British Crown Green Bowling Association

A Glossary of Colloquialisms

What It All Means

This is a list of words and expressions commonly used by Crown Green bowlers. Some of them are fairly universal across the Crown Green world, others are more regional in their use. Most of these are fairly common in the North-West of England but I've no doubt there are far more out there than there are here.

All but
A stage in a game where a player needs only one point to win. Usually in the form of "Fred(a) is lying all but 19" which, if the game is to 21 points, means that the score at the moment is 20 to Fred(a) and 19 to the other player.
Bobby (Blocker)
A bowl deliberately played short of the jack so that the normal path to the jack is blocked from an opponent's point of view. The idea being to force the opponent to play with the other bias so as to find another way in to the jack or to guard against a 'firing' shot.
This term may be heard in South Yorkshire/North Derbyshire to describe the beating of an opponent to a nil score. See also 'Whitewash'.
Block (Jack)
A Crown Green jack has a bias which, for 'Standard Jacks', is now carefully controlled, and measured on a standard testing table.
Gutter, channel, box. This marks the boundary of the playing surface. Any bowl or jack going into the channel is 'dead'.
Driving, striking. A bowl played at great speed so that the bias has little effect. The intention being to remove an opponent's bowl from counting, or to force the jack into the ditch so killing the end.
'Playing up to the knob'. Usually, but not necessarily, the crown of a green. It could be any high point on the green, and is used to good advantage by some players who specialise in short marks where delicate and accurate delivery is required.
Peg (Bias)
When a jack or bowl is played with the bias on the thumb side, this is known as thumb peg. Finger peg is, funnily enough, a jack or bowl played with the bias on the little finger side of the hand. This can be confusing when left and right handed players meet in a game. 'Sky bias' usually occurs when jack or bowl slips out of the player's hand during delivery, and travels on its side rather than its running surface thus causing it to bobble along the playing surface.
Playing through
An expression used to describe the delivery of a bowl played with enough pace to take the bowl a couple of yards past the end unless it makes contact with the intended target. This type of delivery is used to try and 'rest out' an opponents bowl, or take the jack through to the player's back bowl.
Rest out
To play a bowl so that it moves an opponent's bowl from adjacent the jack and rests in its place to count.
A bowl played so that when it comes to rest it is actually in contact with the jack. Apart from being a bowl well played, it has no other significance in Crown Green bowling.
A player is whitewashed if beaten without scoring a point.
Who's on
A fairly standard query from a player who, when about to play a bowl, is wanting to know whose bowl is nearest the jack. Also 'which bowl is on', the equivalent of 'shot bowl' in Flat Green.