Marking a Singles Game

Quite simply, the marker in a game of singles is there to assist the players and help the game to run smoothly.

Here at club level we do not expect the standard of marking to be that required at top National or International games, World Championships or Commonwealth Games. But, we should expect markers at club level to at least understand the basics of marking a game and, equally important, players to be aware of and appreciate a markers responsiblities. The information provided here is to assist players and members to develop their skills at marking. 

There are numerous points to appreciate when it comes to understanding the correct way of marking a game of singles, so please take time to have a read through the following, and also please take time to have a look at this realy useful video:

Markers Duties:

Preparation before the start of the game:

1. Dress as required.                                                                                                                                                                                             2. If no umpire, check additional equipment that may be required is available (long tape, bank markers, wedges etc.)                                   3. Your equipment – score card, pen, suitable bowl marker, coin, measure.                                                                                                        4. Introduce yourself to the players: Ask how they would like distances to be given - imperial, metric, number of mats, number of steps?        5. Make sure you can identify each players bowls.   

Trial Ends:

1. During trial ends center the jack where the player tells you (remember it does not have to be centred at the distance where it comes to     rest following delivery)                                                                                                                                                                                           2. When a bowl comes to rest – tell or show the player the position in relation to the jack. If it has moved the jack – put the jack back to its    original position. Lift the bowl and place it towards the front ditch.

Interacting with players

1. Don't start a conversation with a player.                                                                                                                                                           2. If a player starts talking to you at the head keep conversation to a minimum.                                                                                                  3. Never offer advice to a player. If asked for advice politely decline.                                                                                                                  4. As players approach the head when all bowls have been played avoid any comments such as 'I think you're going to have measure this   one' or 'You've got 2 John but you'll have to measure for 3'. Just keep quiet!                                                                                                    5. Never question the decision players have agreed upon as to the score at a completed end - Even if you are absolutely convinced they     have got it wrong!                                                                                                                                                                                                  6. Always be ready to respond to players questions. You can only do this by paying attention to what is developing on the head. Follow the  game closely as it progresses.                                                                                                                                                                              7. Players should only ask questions when they 'have the mat'. Only respond to the player who is in possession of the rink.                         8. Answer only the specific question you are asked and give a concise answer.                                                                                                 9. When asked which is the nearer of two bowls to the jack never answer with 'It's a measure, but I fancy the blue bowl'. If you are                absolutey certain that the blue bowl has shot then say so. If in doubt just say 'It's a measure'.                                                                           10. Avoid the need for any follow-up questions to be asked.                                                                                                                                11. Remember that the accuracy of your replies to players questions, whether given verbally or by visual response, can be crucial to a          player when considering their next shot to play. It is not good to tell a player that they are holding shot when if fact their opponent is, or to     give a distance of 1.0 metre between jack and bowl when it is in fact 0.5 metre. Players arriving at the head after the last bowl of the end      and finding inaccuracies in the information given would not be good for players, or marker.                                                                               12. If you feel the need for a short break during a game, and some games can turn into fairly lengthy affairs, have a word with the players at the completion of an end. A decision could be made that it is a good time for all three of you to take time out, or the players may be happy    to carry on with a substitute marker.                                                                                                                                    

Position on the Green:

1. At the start of an end, stand close to the edge of the ditch in line with center rink markers so that you can check the position of the mat,    and if neccessary give players directions for centering the mat.                                                                                                                           2. Stand to one side of the rink and close to the edge of the front ditch as the player prepares to deliver the jack.                                           3. When the jack has been centered – stand about 2 steps behind and 2 steps to one side of the jack.                                                            Sitting in the shade on the bank when the jack is 10 metres away is not a good position, nor is standing in an adjoining rink having a yak      with someone when you need to be concentrating on the game you are marking.                                                                                              4. Stand close enough to the head so you can move to judge and then mark a toucher if neccessary, and also answer player's questions.     5. Stand still when a player is preparing to deliver a bowl.                                                                                                                                 6. Stand so that your shadow is not cast over the head.                                                                                                                                     7. If necessary move to give the players a clear view of any bowls in the head.                                                                                                  8. If a live jack comes to rest in the ditch place a marker on the bank, and stay on the green close to the edge of the ditch at the side of the  rink furthest from the jack.                                                                                                                                                                                     9. Don’t obstruct a players’ view of any rink markers or indicators you have placed on the bank.                                                                      

Start of an end

1. Whenever possible make sure the mat has been correctly placed on the center line of the rink before the jack is delivered.                       2. Make sure the mat is centered before centering the jack.                                                                                                                               3. Center the jack using your hand.                                                                                                                                                                     4. If the jack comes to rest less than 2 metres from the front ditch – center it by placing it correctly on a mark on the center line of the rink.

