New Members Info

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So you have just joined and need guidance or what to do next. I hope to add answers to some common questions on this page.

You have just joined our coaching evening and have up to now been bowling with normal shoes, hopefully fairly flat.

The first item you should purchase is a pair of bowls shows. These are available between £20 to £50, depending on your fashion needs. These can be purchased online by searching or purchased in one of two locations in Swindon, see this page for links.

You cannot fully get the use out of the club without your own bowls. These will be your most expensive purchase so before deciding to purchase, please ask a coach for their recommendation on size and type. Remember all bowls are different and you need a set that could suit your early years of bowling.

If you are wishing to play in friendlies or league matches a club shirt is a necessity. These can be purchased on order from the club. Currently, you are looking at about £22, check when ordering.

Lastly, if you have all the above I recommend you purchase a good set of waterproofs. We play this game in the rain and keeping dry does help. Again search the web for a white waterproof jacket and trousers, or if you wish, we have a waterproof jacket in club colours that can be ordered and purchased from the club.

The only way to improve your game is to practice. You do this on coaching evenings with the help of the coaches and helpers. Why not come down and practice either on your own or organise a group? The green is open from 11:00 am until dusk.

You do not need to book a rink/session for roll-ups but you would be advised to check the calendar to see if any are available.

You are new to the club and just need to find your way around the running of the club. Any questions, just ask a member for help. We are a friendly club and all our members should be able to help you. If not they will point you in the direction of someone that can. Just ask or use the comments form at the bottom of this page.

The notice board on the end wall as you walk in will have contact details for any member along with other general information.

The club have an active games schedule. Starting with club internal competitions, Friendly games and league games.

If you are new to bowls and wish to get more involved I suggest you first try out our internal competitions, starting with our Friday night triples or pairs league. This is open to all members and is a great way to meet and make new friends plus learn the game in a friendly way.

When you think you are ready put your name down for weekend friendly matches. In these, you will bowl against outside clubs and is your chance to get fully involved in bowls. See the next item on putting your name down to play.

You have decided that you wish to play in a Friendly or League game, so what do I need to do?

To play in any of these matches you will need three things, bowls shoes, your own bowls, a club shirt and the right colour trousers or skirt.

Friendlies are usually white trousers etc and a club shirt. For men’s League matches are Grey trousers with a club shirt. Ladies’ matches are afternoon, in white trousers or skirts with club shirts and evening matches are played in greys with club shirts.

The first step in playing is to put your name down on one of the selection sheets found in various locations. The friendly book is found under the notice board in the main clubhouse room. The ladies book is to be found in the ladies changing room and the men’s book is in the men’s changing room.

These books contain all the upcoming matches to be played, the date, the venue, home or away and the time. The lower part of the form is where you add your name stating that you wish to play for that match. The teams are picked to play in that match in the week prior to the play date.

We cannot pick everyone for a game on every match but we try to ensure members get a fair chance. If you are new to the club you may need to have to introduce yourself the team captains, and selectors so they can put a face to the name.

Again any problems just ask someone.

You are now a member but please keep coming to coaching. Our coaching evening allows you to learn more about the game it also allows you to meet members who may be at the same stage of development as yourself. These allow you to arrange a group to go along for a roll-up on other days. We have had many a friendship formed with our coaching groups which carry over for years.

If you are not playing a game, why not come along and watch? The bar is open on Men’s league matches, friendly matches at week-ends and Friday evenings our club night. Introduce yourself and have a drink.

Our outdoor season finishes near the end of September but as a club, we continue throughout the winter. Every Wednesday evening we run various events in the clubhouse, this could be whist, a quiz, bingo or something else. Emails are circulated with details, so please come along and support the club.

Andy your coach organises two tours, one in September to usually a Warners Hotel with two or three games of bowls at locally located clubs. In December we have a Tour again to Warners but this time we play at indoor clubs. Have a word with Andy if you are interested in any of these.

Talking of indoor bowls Haydon Wick Bowls Club have a season indoors at Swindon Manor Indoor Bowls Club. Every Monday and Wednesday between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm we play as a group, again have a word with Andy if this interests you.


Etiquette is a code of behaviour whereby individuals treat one another the way they would like to be treated. Breaches of etiquette are sometimes wilful, and sometimes inadvertent. Particularly in the latter case, injured parties should avoid overreacting, or else a breach of etiquette more objectionable than the original could occur.

Etiquette is an important part of Bowls and all clubs and their members should not only practice it but inform new members what is proper and expected behaviour on the green and in the clubhouse. Thoughtfulness and common sense are the keys to etiquette.

