Large sticker correctly placed on the bowl

Umpire with Joan Brotherton – Laws of the sport of bowls – rink possession and bowls stickers

by bqmedia

Q: A Player is on the mat and felt that the players not in possession of the rink were too close to the mat. What is the Law covering that?

A: Section 1.3 – Possession of the rink (page 28)

  • 12.   Position of players:
  • 12.1  In relation to the rink of play:
  • 12.1.1 Players at the mat-end of the rink who are not delivering a bowl must stand at least 1 metre behind the mat.

Important: Players on the mat shall be given every chance to play their bowls without interference and while they are in possession of the mat no other player should be within 1 metre of the mat.

Q: What happens at the head-end if they are members of the team not controlling play?

A: 12.1.2 Players at the head-end of the rink and who are not controlling play must stand:

  • 12.1.2.2 Behind the jack and away from the head if they are members of the team which is not in possession of the rink.
  • 12.1.2.3 On the surrounds of the green if the jack is in the ditch, or
  • 12.1.2.4 Well clear of the head if it is not possible to stand on the surrounds.


Q: Where do players of the team that are controlling the head stand?

A: 12.1.2.1 Behind the jack if they are members of the team which is in possession of the rink.

  • 12.1.3  As soon as a bowl is delivered, a player who is controlling play from a position that is either level with or in front of the jack, must take their position as described in Law 12.1.2.

Q: What is the situation regarding stickers (adhesive markings) on the bowls?

A: Law 52 – Bowls (pages 72, 73 and 74)

  • 52.1.8 The Controlling Body can supply adhesive (stick-on) markings for players to temporarily fix to both sides of their bowls or allow players to use their own markings. When these markings are used:
  • 52.1.8.1 They are part of the bowl for all purposes under the Laws of the Sport of Bowls.
  • 52.1.8.2 There must be only one layer of markings fixed to either side of the bowl.
  • 52.1.8.3 They must not be put over the serial number and the World Bowls Stamp which are present on the bias side of the bowls.
  • 52.1.8.4 All bowls belonging to players within a team or side must have these markings on them and the markings must all be the same design and colour. However, players may use markings which are different in size from those used by other players in their team or side where this is necessary due to differences in the sizes of either the manufacturers’ rings or the distinguishing marks on the bowls.
  • 52.1.8.5 If opposing teams or sides have the same design or colour of markings and an alternative is not available, players in the team or side listed second in the draw must remove their markings.

Also, Domestic Rule – 4.7.4 (page 120)
For Domestic play in Australia, adhesive (stick-on) markings (as permitted under Law 52.1.8) may cover the distinguishing mark on the bias side of the bowl.

Important to note: The adhesive markings must be properly affixed to each bowl. The surface of a bowl is smooth and does not have protruding surfaces. Only one adhesive sticker per side of a bowl is allowed at one time. For example, you must remove old stickers before placing new stickers on your bowls.

Small sticker incorrectly placed on the bowl as it is covering the serial number and part of the World Bowls stamp
Large sticker incorrectly placed on the bowl – is overlapping or protruding
Small sticker correctly placed on the bias side of the bowl