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Kirby Muxloe Bowls Club

Glossary of Bowling Terms

Back Bowl:  A bowl that has come to rest beyond the jack or the main body of bowls in the head.


Backhand:  When (for a right handed player) the bowl is delivered so the curve of the bowl is from the left to the right towards its objective.


Bank:  The outer wall of the ditch which surrounds the green and which is above the playing surface.


Bias:  That which is inbuilt into the bowl which causes the bowl to travel in a curve.


Centre Line:  An imaginary line that runs length wise down the centre of the rink.


Counter:  Any bowl which contributes to the score at the completion of the end.


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 original course or by being knocked there or comes to rest less than 14 metres, as measured in a straight line, from the mat, or is illegally delivered.  A Dead Bowl is removed from play.


Dead End/Head: An end is declared dead if the jack leaves the confines of the rink or comes to rest less than 20 metres, as measured in a straight line, from the centre of the mat.  No score is recorded and the end is played again.


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 rules of the game.


Draw:  A bowl  delivered at the correct weight and with the correct line to arrive exactly at the jack.


End:  The sequence of play begins 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, meaning it takes a longer time to reach its objective.


Fluke:  A shot that ends up being successful despite being off target.


Follow Through:  Natural movement forward of the delivery arm following the line of the bowl.


Foot Fault:  The player should have at least part of one foot on or above the mat at the moment they deliver the jack or bowl.


Forehand:  When (for a right handed player) the bowl is delivered so the curve of the bowl is from the right to the left towards its objective.


Green:  The total playing surface, the measurements of which are laid down by the rules.


Green/Line:  The curved line that the bowl must travel from the mat to its objective.  Many new bowlers will be advised to take more or less green when bowling to help them to get closer to the jack.


Head:  The jack and any bowls which have come to rest within the boundaries of the rink and are not dead.


Heavy Bowl:  Where the bowl has been delivered with too much pace and will end up beyond its objective.


Jack:  The round white, or yellow, ball towards which play is directed.  The jack may also be referred to as the "kitty" or "white" in different areas.  The jack is not biased and, therefore, will run in a straight line.


Live Bowl:  Any bowl that comes to rest within the confines of the rink 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.


Mat:  The rectangular shaped mat from which the bowler must deliver the jack and/or bowl.


Mat Line:  The edge of the mat nearest to the front ditch.


Mark:  The marking of a tougher with chalk.


Marker:  A person who in a game of singles will mark all the touchers, centre the jack, measure disputed shots when asked by the players and keep score.


Measure:  A device used to determine which bowl is nearest the jack.


Narrow Bowl:  Where a player has not allowed enough green for their intended shot.


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.


Pace of the Green:  The number of seconds taken by a bowl from it delivery to the moment it comes to rest at approximately 27 metres from the mat line.  The higher the number of seconds taken the faster the pace of the green.


Penalty:  A penalty may be imposed by an umpire where, for example, a player has a foot faulted in delivering a bowl and the umpire could declare the bowl to be "dead" and it is removed from the end.


Plant Shot:  The bowler delivers their bowl to strike other bowls that are in line to gain their objective.


Rink:  The rectangular area of the green between 4.3 and 5.8 metres wide on which play takes place.


Rink of Players or Fours:  A group of four players against four, each bowling two bowls.


Rub Off:  A bowl which during its running course comes into light contact with another and the line of direction is not affected.


Scorer:  In a match between teams is the person responsible for keeping the scores on the master scoreboard.


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 the shortest distance allowed from the front edge of the mat to the jack.


Shot:  The bowl that is nearest the jack at any stage of the game.


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.


Skip:  The player who captains the fours, triples or pairs.  The last to bowl and responsible for dictating the tactics of the game.


Slow (or Heavy) Green:  Where the surface of the green offers greater resistance to the progress of the bowl.  The bowl will usually take a shorter time to reach its objective because the green line is much narrower.


Stance:  Position adopted on the mat prior to delivery.


Taking the Green (or Land):  On the forehand or backhand, the bowler bowls to the shoulder so their bowl will curve and come to rest as near as possible to its objective.


Tied End:  If the nearest bowls of both sides are exactly the same distance from the jack at the completion of the end )for example when both sides have a bowl touching the jack) neither side scores but it is a completed end and should be entered on the score card with no score to either side.


Toucher on the Green:  A bowl that touches the jack during its original course, and before the next bowl is delivered, should be marked with a chalk mark before the next bowl delivered comes to rest.


Toucher in the Ditch:  A toucher which has fallen into the ditch shall be a "live" bowl, but not if it comes to rest outside the confines of the rink.


Umpire:  Umpires can be seen in action at events including Club and County finals, Inter-County matches, National Championships and International Matches.


Using the Mat:  Movement of the mat, within the limits of the laws, for the purpose of lengthening or shortening of the length of the jack.


Wick:  A bowl which comes into contact with another bowl and its course is altered.


Wide Bowl:  Where the player has allowed too much green or land for their bowl.


Wrecked:  An attempted shot frustrated by contact with another bowl which lay between tha mat and the jack.