Can I Try It?

The History of Lawn Bowls

Although the exact origin of bowls remains uncertain, it is undoubtedly an ancient game. The Romans may have brought it to England in 55BC, and there are references to the sport in manuscripts describing accounts of the Crusades (1095-1192).

The modern version and standard rules of the sport were developed in Scotland in 1848. As Britain established colonies throughout the world, many expatriates constructed bowling greens and the game spread to various corners of the globe.


Bowls is governed at International level by World Bowls for able bodied bowlers and the IBD for disabled bowlers. The sport has 47 member nations spread over six continents. Its strength lies in the many hundreds of clubs throughout the world and for many men and women bowls is not only a game but also a way of life.


Please take some time to have a look at our website and do not hesitate to Contact us with any queries or questions you may have.

New members are always welcome. Further information can be obtained from our Membership Page.

Can I Try It ?

First of all, if you would like to come along to the Club to have a look, please feel free at any time. You'll find the club in use on Tuesday evenings 5pm onwards. Thursday afternoons-1pm and evenings-5.00pm onwards. Saturday afternoon 1.15pm onwards, September - March.

There is plenty of seating around the green for spectators. If you wish to try your hand at bowls, you'll need to be accompanied by a full bowling member. The best thing to do is speak to one of our bowlers, who should be able to arrange for you to have an introductory session with an instructor, or may even offer to accompany you for a 'roll-up'. Club bowls, mats and jacks are available for beginner bowlers to use. New bowlers are encouraged to take some instruction - coaching sessions can be arranged, and you'll always find other bowlers prepared to offer guidance and encouragement. In order to continue learning to bowl, you will need to become a member. Pick up a membership application from the Club or download a copy from our Membership page.

What will I need? If you decide to start playing bowls, you will need some clothing to begin with: For friendly games, white clothing is not necessary however, for club pennant games and tournaments you will need a club shirt - white or black trousers or skirt, white shirt or blouse and other clothing as required, depending on the weather! You will also need to wear borrow or purchase a proper pair of flat-soled shoes. It's probably not a good idea to purchase your own set of bowls immediately. The Club has various sets of bowls for beginners to use, and it is wise to experiment to find the most suitable size. When you're ready to buy your own, you may find suitable sets for sale second hand for around $20-$150, either privately, trademe or in some bowls shops. You can buy a new set for around $500 to $800 dependant on the make and type of bowl. Bowls come in matched sets of four. A range of sizes and weights are available, within certain limits. Each is shaped (not weighted) to make it follow a curved path. This is called the bias - and again the amount of bias must be within certain limits. Most bowlers will be happy to advise you on choice of bowls, but as personal preference plays a large part, expect some conflicting recommendations!

Bowls for beginners

The following introduction covers the basic aspects of the game as normally played in NZ. It is not intended to be a complete definition of the game or the rules. Like many games, the object of Bowls is essentially simple. It can be played by almost anyone, but to play consistently well demands determination, concentration and practice.

The game of Bowls is played on a 34 to 40 metre square of closely cut grass or all weather synthetic surface called the green. The green is divided into playing areas called rinks.

The green is surrounded by a small ditch to catch bowls which leave the green, and a bank upon which markers indicate the corners and centerlines of each rink.

Players deliver their bowls alternately from a mat at one end of the rink, towards a small white ball called the jack at the other end. The bowls are shaped so that they do not run in a straight line, but take a curved path towards the jack. To be successful the bowl must be delivered with the correct weight, along the correct line. The bowl can be delivered either forehand or backhand.

The object is to get one or more bowls closer to the jack than those of the opposition - one point is scored for each counting bowl. After playing all the bowls in one direction, and agreeing the score, the direction of play is reversed - the next end is played back down the rink in the opposite direction.

Bowls can be played as singles, or in teams of pairs, triples, or fours (a team of four is also known as a 'rink'). In fours or rinks games, each team member has a particular role to play:

The first, or lead, places the mat, delivers the jack and centers it before attempting to bowl as close as possible to the jack.

The second or two keeps the score card and scoreboard up to date. The two will normally be required to improve or consolidate the position achieved by the lead.

The third or three may be called upon to play different types of shots in order to score more, or to place bowls tactically to protect an advantage.

The three also advises the skip on choice of shots, and agrees the number of shots scored, measuring if required.

The skip is in overall charge of the rink, directs the other players on choice of shots, and tries to build the 'head' of bowls to his or her advantage.

The normal game formats are as follows: In Fours, the lead, two, three and skip each deliver two bowls for 18 ends.

In Singles, the two opponents deliver four bowls alternately. The first to reach 21 shots is the winner.

For Pairs, the players can deliver three or four bowls each, depends on event format. The team scoring the most shots after 21 ends is the winner.

In the Triples game, the lead, second and skip deliver two or three bowls each, depends on event format. Games last for for 18 ends.

Although these are the most common formats, variations are allowed by the controlling bodies. Matches may be mixed gender or single sex.

"Come along and enjoy this great social game".

Oxford Club Bowls

New Members and casual bowlers are always welcome. The Bowling Club is available:

Every Tuesday from 5.00pm.
Every Thursday from 1pm & 5pm.
Every Saturday as available.

The Season Runs:- September - March.

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