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British crown green bowling association
Rules of the game

Click here to view a PDF version of the rules

D DEFINITIONS

1a The LEADER is the player who has the first attempt to set a mark and shall deliver the first bowl after any attempt to set a mark

1b In pairs, there shall be no changing in the order of play until the end is complete

2 A PRECEDING BOWL or JACK is a bowl or jack delivered immediately before the bowl in question

3 A FORFEITED BOWL is a bowl taken off the green as a penalty for an offence under the laws.

4 A DEAD BOWL is a bowl that cannot be counted and shall be taken off the green so as not to interfere with play

5 An END commences when the leader delivers the jack, is concluded when the last bowl finishes running and is completed when the score is agreed

6 A VOID END is an end to be replayed with the footer placed as near as possible to where it originally lay during the end which was voided

7 A DEAD END is an end which is deemed to have been completed with no score.
The new end should be started from where the jack lay

8 LAND is the term used for the route taken by a jack and is then extended to cover the route that may be taken by any of the bowls at that end.
It is also the expression used to indicate to any other player that they are causing a physical or visual blockage

9 JACK UP is called by either player when a jack other than their own ceases running on, or adjacent to the land which they will or may use to send their bowls.

10 MEASUREMENTS are taken between the nearest points of the jack and a bowl with nothing to lie in between.
The adjustable end of an approved measure must be taken to the jack.
In the case of the footer, the adjustable end of the certified tape is taken to the centre of the footer

11 A STRIKE is a bowl delivered at such a speed as to attempt to negate the bias

12 A MARK is set by the leader sending the jack, to rest on the green at a distance of at least 19m

1 EQUIPMENT

1 The GREEN is the playing area of grass or an artificial surface as approved by the BCGBA

2 The ENTRANCE which must be near the centre of any one side of the playing area, shall be clearly marked

3 The FOOTER which shall be round shall have a diameter of no less than 128mm (5 ins) and not more than 154mm (6ins)

4 STANDARD JACKS as defined in Appendix A shall be used in all competitions. A jack must only be used for the purpose of setting a mark

5a A BOWL shall weigh not less than 907gm (2lbs) except that a player with medical evidence of a wasting disease of bone or muscle may be allowed a dispensation. A bowl must not have any device for altering or adjusting the bias

5b A player may use a bowl under the 907gm (2 lbs) limit as long as the bowl has a minimum profile height of 100mm (4ins) and is not black, yellow or white in colour.

6 The following are approved by the BCGBA as MEASURING DEVICES to be used in accordance with the Laws of the Game:

  1. A tape or other certified metric measure at least 19m long
  2. Any crown green metal measure 5 Calipers.
  3. Any form of string measure 6 Feeler gauges 4 Any telescopic measure

2 THE GAME

1 The game shall be played on a green by two players each having two bowls, normally playing alternately until each shall have delivered both bowls, the object being to play the bowls as near as possible to the jack.

2 Where more than two players take part in a game, these laws shall operate when applicable.

3 Before commencing play, the number of points to be scored to make a game shall be agreed.

4 The leader at the first end shall be as determined by the organising body of the match.

5 At the commencement of a game the footer may be placed by the leader but must be within 3m of the entrance to the green, on either the left or right side and 1m from the edge.

6 If during the course of play any player is found to have substituted a non-standard jack for a standard jack, or has altered the bias of the jack or bowls by any means, or is playing with a bowl having a device for adjusting the bias, that player shall forfeit the game.

The offender to receive the minimum score and the opponent to receive the maximum score.

7 If during the course of a match any jacks are found to be not in accordance with Appendix A, the affected games shall be declared void and restarted with standard jacks.

8 No player shall be allowed to change the jack or bowls during the progress of a game except with the consent of the referee and then only if, in the referee's opinion, the jack or bowl is so damaged as to be unplayable.

3 SCORING

1 A bowl must be played at least 3m from the footer and rest on the green to count, except when all the bowls of their opponent are out of play.

2 The winner of an end is the player whose bowl is nearest to the jack, or if all the bowls of their opponent are of out play, still has at least one bowl in play.
The winners shall be the leader and shall have the first attempt to set a mark at the
succeeding end.
In pairs, either of the winning pair may be the leader at the next end.

3 The winner of each end will count one point for each bowl nearer to the jack than the nearest bowl of their opponent or, if all the bowls of the opponents are out of play, one point for each bowl still in play.

4 The result of the end shall be clearly indicated by the winner, to the markers who must sit together and agree each other's score cards every third end and at the end of the game.
Where the score cannot be agreed, by the markers or the players, it shall revert to the end where both score cards show the scores to be in agreement.

