The Lawman – Jan 19 2018

by John Roberts


Who’s missing? I am sure we have all faced this scenario in some form. Your pennant side are about to play their trial ends and after a quick count the word spreads around the side. Where’s Wally? 

You often hear, “Oh don’t worry, Wally’s always  late, he’ll be here, just start your trial ends.” 

Law 5.1.2 allows a controlling body to limit the number of  trial ends  (that is two, one or none)  and  either before or after the scheduled start of the time of the game. In Victoria, two trial ends are permitted in Pennant and they must be completed  before the scheduled commencement time. BV Pennant Conditions of Play – (CoP) and Domestic Regulations  (DR) 2.5 state that 30 minutes after the scheduled start time the game must commence and if there is one player absent  from one or more teams in the side, substitutes can be used. 

Substitutes can play in any position except that of skip, (DR, however the other players can arrange their positions as desired. You are only allowed one substitute  per team, (Law 2.3.7). 

So where’s Wally?  Wally still hasn’t arrived and no substitutes are available. The game must continue with an absent player and play as though the second is missing, (DR 2.5). That is 6 bowls plays 8 bowls, and the skips on that rink carry the card, (BV Pennant  CoP). This means that Wally’s opponents will have their second play consecutive bowls. (BV Pennant CoP, DR, & 

Wally finally turns up. He got lost, his GPS took him to the wrong side of the tracks. Wally must then take his original place in the team and enter the match at the completion of the end in progress. (BV Pennant CoP & DR 2.5.3) 

Next week Wally’s team decide they will go to Pennant together and they let Wally drive. They are playing in the back of beyond and while travelling  get a puncture in the back tyre and discover Wally’s spare tyre was at the garage getting repaired. There is no mobile coverage. With bowls bags in hand they start hitch-hiking – Wally is not popular! 

Meanwhile back at the game mobile phones are being rung at a speed of great knots to find out again – where’s Wally? Now Wally’s entire team is missing. 

Thirty minutes past game commencement time. Wally’s side must commence the game but now there is an entire team missing.

What would you do? What do the Laws allow in this circumstance? You must have the agreed number of teams to form a side (let’s say it’s a 4 team side of 16 players). Without 4 teams the sides would have to forfeit. (Law B. 1 and C. 10) 

To avoid giving a forfeit the relevant side manager would have to rearrange the entire side. A side game must be played by two opposing sides each with the same number of teams. (Law 1.3) There would now be four teams of three players. Where each team would play as if the second is missing (DR 2.5).

Low and behold 45 minutes later Wally and his troops arrive. What must happen? 


At the completion of the end in progress one of each of Wally’s team  would be placed in the existing four teams as eligible substitutes (DR 2.5.4). They would not be able to skip as they are substitutes and the other players can arrange their positions as desired (DR 

The game continues and ends happily with Wally’s side just getting a close-fought victory by a handful of shots. Wally continues to be a legend of the club and provides many a good story around the bar.

Where’s Wally now? Who knows? Maybe in a club near you.


The  Lawman 

John Roberts 

Chair BV Umpiring Committee 

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