The Lawman – Dec 9

by John Roberts

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.

Previous columns

The Lawman – Nov 25

The Lawman – Oct 28
The Lawman – Oct 14
The Lawman – Sept 29
The Lawman – Sept 16
Bowls Victoria’s Umpiring Section