Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Reaffirming David Bryant’s Secret for Line & Length at Bowls


Some ideas are useful. A few ideas are extremely useful. The “few” can get tangled up and hidden in the “some”! The Greenbowler blog’s objective is to bring forward suggestions for how regular bowlers with ambitions to excel can speed up the process and avoid the dead-ends.

Some time ago I drew my viewers attention to a lawn bowls instructional video presented by David Bryant and pointed readers towards a small section where Bryant explains precisely what he is doing when he sets himself on the mat and gets ready to deliver his bowl. You can call up that blog article here and that blog provides a link to the actual Bryant video.

I said then and I repeat with more emphasis and more evidence now that I have found that the procedure Bryant teaches enabled me today, at the Willowdale Lawn Bowling Club, to improve both my line and my length control in a practice session in astonishing fashion.

I thus elevate his teachings to one of the few extremely useful ideas!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Gaining an Advantage by Noting the Margins of your Lawn Bowling Rink


A skip can get some helpful hints to guide match strategy by examining the two meters of green closest to the front and rear ditches on the rink assigned for play. This applies particularly to club play where the tending of the green is less scrupulous than for greens that host open, bigger-money tournaments.

At some clubs, the rink margins slope so severely towards the ditches that it is difficult to stop a bowl from ditching once it approaches these edges. When this is the case, you can only play a normal game using short or medium jack lengths. If you do secure a long jack, short bowls are no longer so disadvantageous because the number of bowls behind is going to be lower.

At my Etobicoke club in Toronto, in an effort to regrow the strip at the edge of the green, the greenskeeper has left it longer than the main central portion. Consequently, there is a distinct slowing down of both jacks and bowls as they enter this fringe and many fewer jacks or bowls run over into the ditch. Skips could use this to improve the chances for many shots by moving the mat up the green for their medium and short jack lengths so that the jack is spotted for these lengths two meters from the front ditch. Thereafter the whole team can confidently deliver bowls behind the jack with reduced risk of losing them in the ditch. If the opposition does not recognize the situation they will likely end up with more short bowls!

An even more common situation is to find greens where the edging material (either metal or wood strip) that supports the grass at the edge of the ditch has become elevated above the grass surface creating a lip that inhibits and frequently stops bowls from falling into the ditch. Such a condition is particularly good at preventing jacks delivered long from dropping off the green. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

The Magic of Finding a Distinct Stare Point to Control Bias at Bowls


Writing a blog about lawn bowling brings one back over and over to the same subjects- things one has talked about before, but these are so important and in my own practicing I find I lose sight of their importance and fall into bad habits and then wonder why I have a streak of bad bowling.

So when I let something important slip I assume that the same can happen for my readers and perhaps it is worth a reminder.

Here in Toronto Canada, the lockdown is ending and bowling clubs are opening their greens for practice alone and for singles. There are still lots of precautions even though most of the bowlers who are going to show up have been fully vaccinated.

I was out on the outside carpet at James Gardens LBC today. It was lovely sunshine and I was safely alone, locked inside the fence enclosed green. I had just received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine that very morning.

My weight control was good by my line control was appalling. What was going wrong? As it turned out I was having trouble holding my stare point. Earlier in the season, the green had been dotted with maple seeds so it was easy to pick a visible stare point. Now, they had all been blown away into the ditches, and because the carpet is so consistently uniform I was having trouble picking out some physical discontinuity to use as a stare point.

This reminded me that I had already written a blog teaching how, if one had control of the mat, one could place it at a distance up the green so that some rare remaining spotting could become a visible stare point. When I did this and combined it with a complete pre-mat routine good bowling magically returned! 

Controlling Length from the Shooters’ Stance

At lawn bowls controlling the weight of your shots is both the most important and the most difficult skill. I have had more success doing this when I deliver my bowls from the shooters’ stance. Recently while practicing I realized that because the shooters’ stance allows one to observe the extent of one’s backswing you can check it during a practice swing immediately before delivering a bowl.



