Bias Carpet Bowls

Bias Carpet Bowls.

bias carpet bowls

There does seem to be a slight Northern - Southern hemisphere divide when it come to the size of the bowls used for this game. However the entry shown below from a 1935 Bowls catalogue seems to suggest that 'Miniature Bowls for indoor bowling on small rinks' were made to 3 15/16 inches. That this game was popular in New Zealand is also mentioned and it states that the game can be played on carpets 30ft x 6ft and upwards.

Bias Carpet _1935

The other rules are basically the same but in the U.K. and where there has been a U.K. influence bias carpet bowls are 3 7/8th Inches (98mm) in diameter. However in Australia and where they have had an influence the bias carpet bowls are 4 inches (100mm) in diameter. Another difference was that in the Australian bowls the set was more likely to comprise four pairs of black and four pairs of yellow bowls rather than the U.K. tradition of 4 pairs black and four pairs brown. However in recent years other colours for U.K. bias carpet bowls have been accepted so Red, Yellow and Blue bowls are available.

Red Bias carpet Bowls Yellow Bias carpet Bowls Blue Bias Carpet Bowls

The following pictures were taken by Mr. T. Brophy at the Championships held in Blackpool in 2011. The carpets are 30ft long by 6ft wide.

 Carpet Bowls _Blacpool 2011_2

Carpet Bowls _Blacpool 2011_3

Carpet Bowls _Blacpool 2011_4

 Bias Carpet Bowls _Blacpool 2011_1

The centre 'block' can be circular as seen in these pictures which is placed to stop players firing and ensure they use the bias of the bowls. Also shown are the delivery blocks which are used to delineate the delivery area.

English Carpet Bowls Association

The Rules for Playing Carpet Bowls



1.1 A carpet shall be a minimum of 1.83m (6ft) and a maximum of 1.98m (6ft 6in) wide and a minimum of 9.14m (30ft) and a maximum of 10.06m (33ft) long.

Carpet Markings
1.2 A jack placement line 0.91m (3ft) long shall be marked centrally, 0.91m (3ft) from each end of the carpet.

1.3 There shall be a delivery space at the centre of each end of the carpet which shall be 457mm (18in) wide marked by two guidelines which measure 457mm (18in) in length.

1.4 A delivery are shall be demarcated as follows at each end of the carpet. A lateral line 457mm (18in) in length shall be drawn to connect the two guidelines that mark the delivery space. (As show in the diagram below).

1.5 A lateral line shall be drawn across the carpet equidistant from each end.

Centre Spar & Delivery Blocks
1.6 A block (which may be circular, a spar, a diamond or similar), 457mm (18in) across and 50mm (2in) high, hard edged and of a contrasting colour to the carpet, shall be placed in the centre of the carpet equidistant from each end and each side.

1.7 Two blocks of wood of a contrasting colour to the carpet, being of size 152mm x 101.6mm x 50.8mm placed two blocks of wood, shall be placed on the delivery guidelines. The blocks shall be placed such that the height shall be 152mm (6in), that the 101.6mm (4in) side shall be along the edges of the carpet and the 50.8mm (2in) side along the lines.

1.8 16 bowls, 8 of each colour, all made by the same manufacturer, shall not exceed 96mm (3 7/8 ins) in diameter, or 737.09gm (1lb 10oz) in weight, nor be of a less bias than a no.3. No bowls other than this matching set shall be used in a game. Stickers may be used to distinguish between the bowls.

1.9 The jack shall be 63.5mm (2.5in) in diameter and weigh 283.5gm (10oz) or be within the manufacturers stipulated tolerance for this size and weight of jack. (Currently 15% plus or minus)


2.1 Before the commencement of the game the skips shall toss a coin. The winner has the option to play first or second and if not previously decided which colour woods to bowl.

2.2 The team playing first will place the jack on the jack placement line not less than 0.91m (3ft) nor more than 1.83m (6ft) from the end. In subsequent ends the team winning the last end places the jack and that team bowls first. (In the case of a tied (dead) ends the player who bowled first on that end shall again bowl first).

2.3 One trial end in each direction may be played before a game. A game is not deemed to have commenced until the first wood is bowled after the trial ends.


3.1 Where facilities allow, players will stand well back from the carpet when others players are bowling.

3.2 The third player of each team may, when it is their turn to bowl, be invited to visit the head.

3.3 When it is the turn of the Skips to bowl the remaining players go to the other end of the carpet.

3.4 Substitutes may be made in the cases of illness/emergency. Such substitutes may play in any position other than Skip.


4.1 Skips shall have control of the play of their team but may delegate this responsibility at any time during the match to another member of that team. However once a game has commenced the team positions cannot be changed.

4.2 In the absence of an independent umpire the two Skips shall be the judges of all disputes and, when they agree, their decision shall be final.


