A beginner’s guide to the World Indoor Bowls Championship at the Potters Resort in Hopton

Just 2017 World Indoor Bowls Championships media launch at the Potters Resort in Hopton.
World Indoo

Just 2017 World Indoor Bowls Championships media launch at the Potters Resort in Hopton. World Indoor Open singles Champion 2016 Nick Brett (green) with Ladies World Matchplay Champion 2016 Ellen Faulkner (red). Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: James Bass

The Just 2017 World Indoor Bowls Championship gets under way at Potters Resort in Hopton today, bringing the top competitors of the sport to the region.

Just 2017 World Indoor Bowls Championships media launch at the Potters Resort in Hopton.
World Indoo

Just 2017 World Indoor Bowls Championships media launch at the Potters Resort in Hopton. World Indoor Open singles Champion 2016 Nick Brett (green) with Ladies World Matchplay Champion 2016 Ellen Faulkner (red). Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: James Bass

The competition will see hundreds of spectators flock to the resort, as well as live television coverage throughout its 17 days.

So to mark the big occasion, we've prepared a beginner's guide to the sport and the tournament, which has been described as 'the Wimbledon' of bowls.

What is the objective?

Each competitors have biased balls, which they must in turn run towards a smaller ball called a jack, situated at the opposite end. The aim is simply to get your balls closer to the jack than your opponent.

Just 2017 World Indoor Bowls Championships media launch at the Potters Resort in Hopton.
World Indoo

Just 2017 World Indoor Bowls Championships media launch at the Potters Resort in Hopton. World Indoor Open singles Champion 2016 Nick Brett (green) with Ladies World Matchplay Champion 2016 Ellen Faulkner (red). Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: James Bass


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Is it played as individuals or in teams? Both. Similarly to tennis, the sport has both singles and doubles tournaments - though in bowls, doubles are called pairs. Again, like tennis, there are same sex and mixed pairs.

How is it scored?

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Each player has four balls. Once their four balls have been played, scoring depends on where each player's balls are position. For every ball closer to the opponent one player has, a point is scored. So for example, if the four closest balls to the jack all belong to one player, that player would score four points.

How long does a match last?

Each match will consist of two sets, made up of nine 'ends' - with each player having four balls per 'end'. An 'end' is the name given to the process by which each player rolls four balls. The finals are made up of two sets of 11.

Why is the small ball called a 'jack'? There are two main theories for this one. One is that it is derived from the Latin word 'jactus', meaning a cast or a throw. However, another theory is that it comes from prefix 'jack', meaning a slightly smaller version of something.

How many people are taking part?

The men's singles tournaments has 32 players. The ladies singles has eight competitors. The men's pairs is made up of eight teams, as is the mixed pairs.

How long does the tournament last?

The tournament begins on January 13, with the finals taking place on January 29.

Who should I look out for?

The defending champions are Nick Brett (men's singles) and Ellen Falkner (women's singles) and will both be looking to retain their crowns. Norwich-based Rebecca Field, herself a former champion, is also competing, hoping to go one better than her second-placed finish last year.

Where can I watch it?

The best place to watch the tournament is at Potters Resort itself. Tickets range between £5 for preliminary rounds and £16 for the finals and are available on 0333 3207 456.

The final week of the action will also be broadcast live on the BBC, with coverage split between BBc One, BBC Two and the BBC Red Button.

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