4 SETTING A MARK

1 In an attempt to set a mark, a player bowling the jack must allow the opponents the opportunity of seeing with what bias it is delivered, and of watching its course from a point near the footer.

2 A mark is set when the jack having been bowled, does not go off the green, and is not prevented from going off by resting against anything at the edge or in the channel or, after lawful objection, is proved by measurement, with a certified measure, to be at least 19m from the footer, with the footer at least 1m from the edge.

3 If the jack in its course is impeded in any way, or stops on the land of other players, it must under all circumstances be returned.
If two jacks are bowled near the same place, the one that is last stationary must be returned.
The same player is to have another attempt at setting a mark.

4a Verbal objection to a mark set by the leader must be made by the leader's opponent only after the first bowl has come to rest, otherwise the leader may have the jack, and the bowl if played, returned to have another attempt at setting a mark.
An opponent objecting to a mark must make an indication that an objection has been made.

4b If after an objection to a mark has been made, it is proved by measurement to be a mark, the jack and bowl shall remain.

5 If the leader fails to set a mark. the leader's opponent is then entitled to an attempt at setting a mark. In pairs this will be the player waiting to follow the leader.

6 If the leader fails to set a mark, objection to an attempt by the opponent must be made by the leader before delivering the first bowl

7 If the opponent then fails to set a mark, the leader shall have another attempt, and so on, alternately, until a mark has been set by one of them.
The original leader is to play the first bowl.

8 When the leader, having had an attempt to set a mark, is prevented from delivering the first bowl through a tape on the green during the measure of a mark from an other end, or if the first is impeded, the jack may be returned for the leader to have another attempt at setting a mark.

9 The first attempt to set a new mark, after a dead end, shall be made by the same player who set the mark in the dead end.
Any dead or forfeited bowls are reinstated for the new end.

10 The first attempt to set a new mark, after a void end, shall be made by the same player who set the mark in the void end.
Any dead or forfeited bowls are to be reinstated for the replayed end.

5 METHOD OF PLAY

1 At no time may the footer be used with the centre less than 1m from the edge of the green.

2 Objection to the placement of the footer must be made by the leader's opponent only after the first bowl has come to rest, or if in the leader's first attempt at setting a mark, the jack goes off the green.
If the footer is then found, by measurement, to be incorrectly placed the end shall be restarted with the footer correctly placed, the opponent attempting to set a mark, otherwise play shall continue.

3 A player's foot must be placed on the footer when delivering either the jack or a bowl.
A player placing the right foot on the footer must play the jack and bowls with the right hand, and a player placing the left foot on the footer must play the jack and bowls with the left hand.
Nothing in this law shall apply to any player who suffers a permanent disability of a limb.

4 A player must bowl with the same hand throughout the game.
Where disability or infirmity prevents a player from delivering jack or bowls directly by from hand then a mechanical aid of a type approved by BCGBA may be used to provide assistance.

5 Any bowl not played in accordance with law 5.3 & 5.4 may be stopped by the referee and returned to be played again.
If the player offends again during the course of the game, the bowl wrongly played shall be forfeited.

6 Players are required to give a verbal warning to their opponent and to take every precaution before striking, in order to eliminate the possibility of causing injury to other players, referee, measurers or spectators by being struck with a jack or bowls.
A player shall receive a caution for the first transgression of this law.
For a second offence, the game shall be awarded to their opponent.
The offender shall receive no further core and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

7 A player may retain possession of the footer untill that player's bowl has ceased running.
If a player has taken up the footer after playing a bowl, which for any reason has to be replayed, or if the footer is accidently displaced during the end, it shall be replaced as nearly as possible in its former position.

8 If the leader's first bowl has been forfeited, the leader's remaining bowl shall be played, followed by the opponent playing two bowls consecutively.

9 If the first bowl of the leader's opponent has been forfeited, the leader's remaining bowl shall be played, followed by the opponent playing the last bowl.

10 A player may play a bowl so as to block an opponent's course, but a bowl must not be placed, or played a distance less than 3m from the footer, otherwise it shall be a forfeited bowl.

11 If a player has taken up a position on the footer and a bowl falls from that player's hand - even by accident - and travels more than 3m from the centre of the footer in a forward direction, it shall be deemed to have been played.

12 If a player delivers any bowl out of turn it must be returned to be played in its proper turn.

13 If a player, in turn, delivers a bowl of another player, it shall be returned to the proper owner to be played, the offender to forfeit a bowl.

14 A player, when at the end where the jack lies, must not stand directly behind the jack or obstruct the view of an opponent.

