East Surrey Bowls League

East Surrey Bowls League - League Rules

pdf file for printing - esl rules and regs revised 2023 full match penalty.pdf


Founded 1986

 Member Clubs:

Bletchingley BC*,   Caterham BC*,   Old Coulsdon BC*,  Chipstead BC*,   Epsom BC*,

  Shirley Park BC*,  Wallington BC*,   Ashtead BC,  Horley BC,  Sutton BC,  Cheam Fields BC, 

Purley BC,  Purley Bury BC,  Dorking BC,  Cheam BC,  Croydon BC

Croydon Municipal Officers BC, Redhill BC*

*Founder Clubs”


RULES AND CONSTITUTION  (Amended  November 2023)



1.         The League shall be a Men’s league known as the EAST SURREY BOWLS LEAGUE.  The Headquarters of the League shall be Old Coulsdon Bowling Club.

2.         Membership of the League shall be by written application to the Secretary who will present it to the Annual General Meeting. A decision will be determined by the Member Clubs voting FOR or AGAINST the application.

Member Clubs are expected to make reference to and embrace the 2014 Bowls England Regulation 9 (Disciplinary Code) within their own club Rules and Constitution.

Membership of the League is restricted to Clubs within the Surrey County border on the East with Kent and the South with Sussex. A North/South line through Dorking/Leatherhead will provide the Western border and the London Boroughs of Croydon and Sutton will provide the Northern most border of the EAST SURREY BOWLS LEAGUE 

3.         In the event of a new Club joining the League, a Joining Fee of £10.00 will be

payable in addition to the Annual Subscription in force at that time. The amount of the Annual Subscription shall be determined at the Annual General Meeting.  

4.         The League affairs shall be conducted by a Committee which shall consist of the Officers (non-voting) and one Delegate member (Total18) from each club.

The Committee will only facilitate the playing rules covering E.S.L. competitions and will never adjudicate or try to influence issues that are exclusively the responsibility of the Member Clubs. All people involved in any ESL match both at home or away must take personal responsibility for their own health care.

It is also the responsibility of the Member Clubs to show a Duty of Care and safeguard all participants in E.S.L. games.

5.         The Officers of the League shall be a President, Chairman, Treasurer, League Secretary/Social Secretary and a Webmaster/Results Secretary who will act as Press Officer. The Office of Secretary and Treasurer may be held as one Office.

6.         The Officers shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting which shall take place in either October or November each year. Officer nominations and propositions for discussion at the AGM should be made in writing to the League Secretary at least 28 days prior to the Annual General Meeting.

7.         One Delegate to the Committee shall be nominated by Member Club (18)

Such nominations are to be notified to the Secretary and should show the contact details of the Delegate or the Club, i.e: Email address and telephone number.

8.        Only the Delegate or their representative will be allowed to vote at the Annual General Meeting, i.e. one vote per Club. Any changes to the Constitution requires a 66.666% majority of the Member clubs voting in favour. The Chairman of the Meeting will have a casting vote

9..         The League will organize each season a two Division Inter-Club League played on Fixed Dates with promotion and relegation between the divisions and an Inter-Club Top Eleven knockout competition between the Member Clubs.


If for any external reason the season is unable to be completed all results will be expunged and the season declared void.



All matches shall be played in accordance within the spirit and the Laws of the Sport of Bowls except as otherwise provided for in these Rules.

11.       The two clubs who finish at the bottom of division one will be relegated to division two and be replaced in division one by the top two in division two. League Officers will arrange a Fixed Date fixture exchange between the four clubs soon after the Promotion/Relegation issues are settled each season not later than the AGM.

It is accepted that clubs that stay in the same division will alternate the “Fixed date” venues each year. i.e: Home opening day League fixture one year will be followed by an Away opening day fixture the following year. For Clubs who change divisions the same formula as above will be used if possible.

The Club finishing as Champions of the Top division will be presented with a cheque for £75 and will hold for one year “The DON STANLEY Championship Trophy” and the “Championship Flag”. The Runner-Up will hold the “East Surrey Bowls League     Division One Runner-Up Trophy” for one year. The winner along with the runner up will be presented with a suitable “to keep” award. The Second division winner will be presented with a cheque for £75 and will hold the “Presidents Cup” for one year. The Second division Runner-Up will hold the “East Surrey Bowls League Division Two Runner-Up Trophy” for one year. A “to keep” award will also be made to the second division winning Club and the runner up.

