The second – often the forgotten role.
This is often where you will see the weaker player slotted as many teams feel they can get by with a weak second, but can’t afford to have a weak lead, third or skip. I find this logic flawed. I think you need to have a strong player here to really optimize the pressure placed on the opposition. It’s a great spot to attack the other team and get your foundation in place.
If you can use your second properly you can really turn the heat up on your opposition. They are your cover if the lead fails their shots, they can play into the head to convert shots if you are down, they put in your position bowls if your lead does their job and they fill in any gaps left by your lead. If the lead puts on in the head and one behind, then the second can put in a second bowl and another position bowl.
One key aspect is that the second should never be short of the head. The majority of a seconds bowls will be about position and you can’t get good position by failing to reach the head. They need to be playing a little over the head so if they miss the draw they are still there to cover the skill shots later.
If your lead and second are on the mark then you can really deflate your opposition. If every time your opposition holds shot or makes a shot your second negates it or takes the shot away it is heartbreaking. This is a powerful mental advantage to any team.
The second should be good at most shots. They should be able to draw just as well as the lead (especially drawing to open spots for cover), make good weighted shots, should have an accurate drive for bad situations.
It is also a good idea to have a lead and a second who can form a bond and play well together. They should be supporting each other technically on the green with bowls and also mentally with encouragement and spirit while playing. They are really a pairs team within a fours team.
— Parts taken and paraphrased from Evan Tanzer’s article for the Corinda Bowls Club