192 The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
"Bowls" is a corruption of the word "balls," which in its way is an evidence of the ancient origin of the game.
Before the Revolution, it was the favourite sport of New Yorkers, when the Battery was the centre of the city's fashion—and the end of its main thoroughfare still retains the name of the " Bowling Green."
The game is played with balls about four or five inches in diameter, so that they are held easily in the hand, and made of lignum vitae, enamelled in colours, so as to be gaily effective on the grass. They are slightly flattened at the poles, and are sometimes made oval for scientific play, in order to give them a bias direction at will. A small, round white ball, called the "Jack," is first thrown to one end of the lawn.
The bowlers, each using two balls, which are numbered to distinguish them, take up their positions at a certain distance from the "Jack," and each in turn bowls toward it. He whose ball comes nearest counts one. The game is usually fixed at twenty. When there are more than two players, sides are formed, the balls being played alternately, and the ball that comes nearest to the "Jack" counts one point for the side that threw it.
When there are but two players they stand side by side to deliver their balls, but when there are several on a side the usual plan is to bowl from opposite sides of the "green," the Jack having been placed in the middle.
The art in bowling consists in knocking away the opponents' balls from their positions near the Jack, or in carrying off the Jack itself from among the opponents'