(i) a clearly visible stare point

(ii) a calibrated backswing


(iii) making sure that one’s advancing foot is firmly planted before the forward swing begins and 

(iv) keeping your follow-through  rigidly consistent

 gives one excellent control over the length a bowl travels. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Using a Different Order of Play in Lawn Bowling Triples


I have always felt that on a triples team, I would like the second most skillful bowler to deliver the jack and the lead bowls. A skip has considerable latitude to reassign the duties of the bowlers on his team to achieve this, although it is rarely exercised.


Who must rake the bowls is not specified in the Laws of the Sport of Bowls. This job can be assigned by the skip to his vice. According to Rule 40.2.1 “...the third can (my italics) measure any and all disputed shots.” Since the word can is used, the skip can assign this job to his lead if he chooses. “[A] player who is controlling play” is referred to in Rule 12.1.3 but that player is not designated as a person who occupies a particular position in the order of play. It follows that a skip could assign the lead to control play at any time but in particular when the skip goes to the mat.

It is thus possible for a skip to have his most experienced colleague place the mat, deliver the jack, deliver the first three bowls for the side, control play when the skip is bowling, and measure to determine the score; while leaving the less skilled or less experienced bowler to rake the bowls and deliver the fourth, fifth and sixth bowls for the side!

There are several less obvious advantages to this arrangement. Since the lead is more experienced than the vice in this situation, this experience can be used to determine which is the more playable side of the rink and communicate this to the less experienced colleague. Another fact that can be passed on is whether a particular side is narrower or wider than normal.

This order of play gives the better of the first two bowlers on the team the least hindered approach to the jack and the chance to get a close bowl early to put pressure on the opposition. Since your second best bowler delivers the jack there is much better control of jack length for the team’s strategy and the deliverer of the jack has a better feel for the length of the end. The lead can remind a less experienced colleague that the jack is short, medium, or long and whether the green is fast or slow. 

There are disadvantages. If this newly selected lead fails to get close bowls, it becomes more likely than before for the side to be seriously down by the time the skip comes to the mat. Because your weakest bowler is now bowling second (s)he may face a less open head. The chance of playing a successful running shot is reduced.

The aforementioned order of play is particularly attractive for a team that comprises an experienced pairs team joined by a less experienced bowler. This is even more appealing if the experienced pair has a set of well-developed hand signals for communicating between head and mat. It might also appear to appeal to a mens’ pairs team augmented with a female in order to qualify for mixed triples. However, it is tactically important that the lead would be well advised to deliver jack lengths and choose mat positions that optimize the play of the less experienced, second player.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Measuring in Close Disputed Ends at Lawn Bowls

General Points

In social games it is a kindness to offer to do the measuring if you observe that your opponent is having difficulty with the measuring; however, do not be insistent. Many players take offense if you imply that they are not physically capable.

Thirty seconds after the last bowl in an end has been played any player on either team can wedge any bowl that may fall before the count is complete. The wedge can be anything that comes to hand. No bowl can be wedged until 30 seconds after the last bowl has stopped rolling because either team’s skip or either player in Singles can request such a delay before counting begins to give any tilting bowls the chance to fall. 

When the points are critical it is best to call for assistance. If you try to measure and disturb the jack or any bowls the other side may be entitled to reposition it where they feel it was located. If an actual umpire is available, better measuring equipment can resolve even very close cases.

If the competing teams are going to do the counting themselves the following apply. 

Shot in Dispute

First, the shot bowl must be decided. The side with the single closest bowl is the only side that can score in an end being measured. To determine who holds that bowl either side can do the measurement. If there are more than two candidates for shot-bowl, it makes sense for the side with the fewest candidates for shot to measure since that is most efficient. For example, if one side has a single bowl that might be shot while the other side has two such candidates, it is most efficient for the side with only the single candidate to measure that bowl and compare its length to each of the other sides two bowls so that a decision can be made with only a single stretching of the string measure. However, the Laws of world Bowls say nothing about who should do the measuring; either side may measure.

