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The game can be played as:-

singles, 

teams of pairs (2 players per side),

triples (3 players), or

fours (a team of four is also known as a rink). In the team games each member has a particular role to play, such as in fours:

The first to play or lead, places the mat, delivers the jack and centres it before attempting to bowl as close as possible to the jack.

The second plays after the leads and his duty is to keep the score card and scoreboard up to date.

The third may be called upon to play different types of shots in order to score more, or to place bowls tactically to protect an advantage. The third may also advise the skip on choice of shots, and agrees the number of shots scored, measuring if required.

The skip is in overall charge of the rink, directs the other players on choice of shots and tries to build the “head” of bowls to his or her advantage.