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Published 21 November 2012, 16:32

keeping you on the right side of the law...

From the number of e-mails that I have received in recent weeks it appears that many bowlers are not sure what action to take if a player has to leave the green during the course of play due to illness. Such incidents are covered in Section 13 ‘Influences Affecting Play’ in the World Indoor Bowls Council’s Laws of the Sport of Indoor Bowls (Green Book), and states the following.

Law 55 Leaving The Green
(i). If, during the course of a Side, Fours, Triples or Pairs game a player has to leave the green owing to illness or other reasonable cause, his place shall
be filled by a substitute, if in the opinion of both skips, or failing agreement by them, then in the opinion of the Controlling Body, such substitution is necessary. Should a substitute not be available, in Fours, Triples and Pairs the game will be forfeited to their opponents. In a side game the provision of Law 52B shall apply from the end where then substitution became necessary.

Law 52B In a Side game states the following:
If within a period of 30 minutes from the time fixed for the game, a single player is absent from one or more teams in a side game, whether in a friendly club game or a game for a trophy, prize or other award, the game shall proceed but,
(i). in the defaulting team, the number of bowls shall be made up by the lead and second players playing three bowls each, and
(ii). one fourth of the total shots scored by each team comprising three players shall be deducted from their score at the conclusion of the game.
Fractions shall be taken into account.

(ii). Should the player affected be a skip, his duties and position in a Fours
game shall be assumed by the third, and the substitute shall play either as lead, second or third.

(iii). In the case of Triples the substitute shall play as lead or second, but not as skip.

(iv). In the case of Pairs the substitute shall play as lead only.

(v). Such substitute shall be a member of the club to which the team belongs.

(vi). In domestic play Member National Bowling Authorities may decide the position of any substitute.

(vii). If, during the course of a Singles game, a player has to leave the green
owing to illness or reasonable cause, and they cannot return within 10
minutes, the defaulting player will forfeit the game to their opponent.

(viii). No player shall be allowed to delay the play by leaving the rink or team, unless with the consent of his opponent, and then only for a period not exceeding 10 minutes.

(ix). Contravention of this Law will result in the match or game being forfeited to the opponent.

NOTE: If you have to leave the green during the course of play, even if you just answer the call of nature, you should:
1. Ask your opposing Skip or opponent in Singles and:
2. You should not leave the green for longer than 10 minutes.

For those readers who play under the World Bowls Limited Laws of the Sport of Bowls, Crystal Mark Second Edition (pink book), please look at Page 59 Law 51, ‘Leaving the green during the course of play.’

Readers’ Letters…
Chalking Bowls…

I received the following letter from former Ireland international Margaret Johnston. I have left out the names of the players involved in the match.

I have a query that a lot of people would love to have an answer to.

During the final of the Irish Triples Championship between Team A and Team B, an episode happened during the 17th end with 2 ends to play, Team A trailed by 4 shots.
On the 17th end, Team A’s second player ditched the jack, skip A marked the position of the jack while the skip of Team B marked the position of the toucher in the ditch.
After all the bowls were played (approx 9), Team A was holding 3 shots.

Because the toucher was not chalked Team B refused to give the 3 shots stating that the toucher had not been marked which left Team A 2 shots down with 1 end to play instead of 1 shot down. Team A only scored 1 shot on the 18th end. Needless to say Team A were not happy bunnies. Technically Team A was at fault for not marking the toucher.
Why was the toucher in the ditch not queried until all the bowls were played. Skip A said that the toucher had been nominated.
What would be the ruling in this situation? I don’t know if any of our officials were asked but they would not have known and they would have ruled in Team B’s favour.
It would be interesting to know the answer.
Margaret Johnston

Dave’s Reply…

Because of the date of the letter I have assumed that this incident occurred during the outdoor season so I have used the World Bowls Laws of the Sport (pink book) to answer this question.

Firstly, let me confirm what is in fact a ‘toucher.’ While I am not going to go through all of Law 24 ‘Touchers,’ I will go through the first part which covers this incident.

