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With more and more bowlers choosing to play on carpet all year round, here are some competition ideas for indoor clubs to both entice new members and keep things fresh for your established players.


The benefits of this format are the chance to practice drawing and grouping plus there's no need for a marker as you can play with a 'wild jack' (non-centred).
Could also be played in teams.
For singles or pairs, players should use three or four bowls.
Each player shall play with 3 bowls.
Only bowls within a yard of the jack will score.
Shot bowl will score two points; all other bowls within a yard (from either player) will score one point each.
This can be played over 15, 18 or 21 ends or to a time limit.
If there is a tie on the last end, the player with the shot bowl shall win.


A singles or team game where points are awarded for the nearest four bowls to the jack.
The shot bowl receives four points, three for second, two for third and one for fourth. Whoever has the shot bowl in any end, bowls first on the following end.
In the event of two bowls being equi-distant from the jack both bowls score the higher value.
The winner is the player with the highest score after 15/ 18 ends or the first to reach a specified number of points (100)
If after all ends the scores are level, an extra end shall be played, the winner being the player to take the four points (shot bowl) on the extra end.
This format also works if you have an odd number of players, who can take turns to play each end.


Another singles competition, this time where each player has three bowls.
Three points are awarded for shot bowl, two for the second and one point for the third. Whoever has the shot bowl, plays first on the following end.
In the event of two bowls being equi-distant from the jack both bowls score the higher value.
The winner is the first to reach a specified number of points.
This could be a knockout basis or played as a round-robin throughout the season.


There are two players on each team; each plays their four bowls with players taking turns playing lead and skip and changing positions every four ends.


Played in pairs, triples or fours, a side can only achieve one point if they score three shots on any given end. The team with the most points after 18 ends or two hours wins.


A chance for players to improve their tactical decision making, two jacks is a good alternative game for bowlers of all standards.
Each lead rolls a jack, which are placed 1m either side of the centre spot.
The normal score system is used and begins from either jack. This first jack is then removed, without disturbing any other bowl in the process.
The same happens for the second jack and both scores are recorded on the cards.
Add another element by awarding an extra shot for each toucher scored.


A singles game without having to trouble your pal to act as a marker. Played in a sets format to keep it short and sweet. Play to where the jack finishes. If you really want to shake things up, use two rinks per match.


A popular format in the Southern Hemisphere, Aussie Pairs allows all players to experience the skipping position plus gives people practice at reading different heads.
With four bowls each, the first end sees both leads play two bowls, followed by the skips playing all four bowls each before the leads play their remaining two bowls.
On the second end the order of play is reversed.
This continues throughout the game.
The number of ends played can be varied according to what fits in the timeframe.


How good are your jack casting skills? Singles players, or teams, bowl all their bowls and the jack is thrown last.
Normal scoring applies.


Another popular Australian format, power play sees teams able to nominate one power play end per set of seven ends.
In this end the team making the nomination is able to double its score.
A three-end tie break is played if required, where a power play can be used once by each team. Shots count rather than ends won.

Sian Honnor.

We'd love to know what bowls means to you, get in touch at info@eiba.co.uk

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May 2024

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