Wellington Bowling Club
WB Laws Decisions
Wellington Bowling Club
The WB Laws Committee (LC) occasionally receives from WB Member National Authorities (MNAs) enquiries asking for decisions on various aspects of the Laws of the Sport of Bowls – such as clarification on the intent of, and guidance on the interpretation of, a specific law. Where these enquiries are considered to be of general interest, the enquiry and accompanying LC decision has been included in this section of the WB website.
The current edition of the Laws of the Sport of Bowls is the Crystal Mark Third Edition which was approved by MNAs on 2nd August 2014. The LC is of the opinion that requests for decisions on laws which pre-date the Third Edition should continue to be shown on the website if the wording of the law under question has not changed in the current edition. The law numbers on the original requests, however, have been revised to reflect those in the Third Edition.
September 2018 – Bowls Scotland
On a recent occasion the bowl came to rest in the ditch. The umpire was called, one side said it was a toucher the other said it was not, the umpire did not see the bowl being played. When the umpire checked the bowl, he found that it was not chalked and removed it from the ditch. The side who played the bowl and thought it was a toucher said they did not get the opportunity to chalk the bowl because of the dispute.
What action should be taken if there is a dispute on whether a bowl touched the jack or not?
Laws of the Sport
The skips must decide whether a bowl is dead or not (the first sentence of law 17.3 refers). If they cannot reach agreement they must ask the umpire to make a decision (last sentence of law 17.3 refers). Any decision made by the umpire must be in line with the Laws of the Sport (law 43.2.5 refers).
However, if a situation arises which is not covered by the Laws of the Sport, players and umpires must use their common sense and a spirit of fair play to decide the appropriate course of action (the Introduction section of the Foreword to the Laws of the Sport refers).
The Laws Committee’s approach to dealing with the dispute referred to in the BS query is as follows.
The umpire should
- Ask both teams individually to describe the path of the bowl in question from its delivery to coming to rest in the ditch (starting with the team which was in possession of the rink when the bowl was delivered).
- Identify those aspects of the descriptions on which the skips agree and confirm these with them.
- Identify those aspects of the descriptions on which the skips disagree and confirm these with them,
- Gather evidence to support both skips’ descriptions of the aspects on which there is disagreement – such as evidence of movement of the jack, how close both teams were to the jack when the bowl was in its course and so on. (Note that the views of spectators should not be taken into account – spectators are unlikely to offer an unbiased opinion and, in any case, law 45.3 prevents them from advising the players.)
- Check whether, in the light of the information gathered in points 1- 4, the skips are now able to reach agreement.
- Explain what their decision will be – based on the evidence available and the Laws of the Sport.
- If the outcome of the umpire’s approach is that there is now agreement between the skips, the umpire should declare the bowl to be either dead or live in line with that agreement.
- If the outcome of the umpire’s approach is that there is still no agreement between the skips, the umpire should decide as follows:
a. If the bowl has neither been marked nor nominated as a toucher and further bowls have been played after it came to rest, the umpire should declare the bowl dead (law 15.3 refers).
b. If the bowl has neither been marked nor nominated as a toucher and it was the last bowl of the end, the umpire should declare the bowl dead (law 15.3 refers).
c. If, in the umpire’s opinion, there is sufficient evidence to support either skip’s description, the umpire should declare the bowl to be either dead or live in line with that evidence.
d. If there is insufficient evidence to support either skip’s description, the umpire should declare the end dead.
- The team that delivers a bowl is responsible for marking or nominating that bowl as a toucher in line with law 15. The opposing team should not deny them the opportunity to mark or nominate it. (They can, however, dispute whether or not it was a toucher immediately after it has been marked or nominated.)
- Decision 2 d): Declaring the end dead when all other options have been exhausted is considered to be the common sense approach to arriving at a final solution to this particular situation. In arriving at this decision, the Laws Committee recognises that one or other of the teams may feel aggrieved as a result. One party feeling aggrieved, however, is an inevitable consequence of having to decide the outcome of any ‘I said’ / ‘You said’ situation.
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Corams Lane, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 8LL
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