Playing Broken Rinks in Lawn Bowls

  • By: admin
  • Date: September 25, 2023

Social bowls is the very backbone of the sport. Every club wants as many players as possible to pay socially. But what happens if there is an uneven number of bowlers who put tabs in? Many bowlers don’t like playing broken rinks, but sometimes there is simply no other choice – short of someone sitting out the game, as some old stalwarts do if they feel it would make for a better social afternoon.

How to deal with broken rinks

Fours

If you are one player short for a game of fours, apportion the number of bowls played by each team in this:

  • SKIPS: Play two bowls each
  • THIRDS: Play two bowls each
  • SECONDS: The full team’s second plays with two bowls and the broken rink’s second plays with four bowls
  • LEADS: The full team’s lead plays with two bowls

Thus each team has played with eight bowls.

Scoring for a broken rink should be agreed by the skips at the start of play. Usually the broken rink team forfeits 25% of the team’s total score.

Triples (also called trips)

If you are one player short for triples deal with it this way:

  • SKIPS: Play three bowls each
  • SECONDS: The full team’s second plays with two bowls and the broken rink’s second plays with four bowls
  • LEADS: The full team’s second plays with two bowls

So each team has played seven bowls each.

As with fours, scoring for a broken rink should be agreed by the skips at the start of play. Usually the broken rink team forfeits 25% of the team’s total score.

What to do with three spare players?

If there are three players who can’t be fitted into another game, consider recommending that they play a game of 321 (3-2-1) against one another. (Full instructions for 321 here)

Playing 2-4-2 in lawn bowls

When playing pairs during a social afternoon’s play, it is sometimes good to play 2-4-2. This takes the pressure off a possibly inexperienced player having the sole responsibility of playing as skip in a pairs game.

The way the 242 format in lawn bowls works is as follows:

  • The leads play two bowls each
  • They then swap green sides with the skips, who play four bowls each
  • The leads then return to the mat to play their last two bowls
  • The next end starts with the skips playing two bowls each and then swapping green sides so the leads can play their four bowls
  • The skips then play their last two bowls

In this way the players play in both positions over two ends.

The only disadvantage is that the players play the same number of bowls up and down the green repeatedly.

To overcome this, the skips can decide at the outset of the game for the teams to swap sides halfway through the game so everyone plays evenly all over the green.