11.1    Clubs will play each other Home and Away each season. Matches are to be played on the “League Fixed Dates” as previously agreed by the Clubs at an AGM. Midweek and alternative dates to the “Fixed Date schedule” are permitted, but only in extreme circumstances and by mutual agreement of both Clubs. The Results Secretary must be informed of any changes to the “Fixed Date” schedule.

11.2    A Match shall consist of each Club playing three Fours. The duration of the match shall be 18 ends and all players must be a bona fide member of the club for which he is playing. A player can only play ESL Rinks League or TOP 11 competition for one ESL club in any one season.

11.3    In the event of players being absent from one or both teams the match shall proceed no later than 30 minutes after the appointed time. After the time extension if either or both teams are still short of up to 3 players then the game will commence with: 1 short =A Triple playing against a Rink and 2 Rinks vs. 2 Rinks.

         2 short= Two Triples playing against 2 Rinks and 1 Rink vs. 1 Rink.

         3 short=Three Triples playing against 3 Rinks.        

NB1:   The Triples will play with 6 woods against the 8 woods of the Rink(s); therefore, the Triple would forfeit the No. 2 position.

Late arriving players may join the match only up until the conclusion of the Trial Ends.

NB2:  If a player in a “sides” game has to leave the game due to illness or any other reasonable cause a substitute may be used. The substitute cannot Skip.

If a substitute is not available the side reduced in numbers must continue to play with 6 woods against 8. The reduced rink would forfeit the number 2 position. No further penalty.

NB3:    Any club falling to provide a minimum of 9 players in any ESL Fixed Date League game must concede the full match points to the non-culpable club. No rearranging of games because of a shortage of players, unless because of extreme circumstances.  Culpable club -10 shots, non-culpable club +10 shots.

11.4    All Rinks will be drawn.  The visiting Captain or representative shall make the draw to establish the opposing fours, and the rink numbers to be played on. Opponent “Pairing” is not allowed. Government/B.E. Guidelines must be followed

11.5    SCORING:-  Two points will be awarded to the winner on each Rink. One point each shall be awarded for a tied Rink. Four points shall be awarded for an overall aggregate win. Two points each shall be awarded for an overall aggregate tie.

11.6     An abandoned match with less than 15 ends completed on all rinks must be rearranged, failure to do so will be covered by rule 11.7


In the event of an abandonment after a minimum 15 ends on all rinks have been played; Result and points allocation would be based on the completed ends played on each individual rinks.

11.7    The Home club Greenkeeper, or Match Captain are the only people who can declare the Green unfit for play. Matches cancelled for unforeseen circumstances must be rearranged by mutual agreement between the Clubs to maintain the integrity of the League. To rearrange a fixture the Home club should offer within 7 days of the cancelled match 1 weekend date and 2 midweek dates.  No team should be asked to play before 9.30am at weekends or before 6pm on weekdays unless mutually agreed.

 The League Results Secretary must be informed of the details of the rearrangement. Clubs who fail to rearrange a match that directly affects Promotion/Relegation issues will be instructed in writing to play at a time and place deemed to be fair to both Clubs by The League Officers.

Should it prove impossible for The League Officers to be able to reach a measure of agreement between the clubs on a date and time then the result and points allocation will be 10 points and 10 shots to the non culpable club and 0 points and minus 10 shots to the culpable club. Decisions taken by The League Committee will be based on the published rules, will be final, and will be seen to be fair to all other members of the League.

NB:      Should a Member Club fail to honour a fixture twice in any season it should be assumed that they do not have the resources to be part of the League in its present format. This, in the first instance would become a matter for the League Officers to resolve with the culpable club.

11.8    The Club with the highest number of points in both divisions at the end of the season shall be declared the Divisions Champions. In the event of a tie on points, the Club with the highest shots difference shall be declared Division winners.

11.9    Dress: Grey/White/Coloured trousers or tailored shorts with matching socks and approved bowling Shoes. Coloured Club Shirts, Trousers or Shorts may be worn, ESL GUIDELINES:  ALL players in the team must wear the same team outfit, also:-

i)    The Club Shirt/Trousers/Shorts must be registered and approved by B.E.

ii)      Club team shirts may be worn before, during, and at, the after-match formalities.