Law24.1 A bowl in its original course which touches the jack, even though
it comes to rest in the ditch within the boundaries of the rink of play is a live bowl and called a toucher. If a bowl in its original course does not touch the jack, it is called a non-toucher.

Now that we have confirmed what a toucher is we can look at the law that covers the marking of a toucher:

Law 25 Marking a toucher.

25.1 A toucher should be marked with chalk by a member of the team that delivered the bowl or the marker as soon as it comes to rest.

NOTE: This is quite clear. It is the responsibility of the team that delivered the bowl to mark the toucher, so TEAM A are at fault for not marking the
toucher when it came to rest.

25.2 If, in the opinion of either skip or opponent or the marker, a toucher comes to rest in a position in which marking it would be likely to move the bowl or alter the head, the bowl should not be marked but nominated as a toucher instead.

NOTE: There is nothing in the letter which suggests that the bowl was in a position which if marked would alter the head, so nomination of the bowl as a toucher should not come into the picture; the bowl should have been marked with chalk.

25.3 If, before the next delivered bowl comes to rest or, in the case of the last bowl of an end, before a period of 30 seconds that applies under law 40.1, a bowl is neither marked nor nominated, it is no longer a toucher.

NOTE: Again, this is very clear. If the bowl is not marked before the next bowl comes to rest, the bowl is not a toucher. It is clear from the letter that Team A failed to mark the bowl, so it was not a toucher.

The remaining part of Law 25 is not relevant to the question asked.

So, if we look at what should have happened and what did happen it is clear in the eyes of the law that Team A were at fault for not marking the toucher and Team B were correct in not allowing the bowl to be counted. However, there is more to our sport than just the law book, it is called SPORTSMANSHIP.

Team B were aware that the bowl was a toucher, their skip even marked the position of the toucher in the ditch in accordance with Law 24.4 .

The letter does not mention if an umpire was present or not. If an umpire was present he or she could have referred to Law 27 ‘Dead Bowl’ which states the following:

Law 27 Dead Bowl

Law 27.3 The skips or opponents in Singles should decide whether a bowl is dead or not as soon as they realise it is necessary. (If the players do not realise that a decision is necessary as soon as the bowl comes to rest, the decision can still be made even if a number of bowls have been played after the bowl in question came to rest). If they cannot reach agreement they should ask the umpire to make a decision.

Law 27.4 A dead bowl should be removed from the rink of play as soon as it has
been declared dead.

If I had been the umpire I would have asked the players the following questions.

1. Did you discuss the status of the bowl when it came to rest?
2. Why is the position of the bowl marked and who marked the position of the
3. If the bowl was dead why was it not removed from the rink of play?

By asking such questions you may embarrass the skip to admit that they were aware that the bowl was a toucher. My decision would be dependant on the answers received.


Dead End or not?

While playing a game the skip fired and hit two woods that went out of our rink into the next rink followed by the jack which hit the two woods in the next rink and rebounded back onto our rink.
Was the end dead or was the jack still live? I hope you can help as I have been told yes and no.

John Cornwell
Via e-mail.

Thank you John was your question. From the information you have supplied, if the bowls that the jack rebounded off were outside the confines of the rink then the jack is dead and the end should also be declared dead.
I am not sure if the match was played outdoor or indoor; in any case the laws are very similar. The following is the World Indoor Bowls Council’s version:

Law 35 Dead Jack
Should the jack be driven by a bowl in play so that:
(i). it passes beyond the face of the bank.
(ii). it passes wholly beyond the boundary of the rink i.e. over the bank or
(iii). it comes to rest in any opening or inequality of any kind in the bank, or
(iv). It rebounds to a distance of less than 20 metres in a direct line from the
centre of the mat line, the jack shall be declared dead.

In this case from the information supplied, the jack passes wholly beyond the boundary of the rink before it rebounded back onto the rink of play.

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