The Lawman – Mar 10 2017

by John Roberts

By John Roberts, Bowls Victoria Umpiring Committee Chairman
Bowlers arms were brought into the game to allow persons with a medical condition the opportunity to play or continue playing bowls.
A bowlers arm is designed to assist any bowler who cannot continue to bowl without the aid of the artificial device and can be used in any competition within Australia.
The use of the arm helps maximise participation in our great sport.
Bowls Victoria proudly supports the State Bowling Arm Championships (singles and pairs, men and women) as an annual event on the tournament calendar. The Armed Vics representative team are the current national champions.
There are currently three types of bowlers arms approved for use in Australia. They are known as “The Bowling Arm”, the “Bionic Bowler Arm” and the “DHB arm”.
Each device is manufactured in several lengths and some include varying release mechanisms. Only approved arms can be used in Australia. They should display a BA merchandising logo.
Modifications are not permitted (with exception to the rubber grip on the bottom of the arm which may need to be replaced as it wears out).
For a list of approved bowlers arms refer to the Bowls Australia website here. 
Challenge on appeal to an umpire regarding a bowlers arm could occur before the trial ends or up to 10 mins after a game (but not during the game) as similar to Laws 52.4.3 and
1. If a player is using a bowler’s arm that is not approved, the player becomes a defaulting player as per law C2 and will forfeit the game as per law C10.
2. If a player is using a bowlers arm that is approved but does not have approval to use one, the player becomes a defaulting player as per law C2 and will forfeit the game as per law C10.
3. If a player is using an approved bowlers arm but does not have an approval card/certificate with them on the day, the player must prove to the controlling body of the competition they have approval to use a bowlers arm from their state/territory within five working days of the challenge – if evidence is not provided within this 5 working days then the player becomes a defaulting player as per law C2 and will forfeit the game as per law C10.
The process for obtaining a Bowlers Arm Card from Bowls Victoria is obtain a medical certificate stating that the affiliated member requires the bowlers arm to continue to participate in lawn bowls. Then submit your request to Bowls Victoria and the appropriate card will be issued. The card must be carried (in your bowls bag) at all times if using the arm during play. A Bowlers Arm permit has no expiry date. Bowls Australia keeps a register of the card holders.
The use of the Bowlers Arm is totally up to the permit holder and there is no requirement to use it for the whole game. It may be used on an ad-hoc basis as required i.e. not used at the start then used for 5-6 ends , used only for jack delivery or bowl delivery simply put, whenever the bowler with the approval card needs to use the equipment.
A player can use any number of approved bowlers arms in trial ends – just the same as bowls.
A player cannot alter/change the brand or style of bowlers arm during the course of a game except in such circumstances where the device is rendered unplayable and in this instance, the player may change to another designated brand or style of bowlers arm on approval by the umpire or controlling body.
Bowlers arms means more people can remain or join in our sport and can enjoy the friendships and connections that belonging to a bowls club should bring.

Previous The Lawman columns

The Lawman – Feb 24, 2017
The Lawman – Feb 10, 2017

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