TIPS FOR MARKERS
A Marker’s responsibilities are listed in Section 3.2 of Bowls England Laws of the game – Officials and their duties and spectators – point 42 ‘The Marker’s duties’.
A good Marker will make a game whilst a bad Marker can ruin a game so players have the right to expect the best standards you can reach.
You should have the following equipment –
- Chalk spray and/or chalk
- A measure
- Three or four wedges
- A pen or pencil for completing the scorecard
- A coin to toss for start of the game
- A scorecard holder
- Have the “Umpires Case” to hand
(It is polite that the opponent, not challenger, chooses “Heads or Tails” and the winner is on the top of the scoreboard and left on the card, except where some other rules may apply.)
What happens once a game has started:
Check if trial ends are being played and if so how many woods will be bowled. During trial ends indicate to the players the distance of the bowl in front or past the jack using either hand signals or a clear voice.
Once a wood has been delivered place the bowls at the back of the rink in a tidy group. Placing each player’s bowls on opposite sides of the centre line.
When the trial ends are finished, shake the players hands as you cross to take up your position at the end of the rink ready for the start of the game.
Once the game has started always check the mat is centred and when the jack has been delivered centre it with your hands, never your foot.
If you don’t think a jack is the correct length you should verify this. It is the duty of the Marker to ensure the jack is delivered correctly. Check with the long tape if necessary.
During the game it is important not to obstruct a player’s view of any legal markers they might use. You do need to be in a position though where you can view and act on anything that happens in the head. The ideal position to stand is approximately 1 (2) meters to the rear and 1 metre to one side of the jack.
If you have a choice, stand on the side of the rink away from the sun so that your shadow is not cast across the head. Keep still and quiet, unless required to mark a toucher, check the head or answer a question. Try not to obscure the view of spectators.
Do not engage in conversation with the players unless they want to do so. Concentrate on the player on the mat so as not to miss any questions or gestures. Ensure the players are fully aware of the score during the game.
When asked about the length of a bowl, be clear and accurate in your response. If a bowl is 18 inches short do not call it 2 feet short. Try to answer any question by giving the size of the gap between jack and bowl, e.g “there is a gap of 5 inches between your bowl and the jack’.
It’s a good idea to anticipate possible questions you may be asked, so as to have a prompt answer ready. In some cases the Marker may ask both players if they would like informative answers to questions, or just a direct answer, i.e. “Am I holding”, “Yes”, or “Yes, two shots”. Both players must agree to this.
Only answer questions to the player in possession of the rink, remembering that possession of the rink passes to the opponent immediately after a bowl has come to rest, but allowing time for marking a toucher. Don’t answer questions that have not been asked.
You must concentrate until a bowl stops and if it is a toucher it is a priority that you mark it with chalk. It a toucher goes in the ditch indicate the position in the ditch by using the bank markers. This also applies if the jack goes in the ditch.
If a player fires at the head, always move to the front of the head to avoid injury and to ensure you get a clear view of a toucher if it should occur.
Keep out of the head while the players decide the result. Both players should be in agreement. If you are asked to measure ensure that you know which bowls you are being asked to measure, and request the players to remove all bowls not in contention. Don’t measure unless asked.
Have wedges to hand if there is a leaning bowl that may be in the count, and wedge before measuring, remembering that if one of the players requests it, 30 seconds must first elapse from the time the last bowl came to rest.
Only indicate the bowl you believe is shot after completing your measure. DO NOT move it as the players may wish to call an Umpire, or a third party, for confirmation.
If an Umpire is available, try to indicate the equipment they will need. Give the Umpire as much information as they need about the shots conceded and indicate what they are measuring.
Record the score at the completion of each end played. The best time to complete the scorecard is after you have reached the other end of the rink and picked up the mat.
Don’t feel rushed. Don’t be distracted from keeping the scorecard up to date. If the players offer to do the scoreboard, when they are at that end, check that you agree the result.
It helps, to keep the game flowing, if you are able to centre the jack before doing the scoreboard. If so, take care about moving around if they are about to bowl.
After the game
Congratulate the winning player and commiserate with the loser.
Check the scorecard contains the correct scores and the total is entered at the bottom.
If required check the scorecard contains the names and signatures of both players.