Lawn bowls is a sport of respect – both towards your opponent but also the tradition of the game. Therefore cheating is definitely frowned upon. It’s also something I certainly wouldn’t recommend as you’ll find yourself not very popular in double quick time – and may even find yourself without a club at all.
But what if you just wanted to cheat? Maybe in a casual game against a mate… What could you do, and how would it improve your chances of winning?
Here are 6 ways you could cheat at lawn bowls!
Ignore foot faults
Firstly, lets look at what a foot fault is…
When the bowl is delivered a part of either foot should be touching, or above the mat. If that doesn’t happen, then this is referred to as a “foot fault”.
The idea behind this rule is to ensure that all players are delivering from the same point.
Foot faults are rarely picked up on, and some players even do it with out realising. So, if you wanted to deliver the bowl as close as possible to the jack, you could foot fault by delivering the bowl off of the mat.
The closer to the jack you are, the easier it is! It may only offer a small advantage, but it all adds up.
Add slack when measuring
This is a real sneaky one, and requires some slight of hand, but can help get the benefit in a close end.
The idea here is when there is a close measure you add some slack to the string when measuring your opponent’s bowl, so it appears further away when you measure yours and remove the slack.
There are 2 ways to do this:
- hold the measure at an angle, so the string doesn’t go directly to the bowl
- place your thumb across where the string comes out, so that extra string comes out hidden behind the thumb
To do this you must measure your opponent’s bowl first, so you can add the slack before you measure your own.
Many ends of bowls can be won with an extra inch of slack on a measure – so this is definitely an option for the unscrupulous bowler!
Move around when your opponent is bowling
This is less of a “rule break” and more of an etiquette issue, but can still be pretty effective.
Many bowlers hate being distracted when their bowling. Any movement or noise can throw them off their shot. So, if there is a particularly big shot coming up, it might help you if you dropped a towel, or cleared your throat…
This may be one to slip in every now and then to keep the benefit of the doubt, but it would be mighty effective against the right person.
Place your own markers down for your line
We all know how important aiming points are in bowls. Getting the right line is the foundation of the game, and some go above and beyond to ensure they have the right aiming point.
Sure, its against the rules to place your own items around the green in order to use them as aiming points, but who actually checks?
Simply bring an extra set of cloths or towels and place one at either end – as you only need on on each side if you stick to the same hand…
Stand in-front of what your opponent is using as a marker
Further to the idea of placing your own markers, try working out where your opponent is looking, and stand in front of it whenever possible.
Obviously this is only possible if you are stood at the head when your opponent is bowling, but this can be a good one in team events, or at the late stages of an end in singles play.
This could be tricky, as the bowler is entitled to ask you to move, but do it often, and they will get fed-up asking.
Nudge the mat during an end
It is common to nudge the mat from side-to-side if it has moved to a funny angle, however, it may be possible to kick it forward instead.
Obviously, it is against the rules to move the mat up or down the rink during an end, but the advantage gained by knowing the mat has moved could be tempting…
Simply kick your foot back as you deliver a bowl, or scuff it with your foot as you stand on the mat, and you can effectively change the length of the jack ever so slightly.
Obviously cheating in anyway is horrible – and this guide is a bit more “tongue-in-cheek” rather than a step-by-step for something you would actually do in a competitive game.
However, it is always good to understand how others might try and con you – so always be careful of the man who always measures your bowl first, or who leaves extra water bottles by the edge of the rink!