Why Are Bowls Marked When They Hit the Jack?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 10, 2023

Lawn bowls players mark bowls with a piece of chalk or chalk spray when the bowls hits the jack. The mark indicates that the bowl still should be considered to be “live” if lands in the ditch. The marked status of a bowl applies only to the end being played i.e. the time during which all the bowls of both teams are delivered to the other side of the green. When unmarked bowls land in the ditch they are considered “dead” and are removed and placed on the bank.

If a “toucher” (the marked bowls) lies close enough to the jack (the white ball) once the end is over, it will be counted as a point for the team whose bowl it is. Once the end is over and the bowls are kicked up, the mark should be wiped from the bowl.

What happens if you hit the jack in lawn bowls?

If a bowl touches the little white ball, also called the kitty or jack, in bowls and the kitty stays inside the “rink” (the playing area marked by white poles on the bank) then the jack stays in its new position. The bowl that touched the jack is marked with a piece of chalk or a chalk spray. This bowl is then called a “toucher” for the rest of the end. (An “end” is complete when all the bowls have been delivered from one end of the green to the other.)

If a toucher lands in the ditch during the rest of the end then it is considered to be “live” and is eligible to score points. All non-toucher bowls that land in the ditch are “dead” and are removed to be placed on the bank for the rest of the end.

If a bowl hits the jack and lands in the ditch, the same applies: the jack stays where it is in the ditch and the bowl that hit it gets a “toucher” mark.

Should the bowl touch the jack out of the rink, then one of two things can happen: 1) the bowls is marked as a toucher and the jack is placed on the two metre mark and play continues; or 2) the end gets played over from the beginning. That means all the bowls are replaced at the end of the green where they started and the end is replayed. The bowl that hit the jack is not marked as a toucher in this case.

Why do they spot the ball in bowls?

When a bowl hits the jack it is marked as a “toucher” with a small spray canister that places a white, chalk-like spot on the bowl. This called “spotting” or “chalking” the bowl The toucher will be counted as live if it lands in the ditch and will still be eligible to earn points during that end. An “end” is complete when all the bowls of both teams have been played across the green to the other end. Please note that marking the jack is different from “re-spotting the jack”, which means placing the jack on the 2-metre mark once the end has been burned i.e. when a bowl has knocked the white ball out of play.

Why do they spray the ball when it hits the jack?

Spraying the bowl that hits with a chalk-like spray from a small canister indicates that the bowl must be considered “live” still should it land in the ditch. It is also sprayed if it has already landed in the ditch as a result of hitting the bowl. The marked bowl, called a “toucher”, will be eligible for points in scoring once all the bowls have been delivered from one end of the green to the other, which is called an “end”.

Any bowls that have NOT touched the jack but which land in the ditch are considered “dead”. They are removed from the ditch and placed on the bank for the rest of the end.