5.1 Whilst measuring is being carried out the jack shall not be held nor touched by hand.

5.2 All measuring shall be between the nearest points of the jack or wood. If a wood requiring to be measured is resting on another wood which prevents its measurement, then the best possible means available shall be taken to secure its position whereupon the other wood shall be removed. No measuring shall be carried out until the last wood on an end is bowled.

5.3 The Skip shall nominate which of their bowlers shall measure and all other members shall stand well clear of the carpet whilst the result of the end is being determined.

5.4 In the case of a dispute then agreement should be reached between the skips on what is to be measured and by whom.


6.1 If a wood from each team is equidistant from the jack then neither side will score but the end will count as an end played.

6.2 Nothing in these rules shall make it mandatory for either skip with the last wood in the end to bowl it. However, the Skip must declare their intentions to the opposing Skip before determining the result of the end.


7.1 Whether playing or directing bowlers must not stand, kneel on or touch the carpet. Should a bowler, after having been warned by the opposing Skip, persist in infringing this rule then one shot shall be deducted on that and each subsequent occasion. The only exception to this shall be when it is necessary for deciding the end after the last wood of the end has come to rest.

7.2 If a bowler shall bowl an opponent's wood in error then after it has come to rest the opposing Skip will replace it with one of the player's own side's woods.

7.3 If a player bowls before their turn or before their opponent's wood has come to rest then that wood shall be declared dead.

7.4 Any wood which does not completely pass a lateral line level with the centre of the centre block or which touches or passes over that block shall be declared dead.

7.5 No wood may be carried past the centre block and no wood must be picked up before the preceding wood has been delivered. If this occurs then the wood will be declared dead.

7.6 Each bowler, when delivering a wood, must have both feet entirely behind the end of the carpet. Should a bowler, after having been warned by the opposing skip, persist in infringing this rule then the skip shall cause that wood to be declared dead.

7.7 Smoking shall not be allowed during the course of the game by that taking part in it. After a warning from the opposing skip one shot shall be deducted from the offending team score for each end affected.


8.1 If a bowl whilst in motion or at rest be interfered with or displaced by one of the bowlers then the opposing skip shall:
(i) Leave the woods/jack to remain as they are or
(ii) Replace the woods/jack as near as possible to their original position or
(iii) Replay the end unless any live wood so moved is the only one.

8.2 Should the jack be driven by the bowl in play wholly beyond the limits of the carpet, whether it be the end or side of the carpet, it shall be counted dead. The opponents shall receive 2 shots and a new end begun by the opponents. If during the course of the game the jack is driven to the end or side of the carpet, then the two players in charge of that end should agree that the jack has stopped moving. An agreement should be reached within a reasonable time consistent with the time it would normally take to deliver the next wood. If after reaching the said agreement and subsequently the jack should fall off the carpet without any contact being made with the jack, then that end should be declared a dead end and replayed without penalty. If this happened on the final end of a timed game and the whistle to signal the end of the game went before the jack was placed then you would not be allowed to replay the end.

8.3 All dead woods in motion shall be stopped and removed where possible before disturbing any other wood or jack. In the event of a dead wood resulting in a live wood or jack being moved then the opposing skip shall:
(i) Remove the dead wood and leave the woods/jack to remain as they are, or
(ii) Remove the dead wood and replace the woods/jack as near as possible to their original position, or
(iii) Replay the end unless any live bowl so moved is the only one.
Unforseen Incidents

8.4 If, during the course of play any neutral object disturbs the position of the jack or any wood then the end shall be declared dead unless otherwise mutually agreed by the skips.

8.5 If a wood is mistakenly declared dead and removed from the carpet then that wood shall be replayed


9.1 The forward motion on which a wood is released must pass between or through the 457mm (18in) delivery space, which is demarcated by the guidelines and the blocks.

9.2 All woods must be released within the demarcated delivery area. Should a bowler after being warned by the opposing skip or a referee continue to infringe this rule then the wood shall be declared dead, stopped and removed from the carpet.

9.3 If during delivery of a wood either block is touched in any way then the wood shall be declared dead. If, however, the block is touched after the wood has been released this would not class as a foul. Delivery of a wood shall be considered as being from the point of presenting the wood, in the hand, to the carpet until it is released from the hand. A player may however, put their wood down on the carpet, to either get a better grip or to go and check the end, then that wood shall not be classed as a dead wood.

9.4 Disabled bowlers must be allowed to adopt a comfortable stance and method when delivering their woods although they should not be allowed to gain an unfair advantage.


10.1 Persons not taking part in a game shall be situated clear of and beyond the limits of play. They may support a team but only in a way that will not offend nor disturb their opponents.

10.2 Direct coaching of a player whilst a game is in progress is forbidden. The opposing skip shall bring any offence to the notice of the independent referee who will assess the situation and may ask the offender to leave the playing area.

English Carpet Bowls Association retain the copyright to 'The Rules for Playing Carpets Bowls', which may not be reproduced without permission.

© Peter Clare 2011 - © E.A. Clare & Son Ltd. 2018.This Article can be reproduced only with the permission of E.A. Clare & Son Ltd.