The Lawman – Dec 8 2017

by John Roberts

You’re on the Mat

Apart from your bowls and the jack, the mat is about the next most important piece of the game. The mat controls many aspects of the game including who commences the game, the start of each end, it determines the length of the jack or bowl and whether a jack has been legally delivered. 

1. A player delivers the jack from a mat that is not on the centre line? 

Law 6.2.3 requires that if the mat is off the centre line, it must be moved to that line. 


2. If the player has not delivered the jack but it is noticed the mat has not been centred, what happens? 

Law 6.1.2 applies which means the player to first play must correctly position the mat. 


3. It’s a wet day and player A decides to flip the mat. Is this acceptable? 

Yes, Law 6.2.6 allows this to occur. The mat must then be turned back over and replaced in its original position. 


4. After several bowls have been delivered the skips realise the mat has been placed on the wrong line. What should happen? 

Law 6.2.3 clearly states the mat must be moved to the centre line, the end should not be declared dead and replayed. At any point of a game if the mat is not centred it must be moved to its correct position- on the centre- line. This would apply to any situation from a minor displacement ( the mat slips ) to incorrect placement. 


5. The jack has been delivered the required distance but has not been centred and a bowl has been played. What should happen? 

The jack remains in that spot until the conclusion of that end. Law 9.7. 


6. If an umpire is called to measure the length of a delivered jack and notices the mat has been placed behind the two metre mark. What should happen? 

The jack would be declared improperly delivered and given to the opposing player to deliver. Law 6.1.1. If the opposing player had already been unsuccessful in delivering the jack, then Law 10.3 would apply. 


Major points to remember are the mat should always be on the centre line and placed there when ever it is discovered not to be so. The jack cannot be centred if a bowl has been played. If a bowl has not been played the jack must be centred. 

Hope that keeps you off the mat! 

John Roberts 

Bowls Victoria Umpiring Committee Chairman 

Previous The Lawman columns

Conditions of Play Documents – Nov 3 2017
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