RHP (Chelmsford) Sports & Social Club

RHP (Chelmsford) Sports & Social Club - Rules & Etiquette

Basic Rules & Etiquette for Carpet Bowls


Below are the basic rules and etiquette to be followed for Carpet Bowls.


  • Most games played are fours or pairs. Fours consists of Lead, No 2, No 3 & Skip. Pairs has lead & Skip.
  • Players are not to stand, walk or touch the mat whilst a game is in progress.
  • Unless previously decided the Skips will toss for who has the jack (bowls first) on the first end.
  • Only pick up your wood to bowl once the previous player has bowled.
  • When bowling, all woods must be released within the marked area on the mat and pass between the two wooden blocks.
  • If during delivery of a wood, either block is touched in any way then that wood is declared dead.
  • Where facilities allow players should stand well back from the carpet when other players are bowling.
  • When bowling if your wood touches the centre block then that wood is declared dead.
  • If you are asked to look at the head. You should leave your wood at the end you are bowling from. You do not walk with your wood past the centre line as this is classed as a foul wood.
  • Once all woods have been bowled the No 3’s, in fours, decide which wood(s) are holding. The No 3 from the side NOT holding then takes the shot woods out. If necessary the No 3’s will measure to determine the shot woods. The other players do not get involved unless requested to by the No 3.
  • No other woods should be touched until the shot woods have been agreed. Unless advised to by the No 3’s.
  • Once the shots have been agreed the No 2’s look after the score board and card.
  • The remaining players then clear the woods ready for the next end.
  • The side winning the previous end will then place the jack and bowl the first wood for that end.
  • Modesty in victory, generosity in defeat is a good ethic to play to.
  • Skips should be helpful and encouraging. They may need to be critical but never derogatory to a fellow player. No player intends to bowl a bad wood.
  • The use of inappropriate language can cause offence and will not be tolerated at the club.
  • Always be considerate to new members.
  • Finally concentration and patience are worth having.

 These are just the basics for getting started if you have any questions just ask one of the players. If they don’t know the answer they should know someone who does.  

Updated April 2024