Centring the Jack in Lawn Bowls

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: August 1, 2023

Smooth and accurate delivery of the jack by the lead is important. The skip would like the jack to come to rest exactly where she stands. And proper delivery and centring of the jack improve the rhythm of play.

What if the otherwise correctly delivered jack comes to rest off the centre line of the rink?

In this case the skip centres the jack by moving it straight across – at right angles to the centre line – and places it on the centre line.

Does “move across” mean moving the jack along the ground?

Not necessarily. The jack may be picked up by the Marker or skip and placed on the centre line.

If the jack is centred by a skip by not taking it “straight
across”, but nearer or further from the mat?

This is an infringement giving the opposing skip the right to ask his lead to relay the mat, if he so desires, and deliver the jack anew.

What if the delivered jack comes to rest slightly less than 23m from the mat as judged by the skip. He moves the jack forward to within bounds and centres it there. If skip B does not query the infringement, what should be

If the Umpire notices the infringement before each team has played one bowl, he must intervene in compliance with the Laws of Bowls and enforce it.

How to deal with a short jack

We had this question from a bowler: What happens if the mat is laid right back with its front edge 2m from the rear ditch. The jack is delivered and, when centred, its distance from the mat was queried?

Sighting over the coloured pegs the jack was about 0,25m short of the pegs and considered too short. A measurement was requested and the jack was found to be well over 23m from the mat.


The coloured pegs referred to here are 25,5m from the rear ditch so, that with the mat laid with the front edge 2m from the rear ditch, a jack delivered to within 1⁄2m short of the pegs is still in play. (The coloured pegs are there to indicate the farthest point to which the mat may be taken up.)

When do you ask for a long measure?

If the player or marker is of opinion that the centred jack is less than 23m from the mat, how should he act?


The players or the marker must call the Umpire to measure.

When the jack is delivered into the ditch and is then centred 2m from the front ditch, what should be done?

If the opposing skip does not claim his right then the Umpire must intervene before each team has played one bowl.

If, after each lead has delivered a bowl it is noticed that the jack, which had not been moved, was centred incorrectly, what should happen?

In this instance the distance of the jack from the mat could no longer be queried and the error is condoned. Play continues with the condoned jack.

What do you do if the condoned jack is legitimately moved after each lead has played a bowl and the distance of the jack from the mat is queried?

You measure from the nearest point of the mat to the condoned jack even if the incorrectly laid mat was condoned.