Shot Not in Dispute

If the shot-bowl is not in dispute, the scoring side may ask for additional shots. These additional shots are each either conceded or the side asking for these additional shots will need to measure for them. The side asserting entitlement to more points must make its own case!

In measuring at lawn bowls there is a rule of etiquette that the person doing the measuring MUST measure his/her own bowl first. Wherever I have looked on the internet the word ‘must’ in this pronouncement is in capitals so the admonition seems to be very strongly held. What is the reason for this emphatic rule, I wonder? On this question, I can find no guidance at all. But this is what seems reasonable.

The scoring side measures his own shot(s) first because (s)he may first need to identify which of her/his undecided bowls is closer (there may be more than one). Then, the measure of that closer bowl is compared in turn with each of the opponents’ competing bowls (of which again there may be several). Then (s)he takes the measure of her/his next disputed bowl and compares it with each in turn of the opponents’ bowls to determine if it also counts. This is repeated until all the bowls in contention have been decided.

The side that will not be scoring in the end can elect to remeasure at the time a decision on a particular bowl is being made. Once a decision has been agreed concerning any particular bowl that bowl is removed from the head. Either side can at any time call for an umpire to decide concerning any bowls that have not been agreed.

Since in contentious heads where several bowls from each side are possible counters, such that quite a few measurements may be needed, the side that can win the additional points should do the measuring work. 

A History of Lawn Bowls


As a service to my audience and as a compliment to the author, J. P. Munro, I am reproducing a history of the Henselite Bowls Company that comprises a history of lawn bowls in general.



The Late J. P. MUNRO
(Noted Bowls Historian and former Hon. Secretary of the
Royal Victorian Bowls Association)

Are you wondering why we used the word "Romance"? Do you think that kind of word seems out of place associated with something prosaic like "Manufacture"? It's the right word! This is a story along classical lines-a story of triumph, of initiative, persistence and skill, of devotion to a cause. This is a story with no ending, but one that without an ending has brought happiness, enjoyment and relaxation to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. Unless this story could be written, the magnificent game of bowls, despite its rich tradition in history, would without doubt still be outside the grasp of the greater proportion of those to whom it has come to mean so much. This is a "Romance" right enough, a story of a success that has earned the gratitude of the whole international bowling fraternity.

Nobody knows when the era of wooden (lignum-vitae) bowls began in England, but it goes back many centuries. The island of San Domingo in the West Indies (where lignum-vitae comes from) was discovered by Columbus on December 3rd, 1492, so it is definite that the timber was unknown in England at that time. Lignum-vitae was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards in 1508, and it was probably brought to England by Sir Francis Drake either from the West Indies direct, or after being taken from the cargo of Spanish ships captured by him. Drake had equipped his ship, "The Pasha", with bowls and quoits for the recreation of his crew whilst resting on an island in the Gulf of Darien. Most probably the bowls were of lignum-vitae, and made by his ship's carpenters whilst waiting in the harbour at Plymouth during preparation for the voyage.

However, lignum-vitae became the popular timber for bowls manufacture in England and Scotland, by such makers as John Jacques & Son (established 1795), Thomas Taylor (1796), Peter Boardman & Sons (1850), William Lindop (1855), R. G. Lawrie Ltd., F. H. Ayres Ltd., Bussey & Co. Ltd., the Taylor-Rolph Co., Slazengers Ltd., and others. Several of these firms still produce wooden bowls, although in recent years there has been a change in manufacture to composition bowls. The conversion of players in the British Isles from wooden bowls to composition bowls is a gradual but inevitable process. It has been recently estimated by a leading authority in England that the majority of wooden bowls will disappear from the greens in the next decade.

Bowling was first introduced in Australia when the early colonists, who had learn the art of bowling in England brought bowls with them. They played on a green built alongside the Beach Tavern at Sandy Bay, Hobart, in 1844. Perhaps there was something wrong with the concept of making a bowling green an adjunct to a bar, rather than a bar an adjunct to a green, because hotel greens which were equipped with imported wooden bowls appeared and disappeared in some numbers between 1844 and 1864. It might be said that bowling as an established sport really commenced in Australia when, in 1864, Alcock & Co., Russell Street, Melbourne, turned several sets of lawn bowls from lignum-vitae skittle bowls for the newly formed Melbourne Bowling Club.