15 After each end is concluded, the footer shall be placed at the jack by the last player.
The footer may only be repositioned by the leader of the next end and before the first attempt to set a mark, anywhere within a space of 1m from where the jack lay at the conclusion of the last end but at least 1m in from the edge of the green.

6 RUNNING JACK OR BOWL

1 A bowl played while the jack or preceding bowl is in motion shall be forfeited.

2 If a running jack or bowl appears in danger of striking a still bowl or jack belonging to another end, such running jack or bowl should be stopped and returned to be replayed.

3 If a running bowl is impeded in any way, except by either player, it must be played again.
If a running bowl is impeded by either player, all the offender's bowls shall be forfeited at that end.

4 A player must not endeavour to affect the running of any bowl, nor follow it up within 1m or in such a manner as to obstruct the view of an opponent.
For a first offence, involving a player's own bowl, that bowl shall be forfeited.
In the case of a further offence, the game shall be awarded to the opponent.
The offender shall receive no further score and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

5 Should a player attempt to influence the running of an opponent's bowl, all the offenders bowls shall be forfeited at that end.

6 A bowl played or struck off the green, or prevented from going off the green by anything at the edge or in the channel, is a dead bowl.

7 STILL JACK OR BOWL

1a If, as a result of a lawfully placed bowl, the jack is disturbed and goes off the green, or is prevented from going off the green by resting against anything at the edge or in the channel, that end shall be dead.
If after a legitimate mark has been set the jack goes off the green, the footer shall be placed 1m in from the edge of the green, the same player setting the mark.
Any dead or forfeited bowls shall be reinstated.

1b If the disturbed jack comes in to contact with a bowl or jack not belonging to that end, or if it comes in to contact with any person on the green, then the end becomes void.

2 If as the result of a lawfully played bowl, the jack or any bowls are disturbed and come in to contact with other bowls belonging to that end, the jack and any bowls so disturbed must remain where they stop.

3 If as a result of a bowl wrongly played, the jack or any lawful bowl already played is disturbed, such jack or bowls shall be replaced as near as possible in their original positions.

4 If the jack or any bowl is displaced by the jack or bowl of any other player, or by an exterior cause, and the players agree as to the spot of replacement, the end must be continued, otherwise the end is void.

5 Should any player of an end touch or displace a still jack or bowl before the end is complete, all the bowls of the offender shall be forfeited at the end concerned.

6 When an end is concluded neither the jack nor a bowl claimed to count may be moved without the consent of the opponent until the points are counted and all players are satisfied, otherwise all bowls of the offender shall be forfeited at the end concerned.

8 MEASURING

1 No measurement of an end is permitted until the end is concluded.

2 When an end is being measured, all players must stand away and not interfere with the actions of either the referee or measurers.

3 The referee or measurers are not permitted to place either their thumb or fingers on either the jack or bowl when measuring an end.

4 In the event of the displacement of the jack or a bowl being measured, then any points already given shall stand.
If no points have been given when all measurements are finished, the end is complete.
If either the jack or a bowl being measured is displaced by a player, that player shall lose the point claimed.

5 When a bowl is touching either the jack or another bowl and has to be removed so that nothing lies between the jack and the bowl to be measured, it must be removed by the referee and the measurement made after such removal.

9 REFEREE, MEASURERS & MARKERS

1 Referees are instructed to insist that games are carried out strictly in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

2 No persons, other than the players and the referee shall be allowed on the green ± except measurers when their services are required.
Nothing in this law will apply to a severely disabled person who needs assistance on the green.

3 If after commencing a game, any player shall refuse or is unable to continue, then the referee shall decide on the point at issue.

4 Should a player further refuse to continue the game, that player shall forfeit the game.
The offender shall receive no further score and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

5 Should a player leave the sight of the green without informing the opponent and obtaining the permission of the referee, that player shall forfeit the game.
The offender shall receive no further score and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

6 If a player has to stop play or leave the green due to any incident, and is unable to resume play before the end of the match (or that round in a competition), the opponent shall be awarded the game.
The score of the player who left the green is to remain as it stood and the opponent to receive the maximum score.

7 In the case of any wilful breach of the Laws of the Game or any unfair play or unsporting conduct, the referee may caution the offending players or spectators, or order them to retire from the game or surrounding area of the green.
In the case of players, no substitutes shall be allowed and the game shall be awarded to the opponent.
The offender shall receive the minimum score and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

8 A player receiving a second verbal caution shall forfeit the game.
The offender shall receive no further score and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

9 If during the course of a game it becomes so dark that the jack cannot be seen distinctly from the footer, the player may request to have a light exhibited at the jack, or may appeal to the referee whose decision shall be final, for the game to be suspended.

