How is lawn bowls played
Lawn bowls is often considered a mix of ten-pin bowling and the winter sport of curling. While in ten-pin bowling, the goal is to take down all the pins at the end of a lane, in lawn bowling, the team has to get the ‘bowl’ (the ball) closest to a target, which is known as the ‘jack’.
Bowls are mostly spherical ball-like objects, typically made of wood, rubber or plastic resin, having flattened sides and a diameter between 112mm and 134mm. The bowls weigh up to 1.59kg and often have indentations on them to allow players better grip.
Players stand on either side of a 600mm long and 360mm wide mat and take turns rolling these bowls in an attempt to get closest to the jack. The jack is either white or yellow in colour and is smaller and lighter than the bowl.
In the fours event, the first bowler, called the lead, is followed by the second and the third. The last bowler is called the ‘skip’ and is the leader of the team. Each team member gets two bowls per round. After all eight bowlers have bowled twice, the teams switch sides.
At the end of each round, points are awarded to the team that has its bowls closest to the jack. Umpires use a device called box measure which uses a string to measure the distance between the jack and the bowls. In the fours event, each match ends after 15 rounds, with the winning team being the one with most points. If there is a tie between the two teams, they play extra rounds until a winner is declared.
Since its inaugural edition in 1930, lawn bowls has been a part of the Commonwealth Games. So far, England, Australia and South Africa have won the most medals in the game, having won 51, 50 and 44 medals respectively. Scotland has won 20 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games so far.
India has participated in lawn bowls events at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. The country’s previous best was at fourth place in the 2010 women’s triples lawn bowling event in Delhi and in the 2014 men’s fours event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
India has opportunities to win in the upcoming women’s triples and pairs, as well as the men’s fours lawn bowls events in this edition of the Commonwealth Games.
- India have never won a lawn bowls medal at the Commonwealth Games. However, the women’s fours team consisting of skipper Rupa Rani Tirkey, Lovely Choubey, Pinki and Nayanmoni Saikia managed to beat 2018 silver medallists South Africa 17-10 in a see-saw final and won the gold medal itself.