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Bowls In Focus : November 2011
10 Bowls In Focus Since the introduction of 21 ends into Saturday Metropolitan Pennant for this season, along with the option of “ taking a break” or playing “straight through”, as a pennant player myself, I have experienced the impact of this decision on clubs in a variety of ways. Often, the bowlers or officials at a host club will argue that the introduction of 21 ends is causing clubs to lose income via such things as a home raffle, and that social interaction is gone from the game. The notion of cause and effect - of “this action” caused “that outcome” - is an interesting one. Following the decision to reduce the number of ends from 25 to 21 for season 2011-12 in the Saturday Metropolitan Pennant Competition (for instance), the Procedures document in part states: Scheduled Break:- In relation to provision of a scheduled break for Premier Division matches and all other Divisions. Where matches are scheduled at the normal 1.00 pm Saturday star t: • A 15 minute break will be taken at 2:45pm, the bell is to be rung at 2:40pm and no new ends are to be commenced after this time including ends that are made dead. Play is to resume at 3:00pm with all players expected to be back at their rink to re-commence play at that time. The purpose of this 5 minutes “period of grace” is to allow those who have just commenced an end to complete their end and still have a 15 minute break. • By prior mutual arrangement, the scheduled break may be waived. If side managers are not able to agree, scheduled break will be taken at stated time above. The Procedures document also states: “Games will again commence no later than 1.00pm. It is permissible however to commence games prior to 1.00pm if all players are present.” As a consequence of the guideline of ringing the bell at 2.40 and being back on the green ready to play at 3.00 pm, I have experienced at least two approaches to using the time allocated for the break: Response 1: We will ring the bell at 2.40 pm and make available to bowlers tea and coffee via a “help- yourself ” area at the kitchen counter area. Response 2: We will lay out the tables as we have always done, including providing biscuits, tea and coffee and hot water at each table (numbered by rink number/8 chairs per table). We will have raffle tickets available on each table. When all are seated and relaxed the raffle will be drawn. Shortly after 2.55 pm all will return to play. The clubs operating as described under Response 2 no longer prepare an “afternoon tea” as such, but bowlers are rostered each home game to set up the room by 11.30, while some volunteers prior to 2.40 pm assist in placing hot water and hot tea on each table (and in tidying up afterwards). Because the expense of afternoon tea is reduced in comparison to last year and the raffle is still conducted, these clubs are financially better off than last season. And that is before a greater number of bowlers than in previous seasons stay behind and purchase food and drinks after the matches. The planning and preparation that goes in to having everything ready for when the bell is rung is not dramatically different to the work done in previous years for afternoon teas – and the break is managed extremely well to ensure that bowlers have a good experience during that 15-20 minutes. Response 1 adopts a very casual approach to the break. As a consequence, 64 or more bowlers may well jostle around the kitchen counter to gain access to the hot water, cups/tea /coffee/sugar and milk in what is, in my experience, an untidy way to “have a break”. It seems to have far less to do with being 21 ends as such, and much more to do with not planning to maximize the time available. If a raffle is important, it can be conducted. I am no different to most bowlers in that I always have my $2 for the raffle wherever I play. “Straight through” and taking a break The other discussion point I’d like to raise is in relation to agreeing to play “straight through” while still wanting to have a “short break” at about the half-way mark of play. Not the full 15-20 minute break, but a very brief (perhaps 3-5 minutes) after 42 ends. Can Team Managers agree to do so? Can they agree to have more than one break? Common sense says “of course they can”. And so do we as the Controlling Body. Provided that agreement between both sides, via their Team Managers prior to commencement of the match, is made on the time at which a break will be taken (e.g . after 42 ends) and the length of the break (e.g 5 minutes) such a break is totally consistent with the conduct of a team game and also looking after the welfare of our team members. Over-riding everything, is our need to display a genuine duty of care. That is, prior to commencing play, when agreeing that sides will play “straight through”, team managers might agree that this means “no breaks in play”. Or they might agree to have a short break after a designated number of ends (the time agreed to prior to play – after 42 ends for 5 minutes), or a number of short breaks, if desired or required. For instance, on a hot day, Team Managers might agree to a five minute break after each 21 ends to ensure that players were hydrated properly and to enable skips to get out of the heat, if briefly. If agreed to prior to the match by both sides, and it is in the interests of player welfare, why not? However, to those few who would consider calling a break during the match because they are well behind on the scoreboard, such gamesmanship is totally inappropriate and not in the spirit of the game. It is radically different to agreements struck prior to play. The same principle of agreeing (prior to commencement of play) to certain breaks applies when we are aware of bowlers who need to attend to some dietary or medical necessity, requiring a short break. Perhaps the 2.40 – 3 .00 pm break when agreed to is adequate. But in any case, common sense and a concern for each other’s welfare would argue that any such necessary “break ” should be communicated to Team Managers and then to the bowlers on that rink prior to play commencing, and that such short breaks (if necessary for that person’s health and welfare) can then be taken under the agreement struck prior to play. Planning for the breaks in play is absolutely essential – in my opinion. Planning a break? Leading The Way Peter Hanlon Lawn Order