The Lawman – Oct 14 2016

by John Roberts

Consider this scenario:
The thirds in a Pennant match are determining the shots.
Team A has  indicated  two  shots and are still  proceeding with the count when the third from Team B assumes the  count is over and kicks a number of bowls away from the head.  Team A third states he was still assessing the head and thinks they had three, possibly four. The Team B third stated you declared two shots. Team A third states we did confirm two shots, but I was still assessing the head and we had not informed the skippers of our decision. Neither player can agree on what the original position was. Team A calls for the umpire, the umpire approaches. However she did not see the head or the disturbance at all.  What should the umpire do?
If you were the umpire for the day which of the following would you consider to be appropriate responses. (There is more than one):

a)      Get the players to explain what has occurred away from the other players.
b)      The  umpire should inform the players that as she wasn’t there, to just accept that Team A has 2 shots.
c)      The  umpire states that if they cannot decide she as the Umpire will restore the head with their assistance  and the measure will continue.
d)      The  umpire should instruct the Team A third to reposition the bowl/s to where he believes were original position and continue the measure.
e)      The umpire  explains that as the thirds cannot decide, and she did not observe the head to declare the end dead and replay the end.
f)       If the  players cannot agree where the bowls should be with the umpires assistance, then declare the end a no score end.

Often in the situation, players believe the fairest thing is to declare the end dead and replay it. This cannot happen. Why?  Because a dishonest player could use it to his or her advantage.

At times umpires must enforce the Laws of the Sport in authoritative manner but not in an authoritarian approach.

If by chance Team A third was reluctant to restore the head as they remembered it or refused to do so the only action the Umpire  then has lies in the definitions of the Laws of the Sport  C.2  and she has to explain that if they didn’t follow the umpires direction and restore the head, Team A third would become a defaulting player and the penalty as such under C.10  would be to forfeit the game.

Would Team A third then restore the head as they remembered it? Most likely, yes. Hopefully the Umpire would not have to go that far.

The correct responses are  (a) and (d).

– John Roberts, Bowls Victoria Umpiring Committee Chairman

The Lawman, Sept 29

The Lawman, Sept 16

Bowls Victoria’s Umpiring Section