowling Club then we will show you the variations of play.