Second hand bowls and ex-demo bowls – great value!
Just as the registration plate on a car can give away its age, so second hand bowls reveal their age. They have a datestamp so you can tell when they were made and how old they are. Comparing the datestamp on second hand bowls with the condition gives you an indication of where (indoors, outdoors or both) and how intensively they have been used.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the datestamp on my bowls?
The datestamp is inside an oval on the front face of each bowl. It consists of two numbers indicating the expiry date (also known as the re-testing date) of the set. In the sample above, the number 24 means that the expiry date is 31 December 2024. The expiry date is ten year after the year the bowl is manufactured.
What does expiry date mean?
This is the last date this set can be used in a competition where a nationally qualified umpire is officiating. After this date, although the bowls can be used in friendly matches, they have to be re-tested and stamped with a new expiry date.
Why should bowls expire?
Because after ten years of play and being knocked about, hitting each other and the end wall of the rink, each bowl in the set may run differently (narrower or wider than its fellows in the set). When a set of bowls is manufactured, and again when they are re-tested, each bowl in a set of four is rolled down a test ramp on a long L-shaped surface covered with billiard-table felt. Each bowl must come to rest on exactly the same spot, about the size of a 50p piece.
If a bowl doesn’t run correctly, skilled craftsmen can use a lathe to finely adjust the bias of the rogue bowl until it runs exactly the same as the others in the set.