In 1867, at Parramatta, New South Wales, Thomas Eddes turned for Alexander Johnstone the first set of bowls used in New South Wales. In 1869 David Johnston was in business as a bowls manufacturer at 29 Latrobe Street, Melbourne, and on the opposite side, at 34 Latrobe Street, E. C. Johnston, a billiard table maker, included bowl manufacturing as one of his activities.

English and Scottish makes of lignum-vitae bowls continued to be used in Australia until the first decade of this century, when a few sets of composition bowls, imported from England, appeared on the greens. The material and shape of the bowl was unsatisfactory, and consequently they were not popular on the Australian greens. About this time the sport began to feel the impact of a man destined to radically revolutionise the game of bowls-the man who, without doubt, Sir Francis Drake would select from everybody associated with the game as his First Mate- William David Hensell. He was to be associated with the development work in bowls manufacture for a brilliant 61 years -the period during which bowls became a fully matured internationally accepted sport.

William David Hensell was born in Richmond, Victoria, on January 2nd, 1882, and was educated at the Albert Park Stat School. At the age of 16 he was apprenticed to the wood-turning trade, but two years later (in 1900 to be exact) he transferred to Alcock & Co., billiard table manufacturers, then located in Russell Street, Melbourne. There he was taught the art

turning billiard balls, his tutor being Mr. W. J. Wood, who was a bowler and later on, the official bowls tester under Alcock & Co., who had been appointed by the Victorian Bowling Association on August 21st, 1901. Young Hensell was diligent and eager to learn, and his skill in turning the billiard ball was to help him later on when the turning and re-shaping of wooden bowls came into his hands. The game of bowls was making headway in Australia, but the wooden bowls then used were not stable, and they frequently required re-testing and re-biasing, particularly as a minimum bias bowl had been adopted by the Victorian Bowling Association.

Alcock & Co., of Melbourne, were appointed official testers to the Western Australian Bowling Association in 1902, and young Hensell was sent to Perth to do the testing, and there he remained for nearly seven years. It was during this formative period, without doubt, that his plans, later to revolutionise bowls production and the game itself, took their embryonic form.

Testing in those days was very primitive when the methods and equipment used today are considered. The equipment consisted of an ordinary billiard table, twelve feet long, with a wooden chute about two feet in length, with sufficient elevation to propel the bowl nine feet along the testing table, the slate bed of which was covered with billiard cloth only. The table gave only a crude indication of the bias of the bowl; and this caused quite a lot of concern because some bowls drew well on the green, but failed to pass the test for bias on the table, and vice versa.

In 1908 Alcock & Co., who were also the official testers for the New South Wales Bowling Association, lost the services of their tester, and the company transferred W. D. Hensell from Perth to Sydney. There he developed the first 36-foot testing-table, which was a big improvement on the 12-foot table, but it was still not perfect. Because of climatic conditions the wooden bowls shrunk out of their round shape, causing them to wobble, and to run very inconsistently when played on the green and when tested on the table. Realizing that the obvious way to correct these bowls was to re-shape them, W. D. Hensell designed and perfected the first Australian machine to successfully re-shape shrunken and badly shaped bowls.

With this achievement, table testing became more of a success, but the technique of biasing and defective bowl correcting had still not been mastered, although considerable progress had been made in that direction. Bowlers could not appreciate the difficulties that at that time militated against good bowling. There, certainly, was the incentive and the opportunity for William Hensell to do something positive and constructive.

The battle against inaccuracy hadn't yet been won, but W.D. Hensell had started the long struggle destined to ultimately produce today's modern accurate, precision-built Henselite bowl.

At this time many new composition materials were being tried; they were relatively stable and free from many of the disadvantages of lignum-vitae. W. D. Hensell spent most of his spare time studying literature in connection with compositions. Eventually he came to the conclusion that vulcanite (hard rubber) was the most suitable composition available at that time for bowl manufacture.

