ECBA rules v
Thomas Taylor rules: A Comparison
Whilst all the counties
and clubs associated with the ECBA play by the same set of rules, there
are a number of clubs across the country who are not affiliated
with a county and who are therefore not part of the ECBA.
As a result some of them
have adopted different sets of rules by which to play. One such
set come from the bowls manufacturer Thomas Taylor. If you buy
a set of their woods they come with a set of rules and not unnaturally
some clubs have taken on those rules.
While the principles involved
in playing by the two sets of rules are much the same there are
a few significant differences.
For the most part the equipment
described in the Thomas Taylor rules are the same, the carpet
(and markings), the woods, the jack and the centre are identical.
However there is one piece of equipment which is missing which
leads to by far the most significant difference between the two
sets of rules.
Under the English rules a bowler must deliver their wood through
an 18 inch wide delivery area which
is marked out at each end of the carpet.
Two blocks are placed along the edges of
along the lines to ensure that a bowler does not bowl outside
of the designated area.
This area and the blocks do not appear
in the Thomas Taylor rules. Instead the rules state that when
delivering a bowl the player 'must take up his stance in line
with the centre of the rink and have one foot entirely behind
The breaks what might be
regarded as one of the guiding principles of carpet bowls as
played under the English rules, which is that no one must stand
on the carpet. When bowling the player must have both feet behind
the mat and having any part of the foot on the carpet is an infringement
which would result in the delivered wood being declared 'dead'.
In the same way that the
centre is there as a restriction upon the bowler, preventing
a running shot directly at the jack, unless it has been moved
off line, the delivery area also restricts the bowler, preventing
the player from reaching out to get a better angle at their target.
The Thomas Taylor rules also state that
'when not in the act of playing or directing, players must not
stand on the carpet'. This rules therefore allows the skip to
stand on the mat in order to give directions. In this sense it
makes the game more akin to lawn or indoor bowls where clearly
there is no restriction on where the players are able to go.
However this is strictly forbidden under
English rules, on the basis that by standing on the mat the woods
might be disturbed, albeit by accident. This is something which
can easily occur given that mats are usually laid on hard floors
and can be caused to move, and also that the floor is more often
than not uneven and any movement might cause a wood which is
not laying on it's back to fall over thereby altering the head.
Movement of the Jack
The other major difference relates to the jack. Under ECBA rules
if the jack is driven off the mat by a player the opposing team
is awarded 2 shots, whether the act of doing so was accidental
or deliberate. But under Thomas Taylor the rule is different.
That rule states that 'should the jack
be driven by a bowl in play wholly beyond the limits of the rink
it shall be counted dead and the head shall be played again'.
Whilst there are circumstances where an
end might have to be replayed under English rules, for the most
part every this is very rare and by and large ever end will count,
even if there has been no score (ie if a wood from each team
is touching the jack).
The term dead end is often heard when playing
under English rules, but more often than not what is meant is
that there it was a 'no score live end'. The Thomas Taylor rules
are such that dead ends will be a much more frequent occurrence.
The rules allow for a game to be played to a particular number
of shots, while English games are either played for a set number
of ends or a set amount of time (both of which are also allowed
for by Thomas Taylor).
Woods bowled out of order are stopped and
then replayed in their proper order under Thomas Taylor while
in the same wood would be considered dead under English and cannot
be played again.
The game as played under the Thomas Taylor rules might be regarded
as being one step closer to the outdoor game than ECBA, the small
but significant differences make it a game that is perhaps a
halfway house between ECBA and Short Mat Bowls.
To avoid any possibility of copyright
infringement Thomas Taylor's rules have not been reproduced here.
The ECBA have been in contact with Thomas Taylor who have agreed
to remove their own set of rules from any sets of woods sold
in the future, replacing them with a notice directing the purchaser
to this website.