The sport of Lawn Bowls is played on a rink within the green. The green is at least 120 feet square and is Bent Grass, just as a golf putting green. There are seven to eight rinks, each at least 14 feet wide. The rinks are numbered with boundaries defined by markers on each side of the rink number.
The general object of the game is for participants to roll each of their bowls as close as possible to the single small white ball (the jack). Bowls may hit the jack, but the jack must remain within the boundary markers or the end will be declared dead. Bowls are more likely to hit other bowls, and may propel them into a position that is perhaps nearer to the jack, or perhaps to a distant position outside the boundary marker line that will take them out of play.
Games are played between opposing teams, each with from one to four players. Singles games are played between two players, doubles between two pairs, triples between sets of three, and rinks or fours, between sets of four players.
After all members of each team have rolled a set of bowls an end is complete. At the completion of an end the bowl closest to the jack scores one point for its team, and every other bowl belonging to that same team that is closer to the jack than the nearest one of the competitors’ counts one additional point. A game is made up of a series of these completed ends.
Each Bowler has a matching set of four bowls. Each bowl in a set has a matching pair of distinguishing decorations on opposite sides. Bowls are not perfectly spherical, and will not roll straight. One side is slightly biased, and it is toward that side with its bias that will draw the path of the bowl in a sweeping arc. The mastery of this phenomenon is at the heart of the challenge and excitement of the game.
Order of Play
A game is started by flipping a coin to see which team will go first. A member of that team will set the mat 6 ft-6 in. from the ditch, and standing on the mat, will roll the jack to at least 70 feet from the front edge of the mat. Next, that person gives directions to position the jack on the center-line. Then, players on each team alternate rolling a bowl until all bowls have been delivered towards the jack. Each bowler must keep one foot on or above the mat until the bowl has been released. When all bowls have been rolled, it constitutes the completion of an end. On successive ends, the mat may be placed as much as 45 feet from the back ditch.
The winning team of an end starts the next end by positioning the mat and rolling the jack. If the jack falls short or out of bounds, the opposing team gets the privilege of rolling the jack. (Part of the strategy of the game depends on the advantage gained by controlling the position of the mat and jack). If the second try fails, one more jack delivery cycle is attempted. If that fails, the jack is positioned 6feet-6inches.from the ditch.