Ipswich & District Federation Bowls League


CONSTITUTION  (Updated January 2023)


1. The association shall be known as the Ipswich & District Federation Bowls League, membership to be open to all bowls clubs in Ipswich and surrounding districts.  The aim of the association is to manage and promote bowls. All League, Cup and Competition games not covered by the following rules shall be played under the rules of the Suffolk County Bowls Association (SCBA) and/or the Suffolk County Women’s Bowls Association (SCWBA).  All clubs and players must be affiliated to the SCBA and/or the SCWBA.


2. All clubs must submit their application to join the league for the following season no later than seven days prior to the Annual General Meeting each year.


3. The affiliation fee for membership, for each team, shall be paid on or before the Annual General Meeting each year.   If, on the date of the Annual General Meeting each year, the fees have not been received by the Treasurer, the Secretary shall write to or contact via email each offending club informing them that they have incurred a fine of £10.00 to cover the administration cost involved.


4. The affairs of the association shall be conducted by a management committee which shall consist of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, General Secretary, Treasurer, three Results and/or Fixtures Secretaries, Competitions Secretary, Website Co-ordinator, Results Information Officer, Interleague Manager and four committee members.  Seven committee members to form a quorum.  Any member of the management committee who fails to attend three consecutive meetings without reasonable excuse could lose their position on said committee.  The committee will have power to co-opt any person to fill any vacancy or assist in special duties that may arise.


5. The management committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting which must be held before 31st December each year, when the Secretary’s report and the Treasurer’s financial statement, duly audited, shall be presented.  The Secretary shall announce the meeting at least 60 days before the date stated.  The Secretary shall invite representatives of all affiliated clubs to attend the Annual General Meeting but only two delegates from each affiliated club and members of the management committee shall have the power to vote. Each club must be represented by at least one person at the Annual General Meeting and any club not represented will incur a fine of £10.00.


6. The rules and fees of the association shall only be altered or added to at the Annual General Meeting.  All motions from clubs to be received by the Secretary in writing at least 42 days before the AGM.  All notices of motion, including any from the management committee, to be sent in writing to all clubs at least 28 days before the AGM.  Any amendments to motions should be received by the Secretary in writing at least 14 days before the AGM.


7. An Extraordinary General Meeting shall be called by the combined request of at least three clubs.  Such a request must be signed by the Chairman and Secretary of each club who must state fully the purpose for the meeting being called.  The association’s Secretary shall give at least seven days notice of an Extraordinary General Meeting to all clubs and only the subject for which the meeting has been called shall be discussed.


8. Protests:  The subject of a protest must be made in writing and forwarded to the Secretary within seven days of the occurrence, together with a fee of £10.00 which shall be returned if the protest is sustained or may be forfeited at the discretion of the committee.  The decision of the committee shall be notified by the Secretary to all persons concerned.  


9. The management committee has been appointed to deal with any infringements of the rules.  The committee has the power to order re-plays and to deal with all matters not covered by the rules.


10. All fines must be remitted to the Treasurer within 14 days.  Failure to abide by this rule may warrant a further fine of £10.00 or points being deducted at the discretion of the management committee.






Divisional Formation

1. Member teams of each section shall be formed into divisions.  The divisions shall be designated ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, etc. and each division shall participate in promotion and relegation.  The promotion and relegation of teams from each division shall normally be on the basis of two clubs up and two clubs down, e.g.  the top two teams in division ‘B’ to division ‘A’ and the bottom two teams in ‘A’ to ‘B’, etc.


2. A team dropping out of a division during the season shall be regarded as relegated and only the bottom team will then be relegated from the division.  Results of any games already played will be cancelled.  New clubs joining the league will enter in the bottom division.


Player Registration

1. A list of all members from each club forming a league team shall be sent to the Fixture/Results Secretary of each section prior to 31st March each year.  Those clubs not submitting their lists by this date will be fined £10.00. 


2. The Fixtures/Results Secretary will return the list, duly signed, to the club secretary.  The club secretary will be responsible for returning these lists when additional registrations are required in order that the Fixtures/Results Secretary may duly countersign them and return them to the club.  Notice of amendments may be emailed to the Fixtures/Results Secretary.


3. Each club secretary must ensure a completed list of current registered players, signed by the Results Secretary, is displayed prominently in their pavilion or clubhouse and each team captain must also have a copy.  Visiting captains shall produce on demand a valid list of registered players.


