Information For New Members


Over time there are various pieces of equipment you may need. However, a beginner will really only need shoes, bowls and a bag, all of which can be acquired second-hand (although you may prefer new shoes).


Bowls shoes should have a completely smooth sole with no tread pattern. However, there are some newer types that have one or two grooves to reduce slipping on a wet green, while retaining a predominately smooth sole. Shoes are available from bowls shops, a few sports shops, and or course on-line. Existing club members may recommend particular makes and types.


Bowls come in a range of sizes, generally from 00 to size 5. The difference in diameter from one size to the next is just 1.5-2.0mm so the increase is quite small. As each size increases so does the weight by 50-70 grams. 

The bowl needs to be comfortable in your hand. Too large and it may slip while you are bowling. However a bowl that is smaller than needed has disadvantages as it doesn’t roll as well, and is very easily knocked out by other players’ larger bowls. We therefore recommend that you try different bowls from the club, and any you can borrow, before buying your own set. Secondhand bowls can be just as good as new, and much cheaper.

Different makes and model of bowl have different bias, which changes how they curve. Some have a very narrow curve and so run fairly straight, some finish their roll with quite a tight curve allowing them to go around and behind other bowls on the green. It is worth watching other players, and understanding the differences before paying for more expensive bowls.

Sometimes you may find two or three bowls sold together. However, we recommend that you only buy a full set of four.

Bowls carriers and bags

A bowls carrier is a lightweight ‘sling’ that can be used to carry your bowls safely on and off of the green. It is low cost ( £10-£15) and very useful.

There are many different bags on the market to carry your bowls and varying amounts of equipment. Many have compartments to keep the bowls protected. However, you can also buy padded bowls carriers which you can then put in any holdall or small wheelie suitcase. At some clubs there can be quite a walk from the car park to the clubhouse, and so wheelie bags are often preferred.

Chalk and measures

Chalk is used to mark ‘touchers’ (bowls that have struck the jack). You can use traditional chalk, but it can scratch the bowls if it has impurities. Many players now use spray chalk as it is easier to apply and does not cause damage. It is not essential that beginners have their own chalk.

A bowls measure is used to help determine the closest bowls to the Jack. While it is needed in most games, there will usually be someone who already has one that can be used, so it is not essential for a beginner.

Bridport ‘Sale Rail’

Both changing rooms have a ‘sale rail’ containing items of ‘pre-loved’ clothing and equipment donated by other members. These items are VERY competitively priced, with all proceeds going to the club. You will often find, coats, trousers, shoes, waterproofs and bowls bags available.


At Bridport Bowls Club the ‘dress code’ for club mornings and club evenings is casual, so the only special clothing you need is bowls shoes.

Most other games are played in club shirts and either white or grey trousers depending on the type of match.  Shorts may be worn but should meet Bowls England guidelines which are either knee length, or ¾ length. Ask the club captain’s or other members if you would like advice.

For all games against other clubs (friendlies, leagues, competitions etc.), members must wear the ‘new’ Bridport Bowls Club shirts which have blue panels either side of the chest. The only exception to this is that new members in their first year may wear plain white shirts for friendlies.

New and pre-loved shirts are available from the club.

Helpful hint!  Some white clothing can become partly transparent especially when stretched when bending over. To protect your modesty it is therefore best to wear white underwear with white clothing!

While the sun usually shines and we have fabulous weather in Bridport, just occasionally it can be chilly or even a little damp. White pullovers, thin and thicker white coats and fleeces, and waterproofs are useful additions to the kit bag.

Finally, due to our sunny disposition, hats and sun cream are extremely useful. Remember you may be standing outside for over two hours, and even on a hazy day the sun can be quite strong.

Where to find information

Most of what you need to know can be found on a noticeboard… somewhere!  We do not deny that there are quite a number of noticeboards, all with different information and it can be quite confusing until you get used to them.  Please do therefore ask other members for help. Everyone at the club will offer help and advice, and as a new member you should also have a ‘mentor’ who can be your first port of call.