Returning to Melbourne in 1918, W. D. Hensell was fortunate to meet Mr. Roberts, Works Manager of Dunlop Rubber Co., a keen bowler, who had brought his wooden bowls along for re-testing. This was a grand opportunity to exploit the ideas he had conceived, and after he explained the many advantages a hard rubber bowl would have over wood, and the potential demand for such a bowl, Mr. Roberts became impressed and responsive to Mr. Hensell's enthusiasm. As a result, after many experiments a round Ebonite ball approximately 5" diameter was produced, turned and made into a bowl.

When tested on the table, however, it was found to have an eccentric action, being heavier on one side, which caused it to be out of balance. Further experiments and more care produced twelve consistent rubber balls. They were turned into bowls - the twelve tested perfectly - AND RUBBER, BOWLS, THE FIRST IN THE WORLD, WERE BORN. It was obvious that the concept of a hard rubber bowl had become a reality and that sufficient progress had been made to justify the making of moulds and equipment for the manufacture of these new bowls.

In June, 1918, Mr. Hensell terminated employment with Alcock & Co., to start a business of his own at 386 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, where he had fitted up the latest and most reliable testing-table and turning plant. Little did he imagine when he was so busy building his testing-table and acquiring plant, that he was on the threshold of a business career during which he would achieve his ultimate ambition -that of making the best bowl in the world, "Henselite", and being the largest manufacturer of lawn bowls.

The Dunlop Rubber Co. made arrangements with Mr. W. D. Hensell to turn, bias, and finish all their rubber bowls, after the company had moulded them. Before the end of 1918 the first vulcanite or ebonite bowls in the world were being used -and with success-on Victorian greens. Their advent created considerable interest and started a controversy as to the merits of the two types of bowl-the wooden and the composition. However, bowlers soon realized the many advantages of the composition bowl, and a change-over took place almost immediately, many leading players seeing fit to discard their old woods for the new rubbers. During the period from 1918 to 1924 the rubber bowl became so popular that the importation into Australia of lignum-vitae (wooden) bowls completely ceased, and Australia became an exporter of bowls.

In the early days of rubber bowls many problems had to be solved. Causing major concern was internal variation in the specific gravity of the rubber compound. This made it difficult to obtain the exact required weight for each size of bowl. The solution to the problem was to "load" the core of each bowl to the required weight and then cover it with a high quality ebonite.

As the game grew in popularity so did W. D. Hensell's business, and larger premises were necessary. Moves were made first to 347 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, then to 9 Cobden Street, North Melbourne, and in 1937 to the present location at 16-22 Wreckyn Street, North Melbourne. These premises have since been enlarged, more adjacent properties bought, and in 1960 an additional storey was built on to the original building to provide a large modern suite of offices as well as to expand production area.

Further properties were bought and new showrooms, offices and warehouses built in 1979 which allowed for further expansion of the production area and the Australian distribution of other sporting goods.

To achieve greater accuracy in the biasing of rubber bowls, it became necessary to revise many of the table-testing ideas. Improvements were made to the testing chutes, and the bed of the table was covered with a special billiard rubber, and a canvas, to give the same speed as that of a good running bowling green. With these improvements bowls could now be tested for both bias and balance (a new development which proved to be the most revolutionary innovation ever adopted for table testing). For the first time bowls could be accurately tested on the table under conditions similar to playing conditions on a green, whether fast or slow.

Contrary to the belief of many bowlers-and particularly those of the younger generation-the bias of a bowl is not brought about by extra weight on one side of the bowl, but by the shape of the crown or running surface, which is slightly higher on the non-bias side.

The faster a bowl is delivered the straighter it will run. As a bowl loses momentum, because of the shape of its crown, the bowl gradually changes its running surface, and the bias takes effect. Eventually it reaches its maximum draw as the bowl slows down and comes to rest.

