To declare the shot in bowls means that if the skip (or a player in a singles game) has the last bowl to play in an end, he can decide not to play the bowl at all. He would forfeit playing the bowl for one of two reasons:
- His team is lying the shot, or shots, and if he plays the bowl and something goes wrong, e.g. he moves the jack, then his team could lose the advantage. The opponent could gain the shot, or shots, instead. The skip has the choice of “declaring” the shot, in which he shouts: “I declare”. When you declare, you are declaring that you do not intend to play your last bowl in an end. This applies only if there is just one bowl to play i.e. the opponent has played all his bowls for that end.
- If the opponent lies a shot, or perhaps two shots, and the likelihood of drawing the shot is minimal, then the player might declare if he feels that if anything goes wrong the opponent could actually get even more shots. This is the rarer of the two conditions for declaring.
How do you declare in lawn bowls
His team mates at the other end of the green might recommend to the skip that he declares i.e. elects not to play his last bowl. He can go along with their advice or not. It is the skip’s decision.
Often a skip will go up to the head to see what the situation is before playing his last bowl. He might see that playing his bowl would be dangerous and would worsen matters. He may then declare, while in the head, that he is going to declare.
What happens when you declare in lawn bowls?
Once he has declared, the skip then carries his un-played bowl halfway up the green where a teammate meets him to take the un-played bowl up to the head.
In a singles game the marker may not advise the players in any way. If a player is uncertain about playing his last bowl, and it’s the last bowl of the end, then he may walk up to the head to make a decision.
Before just dashing up to the head to have a look, the player must advise his opponent and the marker what he is about to do. This is just good bowling etiquette. TIP: Leave your last bowl lying on or beside the mat. Don’t carry it with you up the green to the head. If you are looking around and you drop your bowl accidentally, changing the lying shot(s), you will have to forfeit the points.
Sometimes a skip declares and then deliberately rolls the last bowl short so he doesn’t have to carry it up the green. This is not advisable as if there was any confusion about whether the skip had declared or not, the teams could end up in a dispute, should the disavowed bowl accidentally reach the head and change the lying positions.
What does “declaring the head” mean?
Declaring the head means the players (thirds or seconds, or the players in a singles game) get together at the conclusion of an end (i.e. when all the bowls have been played) and decide which bowls are lying shot. If they cannot agree, then they call an umpire to declare the head.