The Lawman – Feb 10 2017

by John Roberts

It’s All About The Jack
By John Roberts, Bowls Victoria Umpiring Committee Chairman
There are competing theories as to origin of the word “Jack”.
Is it derived from the Latin word jactus, meaning to cast or a throw? Or is it from a sport played by young men called “casting the stone” from around the 12th Century? Casting of stones in Latin is “jactu lapidum” and was a game in which rounded stones were thrown at or bowled towards a target object. So did the word ‘Jack’ derive originally from this Latin term?
Another theory is that that jack in some contexts meant a slightly smaller version of something. For example a jack-rabbit is a little rabbit. In this case a ‘Jack-Bowl’, was the little bowl, later shortened to jack
Why it is often  called a kitty is somewhere out there in folklore – I have  no idea. I am sure there are many theories about.
The word “kitty” does not  appear in the Laws of the Sport, and is only referred to as a “Jack”.
Over my years of playing and officiating I have seen the Jack split in half (A), sail through glass doors and windows (B) and even be caught in a  “slips like manner” behind the head by a player (C). What laws cover these situations? You’ll see at the bottom of this article.
The Laws of the Sport, 3rd edition (Law 51) states the Jack must be a solid sphere and either white or yellow.
In the BPL (old APL) you may see a  red jack used for power plays. Permission was granted from World Bowls to deviate  from Law 51.1.
Some manufacturers are making jacks in many colours including clear, with sparkles or bright blue and orange. These are fine for fun activities at clubs and promotion of the sport but cannot be used in competitions operating under the Laws of the Sport, 3rd Edition.

(A)  A Jack damaged (Law 30) in the course of play if determined by the umpire needs to be replaced, then the end will be declared dead and Law 20 then applies.
(B) The Jack here is clearly above the face of the bank and is completely outside the rink boundaries. This becomes a dead end and law 20 will apply. However if the Conditions of Play state otherwise they can to decide to have the Jack re-spotted in line with Law 56.5. (A someone needs to mend the broken glass).
(C) A “caught” jack would mean that the Jack has been displaced in motion (Law 38.1.2) hence the opposing  skip or opponent in singles would have to place the Jack where they believed it would end up (assuming the caught Jack didn’t disturb the head) OR declare the end dead.

Previous The Lawman columns
The Lawman, Jan 27, 2017
The Lawman – Jan 13, 2017
The Lawman – Dec 23, 2016
The Lawman – Dec 9, 2016

The Lawman – Nov 25, 2016
The Lawman – Oct 28, 2016
The Lawman – Oct 14, 2016
The Lawman – Sept 29, 2016
The Lawman – Sept 16, 2016
Bowls Victoria’s Umpiring Section