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Features: Inclement Weather

Published 18 October 2012, 20:21

With all the wet weather that we have encountered this summer it is most probable that you, like me, have been involved in a match that was stopped because of a water logged green. In my case we had only played 4 ends when the heavens opened and within a matter of 10 minutes my home green at Gorseinon was under water. The inevitable debate began between captains as to what action should be taken, and with some gentle suggestions the correct decisions were made, but has this been the case in all matches stopped because of bad weather?

Well, in case you have been or are involved in the decision process the following is what you should have done.

Law 50 Game Stoppages.

50.1 If a game is stopped because of darkness, weather conditions or any other valid reason by:
50.1.1 the Controlling Body;
50.1.2 the umpire after an appeal has been made by the players; or
50.1.3 agreement between the players when an umpire or representative of the Controlling Body is not present;
the game should be continued either on the same day or on a different day. The
scores will be as they were when the game was stopped.

50.2 If an end has started but all the required bowls have not been played, it should be
declared dead. (The end should be declared dead even if one or more players choose to remain on the green during the stoppage.)

50.3 If all the required bowls in an end have been played but the process of deciding the number of shots scored (as described in law 40) has not been completed, the number of shots scored should be decided before the game stops.

50.4 Substitutes in a game that is being continued after a stoppage.
50.4.1 If any one of the original players in a team is not available, one substitute will be allowed as described in law 51
50.4.2 Players, however, should not be transferred from one team to another.

In simple terms, the following should be done:

1. If the game is stopped all ends which have not been completed are DEAD.

2. The scores at the time of the stoppage should be recorded. Although not stated in the law, I would suggest that you collect the scorecards and both captains should sign the cards. This will ensure that when you finish the game there is no debate over the score. Make sure that all the players' names are also on the cards – this will ensure that a player is not accidentally moved from one rink to another.

3. The match should continue with the scores as they were when the game was stopped and played to a finish.

I think it is also worth explaining the law relating to SUBSTITUTES. One substitute per team is allowed. Remember that a side game consists of a set number of teams – normally either 4 or 6 teams make up a side. So, you would be allowed to make 1 substitute per team, a total of 4 in a four rink game or 6 in a six rink game.

Law 51.4 The substitute should play in any position other than skip, and the other
members of a team can rearrange their positions as necessary.

As stated above, a player CANNOT move from one four to another four.

Those are the Laws as stated in the World Bowls Laws of the Sport of Bowls. It is possible that some leagues may have a domestic ruling in place to cover matches that are stopped. PLEASE CHECK if in doubt.

It is not often that I am involved in many incidents when I am playing. However, a few weeks ago, during a league match we did have a player ‘playing out of turn’ and as this type of incident does not happen very often and so the players on the rink were uncertain what should be done.

Had I been fully concentrating at the time, the incident would not have happened. The opposing lead cast the jack and it was short. The jack was returned to my lead who cast the jack. I centred the jack and turned away to discuss something with my third, and the next thing I knew the opposing lead was shouting up to his skip “I should have played first.” What should happen in this instance is covered by Law 47.1 ‘Playing out of turn’ which states the following:

Law 47.1 Playing out of turn
47.1.1 If a player plays out of turn, the opposing skip can stop the bowl and return it to the player to play it in the proper order.

47.1.2 If the bowl has come to rest and has not disturbed the head, the opposing skip should choose whether to: leave the head as it is and have their team play two bowls one after the other to get back to the proper order of play; or return the bowl and get back to the proper order of play.

47.1.3 If the bowl has disturbed the head, the opposing skip should choose whether to; leave the disturbed head as it is and have their team play two bowls one after the other to get back to the proper order of play. replace the head in its former position, return the bowl and go back to the proper order of play; or declare the end dead

In this particular incident, as my lead had played out of turn and I had not been watching what was happening I informed my opposing skip of the choices available to him. As the bowl in question has not disturbed the head my opposing skip agreed to playing two, one after the other to get back to the proper order of play.

