The Lawman – Mar 23 2018

by John Roberts

To finish off this season I thought we would delve into the world of myths and misconceptions within the Bowls fraternity. It’s the point where etiquette, history and hysteria and custom intersects with the actual Laws of the Sport and we get a hotch potch of misunderstandings. The reality of the situation is out there somewhere. 
1. You made a mistake determining the head and you moved bowls and you shouldn’t have, so that’s an 8 to us. 
2. When the umpire or measurer is on the green measuring for shot, you have to stand on the bank. 
3. The Club President must mark the Club singles final. 
4. Spectators are not allowed to sit at the end of rink that’s being played on. 
5. When you’re suspended by your club you are not allowed on the premises of any other club. 
6. The thirds must attempt a measure before they can call for the Umpire. 
7. When kicking the bowls back the seconds don’t have to assist because they carry the scorecard. 
8. A bowl that falls, which touches the jack must occur before the next bowl to be delivered comes to rest to become a toucher. 
9. The umpire for the day cannot measure for shot when called on their rink they are playing on. 
1. Fanciful nonsense. There are very few instances when an 8 can be awarded in a game of bowls. Disturbance of the head by an opposition player is not one of them. The non-offending player must put the bowls/jack back to their former position, (Appendix C). It cannot be declared a dead end and replayed. 
2. No such rule, never has been, a real myth. There is no law that is relevant here. However, it is reasonable for the umpire to request players to stand back, particularly if the umpire is feeling under pressure, or player’s shadows are falling over the head. Some players do resort to the bank, that is fine, but they don’t have to. We all need to be respectful of the Umpire’s call and requests. 
3. Simply not true, a blast from the past. Your club singles finals are the premier events at your club, your best club marker should mark the game. An inexperienced or poor marker can ruin a game. If your club President is not your best marker involve them in the game in another role. Scoreboard? Umpire? Commentator? Presenter? BBQ? Any individual club could have an established protocol that club President will always mark the Club’s singles final. 
4. The Laws of the Sport (Law 45.1) states that spectators must stay outside the boundaries of the green and clear of players. The boundaries being the edge of the top of the banks. So long as the spectators are respectful of the game being played in front of them there is no requirement or need to vacate the seats at the ends of the rinks. The more spectators we have and the closer we get to the game the better for the sport. It’s the umpire’s duty to manage spectators (Law 45.4), the umpire can call upon the Controlling Body to take action. 
5. If a club has suspended a player that suspension can only relate to the club concerned. A player would not automatically be banned from other clubs as spectators. Individual clubs would need to show cause as to why a person could not enter their facility. Through a disciplinary hearing Bowls Victoria has the power to ban a player from all or any affiliated bowls clubs. 
6. The thirds do not have to attempt a measure. Law 40.2.1 states the third can measure, not must measure. Either third, player in singles or marker can call for the umpire at any time. The umpire must measure any disputed shot, (Law 43.2.2) with suitable measuring equipment (Law 54) and not by just having a look! 
7. Sorry but etiquette suggests we ALL should assist with kicking the bowls back, even Cinderella with her glass slippers! 
8. Not true, Law 14.2.1 states that a bowl having come to rest and then falls is only a toucher if it occurs before the next bowl is delivered. 
9. Again not true, the umpire of the day is both impartial and their decision is final- except in cases of interpreting a law. (Law 43.2.6) However in this scenario some umpires may invite both thirds to the head to observe the measure, not required by law but perhaps good for being seen as impartial. 
Thanks to all the officials and bowlers out there who have supported this segment of Heads Up. It is greatly appreciated. See you all next season. 
John Roberts
The Lawman
Bowls Victoria Umpiring Committee Chairman  
NB: All the very best and congratulations to the 13 Victorian ITOs who will be part of a team of 42 International Technical Officials gathering soon to oversee the lawn bowls at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Broadbeach, Queensland in April. It will be an experience of a life time. Good luck to the Jackaroos, bring home some medals. Lawn Bowls is a core sport within the Games and goes for 9 days involving about 30 countries. A great time should be had by all.
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