When is lawn bowls on at Commonwealth Games 2022? Birmingham schedule, rules, venue - how to watch on UK TV

The Commonwealth lawn bowls is taking place in Royal Leamington Spa

The Commonwealth Games 2022 has officially got underway in Birmingham, following a glitzy opening ceremony.

The £778 million sports competition will pit thousands of athletes against each other in 25 different events, including netball, cycling and cricket.

One of the more obscure sports on the Commonwealth Games schedule is lawn bowls - a fixture of the British summer for many, but one that rarely gets much TV time.

So when can you watch lawn bowls being played at Birmingham 2022 - and what are the rules?

Here’s everything you need to know.

The Commonwealth Games 2022 lawn bowls competition kicked off on 29 July (image: Getty Images)

What is lawn bowls?

Despite being a typically British pastime, the sport of bowls is believed to have originated in ancient Egypt.

The theory, supported by archaeological finds, suggests citizens in the land of the pharaohs would throw stone balls at stick targets.

It’s thought the Romans then took this sport to Europe, where it eventually became boules in France and bowls in the UK.

Records of the game being played in the British Isles date back to the 12th century, with the sport typically being played by nobles and royalty.

Sir Francis Drake played potentially the most famous game of bowls ahead of taking on the Spanish Armada (image: Getty Images)

One of bowls’ most notable mentions was during the Spanish Armada, when Royal Navy vice-admiral Sir Francis Drake was said to have been informed Spain’s fleet was approaching while playing a match in Plymouth.

It’s claimed he told the messenger that he could still finish his game and beat the Spanish - two things he duly went on to do.

In modern times, bowls is split into two formats: indoor and crown green, or lawn, bowls.

Indoor is the newer type of bowls and tends to be played in big barn-like buildings on a carpet.

What are lawn bowls rules?

The object of the game of lawn bowls is to position as many of your biased - i.e. heavier on one side compared to the other - heavy plastic balls as close as possible to a small white ball, known as the Jack.

The more balls - known as ‘woods’ - you get closer to the Jack than your opponent, the more points you get.

Sometimes the result has to be determined with a tape measure.

The object of bowls is to get as many of your balls as close to the Jack as possible (image: Getty Images)

The game is either played individually, in pairs, trios or even quartets, and takes place on what is called a ‘rink’ - a strip of grass that’s 34 to 40 metres long and has a ditch at both ends.

Any balls that fall outside of the rink or fall into the ditch do not count as scoring shots.

If the Jack gets hit outside the playing zone, it is classed as a ‘dead end’ and players will have to bowl again..

In the singles competition, players take turns to bowl four balls from a rubber mat that protects the ground and provides grip.

Once these have been bowled and a result has been achieved, it is classed as an ‘end’.

The bowlers then turn around and bowl back up the rink.

The first to score 21 points wins.

If the game involves more than one player on each team, the captain will stand at the end where the white ball has been placed, while the rest of the team take turns to bowl.

Lawn bowls has featured at the Commonwealth Games since the very first tournament (image: Getty Images)

You will often hear them giving advice on where their team should position their balls in relation to the Jack.

While the principal aim is to get your balls close to the Jack, there are several different tactical shots that can be played in a bid to block the opponent or prevent them from winning.

They then head to the mat and bowl the last balls of the end.

The pairs, triples and fours competition plays over a certain number of ends, with the team scoring the most overall points winning.

A para bowls competition is also taking place, with athletes categorised depending on the level of their impairment.

What is the Commonwealth Games lawn bowls schedule?

29 July

On the opening day of the lawn bowls, the day’s action kicks off with the start of the para men’s and women’s pairs B6-B8 competition.

The women’s singles and men’s triples also get underway.

In the afternoon session, the para men’s and women’s pairs B6-B8 competition continues, while the men’s pairs and women’s fours also start their draws.

The para men’s pairs B6-B8 kicked off on Friday 29 July (image: Getty Images)

30 July

The para men’s and women’s pairs B6-B8 also starts the second day of action, with the women’s singles and men’s triples also continuing.

The men’s pairs and women’s fours continue for the rest of the day.

31 July

On Sunday, the women’s singles and men’s pairs kick off the action.

Quarter finals for the men’s triples, women’s fours, men’s pairs and women’s singles all take place in the afternoon, alongside the early rounds of the para women’s and men’s B6-B8 pairs.

The para mixed pairs B2/B3 tournament is then set to begin in the early evening.

1 August

The first series of semi-finals begin on Monday, with the para men’s and women’s B6-B8 pairs, men’s triples, women’s fours, men’s pairs and women’s singles all vying for a place in their respective finals.

The morning session will also see the men’s triples final take place and the continuation of the para mixed pairs B2/B3.

The day concludes with the women’s singles finals.

2 August

Tuesday gets underway with the start of the women’s pairs, women’s triples and men’s singles.

It will be one of the busier days of competition, with the men’s pairs and women’s fours finals also scheduled in the early session, as well as the continuing para mixed pairs competition..

The women’s triples and men’s fours take up much of the afternoon session, while the para men’s B6-B8 finals are also scheduled.

3 August

The women’s pairs and men’s singles dominate the start of play on Wednesday, while the women’s triples and men’s fours fill up most of the afternoon session.

The afternoon will see the conclusion of the para women’s B6-B8 competition, as well as the continuation of the para mixed pairs B2/B3 event.

Aaron Wilson of Australia - in what was possibly a bowls first - took his top off when he won the Commonwealth men’s singles title in 2018 (image: Getty Images)

4 August

As we enter the latter stages of the lawn bowls competitions, the women’s pairs and men’s singles start off proceedings.

The women’s triples and men’s fours early rounds continue in the afternoon, with the women’s triples quarters taking place after the last of the group stages has been completed.

The para mixed pairs semis will take centre stage in the afternoon action.

5 August

On the penultimate day of the lawn bowls tournament, proceedings get underway with quarter-finals in the women’s pairs and men’s singles and semi-finals in the women’s triples.

The women’s pairs semi-finals, men’s fours quarter-finals and para mixed pairs B2/B3 finals follow.

In the afternoon session, the women’s triples finals and men’s fours semi-finals take place.

Bowls rinks are up to 40m long (image: Getty Images)

6 August

The final day of the lawn bowls will kick off with the women’s pairs finals, the men’s singles semi-finals and then the men’s fours finals.

In the afternoon and evening session, the men’s singles finals will take place.

Where is Commonwealth Games bowls being played?

The venue for lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games is Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa.

It is also where the English National Championships take place every year.

How can I watch Commonwealth Games lawn bowls?

The lawn bowls is featuring across the BBC from 29 July until Saturday 6 August.

The action is set to kick off at 8.30am on most days, and is scheduled to end after 8pm for most of the duration of the competition.

You’re most likely to catch lawn bowls on the BBC Sport website and red button, but coverage might also be shown on BBc One, BBC Two and BBC Three.