Bowling Glossary

Back bowl
Generally regarded as a bowl that finishes behind the head.
Backhand
The left-hand side of the rink (for a right-handed bowler taking stance on the mat) where a bowl will bend from left to right towards the centre line. Opposite way round for left-handers.
Bank
The raised area containing and surrounding the ditch and green.
Bare length
Term used to describe a bowl that is just short of the jack length.
Be up (or don't be short)
Emphasizing the need to reach the head.
Bias
That which determines how much a bowl will bend on its path to its target. (The shape of the bowl determines how strong the bias will be.There are now many variations of bias to suit the varying playing conditions encountered.)
Blocker
A bowl deliberately played short of the head in order to protect a favourable position there, and prevent an opponent from getting access to that position by blocking his shot.
Bowl(s)
Bowls are acquired in sets of four - all four bowls are identical and of the same manufacture.They must be the same size, weight, colour and bias, and have the same serial number and engraving. In all games each player must play with the appropriate number of bowls from the same set.
Cannon
See Plant.
Delivery
The sequence of playing a bowl, which involves grip, stance, movement and follow through.
Draw
The art of delivering a bowl with, in particular; the right weight, along with a good line, so that it comes to rest in the immediate area for which it is intended. Draw the shot Instruction to use the correct weight and line in order to get your bowl closest to the jack.
Drive (fire)
A shot played with great force that travels in approximately a straight line.
End
Whatever discipline is being played -singles, pairs, triples or fours - the game consists of individual 'ends'. Each time all the players have played all their bowls in one direction it constitutes an 'end' played. An 'end' begins with placing the mat and delivering the jack. It is completed after the last bowl has been played. If the jack is knocked outside the confines of the rink then the end is normally replayed in the same direction (unless agreed otherwise by the skips). Also see Respotted jack.
Extra end
If the scores are level after the designated number of ends have been played, an extra end is played to determine a winner. Irrespective of who won the last end of the game, both sides toss for jack before the commencement of the extra end.
Fast green
One where the speed of the green is adjudged to be 15/16 seconds and above. (The speed relates to the time taken for a bowl to cover 27m). Many indoor clubs have fast greens.
Fluke
A lucky shot.
Follow through
The desired 'follow through' of the delivery arm along the line of the delivered bowl.
Foot fault
Where the rear foot* (or part thereof **) is not on or above the mat at the moment the bowl is delivered from the hand (* BIBC ruling; ** WB Ltd ruling).
Forehand
The right-hand side of the rink (for a right-handed bowler taking stance on the mat) where a bowl will bend from right to left towards the centre line.
Grass (also green or land)
Refers to the delivery line 'Give it plenty grass', meaning to make sure the delivery line is wide enough to allow the bowl to bend properly.
Green
The total playing surface, which is divided up into rinks for match play.
Take the grass/green/land
Instruction to remind bowlers to take a line that allows their bowls to fully bend and not to take a line that is too narrow.
Slow or heavy green
Where the conditions (it could be long or thick grass, wet weather or thick underlay) affect the free running of the bowls and slow them down. During play it normally involves taking a narrower line and delivering with more weight.
Head
Normally the wide area around the jack where the majority of bowls accumulate at any given end.
Heavy bowl
A bowl delivered with weight. It can be intentional or not.
Jack (kitty, white)
The white (or it can be yellow) ball is the centre of attention in the game of bowls.The vast majority of play is directed towards it and the scoring system is totally related to how close bowls can get to it. Each end commences with the delivery of the jack.
Jack high (level) bowl
A bowl that has come to rest at a point that is the same distance from the mat as the jack Last bowl As it suggests, the last bowl to be played in any end.The player holding the last bowl may, however, opt not to play it if he considers the head/position too dangerous.
Lead
The player who lays the mat, delivers the jack and plays the first bowl for his team at the commencement of an end.
Line of delivery
The curved line or arc that the bowl must travel along to reach its objective.
Live bowl
Any bowl that is active during an end and which can have an influence in the outcome of that end - no matter in how bizarre a fashion! A live bowl is one that is within the confines of the rink (if it is in the ditch, it must have touched the jack to be still alive).
Long jack
Where the jack is delivered to a point on or close to the 2m mark at the opposite end of the rink.
Mark
(chalk) it To mark a bowl with chalk (or white spray) to indicate it has touched the jack.
Marker
A person who officiates in a game of singles to ensure it is played in accordance with the Laws of the Sport.
Mat
Bowlers must deliver their bowls from a mat. It can be positioned in a variety of places along the centre line of the rink as long as it is a minimum of 2m from the ditch edge and there is a minimum of 23m between it and the jack.
Measure
A device used to measure the distances between bowls and the jack in order to determine which are nearest.
