Lawn bowls is the only sport where it is not uncommon at club level to see players in their seventies or eighties compete against players in their teens or twenties, and yet still be able to win. We’ve compiled 7 interesting facts about one of the world’s most challenging games.
Lawn bowls fun fact 1: What does ‘jack’ actually mean?
The meaning of the word is subject to debate. Some say it means something which is cast or thrown, because of the Latin word ‘jactus’. Others say it means something small or inferior. Other, more colloquial names for the jack include the white, the kitty or the sweetie, the Cot in Federation Bowls (EBF), and, in the case of crown green bowls, the block.
Lawn bowls fun fact 2: Shakespeare was an enthusiast
Shakespeare was apparently a member of a bowling club, and his plays are littered with references to the sport. Cymbeline, which was written around 1610, contains one of the first recorded mentions of the jack – “Was there ever man had such luck! When I kissed the jack, upon an up-cast to be hit away.”
Lawn bowls fun fact 3: A royal favourite
England’s King James I was a fan of lawn bowls. He once issued a publication called The Book of Sports, in which he condemned football and golf but encouraged bowls.
Lawn bowls fun fact 4: A 16th century distraction
King Henry VIII was a lawn bowler. However, he banned the game for those who were not wealthy because “Bowyes, Fletchers, Stringers and Arrowhead makers” were spending more time at recreational events such as bowls instead of practising their trades.
Lawn bowls fun fact 5: Bowls for people who are blind
A modified version of bowls can be played by people who are blind, and many blind bowlers are extremely skilful. A string is run out down the centre of the lane and wherever the jack lands it is moved across to the string and the length is called out by a sighted marker. When the bowls are rolled, their distance from and position in relation to the jack is also called out. This allows the bowler to adjust their aim and the force of their throw.
Lawn bowls fun fact 6: An ancient Egyptian game
Many bowls historians believe that the game developed from the Egyptians. One of their pastimes was to play skittles with round stones. Artefacts of this game were found in tombs dating 5,000 B.C.
Lawn bowls fun fact 7: Tassie beginnings
The Beach Tavern at Sandy Bay in Tasmania was the venue for the first recorded game of bowls in Australia. It was played in 1845.
Taylor Bowls: a lawn bowls success story in Noosaville
Whether you are new to lawn bowls or an experienced player, Taylor Bowls has everything you need to take your game to the next level. Investing in the right bowls, bags, shoes, clothing and a good bowls mat should be considered.
Browse our range online or get in touch with the friendly team at Taylor Bowls today. Phone 07 5449 9011.