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The terms and vocabulary associated with lawn bowling can be confusing to novices. The following set of terms is by no means exhaustive, but is provided as clarification to new bowlers who wish to understand and take part in the conversations of the more experienced. Terms, discussions, and photographs are offered as guides. Please submit additional vocabulary, definitions and pictures, which you believe would be helpful.

Terms & Vocabulary T through V

Take Out Shot:

When several bowls block the path for a draw shot to the jack, then the player who is to deliver the next bowl may be asked to make a take out shot.  The purpose of the take out shot is to remove the bowls obstructing the draw path.  In some situations a take out shot may be planned with the jack as the target with the purpose of having the delivered bowl trail behind the jack toward a more favorable location on the rink.  The intention of a take out shot can also be to move the jack beyond the boundaries of the rink and cause a dead end.

Take Out Shot

In a game of fours, the person who bowls after the second is called the third.  (The third person to bowl on a team.)  In this case the third is also the vice skip.  The third is always the vice skip; however only in a game of fours is the vice skip the third.  In the illustration the two vices are employing a string measure to determine the shot bowl.

Tied End:

When bowls from opposing teams are both touching the jack or are equidistant from the jack the end is said to be a tie or a draw.  Usually in Canada in club and tournament games each team scores one point.

Tied End

If a delivered bowl touches the jack, it is called a toucher.  This bowl will be marked with chalk and will remain ‘in play’ even if it comes to rest in the ditch.  In the example the red bowl is in the process of touching the jack.


Many bowlers use a small towel or cloth to prepare their bowls for delivery.  This towel is used to remove any dust, dirt, or other foreign matter from a bowl, which may affect the delivery of the bowl.  Dust may make the bowl more difficult to grip whereas rough spots may cause bowls to roll unevenly.  Towels can also come in handy to temporarily store counting bowls when a score is determined at the completion of an end.

Trail Shot:

A bowl, which is delivered with such accuracy that it not only strikes and moves the jack, but also trails along behind the jack and stops close to the jack, is known as a trail shot.

Trail Shot
Trial End:

Visiting players who are unfamiliar with the peculiarities of a playing surface may on occasion be granted trial ends prior to the commencement of a tournament.  During the trial ends the players experiment to determine the pace of the green and how the natural bias of their bowls is affected by the playing surface.

Trial End

A game with teams of three against three is called triples.  Each person uses three bowls, for a total of nine bowls per team, eighteen bowls per end.  In the illustration the nine bowls for each teams are clustered so that the characteristics of the bowls for each team can easily be identified.  The names of the players are lead, vice skip, and skip. In some places the word Trebles is substituted for Triples

Two Metre Mark:

A useful chalk mark can be made on a rink centred two metres from the ditch.  This spot, known as the Two Metre Mark, can be used to quickly set the jack if it delivered close to or on a second attempt into the ditch.  In some tournaments rather than declaring a dead the jack will be placed at the Two Metre Mark if it is knocked beyond a rink boundary. 

Two Metre Mark
Two Player Maximum:

Many skips prefer that there be a maximum of two players on the playing surface at either end of a rink. Players not actually taking part in the play may stand on the bank or sit on the benches provided. Extra players at the mat end of a rink may distract bowlers or cause safety hazards among the bowls in the starting area. Managing the head should be the focus of the skips or vice skips. At the head end of the rink, after the final bowl has come to rest, all players should help with the retrieval of bowls once the scoring has been determined.

Two Player Maximum

The official who makes rulings about the play during a tournament is known as an umpire.  A thorough knowledge of the official laws and rules of lawn bowling helps umpires to make judgments. 

Up Shot:

A bowl delivered with sufficient force to promote another bowl or the jack further up the rink is called an up shot.  In the illustration a second yellow bowl has moved a previously delivered yellow bowl roughly one metre closer to the jack.

Up Shot
Vice Skip:

The player on a team who bowls immediately prior to the skip.  In fours the vice skip would bowl third, in triples the vice skip would bowl second, and in pairs the vice skip would also be the lead.  The vice skips manage the head when the two skips deliver their bowls.  In the illustration two vice skips are comparing the distance of two bowls to the jack with a measure.

Vice Skip
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