Commonwealth Games 2022: What is Lawn Bowls? Rules and point system

A look into the rules and point system of Lawn Bowls, a sport that has featured in every Commonwealth Games since 1930.

Representative Image

Representative Image | Photo Credit: Getty Images

A look into the rules and point system of Lawn Bowls, a sport that has featured in every Commonwealth Games since 1930.

Lawn Bowls is one of the oldest sport in the Commonwealth Games,  and has featured in every edition since the inaugural edition in 1930. Though the sport may look mundane to the common eye, it has an intricate set of rules which make for a thrilling contest and viewing experience.

Rules

As the name suggests, Lawn Bowls is played on a green stretch of land. The sport is also know as Outdoor Bowls. The basic aim in Lawn Bowls is to roll a bowl towards the target, called ‘the Jack’.

It is played in four formats - singles, pairs, triples, and fours. Only two teams can compete in a single Lawn Bowls game.

A game starts with a team rolling ‘the Jack’ from one end towards the opposite end. The Jack must travel at least 23 metres. The point where it settles, is the ultimate target for the players for that end.

The teams then take turns to roll their bowls towards the target. The number of attempts per team from each end depends on the format. A team gets four attempts in the singles format. On the other hand, in the multi-player formats, a team gets two throws per player.

The scores are calculated when the total number of allocated throws are completed. This marks the completion of that particular end, or round, and the game moves on to the next end.

Point system

The rules of Lawn Bowls are simple. The team which manages to place its bowls closer to the target, also known as ‘the Jack’, wins the points. In the fours or four-player format, each team gets eight throws, or rolls, from one end. The match is completed after the teams have played from all 18 ends.

A team is awarded points for each bowl it places closer to ‘the Jack’ than its opponents closest bowl.

For example: If team A places two bowls closer to ‘the Jack’ than team B’s closest bowl, it will win two points for the end. If team A places three bowls closer to the target than team B’s closest bowl, it will earn three points.

The team with more points after 18 ends will win. Alternatively, teams can pre-decide the number ends or points that will be played in a match.For more details, you can visit the Laws on the World Bowls website - here

Equipment

A bowl used in Lawn Bowls weigh around 1.5 kgs. It is heavier on one side which allows a player to curl it.

The sport involves placing your team’s bowl closer to the yellow-coloured Jack, or the target, than the opponent.

The sport involves placing your team’s bowl closer to the yellow-coloured Jack, or the target, than the opponent. | Photo Credit: Bowls England/Twitter

Lawn Bowls at Commonwealth Games

Having regularly featured at the quadrennial event, the sport has enjoyed a rich history of competition. Scotland and England are the most successful nations in the sport at Commonwealth Games, winning 20 gold medals each.

In terms of total medals won, England stands first with 51 medals - 20 gold, 9 silver., 22 bronze.

More recently, Australia have dominated the competition. The country won five gold and two silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and was the best performer in the sport.

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