11.10   Match results must be notified to the League Results Secretary by both Clubs by Email. RESULTS NOT RECEIVED WITHIN SEVEN DAYS MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. Both Clubs must retain the signed scorecards for possible scrutiny.


A “Top Eleven Competition” will be organized each year. The winners will be presented with a cheque for £75 and a “to keep” award. They will also hold “THE  TOP ELEVEN TROPHY” for one year. The Runner-Up will be presented with the “Knockout Runner-up Cup and a “to keep” award.

12.1   Rules shall be in accordance with the Laws of the Sport of Bowls unless otherwise provided for within these rules.

12.2     Eligibility is open only to Member Clubs of the EAST SURREY BOWLS LEAGUE.

12.3                Matches are to be played on a knockout basis. The winning Club will proceed to the next round.

12.4  The competition comprises five disciplines and the first team to win 3 are declared the winners and progress to the next round. All disciplines must produce a clear winner. THE DISCIPLINES ARE: Two Wood Singles (21 ends), Four Wood Singles (21 shots), Four Wood Pairs (21 ends), Three Wood Triples (18 ends) and a Two Wood Fours (18 ends). The Challenger (the club at the top of each pairing) must offer for the Preliminary Round their opponents 3 dates, one of which must be a weekend date. The offer must be made before the first round of the “Fixed Date” League matches. For the subsequent rounds the offer must be made by the Challenger no later than one week after the closing date of the previous round. The Challenger will have choice of green and make all match arrangements. No team should be asked to play before 9.30am at weekends or before 6pm on weekdays unless agreed by mutual agreement.

Failure to comply with the Challenge date will result in the Opponent becoming the Challenger and taking responsibility for offering play dates and choice of venue.

If through bad weather or unforeseen circumstances an agreed match cannot be completed before the closing date of a round, an extension can be requested from an Officer. If granted, the match must be played within 7 days after the round “play by” date. If clubs cannot mutually agree dates the League Officers will arbitrate. Their decision could include DISQUALIFICATION of one or both Clubs.


12.5   .Before the start of the match the team Captains will exchange scorecard with all players listed and in which discipline they will be playing in. A toss of a coin will allow the winner to decide if they wish to take the mat on the first end of all disciplines or pass the mat over to the opponent. A further toss of the coin will decide who will take the mat on any tied disciplines should an extra end(s) be required to give a clear winner. A blind draw determines which rinks are used for each of the five events (no player may change events after the cards have been exchanged).

A Club who delays the agreed start time by more than 15 minutes will be disqualified.

No late arriving player shall be allowed to join the game.


12.6    A Singles player who for any reason cannot finish his game must concede the event. The remaining disciplines should continue to their natural conclusion. In the “Team” events a substitute is allowed in line with the ESL rules covering a substitute Rule 11.3 N.B.2 first paragraph.

ESL LOCAL RULE:  In the ‘Team’ events if any player has to leave the match permanently, and there is NOT a substitute available his rink must forfeit----the Leads woods in the PAIRS.--- The number Two players woods in the TRIPLES---The second player in the FOUR’s event to allow the game to reach its natural conclusion.  

The League Management Committee strongly recommends that Clubs always have a substitute in attendance for the entire game.


12.7     The eleven players representing a Club may be changed for each round.


12.8    Scorecards from each match must be signed by both Captains and retained for scrutiny. The winners to notify the Results Secretary of the result by Email as soon as possible.


12.9    Dress for Top Eleven matches shall be in accordance with Rule 11.9.


12.10  The draw for the Top Eleven competition will be made by The League Officials. Matches are to be played in accordance with the dates shown on the competition draw sheet that is shown on the ESL website and will be issued to each Club. The League Results Secretary will be responsible for notifying each Club of their next match in the competition. The Final will be played in whites on a fixed date on a neutral Green appointed by The League Officers.


12.11     THE LEAGUE OFFICERS COMMITTEE: Matters not covered by the above Rules will be decided upon by The League Officers who will decide if an issue should be made the subject of a vote by the Member Clubs. The League Officers will decide what voting majority is required to carry an issue to a “fair to all” conclusion.  The Officers decisions will be final.