Crown Green Bowls

Crown Green bowls…a short history of

The game of Crown Green Bowls originated in Lancashire and is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional lawn bowls. It is still most popular in the north of England and the West Midlands but is also played in North Wales, Scotland and Isle of Man and is spreading to other counties in England as well. In 1893 inter county matches started to take place but it was considered an amateur sport only and there was no prize money allowed. The British Crown Green Bowling Association was later founded in 1908. Crown Green Bowling teams are often affiliated to pubs and the county associations have in recent years increased from 10 – 16.


Is usually played as “singles” however bowlers may also participate in “doubles” and “pairs” games. This game has more dimensions than traditional lawn bowls due to the green on which the game is played. The green is square grass covered surface (approx 40 ft) with a slight raise in the middle usually (9 – 15 inches) (known as the “crown”). There is a ditch surrounding the green which is the borderline for play.

Crown Green bowls…the bowls, the jack and the kitty

As in lawn bowls, the bowls ball used in Crown Green Bowling has a bias which means that when rolled its travel is not necessarily straight depending on how the shot is played. Bowlers usually have bowls weighing between 2.4 – 2.14 pounds. The exact weight is a personal preference but they must ensure that it is over the minimum weight of 2 pounds. The jack is a small yellow or black ball with no bias and is the target for the bowls to be directed at for the game.

…the rules and reg’s

Crown green bowls varies to lawn bowls, the main difference being that play takes place in any direction on the green rather than in straight lines (known as rinks in lawn bowls). Because of this, multiple games will take place on the same green at the same time, often crossing other team’s game path.

To start the game, a footer is placed at the edge of the green and the jack is rolled anywhere on the green. When rolling the jack the player must have 1 foot placed on the footer and bowl with the same hand as the foot that is placed. The player then takes their first bowl aiming to get their bowl as close to the “jack” as possible.

In the more widely played “singles” game, each player has 2 bowls and rolls alternatively In “doubles” or “pairs” games one person from each side rolls both their bowls, followed by a person from the other side that does the same. Then the other 2 further players also bowl.

The winner of that game or “end” then places their footer within 1 metre of where the jack lay and rolls the jack out on the green again. This can again be in any direction but must not be within 1 metre of the edge of the green. If the jack is hit off the green by a bowl then the end is considered “dead”. The footer is then replaced 1 metre onto the green at the place where the jack was sent off and is rolled again. If a bowl is hit off then that bowl is considered “dead” and out of play.

As simultaneous games are played on a Crown bowls green there are rules if disturbance occurs during play. If a running bowl or Jack is likely to hit another bowl from another game, the running jack or ball should be stopped and returned for re-play If there is any accidental disturbance of a stationary bowl or jack then the jack is replaced where the jack originally lay. If the players can not agree where this was then the game is classed as dead.

…the shots

As in lawn bowls, bowlers playing Crown Green bowls have different techniques. Some people prefer playing over the raised level whilst others prefer the side alleys. The bowl has less bias when played against the slope of the green so some players opt to play using this dimension of the green rather than the “crown”.

Crown Green Bowls…the scoring

Measuring takes place as the end (game) is complete and points are awarded for any bowls closer to the jack than their opponents Crown Green bowls games usually play to 21 points.

To discuss Crown bowls visit the forum and realeted topics.

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