Bowls come in all shapes, colours and sizes. Colour:  they used to be brown when they were made of lignum vitae wood, people still call them woods. Then it was black, when first a kind of plastic or rubber resin was used, but now the skies the limit, single colours, mixed colours.

Manufacturers have gone daft , there is an unbelievable range, talk about psychedelic, I was playing over at Country Bowls the other week where a guy had a combination of large bright yellow, red and black blobs.

Watching them go down the rink was mesmerising, the sort of sensation you get with flashing lights.  Any way I digress, size, weight and shape are strictly governed.

The rules say that “they be between 112 and 131 m.m. across their widest points” I could not see any limits to their diameter ( I am sure somebody will let me know) but their weight may be up to 1.59 Kg.

Most manufacturers have a range of sizes, for example, one has from 000 up to 8. I have never seen anybody using 000 and 00 but 0 to 5 I have seen. The grading is dependent on the hand size so I assume 000 and 00 are for children, hobbits and munchkins and the rest is up to your own choice based on your hand size. There are ways of judging for your size.

One I was told is, if you form a circle round the circumference of the bowl with your thumbs and index fingers, if they just touch that should be okay for you.  I have small hands (I am a little old scroat after all) and should use a size 1 but use 2 now but I have got used to them and I find they play well. God knows who uses 8‘s their hands must be the size of shovels.

Without going into it too deeply the type of green plays an important part too. Playing over at La Manga ,the only real grass rinks in Spain, I noticed a large number of their players using size 5’s even the ladies. Obviously an advantage as hardly any team wins there.  Weight is important too, there seems to be three main ones Medium (M) Heavy (H) Extra Heavy (EH) for example I have weighed both my 1 and 2 heavies and they are 1.4 each approx.

Again this is a thing of choice dependant on your size, health and other factors. Then there’s the bias or the “swing” of the bowl. Rule 52.2 Bias of bowls. A Working Reference Bowl will have a bias approved by the WB.

All bowls must have a bias that is not less than that of a Working Reference Bowl and must be imprinted with the World Reference Stamp. What does that all mean ? Tell you next week.

Vistabella Bowls Club is sponsored by: Venture Fleet Services, TV Choice, Oneway Services, Serenity Insurance, Carpet Heaven.  The Winter league is sponsored by Laguna Tavern Entre Naranjos

How about coming and have a go at bowling we would be pleased to see you. We can arrange a free session and lesson . You could get hooked it’s a fabulous game and a very sociable one you’ll meet lots of new friends.

Also bowlers are most welcome, we have a brand new green and are looking for new members. Please contact:  Club Captain – David Jenkins or Charlie Watkins  Reported by : Montestan