Bonus Play Concept

After a long hiatus and not an immediate follow on from any earlier posts, this article presents an innovative bonus play concept for a lawn bowls match.

Power plays are becoming common in newer lawn bowls formats, primarily one assumes to improve entertainment value. Since a high percentage of people seem to enjoy gambling, the introduction of additional risk and reward into the game might be expected to appeal to audiences and possibly participants as well.

The concept presented here, which we henceforth call a bonus play, is motivated in no way by a desire to introduce additional chance elements into the game, although that may be a partial side effect. The intention rather is to test and improve players’ abilities to assess the lie of the bowls (read the head) at an intermediate stage of the end and to plan the play going forward from that point.

This bonus play concept allocates a certain number of bonus shots to each team, which are ‘won’ only if they are deployed during an end that the deploying team wins. Their deployment must be made at a specified point during the end as stated in the match rules, for example after 8 bowls have been delivered during an end of two bowl fours. It is envisaged that the decision to opt for a bonus play, by deploying one or more bonus shots, would be made by the skip, possibly after consultation with other team members. Both teams may opt for a bonus play during the same end but only the team that wins that end secures their bonus shot(s), which are added to the actual shots won in that end. Any bonus shots deployed by a team that loses the end are lost, they are not counted and cannot be redeployed. In the case of tied ends or dead ends it is envisaged that all deployed bonus shots are lost but specific rule variations may decide on a different treatment.

An example of this concept would be as follows. At our local club a Twilight League will be run comprising 20 rounds of four bowl pairs matches each lasting for 10 ends with bowls delivered in a 2x2x2x2 sequence. During each match 3 bonus shots will be available to each pair but only one bonus shot may be deployed by each pair during any given end. Both pairs may deploy a bonus shot during the same end. A pair that has deployed a bonus shot and wins that end adds the bonus shot to the actual shots won. A pair that has deployed a bonus shot and loses (or draws) that end forfeits the bonus shot, which is not added to either score. Bonus shots must be deployed after 8 bowls have been delivered and before the 9th is delivered. After the 8th bowl is delivered, skips will return to the head, assess the lie of the bowls, decide whether or not to deploy a bonus shot, record any deployment on the scorecard (by marking ‘B’ for example) and then signal that the 9th bowl may be delivered. If either team has deployed no bonus shots during the first 7 ends then their remaining 3 ends are all bonus plays for them and likewise for other ‘must deploy’ scenarios.

It is envisaged that the rules outlined in the previous paragraph would encourage a more careful assessment of the head at the halfway changeover as skips decide whether or not to deploy a bonus shot. It is also envisaged that this will help emphasize the benefits of the front end establishing a solid workable head with the first four bowls. Ultimately it is hoped that improvements in team play will result from participation in matches employing this bonus play concept.


Bonus Play Concept — 1 Comment

  1. Dear Bowl Movement,

    My name is Stephen Mooney and I play twilight league bowling at my local club, Albert Park. The exciting Bonus Play concept has been introduced and it has had an immediate impact…. It certainly cost last years PPG champion Steve Clarke victory yesterday as he played no bonus in the first 7 ends, of which he and partner Rex won 5, and proceeded to only draw the match at his first hit out.
    I do hope that when the table is displayed next week the Administrator supplies the vital statistics in the format e.g
    Bowler Ends Played Ends Won Bonus Played Bonus Correct Percentage Conversion
    Lambis 20 8 6 6 100 75

    I think this would add an exciting element to the relevant statistical pool.

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