Team Play

A few things a New Bowler needs to know when  playing in a Team.

(Q) Where to deliver the Jack ???

(A)  In general the Skip will stand at the position they would like you to attempt to deliver the Jack to.

(Q) How far up is your Mat???

(A) What the Skip is asking approximately what is the distance between the 2 metre mark and the front edge of the mat.

Most times the Skip is trying to determine if the Jack is ‘up’ (is it the required
minimum of 23 metres from the front of the mat to the Jack)

Note!!!  When referring to the Mat it is always the front edge of the Mat.
That is the controlling factor,  i.e.  the edge closest to the far end of the rink.

Game Formats.


Each player always plays with 4 bowls .

Championship games:
Are won when the first player scores 21 points.

Handicap games:
Are played over 21 ends,  the player with the highest score is the winner.

This is normally played with 3 bowls per player. The leads’ play their 3 bowls then the skips’ play their 3 bowls.

As a Lead in Pairs you have some very important duties:

(a)    Delivering the Jack to the length the Skip requests

(b)   Measuring for shots when this is necessary

(c)    Putting the score on the boards in conjunction with the opposition lead.

(d)   Note that a lead has a very strong influence on the game by their ability to provide bowls close to the jack.

(e)   To Mark a bowl that has come into contact with the Jack during it’s delivery.

(Other Pairs Games Versions)

Four Bowl Pairs:
4 bowls per player, played as lead 4 and skip 4 bowls.

2-4-2 (Aussie Pairs):
Player 1 plays two bowls, Player 2 plays four bowls, then Player 1 plays
their last two bowls.
In this format on the first and all odd ends, Player 1 plays as lead
and Skip and player 2 plays  as second and third.
On the second and all even ends it is the reverse, Player 2 is lead
and Skip, Player 1 is second and third.


In Centre Events (Interclub, Centre Triples etc) each player plays with 2 bowls.
Lead plays 2, Second plays 2 and then Skip plays 2.

Our club Championship games are played in this format to mirror that played
in the Centre Champion of Champions in which our champion triples team
generally takes part.

In most of our club events (not Championship) and also the majority of
tournaments the games are played with 3 bowls per player.

In Triples the ability of the Lead to deliver the jack where the skip requires
and to deliver their bowls adjacent to that jack is very important to the
performance of the team.
The Measurer (can be the Lead if the Second is physically unable ) has the job to measure for shots when required (in conjunction with their opposition).
To Mark any bowl which contacts the Jack as part of it’s normal delivery.
The Measurer also needs to be able to either draw reasonably accurately  to the
head if for some reason the lead has been astray, or to play weighted shots to
move the head as requested by the skip.
As a Skip, you need to be able to direct the lead and measurer where you wish
them to attempt to play their bowls to. A skip needs to be able to draw or run as
required by the state of the head.


Always played with 2 bowls per player, Lead 2, Second 2, Third 2 and Skip 2.

As always the ability of the Lead to deliver the Jack and their Bowls adjacent to
the Jack is very important. The second needs to be able to draw accurately to
he head or other position defined by the Skip. On rare occasions the skip may
ask for  a weighted shot.

The Third again needs to be able to draw accurately to the head or position defined by the Skip, but must also be able to play weighted shots when asked for by the Skip. The Third must be able to read the head so that they may advise the skip what the head position is and suggest which shot to play.

The Skip, as always, needs to be able to do draw or run shots as the ‘head’
requires and must read the head and direct the earlier players to what type of shot they wish them to play.

NOTE!!  It should NOT be necessary for players to ask the Skip “whose bowl is that?”
before  playing their shot, if each player has been watching the game they should know which player delivered which bowl (opposition or own team).

If the Skip asks for a particular delivery, it is the players job to  attempt to play that shot the skip has asked for, NOT to say “I can see it better on the other hand”  or similar comment.

REMEMBER the Skip is attempting to build the head to obtain a positive result for his team and they can see the head more clearly from their closer and different position.