Borehamwood Bowls Club
Wednesday, 22.05.2019
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Glossary of Bowls Terms

You will find that there are variations to the terms listed below, and sometimes more than one way of describing a term.  Such is the variety of this absorbing game!


BACK BOWL A bowl that has come to rest beyond the jack or the main body of bowls in the head
BACKHAND When, for the right-handed player, the bowl is delivered so that the curve of the bowl is from the left to right of its objective
BANK The outer wall of the ditch which surrounds the green which is above the playing surface
"BE UP" DON'T BE SHORT ", but more emphatic
BIAS That which is in-built into the bowl (or wood), which causes the bowl to travel in a curve
BLOCK or STOPPER A bowl delivered with enough pace to stop short of the objective, in the hope that it will prevent an opponent being able to play a certain shot
BOWLS Usually a set of four identical bowls (or woods) manufactured within strictly controlled specifications. It is essential that all bowlers make a correct choice of bowls, which they can use with the greatest ease and comfort
CENTRE LINE An imaginary line that runs lengthwise down the centre of the rink
COUNTER Any bowl which contributes to the score at the completion of an end
"COVER THAT BOWL" An instruction to a bowler to bowl in such a way that it finishes between the jack and the bowl indicated
DEAD BOWL A bowl which comes to rest in the ditch, or is knocked into the ditch and is not a toucher. Or a bowl that comes to rest outside the confines of the rink, either in its course or being knocked there
DEAD END An end which is considered not to have been played and no score is recorded. It can happen as a result of the jack being driven out of the confines of the rink
DELIVERY The moment the bowl leaves the hand
DITCH The green is surrounded by a depression whose edge marks the boundary of the playing surface. Measurements of the ditch need to conform to the Laws of the Game
"DON’T BE SHORT" A plea to a bowler to use sufficient pace to reach his objective
DRAW THE SHOT A bowl delivered at the correct pace or weight, and with correct green, to arrive exactly at its objective
END The sequence of play beginning with the placing of the mat and ending with the coming to rest of the last player’s bowl, after all have delivered their bowls in the same direction
FAST GREEN Usually a dry and closely cut surface which offers little resistance to the progress of the bowl so that it usually takes a longer time to reach its objective. This occurs because the green line is much wider
FIRE or DRIVE There are various reasons for such a shot, but it is a shot where the bowl is delivered at a very fast pace
FLUKE (The last thing ever admitted on the green, therefore last in this Glossary). A shot excruciatingly executed, yet sublimely successful – do at least say sorry!
FOLLOW THROUGH What should be the natural movement forward of the delivery arm following the line of the bowl
FOOT FAULT One foot must be on or above the mat at the moment of delivery, and that if it is not, the player could incur a penalty
FOREHAND When, for the right-handed player, the bowl is delivered so that the curve of the bowl is from the right to left of its objective
HEAVY BOWL Where a bowl has been delivered with too much pace and ends beyond its objective
JACK The round white ball towards which play is directed. The size of the jack must conform to the Laws
JACK HIGH BOWL A bowl which, when it comes to rest, is at the same distance from the mat as the jack
LIVE BOWL Any bowl that comes to rest within the confines of the rink and allowing for conditions as laid down by the Laws Of The Game. Or any toucher in the ditch
LONG JACK Near to or the greatest distance allowed from the front edge of the mat to the jack
MARK IT or CHALK IT The marking of a toucher with chalk
MEASURE A device used to determine which bowl is nearest the jack
MEASURING The process of determining which bowl is nearest the jack
NARROW BOWL Where a player has not allowed enough green, but a shot that sometimes can be played intentionally
"OPEN IT UP" A request for a bowl to be delivered which enough pace to clear any obstruction in the way of bowls that are between the player and the jack
PACE or WEIGHT The amount of force with which the bowl is delivered to execute a particular shot
PAIRS Two players against two, each using four bowls. Players in order of play to be Lead and Skip
PENALTY A penalty may be awarded by the umpire where, for example, a player has foot faulted in delivering his bowl and the umpire could declare his bowl to be dead (see Law 27)
PLANT SHOT Where a player bowls his bowl to strike other bowls which could be in line, and this gain his objective
"PROMOTE THIS BOWL" A request that a bowler plays his bowl on to a bowl belonging to his side so that the bowl that was stationary is pushed closer to the objective
PUSH AND REST or TAP AND LIE The bowling of a bowl of sufficient pace or weight that it pushes a bowl from its position so that that position is taken by the lst bowl delivered
