Match Etiquette

Crown Green Bowls Etiquette

The following guide takes the player through the cycle of a typical game following a recognised pattern. N.B:  Entries in italics are covered by the Laws of the Game.

At Commencement of Game

Players should introduce themselves with a handshake.  If the event is refereed, you may find that the Referee makes the introductions.

Find your markers and make sure they know who you are.  Markers should make themselves known to each other and both players and markers should be aware of the score required to win the game.

The footer should be placed within Three Metres either side of the ‘Entrance to the Green’ and OneMetre from the edge. The ‘Entrance‘ should be marked with an appropriate sign (‘Start Here’, for example) and this should be in place before the visiting team commence practice (if applicable).

The foot corresponding to the bowling arm must be placed on the footer.

If you are the player bowling the jack, you should show your opponent the jack and allow your opponent the opportunity to determine which bias is being used.

Game/End in Progress

Allow your opponent a view of the line taken by the jack.

Bowl only when the previous jack or bowl has stopped running.
Once bowled, no attempt should be made to affect the running of any bowl.

If you wish to follow up your bowl you must do so without obstructing the view of your opponent.

On your return to the footer, you must again keep clear of the ‘Jack Line’ to avoid distracting your opponent who is about to bowl.

If you require advice on the lie of the bowls, the onus is on you to find out for yourself. The referee may give an opinion if so willing and in the vicinity but it is not the Referee’s remit to do so.

Non-playing players and spectators are allowed to give advice but must do so from off the playing surface.

If advice is asked for then this should be asked for by the player who has command of the footer, i.e.the player who is about to bowl. Temptation to shout “who’s on?” by the player whose bowl has just stopped, should be resisted’. This will only cause unwanted and often unlawful interference.

If your opponent is about to bowl and wants to know who is on, your opponent will ask, if not, respect your opponent’s choice and wait until you regain the footer.

Remember that the Players playing, the Referee and the Measurers (when required) are the only ones allowed on the green.

The player who arrives at the ‘head’ first should not obstruct the opponents view or stand directlybehind the jack.

If you intend to strike at any time during an end, then you must warn your opponent and take every precaution before striking to prevent injury to any other party located within the ‘danger area’.
Remember that safety is your responsibility. The Referee does not need to know of your intention to strike unless the Referee is also within such an area.

Be aware of other games in progress at the same time as yours. Move briskly and tread carefully across the green.

If you have to leave the green for any reason during a game then you must inform your opponent and obtain permission from the Referee. In this instance, ‘leaving the green’, means out of sight of the green.

Conclusion of End

Do not remove the jack or any bowls claimed to count before agreeing with your opponent.

If measures are required then stand away and let the Referee and/or Measurers get on with it.

Signal your score to the markers only when conceded by your opponent.

Succeeding End

To start the next end the leader must place the footer within one metre of the spot where the jack lay at the previous end but not within one metre of the edge of the green. If the leader fails to set a mark for any reason, then the opponent must play from the footer position chosen by the original leader.

End of Game

Accept defeat gracefully and always offer congratulations to the winner at the end of the game.

In General

Have respect for your opponent and refrain from any adverse comments during the game.

Have respect for the Referee and abide by the Referee’s decisions.

Remember that it is not the Referee’s job to give decisions on the lie of the bowls. Any lack of confidence directed towards the Referee because of an apparent reluctance to give opinions/decisions is therefore out of place. The Referee is not there to be at the beck and call of the players.

Remember also that mobile phones and pagers in active mode are not allowed on the green and that smoking is not allowed whilst participating on the green in the game of Crown Green Bowls.

Shoes should be flat soled.

Clothes should be comfortable but neat. Try to avoid any dirty work-clothes/overalls.


Etiquette also embodies sportsmanship. For example, if a running bowl is impeded after going beyond the head or is so wayward it runs into another head, the Laws of the Game allow such a bowl to be replayed. But is this taking advantage where none was intended (by the Laws of the Game)?

On this and other similar occasions sportsmanship should prevail and players forgo the right to replay such a bowl.