The marker has several vital functions in lawn bowls that ensure the rules are correctly applied, and the scoring is fair. A marker is not a player but functions like a match official in a singles game. The game can proceed smoothly and efficiently if a marker does their job well.
In lawn bowls, a marker determines which player has the shot, accurately estimates and indicates distances, and efficiently uses the time during play. They answer technical questions from the players, collect the scorecard, ensure it is completed and mark touchers. They also centre the jack.
When singles players are on the green, they cannot always see the distances between bowls or a bowl and a jack because they do not have a high vantage point. There is no skip to guide them. A good marker helps them gauge the state of the head and the distances of their bowls without interfering in play. This article looks at the role of a marker in more detail.
Marker’s Duties At The Beginning Of A Game Of Lawn Bowls
The marker must be there before the match is due to start to collect the scorecard from the organiser and ensure that both players’ names are entered on it together with the rink number. A marker usually introduces themselves to the players and discusses a few things in advance. These include –
- when they mark touchers – usually after the toucher has stopped rolling and before delivery of the next bowl
- asking for permission to remove dead bowls that have gone into the ditch or strayed outside the rink
- checking whether the players want the marker to measure for them
- asking how the players want distances to be indicated, e.g. in words or by hand signals
The marker then tosses a coin while the players call a side. The winner of the toss decides who will play first.
Marker’s Duties During The Game
During the game, the marker ensures that the jack is not rolled too short by a player and is delivered correctly. The marker also watches to see that the mat is appropriately placed. They centre the jack at the two-meter mark if it has come to rest within two meters of the front ditch.
The marker stands out of the way behind the head so as not to obscure the players’ line of sight. After each bowl stops, the marker indicates with hand signals or in a clear voice how far the bowl is from the jack.
A marker must not cast a shadow over the head, making it harder for players to judge distance and angles. Markers do not engage in idle chatter but closely monitor the game to ensure it flows smoothly and correctly.
If a bowl touches the jack, it is called a toucher, and the marker indicates its status by marking it with a piece of chalk. The chalk mark is made on the running surface of the bowl. The players must know that a bowl is a toucher before the next bowl is delivered.
A marker is required to always protect the head. This includes not allowing accidental bowls from adjacent rinks to disturb it. Players can ask questions about the state of the head during the game when it is their turn to bowl. For instance, they can ask the marker how far short a bowl is of the jack or who is holding the shot.
Marker’s Duties At The End Of The Game
At the end of the game, the marker checks the scores, transfers the results to the front of the scorecard, and ensures that the players sign it after the game ends. After filling in all the information required on the scorecard, the marker returns it to the organiser as instructed.
The marker ensures the game follows the rules, protects the head, and helps players gauge the distance between bowls and the jack. When done well, a marker’s job leads to a higher standard of play, with fewer arguments and errors. This is beneficial for the players and spectators alike and contributes to the quality of the game.