Some Funny Things Happened…

by John Roberts

Now that pennant finals have concluded I thought it was time to reflect on some interesting queries and events that have popped up over the finals.


If two sides have completed their required ends and the scores are equal, an additional end must be played to determine the winner, (Law 28.1). A coin would need to be tossed (Law 28.2), and the extra end must be played from where the previous end was completed, (Law 28.3). 

If, after an extra end, the scores remained tied another end must be played again according to Law 28. 


One team finished early and two of the team members left the venue and went home. What should happen next? 

The game needs to recommence within 10 minutes (Law 33). If the players cannot return in time, then the team becomes short of players. In pennant, 3 can play 4 however if two players are missing from one team, that team must forfeit, and the side then forfeits. Game over. 

Can substitutes be used?  Yes, but only one per team AND only if approved by the controlling body, (DR 2.4). In this situation I would not allow substitutes as the reason for the player’s absence would not be acceptable. All players should stay until the end of the game is decided. 

The umpire of the day, if scores are tied, cannot determine which side wins by who has won the most rinks (and if also tied), ends. 


Several of our clubs are fortunate enough to be surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens. Sometimes this can cause a significant amount of leaf litter to appear on the greens. Prior to play our green keepers do a great job to ensure the surfaces are   litter free. 

During a game it is possible that after a heavy wind gust a significant amount of leaf litter can re-appear. So, can a leaf blower be utilised during a game? 

There are no laws regarding the use of leaf blowers. However the Foreward of the Law Book describes that in any situation not covered by the Laws of the Sport, players, markers, umpires must use their commonsense and spirit of fair play to decide on the appropriate course of action. 

A leaf blower can be used  during a game of bowls. The  person about to operate the machinery  needs to inform both side managers who would then stop the game while the cleaning up  takes place. The use of the blower must not take place while play is  occurring  – not even  one rink at a time.  

Any bowl or jack displacement caused  by a leaf blower would be considered as being caused by a neutral object ( Law C.23.2.1) and Appendix C.1.1.2 would apply.


During pennant, or any event, when can a club change or rearrange their side? 


At a final, a club informed its opposition that they were changing three members of the side about to play. That is, replacing three players with three new players. Can this happen? 

DR 2.3  makes it clear that a team shall become constituted when the jack is rolled in the first end of the first game to be played by that team. The answer is yes. 

This would be a very unusual occurrence, but it is within the laws of the sport. In finals, the major concern would be the eligibility (Clause 4 and 12, Bowls Victoria, Metropolitan Pennant, Condition of Play) of the players concerned.  

For pennant, any changes would need to be recorded on BowlsLink, (Clause 4, Bowls Victoria, Metropolitan Pennant, Condition of Play, 2022/2023). Also note that Clause 34.1 CoP,  states that both home and away sides are responsible for entering full teams on BowlsLink prior to the commencement of a game. 

Replacement players can never apply to Pennant, only substitutes. 

Happy bowling and happy officiating as another season of pennant concludes. 

Well done to all those involved. 


John Roberts
Officiating and Laws Committee

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