National Competitions 2021 – Frequently Asked Questions

Bowls is an uncomplicated sport, and we are keen to ensure that those who participate in our events can do so as easily as possible. This guidance document responds to some of the questions asked most frequently by players.

It is to be read in conjunction with our Rules & Regulations 50-70 (as published on our website) and applies to the following Bowls England events:

  • Senior Singles and Senior Pairs (Men and Women)
  • Champion of Champions Singles (Men and Women)
  • Top Club (Men and Women)
  • Club Two Fours (Men)
  • Tony Allcock Trophy (Mixed Over 60’s Double Rink)
  • Family Pairs
  • Mixed Pairs
  • Mixed Fours
Who is the Challenger?

The Challenger will be identified on the draw card sent to the named contact of both teams/sides. The Challenger will be responsible for all match arrangements and the payment of rink fees if appropriate (unless when matches are held at a neutral venue, when green fees will be shared by both participants/teams/sides). The Challenger must notify the opponent of the proposed venue at the time of offering dates/times.

What green do we play on?

Matches shall be played on a green approved by the County Association and chosen by the Challenger. Where the mileage exceeds 160 miles round trip (measured club to club for club‐based events and County Centre to host venue for county‐based events) matches shall be played on a neutral green approximately midway between the two clubs/counties unless mutually agreed. All final qualification rounds (the round before the National Finals) shall be played on a neutral green midway between the two clubs (unless mutually agreed). The mileage for any match in any round shall be measured using Google Maps ‘fastest route’ – the date/time of match will be used when determining mileage and any queries must be referred to Bowls England. The use of the same neutral green in future rounds is not prohibited.

How many dates must the Challenger offer and at what times?

The Challenger shall offer their opponent three dates for play – one of which shall be a Saturday or Sunday. The three dates offered must fall within the window of the round. Matches may be played prior to the closing date of the previous round by mutual agreement. A minimum of 48 hours’ notice is required for any dates offered to be eligible. The start time for any match shall be set by the Challenger when the dates are offered, but no player/team/side shall be compelled to accept a time earlier than 6pm Monday to Friday or 9.30am on a Saturday or Sunday, nor later than 6.30pm on any day. The date and start time in any round may be agreed by mutual agreement, but failing that the dates and start times offered by the Challenger will stand. The offering of two different start times on a single date does not count as two dates.

When must the Challenger offer dates?

The Challenger must offer their opponent dates within 48 hours of the closing date of the previous round. When a draw and result card is issued in advance of the start of the Competition, the Challenger does not need to offer dates until 21 days before the closing date of that round, after which the aforesaid conditions (within 48 hours of the closing date of the previous round) will apply.

Can I offer dates of other Bowls England events i.e. International Events/Inter-County Dates/Regional Finals and/or Bank Holidays?

Yes – there is nothing within our Regulations to prevent any such dates being offered by the Challenger. A Bank Holiday Monday is classed as a weekday and is therefore a legitimate date should it be offered.

When must the Opponent accept dates?

The Opponent or Opposing teams/sides shall, within 24 hours of receipt of the challenge, reply and accept one of the dates offered.

What if I have NOT received a Challenge within the specified period?

If a challenge has not been made in accordance with Regulation 52.1.10, the opponent will become the Challenger and make all match arrangements (including the offering of dates and choice of venue). They must contact their opponent within 48 hours after becoming the Challenger. Should the date and venue not be agreed within the agreed timescale both sides shall be disqualified.

Can we have an extension as we have not been able to complete the game by the published play-by date?

No extension of the closing date for any round will be granted for any reason whatsoever.

How do we determine the rink/s to be played on?

The draw for rink/s to be played on will be made in accordance with the current Laws of the Sport (Law 3.1). It is Bowls England’s recommendation that for a match requiring one rink then a minimum of two rinks be offered to the opponent (or drawn from subject to local practice), for a match requiring more than one rink (i.e. Top Club/Club Two Fours/Tony Allcock Trophy) the minimum number of rinks offered should be at least equal to the number of rinks required.

My opponent did not turn up at the agreed start time, what can I do?

If a player/team/side fails to appear and be ready to play within 30 minutes after the agreed time for the tie, the opponent may claim a ‘walk over’.

What happens in the event of bad weather?

In the event of no decision being reached IN ANY ROUND owing to exceptional weather conditions, and it is impossible to re‐arrange a fixture before the closing date, please refer to Appendix J (Inclement Weather).

In Club Two Fours fixtures, a total of 10 ends or more across the two rinks must have been completed to constitute a game. In Top Club fixtures (both genders), five ends must be completed in each individual discipline to constitute a game.

What will happen with entries in the National Champion of Champions?

All those who had entered in 2020 will be eligible to participate in 2021. Should your club have organised a qualifying event in 2020, any additional club champions (from the same club) will be permitted to enter in 2021.

Can matches be played on artificial surfaces?

There is nothing in the Laws of the Sport or in the National Competition Regulations, as at present constituted, which stipulates that matches may not be played on a surface other than grass. However, the Challenger must inform their opponent if there is a likelihood of play on a surface other than grass. It is, however, a condition that National Competitions are played outdoors and that the green has been approved by the relevant County Association.

How do I submit a result?

The winner must submit the result electronically on the same day by:

What should I do in case of a dispute?

All National Competitions are controlled by Bowls England. Details of all disputes must be sent via e-mail to:

Who do I contact regarding any other National Competition enquiry?

If you can’t find the answer on the website or within this guidance document or the Rules & Regulations as published, please e-mail: or telephone 07340 887687 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm excluding Bank Holidays).


 This FAQ document should be read in conjunction with:

  •  Bowls England Competition Regulations

Both documents are available to view on the Bowls England Competitions Portal at:

Click here to download the Frequently Asked Questions as a PDF

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