Rules of etiquette for lawn bowling

Rules of etiquette for lawn bowling include (but are not limited to):

  1. Players and spectators at the head end should stand still and keep quiet.
  2. When it’s your team’s turn to bowl it’s your mat and head, your opponents should be away from both, if they are not ask them nicely to move.
  3. Wait for your skip to tell you which shot you should play, and keep up with the play at all times.
  4. There should be no trespassing into neighbouring rinks; this includes going to or from the clubhouse, moving to better see the jack, and particularly when walking from one end of your green to the other. Please be aware of others playing. If you are helping your teammate aim, do not infringe upon neighbouring rinks.
  5. Walk up the centre of the rink with minimum delay, if it is not your team’s turn to bowl DO NOT STOP TO CHAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RINK, IT’S NOT YOUR MAT OR HEAD.
  6. After bowling each bowl, step off the mat to the right. As you approach the mat to bowl, do so from the rear left. Though not essential, this is a useful habit of convenience to avoid collisions!
  7. Always show good sportsmanship by acknowledging a display of good skill by another bowler.
  8. Never applaud lucky shots, never complain about lucky shots, and admit a lucky shot with good grace. Do not say thanks for a bad shot that goes your way.
  9. Do not criticise the playing surface.
  10. Do not criticise the performance of colleagues. No one plays a bad bowl on purpose.
  11. Avoid delaying play by leaving the rink without the knowledge of the other players.
  12. Avoid interfering with the head until the results of the end have been agreed upon by the vices.
  13. If an Umpire is called, move away, and you’re done, his/her decision is final.
  14. Bowlers should shake hands at the end of a game.
  15. Be a gracious winner and a good loser
  16. The plinth area of the green is fragile and should be treated with care. This includes but is not limited to, wearing proper footwear, not dropping or tossing bowls on the green, and not spitting or pouring liquids (water, coffee, etc.) on the green.
  17. Punctuality for all games is a courtesy to the other players.
  18. While standing at the head end waiting for the player on the mat to bowl, stand between the markers so the bowler can see and use the markers to aim.
  19. Generally, the vice or skip at the head will signal the bowler on the mat the position of bowls in the head using hand signals denoting for and against.
  20. Bowlers not raking the bowls after an end should assist by kicking the bowls into an approximate line, thus making raking easier and faster.
  21. Players at the head end should be ready to stop deflected bowls from crossing into the adjacent rink and interfering with neighbouring games; likewise, be alert to prevent bowls from adjacent rinks from messing up your own head. Pay attention!
  22. No rules prohibit bowlers from running after their bowl (enthusiasm nor youthful fitness is discouraged) but you must try to arrive at the head before your bowl stops. Some clubs consider following your bowl up the green poor etiquette.
  23. One minute between the time when the opponent’s bowl stops and the next bowler delivers his/her bowl should be sufficient. When there is a clear violation, an umpire or club official who is notified should take action.
  24. All bowlers are urged to have chalk and a measuring tape when bowling so that bowls that touch the jack can be immediately marked and, if necessary at the finish of an end, measuring can be undertaken without delay.
  25. All bowlers should remember to clear the equipment from their rink after their game.

No laws governing a sport can cope with every situation. Unusual situations not covered can arise. The Laws of the Sport of Bowls have been drawn up in the spirit of true sportsmanship. Common sense should be used when unusual situations not covered by the Laws arise.

All lawn bowlers should familiarise themselves with “Laws of the Sport of Bowls Crystal Mark 3rd Edition, version 3.1”.


  1. Mat Placement: The first to play places the mat on the centre line at least 2 metres from the ditch and up to the hog line if desired.
  2. Foot Faulting:Before delivery a player must have one foot fully on the mat and at delivery all or part of one foot on or above the mat.
  3. Jack /Bowl Length: A jack must travel 23 metres to be legal while a bowl must travel 14 metres to be in play.
  4. Jack Delivery: If the jack is improperly delivered the opposition may reposition the mat and deliver the jack but not play first. If the jack is delivered improperly by both leads the jack is placed at the 2 metre mark and the first to play may reposition the mat.
  5. Touchers: Only the delivered bowl may be a toucher even if it deflects off other bowls before touching the jack.
  6. Position on Rink:Players at the mat end who are not delivering a bowl should stand at least 1 metre behind the mat. Players at the head end who are not controlling play should stand behind the jack.
  7. Playing Wrong Bowl: Replace with correct bowl
  8. Playing out of Turn: Opposition skip has choice: a)may stop the bowl, b) leave it and have two bowls played to restore proper sequence, c) reset disturbed head and restore proper sequence, d) leave disturbed head and play two bowls or e) declare dead end.
  9. Bowl & Jack Displacement: Numerous scenarios can arise. The opposition skip and skips have options. The options depend upon the cause and timing of the displacement.
  10. Rink Possession: Possession of the rink belongs to the player or team whose bowl is being played.
  11. Determining score: Bowls should not be moved until the number of shots has been agreed upon by the vice or skip.
  12. Objects on the green:No objects should be placed on the bank, the green or in the ditch to help a player.
  13. Game stoppage: If a game has been stop for a valid reason and all bowls have not been played, the end is declared dead.
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New Members Handbook

The handbook below can be printed and gives information useful to all new members joining.


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