The Players' Roles in Team Games on the Bowling Green


In all team games it is the Skip's job to direct the play. Other players should play the shot directed by the Skip even if they don't agree with it. In a game with teams of four, known as Rinks, the 'third' should advise the Skip when required to do so. In Triples or Pairs the Second or Lead may do this. Other players should not interfere unless invited to do so.

Here is what the rule book says about players' roles.

The Skip

The Skip shall have sole charge of the team, and his / her instructions shall be observed by his / her players. With the opposing Skip, they shall decide all disputed points, and when both agree, their decision shall be final.

If both Skips cannot agree, the point in dispute shall be referred to, and considered by, an Umpire whose decision shall be final.

A Skip may at any time delegate his powers or any of his duties to other members of his team provided that such delegation is notified to the opposing Skip.

From the 2011 season the Skip will also keep the score card.

The Skip shall keep a record of all shots scored for and against his / her team and shall at all times retain possession of the score card whilst play is in progress. He / she shall see that the names of all the players are entered on the score card; shall compare their record of the game with that of the opposing Skip as each end is declared, and at the close of the game shall hand their score card to the team captain.

The Third

The third player may have deputed to him / her the duty of measuring any and all disputed shots.

The Second

This player used to keep the score card, but this will no longer be the case as from the 2011 season.

The Lead

The Lead shall place the mat and shall deliver the Jack ensuring that the Jack is properly centred before playing their first bowl.

In addition to the duties specified in the preceding clauses any player may undertake such duties as may be assigned to them by the Skip.

All Players.

It is also worth emphasising that the head must not be disturbed by any player until the shots have been finally agreed. When the Thirds or Skips are deciding the shots the other players should stand well back from the head and give them the space to do so.

During the game encourage your team mates, do not criticise them. Commend good shots and learn to accept that flukes are a part of the game. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes against.

Skips should also note that even when a poor bowl is delivered by one of his team members that some encouragement is needed. If you can’t think of something positive to say, say nothing. Also, be aware of body language, a skip turning their back after a bowl is delivered or shaking their head can be seen by the player, which can demoralise the bowler.

For more information it is recommended to buy a copy of Crowood Sports Guide to Bowls ISBN 978 1 86126 268 3 Available form Amazon at this link