" BOLO PALMA " IN CANTABRIA
If we want to talk about the most
typical sport in our region, this is, without any doubt the "Bolo
Palma", the most complete and complex kind of bowling. In
the lines below are explained the main rules and elements to help
you get to know the game system. Nevertheless, and as in almost
all kinds of sports, there is no substitute for the practise itself,
that is in my opinion the real and effective way to succeed in
The playground, called Corro or Bowling Alley, is a horizontal
sandy ground free from obstacles and well pressed
so that is flat and solid and in such a way the balls neither
bounce nor compress into the surface. Depending on the game category,
the dimensions can change from 34 metres to 15 m in length and
8 m wide. The length is divided into two parts: tiro zone
where the bowler performs his throw; and the birle zone
where the bowler throws back the ball from the same place where
it ended up before.
The dividing line of both zones crosses over the middle of the
box, that is a square of 1,3 m of side where the bowls are placed
Bowler knocking down the bowls from bir le zone
¸ The bowls: nine 45 cm long sticks made of wood and one
more called emboque, smaller (285 mm) and with a different shape.
¸ Tiros: are cylindrical signals placed on the tiro zone
that indicates where the bowlers must place the right foot to
perform the throw.
¸ Thick Planks: they form the bowling alley perimeter, so
that the balls cant go out the playground.
¸ The balls : spherical pieces of wood with a diameter that
varies from 12 to 18 cm.
¸ Stakes : are round platforms made of stone at the ground
level, where the bowls are placed (this action is denominated
to plant or set up the bowls)
¸ Stripes : are drawn on the birle zone with white fabric
ribbons, or making a trench with the emboques head.
¸ Iron band : is a straight line perpendicular to the tiro
zone and situated on its zone, around 1 m far from the bowls.
This game is mainly based on precision more than strength. There
are two fundamental phases: the tiro and the birle. The first
one consists on throwing the ball towards the bowls from a distance
that can reach 20 metres. In the birle the ball is thrown back
from the place where it ended up previously ( in the first phase
). Depending on the rotating effect that the bowler gives to the
ball when he throws it, there are two different ways of performing
the tiro: Hand effect (Fig.1) if the ball rotates in the
contrary of the clocks hands; Thumb effect (Fig.2)
if the rotation follows the same direction as the clocks
Depending on this rotation, a special bowl named emboque is placed
on the left or right respectively.
This game consists mainly in knocking down the largest account
of bowls as possible following, of course, several rules.
From the tiro, each bowl is worth a point, all but the central
one, that if its the only one knocked down, is worth two
points. The emboque if the ball knocks down the central
bowl of the first line of them from the tiro and pass between
the emboque and the lateral band is usually worth 10 points,
but can have another value too. After that, on the birle zone,
the punctuation is the same, except for theres no emboque.
Therere several exigencies so that the punctuation may take
place; the throw has to be right, that is, the ball :
ß Must pass over the iron band ( on the contrary itll
be a short ball )
ß Must rotate in the right way ( hand or thumb effect)
ß Cant pass over the last line of bowls (in which
case itll be a large ball)
ß Once it has knocked down the bowls, it must pass the stripe
on the ground ( on the contrary itll be stayed bowl- "bola
ß Cant knock down directly any bowl of the lateral
line opposite the emboque and neither the first one of the nearest
line to the emboque.
Ana Belén Saro Palacio