Saturday, 20 June 2015

Bowling ups and downs

Two afternoon club competition matches in the coming week. So thought I'd better play the rinks at right angles to the clubhouse for this afternoon's solo practise.

Players bowl these rinks up to 6pm, playing parallel after 6pm. The latter are more dependable. Our green has an incline running away from the clubhouse. So bowling at right angles means your delivery has a slight downhill one way, slight uphill the other. Added to that, there's less tolerance on the line.

The first session on rink 4 a bit of a disaster. The worst result since the beginning of the season. Struggle to find a reliable line as well as length.

Realise towards the end my habit of fixing an aiming point part way up the green just isn't reliable enough. Last week one of the club's most experienced bowlers warned me off using an aiming point at the end of the rink. But isn't this much more dependable? Seems to me a mid point marker can be difficult to spot consistently as the light changes, particularly as your head is low just before delivery.

After a bit of trial and error I decide on a compromise. Fix a primary aiming point at the far end of the green and look for that on each delivery. If necessary, find a secondary aiming point in line with that but part way up the green. The secondary aiming point may change with each delivery, but will always be in line with the primary aiming point.

Also used a way of finding the primary aiming point much faster. Aim the first bowl for the rink edge marker. Adjust from there depending on where that first bowl ends up.

The combination of these changes meant the second solo practise was more successful. Twice as many bowls within two feet of the jack. But on a difficult rink 3, still not good enough. Way too many short bowls.

Here are the scorecards and updated graph.


  1. In your statistics perhaps your sample size is too small to show unambiguously whether there is indisputable improvement. Could you compare your personal test results for different six month or year long periods?

    1. I do still have last year's graph, Clarke, and comparing the two there's no real sign of change. I'm aiming to see a steady upward trend for the green sections, and to then hold at about half my bowls within three feet of the jack. It's the consistency that's important, I think. But no sign of that yet.

      The more telling information is that shown in the last singles results summary on 4 June 2015 ( Compared to 2014 & 2013 (see 'Quick Facts) I'm certainly improving (2013 won 2 lost 10, 2014 won 10 drew 1, lost 9, 2014 to date won 9 lost 6).

      The most sobering moment was when I watched an England ladies bowler play at St Ives in a ladies triples competition match. She was playing on a strange green and yet the accuracy of her bowls to the jack was amazing. Taught me there's a much about reading the lie of the green as about line and length.

      Regards, John