Many modifications to the shape and crown of the bowl were made until it was improved to such an extent that it was more comfortable to hold than the old-fashioned wooden bowl. With these improvements the death knell of the old wooden bowl was sounded in Australia, as the performance of the new bowl was far superior.

The Australian Bowling Council's Laws of the Game then in force, permitted a maximum weight of (3 Ibs. 8 ozs.) (1.6kg) irrespective of the size of the bowl. Bowlers were quick to take advantage of the improvement in bowls and soon realized they could successfully use a much smaller bowl of heavier weight. With the old wooden bowl, if a reasonable weight were required, bowlers had to procure a large "pudding shape" set, which were too big for comfortable delivery or for reasonable control.

The Australian Bowling Council acted quickly and in 1922 appointed a bowls testing committee of four (Messrs. E. W. Walker, J. B. Grut, W. Barr of Victoria, and A. Moore, of Queensland), with Mr. W. D. Hensell as Technical Adviser, to thoroughly investigate this matter along with other problems. After months of experiments and tests carried out under various conditions on both tables and greens of all speeds, the committee made recommendations to the Council specifying bowls of standard shape, and a scale of maximum weights for each size. They also determined the minimum bias suitable for Australian conditions.

The Council approved, and the new scale of weights and measures came into operation on January 3rd,1926. Although the reforms seemed very drastic, a standard had been set, which was adopted by the New Zealand Bowling Association in 1938, and by the International Bowling Board in 1946 in a modified form to suit climatic conditions. It is obvious now that these reforms were based on broad understanding and vision; they were exactly what were required to stabilise the situation.

(In 1962, the International Bowling Board specified that the maximum weight of a bowl shall be 31b. 8OZ. (1.6kg.) and the A.B.C. amended its laws accordingly-reverting to the original weight specified in force before 1926. The "maximum weight -per size" laws were eventually dispensed with in all countries, thus permitting the maximum weight of any size bowl to be 31b. 8OZ. (1.6kg.).)

By 1930 very few wooden bowls were seen on the greens in Australia, as rubber bowls, which were being constantly improved, had superseded them. They were being extensively used overseas, too, particularly in New Zealand and South Africa. At this time the Dunlop Rubber Co. made a decision that was indirectly and unintentionally designed to usher in a new era of bowls development. They decided to turn and finish, as well as mould, these rubber bowls in their own factory at Montague, Victoria. In all W. D. Hensell had turned and finished for them 13,750 sets of Dunlop bowls, and in addition many thousands of sets of all makes had been re-tested, re-conditioned, etc.

Consequently his arrangements with the Dunlop Co. were terminated. His reaction was to conceive the idea of developing and making an entirely new bowl, ultimately to be named "HENSELITE" .

For ten years, W. D. Hensell had been training his son, Ray, in the skilled art of bowl manufacturing, and it says a great deal for the courage and determination of father and son that the name of Hensell didn't become bowls history at this time.

They immediately became a two-man research team, working with the objective of producing a new bowl, incorporating improvements in design and performance, made of a composition superior to rubber, less affected by heat and climatic conditions. Ever foremost in their minds was the ambition that the new bowl must be solid throughout, without any core, wear-resistant, tough and durable. This was quite an objective- but the Hensells, it transpires, were capable of the task.

About this time the "Plastics Age" was gathering momentum, and the Hensells quickly learnt of a Sydney firm that had just started to manufacture a plastic material with the frightening name of Phenol formaldehyde moulding compound. Its properties were outstanding, and it promised to be the ideal material for which they were searching.

Initial inquiries were disappointing, as this material could only be moulded to a thickness of l/2'', whereas a solid moulding at least 5" in diameter and weighing 31/21bs (1.56kg) was required. Surely, they said, there must be some way to mould this material into bowls. Nobody could stop them that way! Someone had said much the same thing about rubber once.

Undaunted by early failures, they decided to continue experiments with the technical assistance of Dr. Lang, an authority on this type of plastic. New formulae and sample batches of material were made, different techniques tried and discarded. Eventually Dr. Lang perfected a special moulding compound, and from it the first solid one-piece plastic bowl was made-THE "HENSELITE" BOWL.