The general rule regarding the changing room noticeboards is that county, national, and special games and championships for each gender are at the backs of the each of the changing rooms. Then there may be information about the club’s internal championships and other games. Then nearer the front are selection sheets for league games.

In the main club room, to the left of the kitchen hatch are selection sheets and notices for friendlies and all mixed games.  To the right of the kitchen hatch are committee and other general club notices.  To the right of the bar hatch you will find the catering rota, and in the winter the shortmat notices.

Most notices also appear in the members area of the website. However, these are primarily copies of the notices in the clubhouse, and only appear after they are posted in the clubhouse. If team selections or other forms are changed in the clubhouse (for example someone drops out), the website copy is unlikely to be updated. At all times the clubhouse copy should be considered the master.

Website and Members Area

The club website can be found at

There are two parts to the website – the public pages that anyone can see, and the private members area containing documents that only registered members can see.

To gain access to the members area, first go to the ‘Members Area’ option on the menu. You will see fields asking for your username and password. Beneath these is a button labelled ‘Register’. Click this and complete the form.

To keep this area only accessible by members, each registration has to be authorised. This may take up to 24 hours. Once it is authorised you will receive an email confirming you can login. Please note that this email may get caught in anti-spam filters, so please do check your spam/junk folders.

Once you can login you will be presented with a page with a list of categories for the various documents available. The categories roughly replicate the club noticeboards.

Please note that documents are generally only added after they have been put on a noticeboard in the clubhouse, and are NOT updated as the paper copies change. The website can be very useful for checking whether you have been selected for a game, but you will still need to tick the paper copy in the clubhouse.

Members telephone numbers are available in the ‘Other Documents’ section.

Types of game/event at Bridport Bowls Club

The range of games available to members changes throughout the season, so not all may be available at all times.

Rollup (practice session)

You may practice anytime from 10:30am to dusk if there is a rink free. Rinks can not be pre-booked for rollups. Dress code – casual.

Club Sessions

At the time of writing this there are club sessions available on Tuesday evenings (6:15 for 6:30 start), and Wednesday mornings (10:15 for 10:30). All are casual dress.  There is no need to pre-book or put your name down in advance for any club session.


Any club member may put their name down on the selection sheets (left of kitchen hatch) for any friendly. Some are home, some away. Most are in afternoons, although occasionally there may be an evening or morning game. Some may be local teams, and some are against teams from elsewhere in the country who are visiting Dorset (Touring Teams).

After you put your name down for a game you need to check the board periodically to see if you are selected. If you are, then you need to put a tick against your name to show that you have seen the selection and can play. If you cannot play you should put a cross against your name and phone the person indicated as Captain for that game.

On the day you should arrive for home games with all your clothing/equipment at least 30 minutes before the start of the game. You will need to pay a rink fee which will have been shown on the selection sheet and is usually £3.00.

For away games the se4lection sheet will show drivers and passengers. Passengers must phone their nominated drivers to arrange a pick-up location and time.  You may need to travel to a convenient location to be picked up. For example anyone living in a surrounding village may need to travel into Bridport to be picked up.

Club Championships

There are a whole range of club knockout championships for men, ladies and mixed. These include singles, pairs and triples knockout championships. Entries are usually required in March/April, and the draw is made in April/May. Each round has a ‘play by’ date, and those reaching the final play on Finals Weekend in September.  There are also a couple of championships where the qualifying rounds happen on specific days (mixed pairs, single sets etc.).

Club Leagues

The club organises a couple of leagues that run over a number of weeks. There is an Australian Pairs league where teams of two play every other team in their league over the course of three months, but at times to suit themselves. This uses a format known as ‘Australian Pairs’ where the players alternation between ‘lead’ and ‘skip’.

There is also a drawn triples league which takes place from mid July for 7 weeks.

