Marking a Singles Game

Markers Duties:

The information provided here is to assist players and members to develop their skill at marking.

Measuring for shots click HERE

Before the start of the game:

  • Preparation
    • Dress as required
    • Introduce yourself to competition organisers and fellow officials
    • If no umpire check additional equipment that may be required (measures, long tape etc.)
  • Your equipment – score card, pen/pencil, chalk, coin, measure, wedges.
  • Introduce yourself to the players
  • Make sure bowls have been checked
  • Make sure you can identify each players bowls
  • Ask players for permission to remove any dead bowls
  • Remind players that you’ll need time to:
    • Check that the mat is properly centered
    • Mark touchers or remove marks
  • Ask players whether they want distances in imperial or metric measurements.

Trial Ends:

  • During trial ends center the jack where the player tells you.
  • When a bowl comes to rest – tell or show the player the position in relation to jack high. If it as moved the jack – put the jack back to its original position. Lift the bowl and place it towards the front ditch.

Position on the Green:

  • Stand on the side of the rink furthest away from the side ditch (every end if possible)
  • If a game is televised – stand on the side of the rink furthest away from the TV cameras
  • Stand so that no shadow is cast over the head.
  • At the start of an end, stand close to the edge of the ditch in line with center rink markers so that you can check the position of the mat, or give players directions for centering the mat.
  • Stand to one side of the rink and close to the edge of the front ditch as the player prepares to deliver the jack.
  • When the jack has been centered – stand about 2 steps behind and 2 steps to one side of the jack.
  • Stand still when a player is preparing to deliver a bowl.
  • If necessary move to give the players a clear view of any bowls in the head.
  • Stand close enough to the head so that you can mark touchers, answer questions or decide which bowl is shot.
  • If a live jack comes to rest in the ditch – stay on the green close to the edge of the ditch at the side of the rink furthest from the jack.
  • Don’t obstruct players’ view of any rink markers or indicators you have placed on the bank.

During the Game:

Start of an end:

  • Wherever possible make sure the mat has been correctly placed on the center line of the rink before the jack is delivered.
  • Make sure the mat is centered before centering the jack.
  • Center the jack using your hand.
  • If the jack comes to rest less than 2 metres from the front ditch – center it by placing it on a mark on the center line of the rink, or by using a 2 metres measuring device.

During and end:

  • Stand to one side of the rink, behind the jack and away from the head.
  • If asked by the player in possession of the rink –
    • Answer any specific question about the state of the head.
    • Tell or show where the jack is.
    • Tell or show which bowls you consider to be shot (or shots)
  • Mark all touchers with chalk.
  • Remove chalk marks from non-touchers.
  • Mark the position of the jack and any touchers that are live in the ditch.
  • Use shot indicators when permitted by the competition organisers.

Completing an End:

  • When the last bowl of an end comes to rest – remove any indicators placed on the bank.
  • Don’t move the jack or any of the bowls.
  • Move to the front of the head to wait for the players to decide the result of the end.
  • When players have decided the result of an end – confirm the result and give the players the running total of shots for each player
  • Walk quickly to the other end of the rink, and if necessary remove the mat used in the previous end.
  • At the start of the next end as the bowl is on its way up the green – fill in the score card & check the score board agrees with the card.

After the Game

  • When the game is completed write on the score card the time the game finished, and ask the players to check and sign it.
  • Hand the score card to the umpire (if there is one) for checking


Dealing with Touchers

  • If you think a delivered bowl will touch the jack – move to a position where you can clearly see if the bowl touches the jack or not.
  • If the bowl touches the jack, mark the bowl with chalk as soon as it comes to rest.
  • Put chalk marks on opposite sides of the bowl.
  • If the bowl comes to rest in a position that marking it may cause it to move, say ‘I’m nominating the last bowl as a toucher.’ Instead of marking it.
  • If a toucher comes to rest in the ditch, place an indicator on the bank immediately in line with it.
  • If a player forgets to remove a mark from a bowl before delivering it, and that bowl does not become a toucher, remove the mark as soon as the bowl comes to rest.
  • If the bowl comes to rest in such a position that you cannot safely remove the mark say ‘I’m nominating the last bowl as a non-toucher’ instead of removing the mark.

Dead Jack and Bowls

  • If players have given permission before the start of the game to remove dead bowls, remove a dead bowl as soon as it comes to rest and signal to the players that you have done so.
  • If you can see that a bowl from a neighbouring rink is likely to move the jack or a bowl at rest on your rink, STOP THE BOWL BEFORE IT DOES.
  • If you think a bowl from the rink of play is likely to continue beyond the side boundary – don’t stop it until it has travelled wholly beyond the boundary line.
  • If you think a bowl from the rink of play is going into the ditch don’t stop it or catch it before it drops over the edge.

Running Bowls

  • When a running bowl is being played, warn bowlers on neighbouring rinks if you can. (Say ‘Running Bowl’)
  • As soon as the bowl has been delivered move quickly to the front of the head. Concentrate on the running bowl to see whether it touches the jack and where it comes to rest.

Measuring disputed shots

  • If the players ask you to measure – carry out procedures as for umpiring using a box string measure.
  • When you tell the players your decision – point to the shot bowl instead of turning the bowl out.
  • If tied, point to the jack and say ‘It’s a tied end’ instead of turning out the jack.
  • If no decision can be reached or the players are not satisfied with your decision – call an umpire to do the measuring. Tell the umpire if any shots have already been conceded.

Players Questions

  • Always be ready to respond to players questions.
  • Stand close enough to the head to get to it quickly.
  • Make a mental note of the positions of key bowls already in the head.
  • Concentrate on the player who is preparing to deliver their bowl.
  • When answering players questions:
    • Only respond to the player who is in possession of the rink
    • Answer only the specific question you are asked
    • Look directly at the player and speak clearly
    • If you didn’t understand the questions ask the player to repeat it.
    • Give a concise answer.
  • When asked who is holding shot or about the position of a bowl:
    • Give the player enough information so that they understand the situation
    • Avoid the need for any follow-up questions to be asked.

Interacting with players or spectators

  • Don’t start a conversation with a player
  • If a player starts talking to you while at the head:
    • Keep conversation to a minimum
    • Don’t distract or annoy the opponent
    • Don’t give the player advice.
  • If spectators talk to you – politely tell them you are unable to talk to them until the game is over.

Using Shot Indicators

  • If competition organisers ask you to use shot indicators – stand and face the mat when you are displaying them
  • Display the number and colour of indicators by holding them at head height for a few seconds. Turn the indicators through 90⁰ and display them for another few seconds.
  • In general:
    • Start displaying indicators after each player has delivered 2 bowls
    • After that display them only when the number of shots held changes
    • Don’t display them to answer a questions about who is holding shot
    • Display the indicators as you walk quickly to the other end of the green.


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