General Rules

Trial ends

  • Before the start of play in any game, or before continuing an unfinished game on another day, one trial end should be played in each direction.
  • Trial ends should be played on the same rink that the game will be played on.
  • Each player should not use more than the number of bowls being used during the game.
  • The opponents of the team which started the first trial end should start the second trial end.

Tossing for opening play

Skips in a team game should toss a coin.

The winner of the toss should choose whether to:
  • Place the mat and then deliver the jack and the first bowl; or
  • Tell the opposing player to place the mat and deliver the jack and the first bowl (the opposing player cannot refuse).

The start of play

  • In any game, the start of play is the delivery of the jack by the first player to play in the first end.
  • In any end, the start of play is the delivery of the jack by the first player to play in that end.

Play in other ends

In all ends after the first end, the winner of the previous scoring end should place the mat and then deliver the jack and the first bowl.

Placing the mat

Before the start of play in each end, the player to play first should place the center line of the mat lengthwise along the center line of the rink, with the mat line at least 2 meters from the rear ditch and at least 25 meters from the front ditch.

If, before the jack has been delivered, a player or the marker finds that the mat has not been placed properly, the player to play first should correctly position the mat.

If, after the jack has been delivered but before the first bowl is delivered, a player or the marker finds that the mat line has not been positioned within the distances described, the opposing player should place the mat as described and re-deliver the jack, making sure that it is centered, but the opposing player should not play first.

Position on the mat

Before delivery a player should be standing on the mat with one foot fully on the mat. At the moment they deliver the jack or a bowl, the player should have all or part of one foot on or above the mat.

Delivering the jack

Before the jack is delivered, the mat should be placed properly. The player to play first should deliver the jack and make sure that it is centered.

If the jack in its original course comes to rest less than 2 meters from the front ditch, it should be placed on the center line of the rink with the nearest point of the jack to the mat line being 2 meters from the front ditch.

Improper delivery of the jack

The jack has been improperly delivered if it comes to rest:
  • In the ditch;
  • Completely outside the boundaries of the rink;
  • At a distance of less than 23 meters from the mat line, as measured in a straight line from the center of the mat line to the nearest point of the jack, after the jack has been centered;
  • On the rink after contact with the face of the bank; or
  • On the rink after contact with any object or person completely outside the boundaries of the rink.
  • If a player improperly delivers the jack, the opposing player should place the mat as described and re-deliver the jack, making sure that it is centered, but the opposing player should not play first.
  • If the jack is improperly delivered once by each player in any end, it should not be delivered again in that end. Instead, it should be centered with the nearest point of the jack to the mat line being 2 meters from the front ditch, and the mat should be placed as described, by the first player to play.

Touchers

A bowl in its original course which touches the jack, even though it comes to rest in the ditch within the boundaries of the rink of play, is a live bowl and is called a toucher. If a bowl in its original course does not touch the jack, it is called a non-toucher.

A bowl is also a toucher if, after having come to rest:
  • It falls and touches the jack before the next bowl is delivered; or
  • In the case of the last bowl of an end, it falls and touches the jack within the period of 30 seconds.
  • No bowl will be a toucher if it plays onto, or comes into contact with, the jack when the jack is in the ditch.

Marking a toucher

A toucher should be marked with chalk by a member of the team that delivered the bowl or the marker as soon as it comes to rest.

Dead bowl

A bowl is a dead bowl if:
  • It is not a toucher and comes to rest in the ditch;
  • It is not a toucher and rebounds onto the rink after contact with the face of the bank or with the jack or a toucher in the ditch;
  • After completing its original course or after being moved as a result of play, it comes to rest at a distance of less than 14 meters, as measured in a straight line, from the center of the mat line to the nearest point of the bowl;
  • It passes completely outside the boundaries of the rink of play after being moved as a result of play;
  • In its original course, it passes outside a side boundary of the rink on a bias which would prevent it from re-entering the rink of play; or
  • In its original course, it comes to rest outside a side boundary of the rink even though it may have come to rest in contact with the outside edge of a line jack.
A bowl is not a dead bowl if:
  • It is carried by a player while inspecting the head;
  • In its original course, it comes to rest within the boundaries of the rink even though it may have passed outside a side boundary of the rink during its course;
  • It is a toucher which rebounds from the face of the bank onto the rink of play;
  • It is a toucher which comes to rest on top of the jack or another toucher at rest in the ditch; or
  • It comes to rest on top of the jack or any bowls that are at rest within the boundaries of the rink.
  • A dead bowl should be removed from the rink of play as soon as it has been declared dead.

Live jack in the ditch

A jack that is moved by a bowl in play into the front ditch within the side boundaries of the rink of play is a live jack.

Re-spotting the jack

If a jack in motion passes completely outside the boundaries of the rink of play, comes to rest in any hollow in the face of the bank, passes above the face of the bank or rebounds to a distance of less than 20 metres from the mat line, the end should not be declared dead; it should be placed with the nearest point of the jack to the mat line at a spot on the rink which is 2 metres from the front ditch and on the center line.

Dead end

A dead end is not counted as a completed end even if all the bowls required to be played have been played.

A dead end should be replayed in the same direction unless the skips agree to play it in the opposite direction. If the skips or the umpire declare an end dead, the first to play in that end should also play first when the end is replayed.

