Team Roles – Lead

Duty The lead of the team to play first in an end should;

Place the mat as described in the Laws of the Sport of Bowls Crystal Mark Third Edition, as per the game plan or as directed by the skip,

Deliver the jack and make sure that it is centred before delivering the first bowl of the end,

Help to return lawn bowls to a safe position behind the mat at the conclusion of each end.

Objective: Leads are required to draw their bowls as close to the jack as possible. The operative words here are “as close to the jack as possible”.

Gamesmanship: This is the art or practice of achieving the lead’s objective without engaging in a competitive game with the opposing lead. In other words ignore what the opposing lead is doing and achieve your objective.

Control: Most experienced skips will acknowledge the importance of good leads, however good leads must not act independently but remember it is imperative that they understand the tactical reasons they are under the control of the skip throughout the game.

Mat & Jack Tactics: Tactics begin in trial ends; from the toss of the coin, the first placement position of the mat and playing length of the jack. It is therefore vital the lead watches the skip for instructions for the placement and delivery length. It is not the prerogative of the lead to move the mat around at will or vary the length of ends.

Trial ends: During trial ends lawn bowls are played on the forehand and backhand to determine the best side to play. After consultation with the skip, the best side (usually the narrow hand) is chosen and played. This hand is not changed unless instructed by the skip.

Wisdom: Wisdom suggests that the lead should always bowls on the same side of the rink as this obviates the necessity of having to cope with the varying width and pace of the green.

Forehand and Backhand: Do not play “around the clock”, meaning backhand or forehand both ways, the variation does not allow the greatest consistency and the team will be disadvantaged and head-building will be adversely effected.

Self Control: The requirement of leads is to deliver their bowls as close to the jack as possible. Unless specifically instructed by their Skip; they should strictly avoid niggling at close opposition bowls, keep their mind clear and focused on their objective. Remember in a team effort, a good close second bowl is just as important as the shot bowl.

Disposition of the Head: The disposition of the lead’s bowls at the head play an important part in the building of the head. This involves both teams to consider the employment of the tactical skills of defence, attack and recovery.