At the first end of a match it is advisable to roll the jack to your team's favourite length. It is wise to concentrate on and strive to win the first end as this creates early confidence. If it works stay with it, why change a winning length? Your opponents will soon alter the length when they get the opportunity, and in so doing will reveal what they consider to be their strength.
When changing length it is always advisable to alter the position of the mat as an addition to altering the length, this will involve a slight adjustment of grass for players using an object on the bank for establishing their line.
There has always been controversy as to whether the winner of the toss should take the mat. The rolling of the jack at the first end is like having an extra bowl! It gives the lead the feel of the pace of the green and is preferable to the doubtful asset of having the last bowl in perhaps a cluttered head.
On the last end it can be advantageous for a skip to have the last bowl, presupposing that neither team has been playing better than its opponents on any particular length, and that the head will not be hopelessly blocked, as often occurs on heavy greens before the last bowl is played.
If playing against inexperienced bowlers it is good tactics to have the jack positioned as near the 2m mark as possible irrespective of length, with the mat well up the green if a short end is desired. Inexperienced bowlers are usually afraid of going in the ditch and tend to drop short. If playing an experienced player with a good firm shot or drive it is advisable to leave plenty of distance between the jack and the ditch so that in the event of the jack being moved there will be ample room to draw the shot.
All of this stresses the importance of accurate rolling of the jack, so if you have any pretensions of being a good singles player or competent lead in any team it is imperative that regular practice at rolling the jack be carried out. The practice should include the rolling of the jack to various lengths. The best method of doing this is to take a number of jacks (without bowls) and practice rolling each jack to a different length in turn. Many a game has been lost through poor rolling of the jack.
This exercise has multi uses
Bowl 4 bowls in the same direction aiming to be within 1 yard of the jack. Repeat exercise in the opposite direction using the other delivery hand. Repeat the same again and again.
End 1, 4 bowls forehand up the green.
End 2, 4 bowls backhand down the green.
End 3, 4 bowls backhand up the green.
End 4, 4 bowls forehand down the green.
As always left handers reverse the procedure.
First bowl to long jack on forehand
Second bowl to short jack on forehand
Third bowl to long jack on backhand
Fourth bowl to short jack on backhand
Turn round play back the same way
Long bowls should be within 1 Yard of the jack and short bowls should be within 2 feet of the jack.
KEEP A SCORE OF YOUR SESSION
Exercise 3 like exercise 2 has multi uses with the Advantage of (e)
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