Welsh Association of Visually Impaired Bowlers
Although this skilful and fascinating game has been around for centuries, it was not until the late 1950s that blind people were introduced to the game’s fascination. This is something for which we have to thank our Scottish friends, since it was in 1959 that the bowls started rolling for the blind.
In those days, the system used to direct the bowler was entirely different to that of today. Then, the blind bowler was guided to the mat and instructed to bowl to the sound of the voice, the clapping of hands or the bell ringing behind the jack.
Today, we use the ‘clock method’, as it is generally known, and this is possibly the most important innovation to all blind bowlers. Using this system, the ‘marker’ who is a very important individual in our game, is stationed beyond the ‘jack’. His job is to indicate to those at the mat end, at what time and distance from the ‘jack’ the bowl has come to rest. The ‘jack’ is the centre of the clock; therefore, six o’clock would be in front and twelve o’clock behind, with all other positions being relative to the clock. From the information fed back from the ‘marker’ the player can build up a mental picture of the ‘head’, knowing exactly the position of each bowl in the ‘head’, thus allowing the player who cannot see, to be involved and familiar with the finer points of the game. The only minor concession made to the blind is that a fine white centre string runs under the mat and is fixed at both ends. The main object of this centre string is to help the bowler to judge the angle for the amount of green required.
By the use of these minor variations, blind and sighted people are able to play together as these variations do not infringe upon, or alter in any way the basic game or the EBA rules, but they certainly do improve the standard of bowling.
Phone/Fax: 01633 - 850798
Mob.: 07737 - 275255
Address: 113, Medway Road, Newport, NP20 7XU
(Information gathered from the British Blind Sport Association, 2007)