A new bowling era had commenced. History was made, not only in bowls manufacturing, but in the plastics industry, as manufacturers all over the world were astounded when the "Henselite" achievement became known. Even today it is believed that the plastic bowl is the largest solid mass of phenol formaldehyde compound moulded.

Plans were then prepared for the making of the intricate moulds and the installation of the necessary moulding plant to make the new bowls. Many difficulties and problems were encountered before it was possible to start manufacturing on a production basis. Perfection was eventually achieved, and in April, 1931, the first set of Henselite bowls was produced. When used on the green, they were acclaimed by everyone who tried them. It was obvious from this moment that the new bowl was outstanding in appearance and performance, and was superior in every respect to any other make of bowl.

At this time Australia was in the throes of a depression, and the name "Henselite" was new and almost unknown. Despite this, there was an immediate demand for these new bowls. They were available in black, mahogany and chocolate, with discs of several colours, making them most attractive.

The fame of "Henselite" rapidly grew. Top-line bowlers changed to "Henselite", and demonstrated their superiority by winning most of the important championships. Sales increased to such an extent that plant and production had to be enlarged to supply the demand.

Trial orders were sent to South Africa and the immediate reaction was astounding. Repeat orders soon followed. The demand for "Henselite" soon spread to the British Isles, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A. and other countries. Regular shipments are now exported to the British Isles, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Japan, Fiji, Malaya, Kenya, New Guinea, Norfolk Island, South America, Israel and Holland. HENSELITE BOWLS PREDOMINATE IN EVERY COUNTRY WHERE BOWLS IS PLAYED.

More developments followed. Previously all bowls had inserted discs; these were liable to become loose, crack and fall out. In 1937 the "Henselite" Uni-Disc Bowl was introduced. This incorporated the discs as an integral part of the bowl. Engravings of initials or distinctive designs are engraved on the bowl and filled with lacquer of various colours. It was not long before this innovation was copied by other manufacturers.

In the same year the first "Henselite" all-white plastic jack was produced. Centreless ground to high precision, these jacks are perfectly round and have superseded the old china jack, which was irregular in shape, chipped easily and was generally unsatisfactory. The moulding of these jacks from Urea Formaldehyde moulding powder was in itself an outstanding achievement.

After having spent 45 years perfecting the art of bowl testing, and pioneering the manufacture of bowls, W. D. Hensell retired from active business in 1944. The responsibility of management and the designing of new plant and equipment of sufficient capacity to cope with the postwar demand for bowls fell heavily on the shoulders of R. W. Hensell. He had made and installed an entirely new moulding plant to be used in conjunction with a new process of electronic pre-heating requiring elaborate and complex equipment- and capable of high production.

A series of automatic high precision turning and biasing machines were also designed. When they were completed and installed, the production of bowls was resumed after the war years, on the 6th February, 1946. This new plant proved so successful that for the first time in the world it enabled the mass production of bowls more accurate than was ever before thought possible.

Mr. W. D. Hensell passed away at the age of 77 in August, 1959. The bowling world thus lost the services of a man responsible to a great degree for its growth and development. Prior to this R. W. Hensell's two sons became associated in the business, and the company of R. W. Hensell & Sons Pty. Ltd., was established.

In 1959 Ray Hensell again surprised the bowling fraternity by announcing a new "Henselite" Super Grip model. This was re-designed for improved performance, and as the result of new formulas, developed after extensive research, the moulding compound was impregnated with special additives to greatly improve the "grip", giving it a velvety "feel", particularly under wet and cold conditions. It also removes the necessity of frequent polishing. Now proved, this new model has been acclaimed as a further step forward in bowl perfection.

