Sometimes you hear a player say to another player at the other side of the green: “Good. You have cut down”. But what does this mean?
The value of cutting down
“Cutting down” in lawn bowls means playing a good bowl that reduces the number of shots the opponent is lying without actually drawing the shot.
Let’s say your team is lying four shots, meaning that the four bowls closest to the jack at that stage are bowls belonging to your team members.
Then, let’s assume that the opponent skip plays her last bowl and manages to make her bowl the third shot, leaving two of your team’s bowls lying shot. The skip has therefore “cut down” her opponent’s shot count from four to two, because your team now gets only two points rather than four.
That might not seem like a great achievement, but bear in mind that most games are won by only a handful of points, so every shot counts.
In the photo above, a player with red bowls has managed to cut down the score of the team that has blue bowls from three to one. The blue bowl team is now figuring out how to draw another shot.
Skips cutting down
A skip cannot always draw the shot or change the head in such a way that her team will by lying shot when the end is completed. But there are always opportunity to “lessen the damage” by cutting down the current situation. A skip who is constantly aware of this always tries her best to cut down if she cannot actually draw the shot.
Indeed, I would argue that cutting down is an important part of what a skip does. That said, any team member who reduces the number of lying bowls of the opposition is in fact cutting down, taking the pressure off her teammates to achieve the shot when they come to playing their bowls.