Narrow
Where a player has missed the correct line by not giving his bowl enough 'grass'/'green'/'land'.This results in him playing a 'narrow' bowl, which will finish inside his intended target.
Open it up (play through)
An instruction often given by skips to their thirds when
n unfavourable head has developed. The drawing hands may be blocked and a weight shot is required to open the head up to give the skip a better chance to see the jack and retrieve the situation.
Pace (weight)
The amount of force with which a bowl is delivered.This will vary with the particular shot that is required.
Pace of the green
How fast/slow the green is running or, nore precisely, the time it takes a bowl to travel 27m from the mat until it comes to rest beside the jack.
Pairs game
Two players, normally using four bowls, playing against another pair.
Plant
A shot that hits one bowl (primary bowl) into another (secondary bowl) with the specific purpose of using the secondary bowl to achieve your objective.
Promote a bowl
Common practice in which a weighted bowl is played on to one, or more, short bowls to 'promote' them into the head and/or onto the jack.
Push and rest (chop and lie)
Another carefully weighted shot to 'push' an opposition bowl out of the head and stop in its place.
Respotted jack
In certain games (e.g. in domestic tournaments.TV tournaments) when the jack is knocked out of the rink it is 'respotted' on a designated mark -normally I m in from the boundary line of the rink and 2m from the edge of the ditch. This 'respotting' is undertaken instead of replaying the end. It saves time and maintains continuity of play.
Rest this bowl
An instruction to play just over the draw to push gently on to a bowl and rest inside it.
Rink
The rectangular division of the green used for individual games.
Rink (fours)
A team of four players, playing with two bowls each - lead, second, third and skip.
Rub/Wick
Where a bowl comes into contact with the edge of another bowl and changes its line into/past the head.
Running shot
A bowl played with more weight or impetus than that required for a draw.
Scorer
Person who keeps the scoreboard(s) at the end of the rinks, or master scoreboards.
Second (Number 2)
The player who plays second in a rink (fours side) or triple.
Sets play
A match format largely involving singles play. Initiated for TV tournaments and now extended to other selected competitions.The outcome of the game is determined by playing 2 (or 3) sets of a designated number of ends. If, in the case of a 2-set contest, the score is I set all after the end of the second set, then a tie breaker end or tie breaker ends (3) is/are played to determine a winner.
Short bowl
A bowl that has not reached the head/jack.
Short jack
A jack that is delivered to a point that is at, or just oven the minimum distance permitted (23m).
Shot bowl
The bowl that is nearest to the jack.
Shoulder of the green
The point on the running line of a bowl where it begins to curve inwards towards its target.
Singles
A head to head game between one player and another - normally using four bowls.The format can either be 21 shots up or a sets game.
Skip
The motivator tactician and skilled player who commands his fellow players in pairs, triples and fours games. He is last to bowl and dictates the strategies for the games played.
Stance
The position adopted on the mat prior to delivery.
Strings
Used to define the boundaries of the rink.
Take out
A heavily weighted sh
ot played to remove an opponent's bowl from the head or green.
Third
This person plays third in a fours side (rink). He is deputy skip.
Tie breaker
An end, or ends, played in a sets match when the set scores are level. In the case of three tie break ends being played, the winner of each end scores one point only, irrespective of the number of shots he holds.
Tied end
This occurs when the closest bowls of each side are exactly the same distance from the jack at the completion of the end, e.g. both bowls touching the jack. In this event neither side scores a shot but the end is deemed to have been played and entered onto the scorecard as such.
Tight
Where a player has not taken enough grass/land/green and the line of delivery takes the bowl to a finishing position across the centre line of the rink.
Toucher
A bowl that has touched the jack during its course. It must touch the jack before the next bowl is delivered or, if it is the last bowl, before a period of 30 seconds has elapsed. Such bowls will be marked with chalk/white spray.
Toucher (in the ditch)
A toucher that ends up in the ditch is still a 'live' bowl as long as it is within the confines of the rink
Trail (the Jack)
Playing a bowl that'picks' up the jack and moves it to another position in the rink, A 'trail' shot normally implies that the jack stays largely with the bowl.
Triples
A team of three players who normally play with three bowls.
Umpire
The main official at any game, responsible for enforcing the Laws of the Sport.
Using the mat
Moving the mat to various positions up and down the centre line of the rink in order to lengthen/shorten the length of the jack.
Wrecked
A bowl that makes contact with another bowl and is stopped from fulfilling its objective.
Wrest out
A shot played with sufficient weight to displace another bowl and assume its position.
Wick
A delivery played with the intention of impacting on another bowl causing the delivered bowl to deviate to a desired position.
Wide bowl
A bowl played with too much grass/green/land, which finishes wide of its target.
Wood
A bowl. Long ago they were made of very hard wood.
Yard-on shot
A bowl played with sufficient weight to finish no more than 1 yard or metre past an object bowl or target.

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