The Lawman – Dec 22 2017

by John Roberts

Christmas night is not far away and good old Father Christmas will be working hard at delivering gifts to those who have been good. To those who have been bad, well you just better be good next year if you want those new set of bowls or bag. 

Delivery is clearly important to Santa and in a game of bowls. I hear and read many discussions about what’s the difference between a poor delivery, a bowl slipping out of your hand, an illegal delivery and a proper delivery. Well Santa knows all about deliveries. 

There are two important parts of the Laws of the Sport that highlight issues around delivery. 

Firstly C.3 defines a delivery as deliberately releasing a jack or bowl from the hand or artificial device using an underarm movement. The description is clear. 

C.3 goes on to state that if a jack or bowl accidently slips from a player’s hand or bowling arm during delivery (that is in the under arm movement), the player can pick up the jack or bowl and start again. 

The other part of the Laws of the Sport is the part of the Foreword that states the laws have been drawn up in the spirit of true sportsmanship. 

Considering the above points means that if the bowl slips out during the underarm movement the player gets another chance to deliver a bowl. This does not mean that a badly delivered bowl which dribbles along the green you can rightfully claim it back. Did the slip occur during the underarm delivery? 

What if you are standing on the mat and the bowl slips out of your hand prior to delivery? In the spirit of fairness (and good Christmas cheer) I would hope we would all be happy to allow the bowler to pick up their bowl and continue. 

Of course the other Laws which impact are those which describe when a bowl is dead. Law 17.1.3 states that after completing its original course or being moved in play a bowl that is less than 14 metres (straight line measure from the nearest point of the bowl and the centre of the mat line) must be declared dead, then removed from the end being played. 

Law 7.1 explains that before any delivery of a jack or bowl the player must be standing ON the mat with the part of at least one foot on the mat. At the moment of delivery of the jack or bowl the player must have all or part of one foot ON or ABOVE the mat. 

On another note if you have been very good and Santa brings you a pair of Skechers to wear, enjoy them. 

They are very comfortable, but they are not approved to be worn on the greens unless they have been modified with a flat sole. Santa has seen far too many Skechers runners being worn during Pennant. You better be good! 

Season Greetings to you all, safe travels during your holidays. 

See you in 2018. Happy Bowling and Happy New Year. 


John Roberts 


State Umpiring Committee 

Bowls Victoria 
Previous The Lawman columns
You’re On The Mat – Dec 8 2017

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