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Bowls In Focus : January 2010
28 Bowls In Focus Understanding The Laws Possession Of The Rink This article is not meant to have players stirring up the opposition, or have the umpire working overtime to instil peace and harmony during a pennant game. The question has been asked of me to explain the law, its interpretation and the implications that result from the failure of a player who continually breaks this law. During the course of a game of bowls there are few laws broken more consistently than that of 'pos- session of the rink'. The fact is that most bowlers who aren't accredited umpires would not be aware of the existence of this law, which is pertain- ing to the etiquette of players rather than one of the laws which regulate the actual playing of the game. Law 35.1: Possession of the rink will belong to the player whose bowl is being played. Law 35.2: As soon as each bowl comes to rest, possession of the rink transfers to the opposing player or team, after allowing time for marking a toucher as soon as it comes to rest. The following law is also relevant to the meaning of the wording 'posses- sion of the rink'. Law 36.1: Players at the mat-end of the rink who are not delivering a bowl should stand at least one metre behind the mat. Law 36.2: Players at the head-end of the rink who are not controlling play should stand: • Behind the jack and away from the head; • On the surrounds of the green if the jack is in the ditch; or • Well clear of the head if it is not possible to stand on the surrounds. You will have observed that these laws are quite often forgotten during the intense moments of a pennant game. The down side to this is the penalty that can be handed out to a player who continually offends. Law 35.3: If the umpire, either by their own observation or on appeal by one of the skips or opponents in singles, decides that the players in possession of the rink are being interfered with, annoyed or distracted in any way by their opponents, the umpire should on the first occasion, warn the offending player in the presence of his skip and advise the manager or the coach when they are present that a warning has been given. Law 35.4: On each occasion after this the umpire should have the last bowl played by the offending player or team declared dead. If that bowl has disturbed the head, the opponent should choose whether to: • Replace the head; • Leave the head as altered; or • Declare the end dead. So think about your last game of pennant, and how many times your skip or third stepped into the head when possession belonged to your opponents? And did your skip stand in front of the head considering his options while his opponent stood on the mat waiting to bowl? Or after your bowl had come to rest you asked the skip, "Did I get shot?" As mentioned earlier, this article is not intended to inspire a surge of gamesmanship, rather a reminder that there are laws that cover the break down in the etiquette of the sport. There are those who say the sport is overburdened with Laws and Rules, but just remember that the laws relating to possession are only those of common courtesy and should help to make for a great day of bowls. Now the points to be considered before a player or his team decide to ask the umpire to act is in the wording of Law 35.3, 'are the players being interfered with, annoyed or dis- tracted', if so, 'is their behaviour any worse than players from within their own team, or side' for that matter, in other words take care before you call the umpire. It is interesting to note that advice given to English umpires in their train- ing manual is: There are only three words that apply in this law: 'AN- NOYED’, ‘DISTRACTED’ or ‘INTER- FERED’. Stay away unless you have specifically been asked to deal with a complaint, then handle it politely and professionally, without making a scene and use ‘COMMONSENSE’. Expressions of Interest are being sought for a Green Keeper for the Hoppers Bowls Club, 180 -- 200 Pannam Drive, Hoppers Crossing, VIC 3029. Currently the club has one Bent grass green requiring total replacement and one DALES Pro-green (needle punched) two year old synthetic green. Further information can be obtained by contacting Secretary Hoppers Bowls Club on 0397491630 or Email Hoppersbowls@hoppersclub.com.au.