Rebounding jack

The end will continue if:
  • When the jack is at rest on the rink, it is driven against the face of the bank and rebounds onto the rink of play; or
  • When the jack is at rest in the ditch, it is moved by a toucher and this takes it back onto the rink.

Possession of the rink

  • Possession of the rink will belong to the player or team whose bowl is being played.
  • As soon as each bowl comes to rest, possession of the rink will transfer to the opposing player or team after allowing time for marking a toucher as soon as it comes to rest.

Position of players

In relation to the rink of play
  • Players at the mat-end of the rink who are not delivering a bowl should stand at least 1 metre behind the mat.
  • Players at the head-end of the rink and who are not controlling play should stand:
  • Behind the jack if they are members of the team which is in possession of the rink;
  • Behind the jack and away from the head if they are members of the team which is not in possession of the rink;
  • On the surrounds of the green if the jack is in the ditch; or
  • Well clear of the head if it is not possible to stand on the surrounds.
In relation to a neighbouring rink
  • A player should not go into a neighbouring rink where play is in progress.
  • A player should neither go into nor walk along a neighbouring rink, even if it is not being used, while an opponent is about to deliver or is actually delivering a bowl.
  • If the rink of play is an outside rink (see law 5.6), a player should neither go into nor walk along the section of green that lies between the outside side boundary of the rink and the side ditch while an opponent is about to deliver or is actually delivering a bowl.

The shot

  • A shot or shots refer to the bowl or bowls (called shot bowls) which is or are nearer to the jack than the nearest bowl played by the opposing team or opponent in Singles.
  • No bowl should be moved until the opponents have agreed whether it is a shot or not, except where a bowl has to be moved so that another bowl can be measured.
  • As the shots are agreed, each shot bowl can be removed from the head.
  • Shot bowls can be placed in a group where they will not interfere with measuring.
  • If shot bowls have been placed in a group, the number of bowls in the group should be agreed by the opponents.
  • The skips or the marker where appropriate should be told (or have signalled to them) the number of shots scored in each end.

Deciding the number of shots scored

The process of deciding the number of shots scored should not start until the last bowl required to be played in an end has come to rest, or 30 seconds after that if either skip or opponent in Singles asks for this 30-second period (for example, to see whether or not a bowl lying at an angle will fall of its own accord within that time).

If either skip or opponent in Singles has asked for a 30-second period, no bowl which is likely to fall should be secured during that period.

No measuring will be allowed before the process of deciding the number of shots scored starts

All measurements should be made between the nearest points of the jack and the bowl.

At any time during the process of deciding the number of shots scored:

If a bowl is likely to fall, either opponent can use the best available means to secure it in its position;

If a bowl needs to be measured and it is currently resting on another bowl which is interfering with the measurement in any way, any player should use the best available means to secure the resting bowl in its position and then remove the other bowl;

If a bowl falls of its own accord, it should be left in its new position while deciding the number of shots scored continues, and all the shots agreed before the bowl fell will count;

No shot scored – tied end

  • There will be no shot scored by either team if it is agreed that:
  • The nearest bowl of each team is touching the jack;
  • The nearest bowl of each team is the same distance from the jack; or
  • No live bowls are left within the boundaries of the rink of play.
  • The end should be declared tied and recorded on the score card as a completed end.
  • Following a tied end, the winner of the previous scoring end should place the mat and then deliver the jack and the first bowl.
  • If, however, the first end is a tied end, the first to play in that end should also play first in the second end.

Delivering the final bowl of an end

It is not compulsory for the last player to play in any end to deliver the final bowl of the end, but the player should tell the opposing skip of the decision not to deliver the final bowl before the process of deciding the number of shots scored starts. This decision is final.

A drawn game in a knockout (eliminating) competition

  • In a knockout (eliminating) competition with a fixed number of ends, if the scores are equal when all ends have been played, an extra end should be played to decide the result.
  • Skips should toss a coin and the winner will decide who should play first
  • The extra end should be played from where the previous end was completed.
  • If an extra end is completed and the scores are still equal, another extra end should be played.
  • If more than one extra end is needed, skips should again toss a coin, and the winner will decide who should be play first.
  • If an extra end is declared dead, the first to play in that end should also play first when the end is replayed.

Absentee players in a team or side

If a team introduces an ineligible player, the defaulting team will forfeit the game to their opponents.

If after the scheduled start time for a game, one or more players are absent from a team, the defaulting team will forfeit the game to their opponents.

Game stoppages

    If a game is stopped because of darkness, weather conditions or any other valid reason:

  • The game should be continued either on the same day or on a different day. The scores will be as they were when the game was stopped.
  • If an end has started but all the required bowls have not been played, it should be declared dead.

Substitutes in a game that is being continued after a stoppage

If any one of the original players in a team is not available, one substitute will be allowed

Leaving the green during the course of play

No player should delay play by leaving the rink of play or their team unless their opponent agrees, and then only for no more than 10 minutes

If a player has to leave the green during the course of a team or side game due to illness or some other reasonable cause, and they cannot return within 10 minutes, the Tournament Committee can approve the introduction of a substitute.

Footwear

Players, umpires and markers should wear flat-soled (‘heel-less’) footwear when they play on the green or act as umpires or markers.