The Lawman – Dec 9
Interruption To Play? Or is that a Stoppage?
By John Roberts, Bowls Victoria Umpiring Committee Chairman
Consider this scenario: Pennant sides are progressing satisfactorily and all of a sudden lightning strikes nearby or a sudden shower dumps water on the green and the bowlers. Players then quickly run for cover and or for their wet weather gear. Is this an interruption to play or a stoppage?
What does the laws of the sport tell us?
Firstly law 33.1 states that a player or team cannot leave the green unless their opponent agrees and then for no more than 10 minutes. That clearly defines an interruption to play.
Would we expect players to ask permission in the above scenario? Clearly common sense suggests no – safety and wellbeing would take precedence here.
By the way if the player or opposing team refused permission under law 33.1, the player or team could call the umpire and they would adjudicate and most likely allow the interruption to occur in the first instance.
When the players return to the green, the game continues on and the ends are NOT declared dead nor replayed.
Game stoppages are described under Law 32.
A stoppage of play is something that is determined by the controlling body, umpire after appeal by players or an agreement amongst players if no controlling body or umpire is present.
If side managers, players or teams cannot agree to a stoppage they must call the umpire who will then decide.
If a stoppage of play is called and all the required bowls have not been played the end is declared dead (Law 32.2). If all the required bowls have been delivered the result of the end must be decided before the game stops (Law 32.3).
The game can be continued on the same day or another day. Incomplete ends must be declared dead. (Law 32)
In both situations commonsense should prevail. However the umpire or controlling body can direct players to return to the game.
Interesting note: Pennant games played on a Friday that had to be stopped can be continued the following day.
However, Saturday games must be completed within the set time. Pennant games cannot be played on a Sunday, finals being the exception.
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Bowls Victoria’s Umpiring Section