The sport of Candlepins is a bowling game unique to New England and the Canadian maritime Provinces. First played in Worcester Massachusetts in 1880, Candlepin Bowling is an exciting skillful sport, requiring minimal physical strength while demanding great timing, dexterity and patience from each participant. Candlepin bowling is enjoyed by the young and old, the strong and the handicapped, by boys and girls, men and women.
It is indeed a sport for all people. That is what prompted the formation of the International Candlepin Bowling Association. The I.C.B.A. is an umbrella organization that consist of delegates from each State and Provincial Association. Its members see Candlepin Bowling as a part of history and wish to insure its future.
One of the goals of the I.C.B.A. is to unify the sport so that Candlepin Bowlers will be bowling under the same conditions and rules no matter where they bowl. This site contains the official Candlepin rules as of June 7, 2005.
Welcome to the sport of Candlepins.
To print a copy of the rule book click on the
Table of contents
Playing Rules and regulations
1. GAME (string): A game shall consist of ten frames (boxes) in each of which three balls shall be rolled, except when a player scores a strike or spare, called marks
2. NO MARK: When three balls are rolled, the bowler receives credit for the total number of pins knocked down in the frame
3. STRIKE: A "strike" occurs when ten pins are downed with the first ball. To score a strike, the bowler receives ten plus the number of pins downed by the next two balls rolled by that bowler.
4. SPARE: A "spare" occurs when ten pins are downed with the first two balls. To score a spare the bowler receives ten plus the number of pins downed by the next ball rolled by that bowler.
5. TWO CONSECUTIVE STRIKES: Scores as follows:
6. THREE CONSECUTIVE STRIKES: Score as follows:
7. CONSECUTIVE STRIKES OVER THREE: Score as per explanation in rule #6 above.
8. MARK IN FRAME 10: A bowler scoring a strike or a spare in the tenth frame shall immediately roll one or two balls, as necessary, to complete that frame. The frame must be completed on the same lane on which the strike or spare is bowled.
9. SCORING: The score sheet, telescore and / or automatic scorer shall remain visible to all players at all times. No unfair tactics will be tolerated.
10. RECORDING INDIVIDUAL SCORES: Except for addition errors, it is the bowlers sole responsibility to see that his/her score is recorded properly FRAME by FRAME.
SCORES ARE OFFICIAL: When records are turned in (to secretary / statistician) by captain or official, corrections cannot be made after points are awarded.
1. FAIRLY DELIVERED BALL: A ball is fairly delivered when in its forward motion it touches the playing area before the 10ft. lob line. (Playing area also includes approach area). Any ball delivered otherwise is deemed a foul.
2. FAIR CONTACT: A ball shall be considered to have made fair contact only when it strikes a standing pin or playable wood before it (the ball) leaves the lane. A ball otherwise shall be considered foul and shall suffer the same penalties as for a GUTTER BALL.
3. BALL REST ON PLATE: If a ball for any reason comes to rest on the plate, it must be removed by authorized personnel designated by the bowling establishment.
4. REBOUNDING BALLS:
5. GUTTER BALL: If a ball leaves the lane without making fair contact and comes back knocking down pins, the pins downed by that ball shall not count in the scoring. Only pins downed by fair contact shall count.
6. EXTRA BALLS: Rolling extra balls in any frame will constitute a foul. Penalty of a zero for frame.
7. BOWLERS DROPPING BOWLING BALLS DELIBERATELY on the approach shall be warned and if a second offense occurs, the bowler shall be penalized under the deliberate foul rule.
1. DOWNED PINS - DEADWOOD LINE: All downed pins, called wood, remaining on the lane entirely behind the deadwood line are live and playable. Those touching or forward (toward the bowler) of the deadwood line are dead and shall be removed. Wood shall be judged live or dead only after it has stopped moving.
2. QUESTIONABLE DEADWOOD: Any questionable deadwood shall be removed by a designated official.
3. PIN - PIT AREA: A pin that sticks up out of the pit area is not playable.
4. WOOD - ACROSS PLATE AND GUTTER: Where wood is partly on the plate or lane and partly in the gutter, the ball must make fair contact with the wood while the ball is still touching the lane for any pins downed to count in the scoring. The bowler must make the call "fair", with no influence or suggestion from anyone else, for the pins felled to count. If an official is present, they can overrule the decision. (rev. 6-15-2010)
5. BALL HITS DEADWOOD IN GUTTER AND CORNER PIN: If a ball makes contact with wood in the gutter (deadwood) at the same time as making fair contact with a corner pin or playable wood, the pins downed by such action shall count. The bowler must make the call "fair", with no influence or suggestion from anyone else, for the pins felled to count. If an official is present, they can overrule the decision. (rev. 6-15-2010)
6. DOUBLE DEADWOOD IN THE GUTTER: When there is a double deadwood in the gutter, it shall remain.
7. REBOUNDING PINS: Pins knocked down by pins rebounding from the sidewall, machine, rear cushion or any other object in the deck or pit area shall count as pins down.
8. PIN DOWNED, THEN STAND UP: If a downed pin is caused to stand erect again in the playing area, it shall be judged as down and shall remain on the lane to be played as wood.
9. PINS THAT FALL AFTER THE RESET BUTTON IS PRESSED or the pinsetter sweep is in motion shall not count.
10. MOVING WOOD: A bowler must wait until all wood has halted motion under penalty of foul. (Pins felled by ball shall not count). However, if the wood has apparently stopped rolling and then starts rolling again while the player is in the act of delivering the ball, or while the ball is in motion, there shall be no penalty.