One day events

There are a number of one day events, some competitive and some fun based. See the fixture list for dates. All are open to all playing members. The events include (but not limited to) Captains Charity Day, Presidents Day, Ivy Trophy, Men versus Ladies, Captains Day and others.

County Leagues

At the moment the men and ladies play in separate leagues, with both playing in leagues run by Bowls Dorset and leagues run by South Dorset Bowls Association. There are also two leagues for over 60s.


  • Mondays – Edna Paisley Over 60s league
  • Tuesdays – Bowls Dorset league
  • Fridays – South Dorset Bowls Association league


  • Mondays – Bowls Dorset league
  • Tuesdays – Percy Baker over 60s league
  • Fridays – South Dorset Bowls Association league

County and National

The club also enters teams, and some members enter individually, for other County and National championships

Being a member of Bridport Bowling Club

Bridport Bowling Club is a club owned by and run by its members. That means we all have responsibilities and need to help run the club. It is by everyone doing their bit that the club runs efficiently, and minimises the load on a few individuals. It also makes membership of the club much more enjoyable for everyone.

The basic ‘rules’ are –

  • If something needs doing, do it yourself if you can or tell someone if not
  • If you hear of something that needs doing offer to lend a hand
  • If you have a special skill (even weeding, pruning roses etc), let someone know
  • Ensure you take your turn at the jobs we all need to help with (working parties, refreshment rota etc.)
  • If you have a concern/problem/worry/complaint TALK TO SOMEONE. Nothing is ever resolved by keeping quiet
  • If you are not sure – ASK

Refreshment rota

At many games we provide teas/coffees, biscuits and the bar ourselves. There is a rota for this with several members helping on each occasion. It is a condition of membership that everyone takes a fair and equal share of this.

Working parties

We occasionally have working parties for jobs in and outside the clubhouse. Please make sure you help whenever you can.

Management Committee

The club has a management committee who are tasked with the day to day management of the club’s affairs. However, they represent the members, and should always make decisions in the best interests of the majority of members.

The members of the management committee are listed on the noticeboard to the right of the kitchen hatch and on the website.

If you have anything you would like the management committee to discuss, please raise it with the club secretary. If you feel that something you have raised has not been properly dealt with or considered please put details in writing to the club president.

Useful Contacts

Club PresidentPaul Tibble01308 424669
Club SecretaryJim Greenfield07770 947908
Keys to gate and clubhousePhillip Wilson01308 423240
Club Shirts (Men’s)                    Brian Rumble01308 424108
Club Shirts (Ladies)                   Laura Taylor01308 420732
Locker Keys (Men’s)Bob Taylor01308 420732
Locker Keys (Ladies)Rosemary Brooks01308 427814

Rules of Bowls

We play bowls to the ‘Laws of the sport of bowls’ laid down by the World Bowls organisation. These laws (rules) can be found at


When the green is closed in the winter the club runs an indoor ‘Short mat’ bowls championship in the clubhouse. Speak to the shortmat chair (name on noticeboard to the right of the kitchen hatch) for more information.

Bowls terminology


For a right-handed player, the bowl is delivered so that the curve of the bowl is from left to right as it moves towards the jack.


That which is inbuilt into the bowl and causes the bowl to travel in a curve.

Block or stopper

A bowl delivered with the correct pace to stop short of the objective, in the hope that it will prevent an opponent being able to play a certain shot.


Usually a set of four identical bowls, manufactured under strictly controlled specifications.

Dead bowl

Either a bowl which comes to rest in the ditch or is knocked into the ditch and is not a toucher, or a bowl that comes to rest outside the confines of the rink, either in its course or by being knocked there.

Dead end

An end which is considered not to have been played and so no score is recorded. It can happen as a result of the jack being driven out of the confines of the playing area.


The moment at which the bowl leaves the hand.


The depression that surrounds the green. Its edge marks the boundary of the playing surface. Measurements of the ditch need to conform to the laws of the game.


