Crown Green Bowls


To get your bowls nearer the jack than your opponent. You score one point for each bowl nearer the jack.


Bowls (also known as ‘Woods’)

Two per person.

Bowls come in different weights and sizes.

They have a bias (also known as a ‘peg’) which determines the direction in which the bowl will travel. You can roll (deliver) a bowl with the bias (Thumb) or against the bias (Finger). Thumb bowls curve to the right, Finger bowls curve to the left. Note: if you are a left-handed bowler, this will be reversed. The bowl usually has an indent or dimple allowing the player to identify the bias or Thumb side.

Four black bowls surrounding a yellow jack which is smaller than the others

The Jack

A smaller bowl which is sent first and is the target. Often yellow but can be white or sometimes black. The jack also has a bias. The player delivering the jack must declare whether they are bowling Thumb or Finger.

The Mat

To ensure the jack and bowls are sent from the same spot, you must place one foot on a mat and keep it there until the jack or bowl has left your hand.

A small, round, purple plastic mat with a   yellow jack sitting on it


A full game comprises a number of ends. An end is where the jack is rolled first. The player sending the jack can choose to send it wherever they like on the green. Players then take it in turns to roll each of their bowls towards the jack, starting with the player who delivered the jack. An end finishes when all bowls have been delivered. Players decide whose and how many of their bowls are nearer the jack. The winner delivers the jack at the start of the next end.

Games are usually held between two people with the winner being the first person to reach 21 points. Ends are played until someone wins. Other options are a set number of ends with the winner being the one with the most points, or doubles matches.


At the start of the game the Leader places the Footer at least one metre from the edge of the green (but no more than two metres).

A player’s foot must be placed on the footer when delivering either the jack or a bowl. A player placing the right foot on the footer must play the jack and bowls with the right hand, the same applies to the left hand/foot. A player must bowl with the same hand throughout the game.

The player must allow the opponent to see (or tell them) the bias of the bowl being delivered (finger or thumb) and of watching its course clearly from a point near the footer.

The Leader must send the jack at least 19 metres. This is called setting a Mark.

A player may retain possession of the footer until the bowl has ceased running.

If you wish to follow up your bowl whilst it is running, you should do so without obstructing your opponent’s view. Always keep clear of the line of play to avoid distracting your opponent.

Objection to the length of a mark set by the Leader can only be made after the first bowl has come to rest. Only the opponent can object to the mark and they must object clearly.

If, after a measure has been taken, a mark has failed to be set then the opponent attempts to set a mark.

The winner of each end will count one point for each bowl nearer to the jack than the nearest bowl of the opponent. The result of the end shall be clearly indicated, by the winner, to the two markers.

After each end is concluded, the footer shall be placed at the jack by the last player. The footer may only be repositioned by the leader of the next end and before the first attempt of set a mark, anywhere within a space of one metre from where the jack lay but at least one metre from the edge of the green. The footer must not be moved after the first attempt to set a mark by either the leader or the opponent until the end is concluded.

You can download the full Laws Of The Game: Laws Of The Game


At the beginning of the game, players should introduce themselves with a handshake and state their name.

Find your markers and make sure they know who you are. Markers should make themselves known to each other. Players and markers should be aware of the score required to win the game.

Markers should agree when the score is to be checked during the game. This is normally after three or four games. Markers should resist the temptation to call the scores across the green.

If you intend to strike at any time during an end, you must warn your opponent and take every precaution to prevent injury to any party located within the ‘danger area’. Safety is your responsibility.

Do not remove any jack or bowls claimed to count without agreeing with your opponent.

If measures are required, stand away and let the measurers get on with it.

Signal your score to the markers only when conceded by your opponent.

Accept defeat gracefully and always offer congratulations to the winner.

It is customary to offer your opponent a drink at the conclusion of the game.


Flat-soled, closed shoes are required. Hard block-heeled or open-toed footwear is not allowed.

For social bowling, there are no uniform requirements.

For competitive bowling, members usually wear a polo shirt with a club logo and trousers, colours chosen by the club.

County bowlers abide by the uniform requirements set down by each county.


British Crown Green Bowling Association

For Equipment:


Mersey Snooker