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Your Role in Teams as an Up and Coming Bowler.


New bowlers have successfully contributed to Club teams in their first season so don’t be daunted! Mentors, coaches and team captains will be aware of your development and will only ask you to play if they think you are ready. We all have good and bad bowls days. Just do your best, no one can ask for more.


A good way to try out the more formal circumstance of a match is to sign up to play in a Club friendly. That said, your fellow team members will know you are relatively new to bowls and will give you their full support. They all started at some point and know how it feels!


The game of bowls can be played in various formats but Club teams typically are teams of four. As an up and coming bowler you are most likely to be asked to play lead or as player 2 so this page concentrates on theses role but includes a brief description of the other roles to help you understand how the team works together.


Player 4 is the “skip”, bowls last and has the responsibility of directing the head – i.e. advising each team member on the best shot to establish a winning position. Pay attention to the skip!


Games normally start with 2 trial ends in which each player delivers two bowls to get a feel for the green.



Player 1 – The Lead

The objective of the lead is to bowl (draw) as close to the jack as possible. A good lead will quickly assess which is the better side of the green to play and stick to it unless other bowls played dictate a change of plan – here the skip will advise.


The Lead will:

Place the mat as directed by the skip. The skip will also indicate the length to try to bowl the jack.

Deliver the jack and signal to the skip to ensure it is centred on the green.

Deliver their bowls trying to get as close to the jack as possible. However, bear in mind that a bowl behind the jack is likely to be more useful than one in front as the end progresses.

After the end is concluded you should help to gather the bowls if the opponents won the end. (If pushers are used, the lead of the team that loses the end scoops up the bowls with the pusher and deposits them to one side of the rink, behind the jack line).

However, if your team won the end you should concentrate on getting the jack and the mat ready as you will be the first to bowl on the next end.


Player 2

Builds on the work of the Lead, as directed by the skip, and begin building the head i.e. to get more bowls as close to the jack as possible. You should be prepared to bowl either side of the green as the bowls build up around the head and possibly make one side of the green less practical than the other. Help collect the bowls after the end if a pusher is not in use.


Player 3          

By the time player 3 bowls there will be a good number of woods in the vicinity of the jack. Bowling tends to get more strategic – placing a bowl to block an opponent’s shot or securing cover behind the head.

After bowling they, and the rest of the team swap ends with the skip and player 3 can then advise the skip if the head changes.

Player 3, with their counterpart, is also responsible for measuring which bowls are closest to the jack and agreeing the points scored.

Player 4 – The skip   

The skip is in charge of his/her players on the rink, advising and guiding as necessary. A good skip will have a range of shots and strategies and so will try to consolidate or improve on a lead, or if not, try to limit losses. The skip will keep the score card or may delegate this to a team member.

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