Scoring in Detail

Keeping Score in Lawn Bowls:

A Simple Guide

olba logoIntroduction:

Lawn bowls is a game of precision and strategy, and like any sport, it has its own unique scoring system. Whether you’re a seasoned bowler or a beginner looking to learn the ropes, understanding how to keep score is an essential part of the game. In this guide, we’ll break down the scoring system in lawn bowls and explain how to keep track of points in a friendly match.

The Basics of Lawn Bowls Scoring:

In lawn bowls, the primary objective is to get your bowls as close as possible to the jack (the smaller white ball) while preventing your opponent’s bowls from doing the same. The team or player with the bowls closest to the jack at the end of each “end” (a round in the game) scores points. Here’s how it works:

  1. Scoring Bowls: At the end of each end, points are awarded for the bowls that are closer to the jack than any of the opponent’s bowls. For example, if your team has two bowls closest to the jack and your opponent’s closest bowl is the third nearest, you will score two points.
  2. Counting Bowls: It’s crucial to count the number of bowls that belong to each team. In an end, you might see bowls from both sides scattered around the jack, and it’s your job to determine which are closest.
  3. Determining the Winner: The team or player with the most points at the end of the specified number of ends (as agreed upon at the start of the game) wins the match. A common format is a “first to 21 points” game, but shorter or longer games are also played.

Tips for Keeping Score:

Here’s a step-by-step guide for keeping score in a lawn bowls match:Port Perry Lawn Bowling Club

  1. Positioning: Stand at the head (the end of the green where the jack and bowls come to rest) with a clear view of the jack and the bowls.
  2. Counting Closest Bowls: Identify the bowls that are closest to the jack. You can do this by crouching down to see the relative positions, or you can use a measuring tape designed for lawn bowls to make precise measurements.
  3. Record the Points: If your team has one or more bowls closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest bowl, you score one point per bowl. For example, if your team has two bowls closer than the nearest opponent’s bowl, you score two points for that end.
  4. Update the Scoreboard: If you’re keeping a physical scorecard or using a digital scoring app, update the score to reflect the new total for each team.
  5. Start the Next End: After determining the score, place the jack at the beginning of the next end and continue playing. The score accumulates over the course of the game.
  6. Announce the Winner: When one team reaches the agreed-upon number of points (e.g., 21), they are declared the winner of the game.


Keeping score in lawn bowls is an integral part of the game, as it determines the winner and adds a layer of strategy and competition. Whether you’re playing for fun with friends or in a more formal setting, understanding how to keep score will make your lawn bowls experience more enjoyable and competitive. So, grab your bowls, hit the green, and may the closest bowls win!

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