The Lawman – Nov 3

by John Roberts

New Conditions of Play documents
 As I am sure you are all aware there are many volunteers who work tirelessly for our great sport and Bowls Victoria.
One of those people is Bob Carlson, the Chairman of the Laws and Rules Committee. Bob and I are members of each other’s respective State Committees as the link between laws and rules and umpiring are crucial and self-evident.
Last year it was decided to more carefully review the documentation covering the Rules for Competition and the Conditions of Play for Pennant and other competitions.
There were significant changes to how the material would be presented to the Bowls community, and few changes to the content were made. So in seeking clarification I decided to interview Bob Carlson.
The Lawman: Hi Bob. Thanks for agreeing to the interview. Can you tell me what your Committee has undertaken prior to this Pennant season starting and why?
Bob: This year the committee undertook a more detailed review of current documentation which revealed that over time the Rules for Competition and the Conditions of Play:
· were no longer easy to read
· were causing confusion amongst users
· the written language had become overly complicated
· the information was duplicated across documents and
· the Rules for Competition included much information that was unrelated to its purpose.
The Lawman: To overcome these issues what was decided would be the best way forward?
Bob: It was decided that a better approach with the material being presented in a more streamlined manner with fewer words and a simplified format was needed. There are now three documents.
· Metropolitan Pennant Competition
· Region/Division Pennant Competition and
· Bowls Victoria Championship Events.
The Lawman: So what does the 2017/2018 Metropolitan Pennant Conditions of Play document contain?
Bob: This document contains the guidelines for both the Midweek and Saturday Pennant Competition. It has schedules with specific guides for Midweek and Saturday and a third schedule with the weather station information relating to Inclement Weather/Heat guidelines.
The Lawman: So what would I find in the 2017/2018 Region/Division Pennant Conditions of Play?
Bob: In this document you will find the guidelines relevant to Region/Division Pennant.
However it does not contain information relating to issues such as the number of players of each sex who can play in a Team or in which position they can play. Regions/Divisions will continue to make these decisions ensuring that they equal opportunity requirements are met.
The Lawman: Has Bowls Victoria restricted any decisions that were once able to be decided by non-metropolitan Regions and Divisions?
Bob: No, non–metropolitan Regions/Divisions can continue to make decisions relating to issues such as the duration of games, inclement weather provisions and the format of play so long as the provisions are consistent with the Laws of the Sport of Bowls and Bowls Australia Domestic Relations and BA Policies.
The Lawman: So what will the reader find in the 2018/2019 Bowls Victoria Championship Events document?
Bob: As the Conditions of Play for the 2017/2018 Championship Events were issued and entries received for the current season no changes are needed for the 2017/2018 events.
A revised format for the guidance material for these events will be released next year.
The Lawman: There was some other useful information in the Conditions of Play that appears to have disappeared. Where can I find that information?
Bob: Previously, the Rules for Competition included advice to Clubs under a heading of “Open Events” on how they would manage issues such as the draw for knockout competitions or conduct proportional events and the allocation of handicaps and other support materials
This information will now be placed on the BV website under the Club Assist tab, and you can find it here 
The Lawman: Thanks Bob. There has been a significant amount of work been done and I am sure these changes will make life easier out there in the Bowls community. We appreciate the work that you and your committee does for Bowls Victoria. Thanks for your time.
Bob: Thanks, and keep up the good work yourself. The Rules and Laws Committee is always happy to get feedback and we seek continuous improvement. My email address is
The Lawman
John Roberts
Bowls Victoria Umpiring Commitee Chairman
Previous The Lawman columns
A measurer’s duties – Oct 20, 2017

Who’s got shot? – Sept 28, 2017
Pre-season checklist – Sept 15, 2017
For 2016-17 editions of The Lawman, see our Heads Up archive here