The Lawman: Rules changes for the 2018/19 pennant season

by John Roberts

Last year it was decided to more carefully review the documentation covering the Rules for Competition and the Conditions of Play for pennant and other competitions. Last year it was decided to more carefully review the documentation covering the Rules for Competition and the Conditions of Play for pennant and other competitions.

There were significant changes to how the material would be presented to the Bowls community, and few changes to the content were made.

I’ve interviewed Bob Carlson, Chair of the Bowls Victoria Laws and Rules Committee, to learn of any significant changes which might have occurred for the 2018/19 pennant season.

The Lawman: Hi Bob, thanks again for agreeing to the interview. Can you tell me what your Committee has undertaken prior to this Pennant season starting and why?

Bob: You might recall that as a result of last year’s review it was decided that the material needed to be presented in a more streamlined manner with fewer words and a simplified format for easier use. This resulted in three documents:
·         Metropolitan Pennant Competition
·         Region/Division Pennant Competition and
·         Bowls Victoria Championship Events.
This year the committee undertook a further review of the documentation to see what improved could be made as well as including the changes required to ensure that the documentation was in agreement with the Laws of the Sport, BA policies and BV regulations. The review also took into account suggestions from bowlers, Clubs, Regions and Divisions.

The Lawman: I see Bob you have made reference to the role of the side manager and umpire. Why can’t they be one in same person?
Bob: The reason for this John is that on occasion a situation may arise where the umpire of the day may need to speak with the side managers , for example in regard to stopping or delaying play. It would be somewhat ludicrous to speak to one self.

The Lawman: My understanding is that bowlers can get permits to play with other clubs, what does this actually mean?
Bob: Yes, any player can apply to Bowls Victoria to play with another club other than their nominated club. The pennant permit allows them to play pennant only. This player cannot play in their permit club’s championship events like the pairs (including mixed), singles, fours or triples events. The permit club can at their discretion allow this player to play in any other club competitions like the Vice President’s handicap or 100 up.

The Lawman: I noticed that in July this year Bowls Australia has amended its policies around artificial devices and in particular the use of a Bowlers Arm. Do these changes impact on pennant in Victoria.
Bob: Yes they do as Bowls Victoria runs all its competitions including pennant, under the guidance of World Bowls, Laws of the Sport ( 3rd edition), Bowls Australia Policies and Bowls Victoria Regulations. So simply put: the Bowlers Arm once used in a game must be used for the remainder of the game. This does not apply to the rolling of the jack.

The Lawman: That’s makes sense to me Bob. Bowler’s Arms enable around 8000 bowlers in Victoria alone to continue to play our great game.

The Lawman: Bob everyone these days has a mobile phone, can I chat to someone on the green while I’m playing pennant or BV competitions?
Bob: No John you can’t. Electronic devices are not permitted on greens during play ( that includes radios, ipods, and any other electronic devices except of course – hearing aids). However, if a player has a legitimate reason to have their phone on them. For example, a looming personal emergency or being on call for medical or emergency agency. Then this player must inform the umpire of the day prior to the game starting and let their opponent know. In these situations, the phone or pager needs to be on vibrate and calls taken on the bank away from play.

The Lawman: I know last year BV determined that greens no longer had to be timed, it was optional. Has this changed for the upcoming season?
Bob: No this hasn’t change and probably a good time to remind our bowlers that a visiting club cannot demand that a green be timed.

The Lawman: Last question for you Bob. Music during pennant. Do I have to listen to the Rolling Stones?
Bob: So long as the level of music does not interfere or impact on the conduct of the game. Music can add to the ambiance of the competition however the level of sound needs to be acceptable to both Side Mangers. As for the Rolling Stones well John that’s a matter of taste. But you’ve always been a Beatles man!

Thanks Bob that’s been a very informative interview.

The 2018/2019 Conditions of Play for both Metropolitan and Region/Division Pennant and a summary of changes for the upcoming season can be downloaded from the Bowls Victoria website at

Happy officiating everyone.