Readers’ Letters

Can you please tell me if the answer to a question when marking a singles game has changed. It used to be if a player asked a question for example “ am I holding?” the answer would be yes or no. I have been informed, if the answer is no you would let the player know exactly what the position is. For example, you are 2 down and then point out the relevant bowls in question. If this is the case I feel the marker would be in effect giving the players advice.

Wilf Laughton

Dave’s Reply…

Thank you Wilf for your e-mail. The short answer to your question is no, the law has not been changed. The full duties of the marker are contained in Law 55 and although much of the law does not apply to your question I think it is worth printing the full law as stated in the law book. I have shown the relevant parts of the law to your question in bold print and have explained at the end why markers now provide more information than the law states you should provide.

55 The marker’s duties
55.1 In the absence of an umpire, the marker should:
55.1.1 make sure that all aspects of play are carried out in line with the Laws of the Sport of Bowls.
55.1.2 make sure, before the game starts, that: all bowls have a clearly visible, valid World Bowls Stamp imprinted on them; the rink of play is the correct width in line with law 5.1 by measuring it; and the pegs or discs on the side banks in the direction of play are the correct distances in line with law 5.12 by measuring them.

55.2 The marker should:
55.2.1 centre the jack;
55.2.2 make sure that the jack is at least 23 metres from the mat line after it has been centred;
55.2.3 place a jack that comes to rest less than 2 metres from the front ditch as described in law 22.2;
55.2.4 stand to one side of the rink, behind the jack and away from the head;
55.2.5 answer any specific question about the state of the head which is asked by the player in possession of the rink;
55.2.6 when asked, tell or show the player in possession of the rink the position of the jack;
55.2.7 when asked, tell or show the player in possession of the rink which bowl or bowls the marker considers to be shot
55.2.8 when authorised by the Controlling Body, signal to players and spectators (using the appropriate number and colour of shot indicators or some other suitable method) which player’s bowl or bowls the marker considers to be shot;
55.2.9 mark all touchers with chalk and remove the chalk marks fromnon-touchers as soon as they come to rest;
55.2.10 stop any bowl that is from a neighbouring rink and could move a jack or bowl that is at rest;
55.2.11 if both players agree, remove all dead bowls from the rink of play
55.2.12 mark the position of a jack and any touchers which are in the ditch as described in laws 24.4 and 29.2
55.2.13 not move, or cause to be moved, either the jack or any bowls until the players have agreed the number of shots scored; and
55.2.14 measure any disputed shot or shots when asked to do so by either player. If the players are not satisfied with the markers decision.

The marker should ask the umpire to do the measuring. If theControlling Body has not appointed an umpire, the marker should choose a competent neutral person to act as the umpire. The umpire’s decision is final.

55.3 When each end has been completed, the marker should:
55.3.1 record the score on the score card;
55.3.2 tell the players the running totals of the scores: and
55.3.3 remove from the rink the mat used during the previous end, if
55.4 When the game has been completed, the marker should make sure that the score card:
55.4.1 contains the names and signatures of the players;
55.4.2 contains the time at which the game was completed; and
55.4.3 is dealt with in line with the Conditions of Play.

Going back to the question asked by Wilf, you must answer any specific question asked, you must tell or show the player the position of the jack when asked and tell or show the player which bowl or bowls you think are shot when asked.
The reason why many markers provide more than what is asked goes back to the early days of bowls on T.V. This could easily be a conversation between a marker and a player:

Player: Is the last bowl shot?
Marker: No
Player: Which bowl is shot then?
Marker: The front bowl
Player: How far short is it?
Marker: About 18 inches.

To save time it was agreed that the marker would provide more information than was requested by the player. For example, the following conversation could and did take place.

Player: Is the last bowl shot?
Marker: No, the front bowl is shot and it is 18 inches short of jack high.

Rightly or wrongly that process still exists at TV events and other major events so the more markers and players who watch those events the more people are going to follow suit.

Should the laws be changed to reflect this change in umpiring responsibilities? I think they should but that is a matter for the law makers.

Bowl Displacement