REST THIS BOWL The bowling of a bowl which brings it to rest against another bowl
RINK A rectangular are of the green not more than 5.8m or less than 4.3m on which play takes place
RINK OF PLAYERS or FOURS A group of four players against four, each bowling two bowls. Their positions in order of playing to be Lead, Second, Third, and Skip
RUB OFF A bowl which, during its running course, comes into light contact with another so that the line of direction can be affected
SECOND BOWL The bowl which finishes closest to the jack other than the shot bowl
SHORT BOWL Where a bowl has not been delivered with sufficient pace to reach its objective
SHORT JACK Near to or the shortest distance allowed from the front edge of the mat to the jack
SHOULDER OF THE GREEN The point on the green where the bowl begins to curve inwards towards its objective
SIDE or TEAM Any agreed number of players whose combined scores determine the result of a match
SINGLES One player against one player, each using four bowls
SLOW or HEAVY GREEN Where the surface offers some greater resistance to the progress of the bowl, but where the bowl will usually take a shorter time to reach its objective, because the green line is much narrower
"SPLIT THESE BOWLS" A request to the bowler to bowl a bowl of sufficient pace that it forces apart other bowls but has enough momentum to carry beyond that point
STANCE The position adopted by the bowler on the mat prior to delivery
"TAKE IT OUT" Instructions that mean a bowler to bowler to bowl sufficient pace to push an opponent’s bowl away
TAKING THE GREEN On forehand or backhand, the bowler bowls to the shoulder so that his bowl will curve and come to rest as near as possible to the point he desires
THE GREEN The total playing surface, the measurements of which are laid down by the Laws
THE GREEN LINE The curved line that the bowl must travel from the mat to its objective
THE HEAD The jack and as many bowls as have been played at any end. Bowls in the head may be on the rink or in the ditch
THE LEAD The player who lays the mat, delivers the jack, and delivers the first bowl in an end
THE MARKER A person who, in a game of singles, undertakes to see the game played according to the Laws, will mark all touchers, centre the jack, and measure, as well as keeping the score. During the playing of an end it is wise for the marker not to talk to the players unless asked a direct question. If asked to measure, be careful that you do not move the jack. It is better to rough check first, i.e. get near to both jack and bowl with your measure without touching either, as very often that will tell you which is nearer and always agree the result before any bowl is moved
THE MAT A bowler must make his delivery from the mat (the size of the mat is laid down in the Laws)
THE SCORER In a match between teams or sides, is responsible for keeping the current scores on the master scoreboard
THE SECOND or NUMBER TWO The player who plays after the Lead in a game of fours or triples.
THE SHOT The bowl that finishes nearest to the jack at any stage of play
THE SKIP He captains the fours, triples and pairs. He is the last to bowl and is responsible for dictating the tactics of the game.  He marks the scorecard and keeps the scoreboard up to date.
THE THIRD In the game of fours he will deputise for his Skip in certain circumstances and could be responsible for measuring
THE UMPIRE The person with total and overall authority during any game as an enforcement of the Laws Of The Game
TIED END It sometime happens that the nearest bowls of both sides are exactly the same distance from the jack at the completion of an end (e.g. when both have a bowl actually touching the jack). Neither side scores, bit it is a completed end, and is entered on the scorecard with no score to either side
TOUCHER IN THE DITCH A toucher as above which has fallen into the ditch shall be a "live" bowl, but not if it has come to rest outside the confines of the rink
TOUCHER ON THE GREEN A bowl which during its course has touched the jack. A bowl which has come to rest and falls over to touch the jack before the next bowl is delivered. A bowl which, if it is the last to be delivered, falls and touches the jack within the period of thirty seconds. All the above shall be marked with a chalk mark
TRAIL THE JACK A bowl played in order to move the jack to another position on the rink
TRIPLES Three players against three, each using three bowls for a playing period of eighteen ends. Players in order of play to be Lead, Second, and Skip
USING THE MAT Movement of the mat (within the limits of the Laws) for the purposes of lengthening or shortening the length of the jack
WICK OFF A bowls travelling at a certain pace which comes into an angled contact with another bowl so that the course of the moving bowl is definitely affected
WIDE BOWL Where a player has allowing too much green for his bowl
WOULDN’T CRACK AN EGG A bowl delivered with insufficient pace to achieve its end
WRECKED An attempted shot frustrated by contact with another bowl which lay between the mat and the jack
"WREST THIS BOWL OUT" The bowling of a bowl with sufficient pace to push a bowl sufficiently from its former position