Bowls - Scoring


Scoring systems vary from competition to competition. Games can be decided when:

  • a player in a singles game reaches a specified target number of shots (usually 21 or 25).
  • a team (pair, triple or four) has the higher score after a specified number of ends.

Games to a specified number of ends may also be drawn. The draw may stand, or the opponents may be required to play an extra end to decide the winner. These provisions are always published beforehand in the event's Conditions of Play.

In the Laws of the Sport of Bowls the winner in a singles game is the first player to score 21 shots. In all other disciplines (pairs, triples, fours) the winner is the team who has scored the most shots after 21/25 ends of play. Often local tournaments will play shorter games (often 10 or 12 ends). Some competitions use a "set" scoring system, with the first to seven points awarded a set in a best-or-three or best-of-five set match. As well as singles competition, there can be two (pairs), three (triples) and four-player (fours) teams. In these, teams bowl alternately, with each player within a team bowling all their bowls, then handing over to the next player. The team captain or "skip" always plays last and is instrumental in directing his team's shots and tactics. The current method of scoring in the professional tour (World Bowls Tour) is sets. Each set consists of nine ends and the player with the most shots at the end of a set wins the set. If the score is tied the set is halved. If a player wins two sets, or gets a win and a tie, that player wins the game. If each player wins a set, or both sets end tied, there is a 3-end tiebreaker to determine a winner.

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