Crewkerne Bowling Club

Player’s Roles

Player’s roles in games of four, sometimes referred to as rinks.


The position of lead is vital to the team’s success. The ability to draw a shot is of the utmost importance and will have a great influence on the outcome of the game.

What are the duties of the lead?

If the team has the mat:

  • Place the mat ensuring that it is straight and centred. Your skip will tell you if any adjustment is necessary.

  • Deliver the jack to the distance determined by the skip or the lead.

  • Give the skip adequate direction to allow the jack to be centred.

  • Deliver the first bowl.


If the team does not have the mat:

  • Be ready with the pusher to gather the bowls as soon as the score has been agreed by the number threes of both teams. Do not attempt to do this before the teams have agreed as the head may be accidentally disturbed.

  • Ensure that all the bowls are gathered and deposited in a safe manner.


Q and As

Where can you place the mat?
The mat is placed on the centre line with it’s front edge no less than 2 metres from the rear ditch or 25 metres from the front ditch. There are markers on the sides of the green showing these measurements.

What is the minimum length a jack must be delivered?
The jack must travel a minimum of 23 metres from the front of the mat.

What happens if the lead rolls the jack into the ditch, or out of the rink or doesn’t cover 23 metres?
The jack will be returned and the opposing team will deliver it. They then have the option of moving the mat. Play will then resume as usual with the original lead delivering the first bowl.

What happens if the jack rolls into the ditch, or out of the rink or doesn’t cover 23 metres for a second time?
The skips will position the jack 2 metres from the front ditch using the 2 metre rod. Play will then resume as mentioned above.


Number two’s role under the skip’s direction is to consolidate a good position or salvage a bad one. The number two’s skill set differs from the lead’s as they must be able to draw shots as well as vary length and line.

What are the duties of number two?

  • The skip may ask you to keep the score card.

  • If playing at home you will be responsible for updating the scoreboard.


They must be able to play a variety of shots as they will face every conceivable situation when they come to the mat. They must be good communicators and work closely with their skips.

What are the duties of number three?

  • Advise the skip when the head changes or when they ask for advice.

  • Remove dead bowls from the rink.

  • Chalk the skips touchers.

  • Place markers on the bank when a jack or toucher bowl enters the ditch.

  • Measure the head.

  • Inform the skip of the score after agreeing it with the opposing number 3.

Q and As

Should any other team members visit the head?
No, it is the sole responsibility of the number 3 to visit the head and advise the skip.

Should other team members assist with measuring and determining the outcome of the end?
No, other team members should concentrate on their own roles and stay back from the head whilst the number 3s are deciding who has won the end and what the score is.

How do you measure between a jack in the ditch and a bowl on the green?
The measuring string is reversed with the pointed end placed against the jack and the point of the casing placed against the bowl.

What happens if a jack hits the wall of the ditch and bounces back on to the green.
The jack stays where it has come to rest on the green and play continues.

What is a dead end?
An end is declared dead if the Jack has been hit by another Bowl beyond the boundaries of the rink. A dead end is usually replayed unless the skips decide not to replay it or the written tournament rules designate that it is not be replayed.

What is 3s up?
In some competitions the number 3 will accompany the skip whilst the other players are bowling. The advantage of this is that they can see how the game is progressing and working closely with their skip they can discuss shots and learn how to develop the head.


The skip must have good leadership qualities, it is their job to give purposeful direction, motivate and encourage the team and ensure that a high morale is maintained. They must be able to read the head and give clear instructions to their team on how they would like the game to progress.

What are the duties of the skip?

  • Assist with aligning the jack.

  • Determine whether the jack has reached the required distance from the mat.

  • Give directions to their team members throughout the game.

  • Remove dead bowls from the rink.

  • Chalk touchers.

Q and As

Can team members question directions given by the skip?

Yes but the skips decision is final.

Player’s roles in triples.

These are the same as fours except number 2 takes the place of number 3 in fours and the skip would keep the score card.

General observations.

In order to ensure that the mat is placed centrally it is advised that the lead turns around and faces the the rink number at the end from which they are bowling.

To ensure that the game progresses smoothly be ready with your bowl when it is your turn.

Take your time on the mat, you do not have to vacate it until your bowl comes to rest.

When a bowl is delivered one of your feet must be on or over the mat as the bowl leaves your hand.

Stand at least a metre behind the jack if you are not bowling.