The Lawman – Mar 9 2018

by John Roberts

Jack fell down and broke his crown


The jack’s fallen down in the ditch, so what should come after that? Can Jack be moved by a non-toucher? The answer is yes, under certain circumstances. Do you know when?


So is poor old Jack alive or is he dead? Well if he’s lying in the front ditch and within the side boundaries of the rink of play he’s alive and well! Law 18.1

Jack’s position needs to marked by a white indicator that should be placed vertically against the face of the bank or on the top of the bank. A line should be drawn around Jack – draw a line in the sand. If no sand you can indicate with chalk. Law 18.2


So Jack is settled in the sand, resting quietly- lines drawn. Can he be validly moved? Well Law 18.3.1 says he can if hit by a toucher in play.


More interesting is Law 18.3.2. which allows a non-toucher which has to be partly on the rink of play and partly hanging over the ditch that has come to rest after its moved the jack. Both bowl and jack then remain in play.


Whenever there is a valid movement of the jack his indicator must move with him and a new line drawn in the sand. Law 18.5


If the Jack in the ditch is displaced by an non-toucher entering the ditch, Law 38.5.3 states clearly an opponent or marker must put it back to its former position. That’s when the line in the sand and the shot indicator will assist you.


So is Jack alive or dead? Well he’s dead if a bowl in play causes the jack to pass above the face of the bank, or completely outside a side boundary or comes to rest less than 18 metres from the centre of the mat line to the nearest point of the jack. Law 19.


I have actually seen (possibly ex-slips fieldsmen) catch a flying jack or others automatically deflect the flying object for self preservation.


What should happen here? If the jack is caught by the player the President should shout them a drink. Clause 6BX, BV Rules for Competition.


But back on the green the jack in motion has been displaced by a player so the opposing skip must place the jack where they believe it would have come to rest or declare the end dead. Law 38.1.2 If the opposing skip accepted that the jack was heading well passed the face of the bank it would be declared dead anyway.


Well let’s hope Jack continues to live happily ever after.

SIDE NOTE. Umpires out there please make sure your greenkeeper has two indicators on each rink. One white for the jack and one usually yellow or orange to indicate the bowls position. Thank you.

John Roberts

Bowls Victoria Umpiring Committee Chairman

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