Lawn bowls is a game of skill, and quite a bit of luck! Sometimes you can play badly, and still win.
When you see someone play a lucky shot you will often hear other bowlers calling it a “wick”, but what is a wick? And how do you react to it – both when its in your favour, and when its not?
In this guide I will cover everything you need to know about wicks, plus a few thing you probably didn’t need to know!
What is a wick
A “wick” is when a bowl takes a lucky deflection off of another bowl already in play. Often, before the wick the bowl will be travelling on the wrong line for the shot attempted. This lucky deflection turns a bad shot into a good one.
A wick can be infuriating for the team who are on the opposing side, and they certainly aren’t against the rules of lawn bowls, everyone gets lucky from time to time so its best to enjoy it whilst you have it.
It’s important to emphasize the point that a shot is only a “wick” when the bowler bowling didn’t intend to make contact with the bowl in play. It is perfectly fine to target a bowl in the head, and to attempt to hit it.
Luck or judgement?
Some bowlers will claim that a wick isn’t lucky at all, and that good players find wicks because they are putting their shots into good areas.
This may be true to a certain extent, especially if one person has an uncanny ability to get wicks.
However, wicks are just pure luck! Especially the extreme scenarios where the wick takes place far away from the jack.
Lawn bowls is a gentlemanly sport, and good etiquette should be followed. It is common practice to not celebrate when you get a good result from a wick – no matter how hard it is to hold it in!
It is often a good exercise to remember times where you have been on the wrong end of a wick (I know I have had a fair few in my time!), and try to have some understanding for your opponent.
It can be hard to not celebrate, and sometimes our emotions get the better of us, especially in close games where a good wick can make all the difference. If this does happen and you do let out a peep of a cheer, you should always apologise to your opponent.
On the other hand, if your opponent gets a lucky wick, its usually poor form to have a moan about it. If it happens it’s important to move on and not let it get to you.
Luck will always come your way eventually, no matter how much you think the universe is against you.
In summary, a wick is a lucky deflection off of a bowl in play that leads to a positive result.
Wicks come in many forms, from slight glances, to massive deflections that take a very wide bowl straight to the jack.
As with every other aspect of bowls, proper etiquette should be observed. Be sure to not get disheartened by your opponent getting a slice of luck, and please try not to cheer when it happens to you!