Guidelines for Markers

During a singles game, some duties are allocated to a 3rd party known as ‘the Marker’.


When should I decline to mark

Where not physically fit, to walk, bend to mark touchers etc for the duration of the game.
Where you cannot be neutral or impartial towards either player.
Do not accept an invitation to mark, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable about doing it.


General Points

Remember that it is the players’ game, you are there to assist.
Awareness of the Laws of the Sport of Bowls is important.Check and familiarise yourself with the Rules of the Competition.
If there is a time limit on the game, make a note of the start time on the scorecard at commencement of play (excluding Trial ends) and the finish time.
Be aware of any dress code for the game you are marking.
Arrive in good time before the start time, in courtesy to the players. Tell them you have arrived and introduce yourself (if necessary).
Agree with the players whether you can remove dead bowls and advise them to give you time to centre the mat (outdoors)and mark touchers.
Agree with the players whether they want you to conduct the measuring.


Equipment Required

A coin for the toss, sufficient chalk, a measure, wedges, pen (+spare pen), scorecard fully filled out ready to start.
Identify each player’s bowls before the start.


Start of each end

Outdoors - Centre the mat with players before the jack is rolled.
Centre the jack.
Ensure the rolled jack is the minimum length required, 23m,and that it is at least 2m from end of green (ditch); (outdoors use the stick to check, indoors on the ‘T’).


Where to stand

It is recommended that a Marker stands 1m behind, and 2m to the side of jack, where possible. This allows you to observe the head and is a short step to look more closely over the centre of head to check the position of bowls and mark touchers.
Be aware of play on neighbouring rinks and able to stop bowls interfering with the head.
If the jack goes into ditch, stand to one side of the jack on the rink, not out-with the rink on the bank, unless asked to do so by the players
Do not obstruct a player’s view of any pegs/indicators on the bank.
Never step through or across the head, always walk around it!


Answering players questions

A player can only ask questions while they are ‘in possession of the rink’.
Answer specific questions. Give a clear answer that will avoid supplementary questions (eg if asked “am I holding?” and they are 2 down, give that answer).
Only give an answer to a question if you are confident it is correct, ie if you cannot establish the shot say “I am not sure” and advise “it looks like it’s a measure”.



Make sure you know what qualifies as a toucher (some bowlers do not).
Ensure touchers are correctly marked (with TWO opposite chalk marks) immediately they come to rest.
Preferably use spray chalk, so you don’t have to touch the bowl.
If a toucher goes into the ditch, use an indicator to show their location.
If a bowl is delivered with chalk marks from the previous end, ensure these are removed.


Bowls or the Jack in the ditch

Don’t stop or catch bowls about to enter the ditch. Let them roll in before taking them out (unless they are a toucher when they would still be ‘live’ and remain in the ditch).
If the jack or bowls in the ditch are displaced, reposition them afterwards.
If the jack goes into the ditch, use an indicator to show its location.
Do not touch bowls at all during the game (except when taking out of ditch).



It is the players job to measure, unless it has been agreed that the Marker will carry this out.
When the players are measuring shots, keep out of the headwhilst they decide the result. Players must agree the outcome and tell you clearly, before anything is moved unless it is necessary for the purpose of measuring for subsequent shots.
If you do measure when asked, do not touch the bowls, shot or jack, tell them your decision and let them move them when the score is agreed.
Any bowls identified as counting removed from the head for the purpose of measuring, are to be placed together, preferably on or next to something (cloth or scorecard).
Point to the shot and/or counting bowls, only move them ifnecessary and by agreement with the players.
30 Second Rule - Where there is a leaning bowl, a player may ask for 30 seconds to elapse before measuring is undertaken. Note that the 30 seconds is from the point the bowl came to rest, not when the player reaches the head.
If the 30 seconds has not been asked for, leaning bowls should be wedged.
Neither the bowls nor the jack should be moved by anyoneuntil both players are in clear agreement about the number of shots scored.
If there is an Umpire or Responsible Person present they should be called to carry out any measuring.


Keeping score

Make sure there is clear agreement of the number of shots scored by whom at the end of each end, before the bowls are gathered up.
Mark the scorecard immediately before you forget.
Mark up the ‘scoreboard’ where there is one asap. Keep it up to date and check it agrees with the scorecard regularly.


At the end of an end

Await and record the score.
Remove any jack and bowl indicators at the end of the rink.
Return to other end of rink for the start of the new end and if the mat from the previous end is still on the rink, remove it.


At the end of the game

Record the final score totalling the scorecard.
Show the scorecard to both players and ask both to sign it.
Ask the winner to enter the score in the club Bowlr system immediately. It is their responsibility.



Guidelines for marking (with videos): www.//
Laws of the Sport of Bowls – Crystal Mark Fourth Edition(August 2022), Law 42 Marker’s Duties



18 April 2023Compiled by the Competitions Committee – MJD, NAL, RMD

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