Who Picks Up the Mat After an End in Lawn Bowls?

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

The player who delivers the second to last bowl (the penultimate bowl) in an end picks up the mat and places it on the grass bank. The player who picks up the mat has, after all, played all his bowls and is waiting for the opponent to play his last wood.

As you can see from the photo, the player who picks up the mat can grasp it as soon as the last player’s feet leave the mat.

Why a player picks up the mat sharply after an end

The reason why the second to last player should make haste to bend down and pick up the mat is to speed up the rate of play. A game of bowls takes a long time, generally more than two hours. So anything that can make the game go faster is desirable.

Also, by picking up the mat fast each time, the overall rhythm of the game improves. If the player is picked up speedily one end and then forgotten the next, the game becomes uneven and jerky.

Another reason why the mat should be picked up briskly is so that the way is clear for the lead at the other end of the green to deliver the jack, which often lands near where the mat lay.

How should a player pick up the mat?

Pick up the mat at the corner and move directly to the bank. Do not just stand there with the mat in your hand gazing at the green. And definitely do not just fling the mat down anywhere on the bank. Put it down neatly where the next player to put down the mat at that side of the green will be able to reach it and place it on the lawn.

What if a player won’t pick up the mat?

All lawn bowlers have encountered rude players who refuse to pick up the mat when they should. Instead they amble off to the bank or just stand looking round, leaving the last player to turn around and fumble on the ground for the mat.

If it becomes clear that a player is using bad manners as a tactic to upset the game’s rhythm and annoy other players, mention this to the skip who can take it up with the opponent skip. In an important competition or tournament the umpire can also be prevailed on to help.

However, the very top players would not dream of being so uncouth as to use such a base tactic to gain advantage in a game. You know the best players by their adherence to the etiquette of bowls.