What is a dead end in lawn bowls?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 8, 2023

An end is declared dead when the jack (the white target ball) is moved outside the lines of the rink on the green. In competitions a dead end must start over, meaning that all the bowls already bowled go back to the mat. The lead re-delivers the jack and play starts again.

What happens with a dead end in bowls?

One of two things then happens: 1) The end is replayed from the side of the green as agreed on by the skips; or 2) The jack is placed on the two-metre mark (2 metres from the ditch) and play resumes. The Rules of Play for the competition in question should state if dead ends (also called burnt ends) should be replayed or spotted (placed on the two metre mark).

What’s the difference between a dead end and a burned or burnt end?

A dead end is the same as a burnt end in effect. However, in a burnt end, or burned end, the players have usually made a concerted effort to hit the jack out of the rink. A dead end usually occurs by mistake. But both descriptions – burned / burnt end and a dead end – come to the same thing.

Who decides that an end in dead or burned / burnt in lawn bowls?

Players in the game, specators on the bank or a marker and umpire can help to decide if an end is burned or a dead end by lining up the visual rink boundary peg with the boundary peg on the opposite side of the green, as in the photo above.

In a serious competition where an umpire is available, the skip or skips may request a mirror, which is a more technical way to work out if the jack is inside the rink or not (see photo here.)

What happens when the jack goes into the gutter in lawn bowls?

When the jack goes into the gutter (also called the ditch in lawn bowls) it is still live and play can continue, unless the jack ends up in the gutter outside the rink i.e. in the neighbouring rink, in which case the end is considered dead (a dead end) and must be replayed or the jack respotted on the two metre mark. That outcome depends on the skips’ agreement or the Conditions of Play of the game in question.

What are ends in bowls?

An “end” lawn in bowls refers to all the players in both teams delivering their bowls from one end of the green to the other end, making the “end” complete. A game therefore consists of a pre-arranged number of ends, typically 14, 15, 18 or 21. There is no pre-arranged number of ends in a singles game. Instead the first player to reach 21 points wins the game.