Back to basics reminders from The Lawman

by John Roberts

Metropolitan and Regional Pennant have now commenced for the new year and it is great to be back on our greens bowling again. Just a few reminders for all players and officials.

Pre-pennant practice (Clause 26, BV CoP)

It appears that pre-pennant practice on Saturdays is working well. However just a gentle reminder that managers should not be doing the cards prior to practice taking place.

As both sides will be playing on the same rinks as they practiced on, it has become more necessary to ensure the cards are shuffled and randomly drawn. If, as an opposing side manager, you find the cards already placed on the table please make sure you re-shuffle them before placing them back on the table. Or the managers could exchange cards, then shuffle the scorecards before placing them on the table.

Rules for attire

(Clause 23, BV CoP) states clearly it is the responsibility of the respective club president to ensure their playing members are attired in accordance of BV Rules for Attire.

If a club has a concern regarding the attire of an opponent, they can lodge a complaint using this form. Bowls Victoria will follow this up and inform all parties of the outcome.

If a club is required to use a substitute, the affiliated member who has been approved is permitted to wear their own club’s uniform. The substitute cannot be in mufti.

Who is the controlling body? (Clause 9, BV CoP)

The overarching controlling body for metropolitan pennant is Bowls Victoria. However, on the day of play (Law A.4) states that it is the club on whose green is being played on that is the controlling body. The controlling body has immediate control over the Conditions of Play (see Law 57.2) under which the game is played.

In most situations the side managers and umpires of the day make most of the decisions and this would always remain the case.

However, for the last two seasons BV has asked each club to nominate a person to be the controlling body for the day. This person should not be the umpire or side manager for that day. What would this person’s responsibilities be for the day?

They could include:

  • suspending play if necessary due to weather or other conditions
  • approving the introduction and eligibility of a substitute
  • the management of pre-game practice
  • collecting the bowls and deposit in the event of a challenge to bowls
  • receive complaints against an umpire’s decision
  • be responsible for the appointment of an umpire
  • approve the carrying of a personal electronic device
  • acting against spectators that are in breach of the laws
  • appealing to the umpire to apply an instantaneous penalty for noncompliance with provisions relating to conduct & behaviour, smoking, personal electronic devices, or consumption of alcohol.

Ideally each club would nominate on the day of play who are the officials for the day and who is acting as the controlling body. BV acknowledges that suitable personnel may be short in numbers and when there is no appointment then common sense should apply.


Bowls Victoria has redesigned to scorecards for pennant so they align more closely with the BowlsLink format. Skips names now need to be filled out on top of the running scores.

DR 3.2.4 makes it clear that in a game of fours in Australia the second is responsible for keeping and completing the scorecard, the duties are set out in Law 40.1.7.

A reminder to all seconds there needs to be a mark or number in all squares on the card, no spaces should be left blank and you should confer with your opposing second after every end.

Any player can update the scoreboard and it must be at least after every second end. But the second is responsible for the accuracy of the scoreboard. (DR 3.1.1)

The second can sign the card off on behalf of the skip, there is no need to gain the skip’s signature. A timely reminder to all clubs they must keep all the scorecards for each current season in case there is a challenge of some sort.

John Roberts
Officiating and Laws Committee

Want more Lawman?