The sequence of play, beginning with the placing of the mat and ending with the coming to rest of the last player’s bowl, after all have delivered their bowls in the same direction.

Fast green

Usually a dry and closely cut surface which offers little resistance to the progress of the bowl.

Fire or drive

A shot where the bowl is delivered at a very fast pace.

Foot fault

When the rear foot is not completely on or above the mat at the moment of delivery. The player could incur a penalty.


For a right-handed player, the bowl is delivered so that the curve of the bowl is from right to left as it travels towards the jack.


The total playing surface, the measurements of which are laid down in the rules.


The jack and as many bowls as have been played at any stage of any end. Bowls in the head may be on the rink or in the ditch.

Heavy bowl

Where a bowl has been delivered with too much pace and will end beyond its objective.


The round white or yellow ball towards which play is directed. The size of the jack must conform to the rules.

Jack-High bowl

A bowl which, when it comes to rest, is at the same distance from the mat as is the jack.


The player who lays the mat, rolls the jack, and delivers the first bowl in an end. He may sometimes toss the coin at the beginning of the game to determine which team has the right to start play.

Live bowl

Any bowl that comes to rest within the confines of the rink and is acceptable under the conditions laid down by the laws of the game, or any toucher in the ditch.

Long jack

A jack that is the greatest distance allowed from the front edge of the mat, or is close to this limit.

Marking or chalking a bowl

To mark a toucher with chalk


A person who undertakes to see that a game of singles is played according to the rules. He marks all touchers, centres the jack, measures, and keeps the score. During the playing of an end, the marker should not to talk to the players unless asked a direct question.


The mat from which a bowler must make his delivery (the size is laid down in the rules).


A device used to determine which bowl is nearest the jack.


The process of determining which bowl is nearest the jack.

Narrow shot

Where a player has not allowed enough green or land. But this shot can sometimes be played intentionally.

Pace of the green

See fast green and slow green.

Pace or weight

The amount of force with which the bowl is delivered to execute a particular shot.


Two players against two.


The rectangular area of the green on which one set of players play their game.

Rink of players or fours

A group of four players against four, each bowling two bowls for a period of twenty-one ends. Their positions in order of play: lead, second, third and skip.

Rub off

A bowl that, during its running course, comes into light contact with another, which can affect the line of direction.


The person, in a match between teams or sides, who is responsible for keeping the current scores on the master score-board.

Second bowl

The bowl which finishes closest to the jack, other than the shot bowl.

Second or number two

The player who plays after the lead in a game of fours or triples. He marks the score-card and keeps the score-board up to date.

Short bowl

A bowl that has not been delivered with sufficient pace to reach its objective.

Short jack

A jack that is at the shortest distance allowed from the front edge of the mat, or close to this limit.


The bowl that finishes nearest to the jack at any stage of play.


One player against one player, usually each using four bowls.


The captain of a game of fours, triples or pairs. He is last to bowl and is responsible for dictating the tactics of the game.

Slow or heavy green

Where the surface offers some greater resistance to the progress of the bowl.


The position adopted by the bowler on the mat, prior to delivery.

Taking green

On forehand or backhand, the bowler bowls to the side so that his bowl will curve and come to rest as near as possible to the point he desires. The further out, the more ‘green’.


A position in a game of fours. He will deputize for his skip in certain circumstances, and could be responsible for measuring.

Tied end

When the nearest bowls of both sides are exactly the same distance from the jack at the completion of the end (e.g. when both have a bowl actually touching the jack). Neither side scores but it is a completed end and is entered on the scorecard.


A bowl which during its course has touched the jack. If this bowl goes into the ditch (immediately, or is later knocked in) it remains ‘live’.


Three players against three.


The person with total overall authority during a game to enforce the laws of the game.

Wick off

A bowl that is travelling at a certain pace which comes into an angled contact with another bowl, thus causing the course of the moving bowl to be altered.