10 In the event of a suspension owing to the above cause or any other unforeseen circumstances, the points scored by each player shall stand and the position of the jack shall be marked.
Ends should be completed if possible, games being re-started from an agreed point as near as possible to where the jack lay at the last end played.

10 MOBILE TELEPHONES & PAGERS

1 Mobile phones or pagers in active mode are not allowed on the green.
Should a player fail to comply, that player shall forfeit the game.
The offender shall receive no further score and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

11 SMOKING

1 Smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes is not allowed when participating on the green in a game of Crown Green Bowls.
The offending player shall receive no further score and the opponent shall receive the maximum score.

12 DISPUTE NOT PROVIDED FOR IN THE LAWS

1 Any dispute arising which is not provided for in the forgoing laws shall be decided by the referee whose decision shall be final.

13 ALTERATION OF THE LAWS

1 The Laws of the Game and the interpretation thereof are the copyright of the British Crown Green Bowling Association (BCGBA) and from its decisions there shall be no appeal at law or otherwise.

2 None of these laws shall be altered except as provided by the BCGBA byelaws numbered 16 & 17 - for the alteration of rules & byelaws.

3 Amendments to the Laws of the Game can only be proposed every third year except at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

APPENDIX A: A STANDARD JACK

1 The game shall be played with standard jacks of 2 full bias as approved by BCGBA.
Jacks manufactured after 1 March 2004 shall be black or yellow in colour.
They shall weigh 666gm ± 10gm.
The width shall be 90.5mm ± 0.5mm
The height shall be 98mm ± 0.5mm

There shall be on both sides an engraved circle, the outer edge of which shall be 20mm diameter ± 1mm.
There shall be three solid inserted spots on the non-bias side which shall be white for black jacks and black for yellow jacks.
These spots shall be 6mm diameter and shall be spaced equidistant from each other at a radius of 19mm ± 1mm from the engraved circle to the centre of the inserted spots.
The engraved circles shall be the same colour as the inserted spots.

All new standard jacks shall carry the manufacturers name on the bias side.
They shall be branded 'BCGBA'
The code letter of the official tester will be inserted within the recognised kidney shaped stamp.
Evidence of ownership shall be made on the non-bias side.

Manufacturers shall be allowed to use their own distinctive configuration of grip marks, the pattern of which must be registered with BCGBA.

2 Jacks manufactured between 1 January 1994 and 1 March 2004 shall be either:
Black in colour with white mounts and spots or White or yellow in colour with black mounts and spots.
In place of mounts, composition jacks may have engraved circles of approximately the diameter of the mounts or spots, and filled in the appropriate colour.
They shall weigh a minimum of 653gm and a maximum of 680gm.
The height shall be a minimum of 97mm and a maximum of 98.5mm and conform to the agreed standard profile.

Jacks manufactured before 1 January 1994 must weigh a minimum of 567gm and a maximum of 680gm.
The height must be a minimum of 95mm and a maximum of 98.5mm.

3 New and renovated jacks shall be stamped with the year of expiry.
For this purpose the year shall be reckoned from 1 October to 30 September the following year (ie: jacks manufactured or tested between 1 October and 31 December will carry the stamp of expiry from the following year.
All jacks shall be retested at not more than 7 year intervals.

After 30 September 2008, jacks manufactured before 1 January 1994 shall only be re-stamped if upon retesting they comply with the 1994 specification.

4 Jacks are not to be stamped on more than four occasions.
The first three, in date order, shall to be made on the bias side, with the fourth and final one being made on the non-bias side.
The expiry date on that stamp will indicate the year after which the jack is no longer legal.

ADDENDUM

Jacks manufactured after 1 March 2004 needing renovation or alteration which would then render them unable to meet the 2004 specification, may be refurbished in order to comply with the 1994 specification.
All jacks submitted for renovation must be retested and re-stamped at the completion of the work.
The following companies are the officially appointed and the only officially recognised standard jack makers and bias testers to BCGBA:


MANUFACTURERS & TESTERS CODE LETTER
Thomas Taylor (Bowls) Ltd, Glasgow A
Henselite (Australia) Pty, Australia N
EA Clare & Sons Ltd, Liverpool X
2 Up Crown Green Bowls, Wigan F
Metrolux, Warrington H
Premier Bowls, Stockport C


TESTERS ONLY
Pershore Bowls Centre, Pershore D
Exhall Bowling Services, Coventry V
Stevens Bowls, Stafford S


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