4. A player having represented one club in a section match shall not be eligible to play for another club unless officially transferred with the approval of the management committee.  A transfer shall be effective 14 days after the date of application but no transfers will be allowed after 30th June.


5. A club having two teams in the same evening section must also, at the same time, register a senior pool of at least 12 players.  Samford Wednesday afternoon teams must have a minimum squad of seven players.  In the event of a club having three teams, a senior and an intermediate pool of at least 12 players must be registered, thus each team must have a pool of no less than 12 dedicated players. All members playing should be selected from these lists.  Any member joining a club must be registered at least seven days before being eligible to play.  Teams playing non-registered or unaffiliated players will be fined £10.00 for each illegal player.


Player Status

For clubs with two teams only:

1.                   Up to three senior pool players may play for the junior side per match providing no senior pool player competes in more than three matches per season in the junior side.

2.                   A junior registered member playing six matches in the senior side will automatically assume senior status for the remainder of the season and shall not be eligible to play further junior matches that season.

3.                   If the two teams are in the same division no exchange of players between teams will be allowed.


For clubs with three teams only:

1.                   Junior players may play a total of up to five senior and intermediate matches without changing their registration status.

2.                   If a junior team player plays a total of six matches in the intermediate or senior sides that player will automatically assume the status of the team where the majority of their matches have been played.  In the event of the matches being split evenly, i.e. three senior team and three intermediate team games, the player will assume the higher status, i.e. senior.

3.                   Intermediate team players having played six times in the senior team will automatically assume senior status.

4.                   Up to three senior (‘A’ team) players can play in any intermediate team (‘B’ team) match providing that no senior player plays more than three times per season.

5.                   Up to three intermediate (‘B’ team) players can play in any junior (‘C’ team) match providing that no intermediate player plays more than three times per season.

6.                   No senior players may play in the junior team.

7.                   Any player gaining a more senior status by playing a total of six matches in a higher team cannot then play for any other team.

8.                   If two or more of these teams are in the same division, no exchange of players between the teams in the same division will be allowed.

9.                   If any club has more than one team in either the Samford Knock-Out or Millennium Cup competitions, no exchange of players will be permitted.

(Any breach of rules governing player status will incur a fine of £10.00)


Match Procedures

1. Each club shall play home and away matches with all clubs in the division of the section in which the club is entered. 


2. Any section match may be re-arranged by mutual agreement no later than fourteen days prior to the original scheduled match date and played within 14 days of the end of the league season.  The Fixtures/ Results Secretary must be informed and agree. Failure to comply will result in a four point deduction.


3. No fixture shall be postponed except for reasons of Senior/Junior Cup involvement, any unforeseen accident or adverse weather conditions.  Any other postponement will result in four points being deducted.  In all instances the Fixtures/Results Secretary must be informed immediately.  Postponed fixtures must be re-arranged within seven days of the original date and must be played no later than 14 days following the final scheduled match date of the season. 


4. Before commencement of a match, the opposing captains, with the names of their own players written on their scorecards, shall draw for rinks.  With scorecards facing downwards, each captain shall mark a rink number on the reverse side of the opposing captain’s scorecards.


5. The total score of all blocks of respective teams shall determine the result of the match.  The overall score winners of each match to count three points, plus one point for each winning rink. 


6. In the event of two or more clubs having an equal number of points at the conclusion of the competition, either at the top or bottom of the division, shot difference will decide the division championship or relegation.  If teams are still equal a decision will be based on the result of the two games played between the particular teams concerned.


7. All fixtures to be made by the section Fixtures/Results Secretary.


8. The results of all matches, with the names of players competing, must be sent to the section Results Secretary by the home club on or before the fifth day following the match being played, the duplicate result sheet to be retained by the away team for the remainder of the season.  Score cards also should be retained in case of query.  Any club failing to submit a correctly completed result sheet shall be fined £10.00 for each offence.


9. In the event of a player becoming incapacitated during a match, a substitute can be allowed to take his/her place for the remainder of the game.  This must be agreed by both captains.


Rules of Play

1.                   Regulation dress code: 

Men:  White or club registered shirts contained within grey trousers, grey regulation EBF shorts or dress grey shorts;  flat, smooth, heel-less shoes.  

Women:  White/cream or club registered shirts/ blouses with turned down collar, with long or short sleeves (not sleeveless);  regulation grey skirt/trousers and flat, smooth, heel-less shoes.  In a team event players must all have the same colour shirts or must all wear white shirts.  Club shirts worn for league matches must be registered with the Secretary.  Any player incorrectly dressed will not be allowed to p lay.