Constantly it has been a continuing story of more research, more plant, more production and more world-wide acclaim for a bowl that has given the game and its players such pleasure and satisfaction. Climatic conditions, types of grass and green surfaces vary considerably in different countries. Consequently, special models of bowls are made to suit these conditions. In New Zealand, for instance, the greens are undoubtedly the fastest in the world, and windy conditions are common. As a result, the New Zealand model bowls have a flatter crown, with slightly less bias than Australian bowls. South African greens were usually hard and bumpy, and a special heavyweight bowl is used to suit these conditions. In the British Isles, greens are invariably wet, soft and heavy. To get the best results a lightweight model bowl is used. All models comply with the respective regulations of each bowling country.

This study of overseas bowling conditions is a constant one, and many overseas trips have been made to study bowling conditions in different countries and to ensure maximum performances of every "Henselite" model.

Most bowlers will be staggered to learn that, in order to supply bowls suitable for the different conditions existing in various countries, a total of 678 models of "Henselites" are made in numerous sizes, bias, shapes, weights and colours- excluding the several thousand different engravings covering a multitude of categories and colourings.

Over recent years the game of Indoor Bowls, in various forms, has met with increasing popularity, and "Henselite" Indoor Bowls are again foremost in demand for playing this rapidly growing game. The range of bowls manufactured has been extended to provide miniature carpet bowls, round indoor bowls, biased indoor bowls, as well as the bowl jacks to suit each type of game.

The sales story has been a spectacular one. When World WarII started in 1939, annual sales had topped 4,000 sets. From 1942 to 1945 the whole plant was devoted to the war effort, and there was no production of bowls. After the war, new staff had to be completely trained, new modern plant was installed to allow potential production of 10,000 sets per annum. In 1946, 9,500 sets were produced. This production figure was well behind demand. With steady increase of plant and factory space, 15,000 sets were produced in 1947, and 20,000 in 1948. The story continues, with constant growth of the game itself, and expansion by R. W. Hensell & Sons Pty. Ltd. At the end of 1960, the production for the year exceeded 33,000 sets per annum. This, of course, is in lawn bowls only, and excluded the many thousands of sets of indoor types and jacks. More than 1,000,000 sets of "Henselite" bowls have now been produced using more than 6,500 tons of moulding compound, specially processed for the requirements of the various models of bowls.

The production figures are much higher than the output of all other bowl manufacturers in the world put together. To R. W. Hensell & Sons Pty. Ltd., must go the undisputed honour of being not only the largest manufacturer of bowls but of achieving the distinction of producing the world's best bowl.

Mr. R. W. Hensell retired from active business in 1976 and passed away at the age of 72 on 6th March, 1979.

A milestone in the history of "Henselite" bowls was celebrated on 13th March, 1980, when the 4,000,000th "Henselite" bowl (1 million sets) came through production. Now suitably mounted and proudly displayed, it perpetuates the hopes and fears, the toil and worry, the brilliance and the determination of the two men. William and Ray Hensell. It symbolises a game started by Sir Francis Drake or his contemporaries-something that has grown to be more than a game, more than a means of relaxation and pleasure. It represents a pursuit that has become a cement in the mixture of man and man-an influence towards peaceful co-existence between nations.

Australian industry regards "Henselite" with pride . . . they are setting a valuable example in exporting more than 50% of their production to 24 overseas countries-truly an excellent contribution to Australia's export trade for which the company received Australian Government "Awards for Outstanding Export Achievement" in 1963, 1972 and 1982.

An era was ushered in by William David Hensell and developed in the true Hensell fashion by Raymond William Hensell who brought precision into bowl manufacture to the ultimate of perfection.

There are two more Hensells, Bruce Raymond (Managing Director) and Graeme Westcott (Director) actively engaged in the business, now operating as Henselite (Australia) Pty. Ltd., and already in this "computer age", have brought automation and computerisation to bowls production and time will, no doubt, show us further new ideas they will develop. The Company expanded into the distribution of sporting goods in 1977 being exclusive Australian distributors for a wide range of products.

In November 1983 the Company purchased a manufacturing complex in Cumbernauld, Scotland, where it produces the range of Almark Lawn Bowls and Henselite Crown Green Bowls for the U.K. market.

What further contributions the fourth generation of Hensells, Alastair and Mark, who are now working in the company make to our wonderful traditional old game will be watched with interest.