With more than 2,000 clubs across England, there’s bound to be one near to you. And bowls is a relatively cheap game compared to other sports, whether you choose to join a club or ‘pay and play’ at your local park.

You will find below a basic introduction to the sport, but for more information contact your nearest club – Find your nearest club

Bowls basics

The object of the sport of bowls is essentially simple. It is played on a square of closely cut grass called ‘the green’, which is divided into playing areas called rinks. The green is surrounded by a small ditch to catch bowls which leave the green, and a bank upon which markers indicate the corner and centre of each rink.

Players take turns to deliver their bowls from a mat at one end of the rink towards a small target ball, often referred to as ‘the jack’, at the other end. Bowls are shaped so that they take a curved path towards the jack. To be successful the bowl must be delivered with the correct weight, along the correct line.

The object is to get one or more of your bowls closer to the jack than those of your opponents on each end – one point is scored for each counting bowl.

There are many different formats to the game, but the most common in England are singles or in teams of pairs, triples or fours. In singles, the winner is usually the first to score 21 points. In the other three formats, the winner is the team that scores the most points over a set number of ends.

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