2.  All league fixtures can be played on rinks with a minimum width of 4.0m.  No rinks can be more than 6.4m in width.


3. Evening matches:

A team shall consist of nineplayers and not less than eight.  Players shall play in blocks of three, playing on three rinks, and the games shall be of 21 live ends or 18 live ends in the case of the 3-wood Triples league.  No trial ends will be played.  (If only two players against three, order of play is lead, lead, two, lead, lead, two, lead, lead, two and then skips as normal.)


Samford section matches to be played on Monday evenings, Triples section on Wednesday evenings and the 2-wood section on Tuesday evenings (Divisions ‘A’ – ‘D’) and Thursday evenings (Divisions ‘E’ – ‘H’).  All matches to commence no later than 6.45 p.m. or earlier if agreed by both teams. 


4. Afternoon matches:

A team shall consist of six players and not less than five.  Players shall play in blocks of three, playing on two rinks.  Wednesday afternoon matches to start no later than 2.00 p.m.


5. Cup competitions:

All registered players of the Ipswich & District Federation Bowls League may enter these competitions.  On receipt of the draw, the home player or skip shall contact the opponents within two days and make arrangements for the match to be played within the stipulated time and shall offer two dates, one of which must be accepted within two days.  The home player in singles competitions shall provide a marker up to and including the semi-final. 


6. Cup Matches:

Knock-Out Cup and Millennium Trophy matches to start at 6.30 p.m. to allow for two trial ends.  Knock-Out Cup and Millennium Trophy matches shall be decided on overall shots, the winning team to telephone or email the result immediately to the Fixture Secretary, both teams sending the result sheet. In the case of Millennium Trophy matches, fees will be invoiced by the Treasurer at the end of the competition.  All proceeds will go to charity. 


A Samford Knock-out Cup team will consist of 12 players (not less than 10), all rounds of this competition to be played on fixed Friday dates, commencing with the preliminary round on the first Friday in July, the final to be played on the second weekend in September.  In the event of a draw after 21 ends an extra end will be played on all rinks.


A Millennium Trophy team will consist of six players:  one rink at home and one rink away, all of whom must be registered to play for any section of the league during the current season.  A player may only play for one Millennium team in the same season.  The home rink will play an extra end to count in the event of a draw.  All games shall be 2-bowl rinks of 21 live ends.  The home team skip has choice of rink.  If a match is drawn and darkness prevents any more ends being played the winner will be decided on the number of ends won.




7. Inter-league competition:

All registered players are eligible to play in Inter-league games, subject to selection.  Application should be made to Inter-league Manager.  The team consists of six rinks of three players, playing 31 ends.  Matches are played against other areas within Suffolk.  An inter-league badge can be earned by representing the league in five matches.  Dress code is inter-league shirt and greys. 


8. Any unfinished fixture in which at least 75% of the total number of ends available has been completed (i.e. 63 ends in the 2-wood and Samford sections, 54 in the Triples section) will be regarded as a finished fixture and the result will be based on all completed ends.  If 75% of the total number of ends available has not been played, the match will be regarded as a postponed fixture which shall be replayed in full.   A decision to play 75% cannot be taken prior to a match commencing.  A decision by the two captains may be taken during play, due to inclement weather.


9. Any player arriving late may join the game if the 4th end has not commenced, i.e. the jack has not been cast, on the rink from which he/she is missing, which rink then reverts to the normal order of play.


10. If any player(s) is/are found to be guilty of using foul or abusive language, ungentlemanly or violent conduct, their club(s) must deal with the situation as each club is responsible for monitoring their players.  If the league is advised of any unresolved incident, the management committee will meet and make a decision but no appeal or representation will be accepted.



The management committee has the power to present prizes to teams winning the championships.  This will be subject to the state of funds at the conclusion of the season.

The association can promote competitions/tournaments each year open to registered members of affiliated clubs, i.e. the Samford Millennium Trophy, Knock-out Cup and competitions or, originating from the 2-wood league, the Garrard Cup.  There is no limitation on the number of entries from any club but all players must be registered with that club.

Life membership may be granted to certain individuals who, by reason of loyal service or other meritorious action, may be recommended to the management committee to be deserving of this honour.  Nominations, supported by the committee, shall be submitted for approval at an A.G.M.