Etiquette and the game of bowls
Bowls Victoria’s John Roberts explains bowls etiquette.
By John Roberts (Bowls Victoria)
Older members of our current bowls clubs will often speak about bowls etiquette and a part of any induction for any new bowlers was to learn about etiquette as well as the laws of the sport.
There may have even been a little book to read. Etiquette is different from the Laws of the Sport.
So, what is bowls etiquette?
According to J. P. Munro, a well-known lawn bowls historian. “It is those little acts that help make our game such a wonderful creator of sociability and friendship.”
Friendly and sporting acts towards your teammates and your opponents should be appreciated and reciprocated. We should all approach our bowls with enthusiasm, friendliness, good company and tolerance.
Etiquette is relevant to attire, politeness and general behaviour and adds to the feel of the game.
Tips for good etiquette:
• Be punctual and always welcome visitors.
• Be polite and friendly to your opponents including not using offensive language.
• Introduce each other at the start of play.
• Respect the laws of the game and the role of the umpire.
• Do nothing to distract the bowler on the mat and make sure you are not standing in front of the view of the boundary pegs.
• Do not move at either end of the rink where it may distract the player on the mat.
• Watch your bowl until it stops and learns from the shot.
• Concentrate on the game and the state of play.
• Commend your teammates, and your opponents, when they play a good shot.
• Admit a fluke shot when you play one and remember it when your opponent gets one later in the game. Team members should not clap a “lucky” bowl – remember it’s a poor bowl with a great result.
• Remain behind the mat and within the confines of the rink and walk up the green, after the player has left the mat and in a direction that allows the player to see the path of their bowl.
• Excuses for bad play should not be blamed on the condition of the green, wind or other weather conditions. These conditions are the same for all players.
• Keep silent while others are delivering their bowls and remain outside their gaze.
• Mobile phones (unless for emergencies) should be in your bowls bag turned off or on silent.
• If music is playing it should not impact on how the game is progressing.
• Not leaving the green and your opponent to have a cigarette.
• Offer refreshments at the end of your game.
• Remember that you get out of the game what you are prepared to put into it.