11. PINS FALL BEFORE FAIR CONTACT: If a pin or pins fall after the ball is fairly delivered but before making fair contact, the following shall apply:
(Example) Bowler knocks down nine pins with the first ball. Second ball is fairly delivered but before making fair contact, pins fall. Bowler is credited with spare.
1. FOUL LINE RULE: A player in delivering the ball must not let his action cause him to slide over, step on or over the foul line, nor permit any part of his body or clothing to come in contact with the lanes, gutters, ball returns, division boards, walls, uprights or floors which are beyond the foul line, at any time after the ball passes over and beyond the foul line, nor until he shall have picked up a ball and completed his succeeding delivery, under penalty of foul. (See foul line and lob line penalty).
2. LOB LINE RULE: Bowling is a game of rolling, not throwing balls. Any ball that does not, in its forward motion, touch the playing area before the lob line, shall be considered a lobbed ball and shall suffer the foul penalty. See foul line and lob line penalties below. Note continuous infractions of this rule will result in disqualification.
3. FOUL LINE AND LOB LINE PENALTIES are the same as for gutter balls.
4. CLEARED GUTTERS: Both gutters must be cleared of any pins or balls before the first ball is delivered in any frame. The penalty is the same as if the first ball is a foul.
5. DELIBERATE FOULS:
6. BOWLER ABUSING THE EQUIPMENT or premises shall be warned and if a second offense occurs, the bowler shall be penalized under the DELIBERATE FOUL.
7. IF DELIBERATE FOUL RULE infractions keep occurring, the bowler involved will be disqualified.
8. PINSETTER IN MOTION: No ball shall be delivered before the setting machine has completed its cycle. Penalty shall be the same as GUTTER BALLS.
9. FOOT FOULS: In any case where electric foul light units are not available or become inoperative during a match, a competent foul line judge, seated at the foul line (one for every eight lanes) must be employed for the remainder of the event. (rev. 6-7-2005)
1. INTERFERENCE: If any pins, standing or down move because of outside interference, the pins will be reset and the bowler will bowl the frame over. If the interference occurs after the ball or balls have been delivered on a strike or a spare, it will not effect the scores already established on the strike or spare, but the bowler has the option of taking the pins felled or to bowl over and receive the new pin fall. (rev. 6-14-2011)
2. BOWLER INTERFERENCE: All bowlers are expected to exercise the highest standards of sportsmanship in competition. No unfair tactics will be tolerated and in the case of any interference with a bowler, all pins will be reset and the entire frame re-rolled.
3. RESET BUTTON PRESSED BEFORE FRAME COMPLETED:
4. FOREIGN OBJECT ON LANE: If a ball, fairly rolled, comes in contact with a foreign substance on the lane before it strikes the pins, it shall be declared dead, the pins shall be reset and the entire frame re-rolled.
1. GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP: All bowlers are expected at all times to exercise the highest standards of sportsmanship.
2. QUESTIONABLE INCIDENTS: Whenever there is a question of the validity of any incident and no official is present good sportsmanship dictates that the bowler be given the benefit of the doubt.
3. WRONG LANE OR OUT OF TURN: If a bowler rolls on the wrong lane or out of turn, he shall complete the frame and the pins downed shall be credited to his score. Then he shall move to the correct lane or position.
4. LATE ARRIVALS: Any bowlers arriving after the first bowler on their team begins their sixth frame, cannot complete in that string, but they may be allowed to compete in subsequent strings to be played.
5. NON-BOWLERS IN BOWLING AREA: In a match or league game, no spectators or substitutes other than scorers will be allowed in the bowling area.
6. EVERYONE EXCEPT BOWLER MUST BE SEATED: The scorer and all players, other than those actually bowling, must be seated.
7. MECHANICAL PROBLEMS: When one machine on a pair of lanes "breaks down" during a league match or in any tournament, the bowlers will continue to roll alternately on one lane until the machine is again in operation. Any teams finishing late due to slow bowlers or machine breakdowns, must spread out as soon as there are other lanes available.
8. EVERY GAME MUST BE COMPLETED before another may be started.
9. RIGHT OF WAY: In the event of a controversy in a game as to which bowler shall roll first, the one on the right lane shall have the right of way and roll first.
10. PRACTICE OR WARM-UP BALLS: No practice or warm-up balls will be allowed any bowler while he or she is involved in a match or roll-off. (penalty of forfeit string).
11. LEAGUE MATCHES: League matches shall take no longer than two hours to complete. This provides for ten individuals bowling three strings each or 30 strings per pair of lanes.
12. PLAYER REPLACEMENT: All player replacement must be
done at the completion of a string regardless of the circumstances. Should
any bowler be unable to complete the string, the average of the number of boxes
or league / tournament average will be used. The lesser of the two will be
League rules should be established by each league.
LEAGUE RULES SHOULD INCLUDE:
1. Number of players on a team
2. Number of teams in league.
3. Number of matches to be played.
4. Starting time of matches.
5. How long to wait for a late player.
6. Score to be taken for an absent bowler
7. Number of strings each match.
8. Price to be paid for bowling.
9. What money to be allocated for services.
10. League schedule to be used.
11. Team number given each team.
12. What system to use.
13. Whether scratch or handicap.
14. Point system approved.
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