During an end

1. Answer any specific questions about the state of the head (a player can only ask questions when they are in posession of the mat)           2. Mark all touchers.                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Remove a dead bowl as soon as it has come to rest and place on the bank.                                                                                                  4. If a player forgets to remove chalk marks from a bowl before delivering it, and that bowl does not become a toucher, remove the marks  from the bowl as soon as it comes to rest.                                                                                                                                                       5.If a delivered marked bowl comes to rest in such a position that you cannot safely remove the marks advise the players you are                nominating that bowl as a non-toucher as soon as it comes to rest.                                                                                                                   6. Mark the position of the jack and any touchers that are live in the ditch.                                                                                                          7. If you can see that a bowl from an adjacent rink is likely to move the jack or a bowl at rest on your rink STOP THE BOWL BEFORE IT      DOES.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   8. If you think a bowl from the rink of play is going into the ditch don't stop or catch it before it drops over the edge. Unless it would fall         over the edge and interfere with the jack or a live bowl in the ditch.                                                                                                                     9. After the result of an end has been agreed do not spend time kicking bowls back. You have enough to do with recording the result and     making your way to the other end of the rink ready to centre the jack. 

Completing an End

1. When the last bowl of an end comes to rest don't move the jack, any of the bowls, or bank indicators.                                                          3. Move to the front of the head to wait for the players to decide the result of the end.                                                                                        4. If players cannot decide the result of a measure themselves they may ask you to measure, or they may decide to call an umpire if available. If you do measure tell the players your decision, point to the winning bowl but do not turn it over. If you cannot decide then just      say so.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   5. When players have decided the result of an end – confirm the result and give the players the running total of shots for each player.          6. Walk quickly to the other end of the rink, and if necessary remove the mat used in the previous end.

Score Card and Score Board

1. As soon as is practical fill in the score card & check that the score board agrees with the score card.                                                            2. You will on some ends be able to record the result as soon as the last bowl played has come to rest, and thus have marked up the           score card even before the players arrive at the head. Confirm the score with players before moving to the other end.                                    3. The result of some ends may be fairly contentious and take some time to sort out i.e. several bowls to be measured, difficult measuring    due to jack and/or bowls in the ditch, an umpire being called. Whatever the situation stay at the head until a result has been agreed              upon and you have recorded it.                                                                                                                                                                             4. Depending on circumstances you can record a score at the head before walking to the other end, or whilst walking down the rink. You      can enter scores on the card and the board whilst waiting for the jack to be delivered or, after centering the jack and waiting for the first        bowl to arrive at the head. When you enter the score on a card and bring the score board up to date will depend on the pace the players      are playing the game and situations such as short or long ends.                                                                                                                         5. Players may offer to help you by updating the score board when they are at that end. You can't realy refuse, it is after all their game, but   continually check the board after every end, for the sake of spectators as well as players.                                                                                 6. If agreed with the players it would be entirely acceptable, and helpful, if a spectator (flapper) offered to keep the score board up to date. Pass on scores to said 'flapper' but keep a check on the board.                                                                                                                          7. Remember the score card is the more important of the two. This is what the players will sign at the end of the game and thus confirm the  result.    


Dealing with Touchers

1. If you think a delivered bowl travelling towards the head will touch the jack – move to a position where you can clearly see if the bowl        touches the jack or not.                                                                                                                                                                                     2. If the bowl touches the jack mark the bowl as soon as it comes to rest, or as soon as is possible.                                                                3. Put marks on opposite sides of the bowl.                                                                                                                                                          4. If the bowl comes to rest in a position that marking it may cause it to move, say ‘I’m nominating the last bowl as a toucher’ instead of         marking it. (This would not be a problem if spray chalk is used)                                                                                                                         5. If a toucher comes to rest in the ditch mark it and place an indicator on the bank immediately in line with it.

Running Bowls

1. When a drive/running shot is being played warn bowlers on neighbouring rinks, if you can.                                                                           2. As soon as the bowl has been delivered move quickly to the front of the head. Concentrate on the running bowl to see whether it touches the jack and where it comes to rest. You cannot watch all bowls in the head that move as a result of a drive - concentrate on whether the delivered bowl is a toucher.