We use essential cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set analytics cookies that help us make improvements by measuring how you use the site. These will be set only if you accept.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our cookies page.

Essential Cookies

Essential cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. For example, the selections you make here about which cookies to accept are stored in a cookie.

You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics Cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify you.

Third Party Cookies

Third party cookies are ones planted by other websites while using this site. This may occur (for example) where a Twitter or Facebook feed is embedded with a page. Selecting to turn these off will hide such content.

Skip to main content

The Game of Bowls


It doesn't really matter if you know nothing about the game or whether you've only watched it on the television, outdoor bowls on a flat green is a very simple and enjoyable game to get into and one of the benefits is the relaxed pace, which allows plenty of time to enjoy its social element.

The rich history of bowls

Archaeology suggests that the history of bowling goes back to the Stone Age or the Egyptians at the time of the Pharaohs and there is evidence that it was been played seriously in England for a thousand years.

Most people know the popular legend that says it was on Plymouth Hoe, on 20th July 1588, that the Elizabethan Sea-Captain Sir Francis Drake was playing bowls when the first news of sightings of the invading "Spanish Armada" was brought to him.

The basics of the modern rules of the game were drawn up in Scotland in 1848 and since then it has become an international game in one form or another and attracts millions of viewers on TV.

For decades now, bowling greens have been part of the sporting and leisure scene in communities across Ryedale and Hovingham is lucky and proud to be one of them. 

The game of Bowls

The basic concept is that each player has two, three or four bowls, often called 'woods', depending upon the format. The idea is to get close to the 'jack', a small white ball at the other end of the bowling lane or rink on the green. But what makes it absorbing and intriguing is that the length to the jack can vary, the 'woods' have a weighted bias that causes them to travel in an arc and because it is played on a grass lawn, you also have to take into account the weather (is it wet or dry) and the idiosyncrasies of each lane.

The wonderful thing about outdoor bowling for a newcomer is that after one taster session with the Club you are ready to play the game and start to have fun as you hone your skills alongside other experienced members who are always happy to share their knowledge and give tips.

Bowls formats

‚ÄčBowls is a very social game and competitive competitions add an extra incentive and excitement to the sport. But the flexibility of the game means that Bowls is one of those games you can even play on your own, particularly if you want to practice or you can arrange a friendly 'roll-up' with another member or more.

Hovingham Bowls Club offers a number formats that are intended to make Bowls interesting and well-suited to today's busy lifestyles, whether you are retired or working. The options make it possible for members to play as much or as little as they want.

Competitive social bowling has become very popular because games can be arranged to suit the participants at any time in the week, including weekends. We run a Club Singles League across the whole of the season and several Club Knockout competitions. Both provide an opportunity to meet and chat to every member across a season.

The challenge of competitive inter-community bowling has been popular for many years and the Club takes part in the Ryedale Batagas Triples League. It runs from the beginning of May to the middle of August and matches are on Monday and Friday evenings. 

Every member, whether playing as an individual or as part of a team, likes to win. That's what sport is all about. But our top priority is to have fun in the company of others.

Hovingham Bowls Club The Game of Bowls
Bowling...perfect on a lovely summers day Bowling...perfect on a lovely summers day