There has been considerable recent discussion on whether a non-toucher that comes to rest leaning on a toucher and/or jack that are in the ditch is a dead bowl.
This photo caused considerable debate on Facebook (Lawn Bowlers Australia Group), with many people incorrectly stating that the orange bowl was a dead bowl, citing the report of World Bowls deletion of Law 17.2.5 as the reason that this bowl is dead. In this article we look at the Laws of the Sport to explain whether the bowls is in fact a live or dead bowl.
When deciding whether such a bowl should be declared as “live” or “dead” the following Laws of the Sport of Bowls come into consideration.
C.27 Rink and its boundaries
C.27.1 Rink: the section of the green on which a game is played.
C.27.2 Rink of play: the section of the green and the corresponding sections of
the end ditches on which a game is played.
C.27.3 Side boundaries of the rink of play: the imaginary straight lines connecting the centres of the boundary pegs on opposite banks that show the limits of the rink of play.
C.27.4 End boundaries of the rink of play: the faces of the banks which are within the side boundaries of the rink of play.
16.1 The position of a toucher in the ditch will be validly altered if the toucher is moved by:
16.1.1 a jack in play;
16.1.2 another toucher in play; or
16.1.3 a non-toucher while it is partly on the rink and partly overhanging the ditch, as long as part of the non-toucher is still on the rink when it comes to rest after it has moved the toucher.
17.1 A bowl is a dead bowl if:
17.1.1 it is not a toucher and comes to rest in the ditch;
17.1.2 it is not a toucher and rebounds onto the rink after contact with the face of the bank or with the jack or a toucher in the ditch;
17.1.3 after completing its original course or after being moved
17.2 A bowl is not a dead bowl if:
17.2.2 in its original course, it comes to rest within the boundaries of the rink even though it may have passed outside a side boundary of the rink during its course;
The first thing to note is the definition of Rink (Law C27.1) and Rink of Play (Law C27.2). The Laws here delineate that the rink is the section of green on which a game is played and extend that area for the Rink of Play to include the section of the end ditches.
Taking these definitions into account when considering Law 17.2.2, the bowl that has come to rest partly on the green and overhanging the ditch is within the rink. This is consistent with Law 17.1.6 under which a bowl must come to rest completely outside the side boundaries of the rink to be to be out of bounds.
To determine whether the bowl has satisfied the requirements of Law 17.1.1, it must be determined whether the bowl, is considered to be “in” the ditch. There is no argument about a non-toucher that passes beyond the surface of the green and falls onto the holding surface (Law 47.3) being a dead bowl, it is clearly in the ditch. Similarly, there is no argument about a bowl that has come to rest completely short of the edge of the playing surface, it is clearly not in the ditch and is a live bowl.
The point of discussion is a definition of when does a bowl transition to being “in the ditch”. It is reasonable to define that the bowl is either in the ditch or not. Accepting this, the logical transition point is that a bowl can be either “on the rink” or “in the ditch”. Using the above correlation with Law 17.2.2, the bowl would then transition from being on the rink to in the ditch if it comes to rest with the bowl completely outside the boundary of the playing surface (that is completely outside the boundary of the rink, as per Law C27.1).
Therefore the non-toucher that comes to rest partly on the green and leaning against the jack and or toucher(s) that are in the ditch remains a live bowl.
This position is also supported by Law 16.1.3, whereby the position of a toucher in the ditch will be validly altered if the toucher is moved by a non-toucher while it is partly on the rink and partly overhanging the ditch, as long as part of the non-toucher is still on the rink when it comes to rest after it has moved the toucher. It is to be noted that Law 16.1 treats the movement of a toucher in the ditch by a ‘non-toucher entering the ditch’ as a bowls displacement by a dead bowl (covered by Law 37.7).
Why the confusion occurred?
World Bowls has on their website a decision of the Laws Committee to delete Law 17.2.5 along with a decision that a bowl resting on live bowls and a jack in the ditch was a dead bowl.
The confusion occurred because the World Bowls decision referred to a request from an MNA (Member National Authority) about whether a non-toucher resting on live bowls or a jack in the ditch was dead or alive and that the Laws Committee agreed with that MNA’s National Officiating Committee that the bowl was dead.
Law 17.2.5, now deleted, stated“ A bowl is not a dead bowl if it comes to rest on top of the jack or any bowls that are at rest within the boundaries of the rink”.
What is not stated in the explanation is that the bowl in question referred to the WB Laws Committee had passed beyond the confines of the rink (ie had passed completely outside the playing surface) but was resting on live bowls and/or the jack in the ditch. The NOC had argued that 17.2.5 was not applicable as the touchers were not at rest within the rink and therefore 17.2.5 did not apply in the case presented.
In the case of the picture in discussion, the touchers and jack are not at rest on the rink (they are in fact within the rink of play) as per the above discussion on the definitions contained in Law C27.
The Laws Committee decision (available on the World Bowls website) further supports that the orange bowl is live with the statement:
“The Committee has also considered law 17.2.2, which also refers to a bowl coming to rest “within the boundaries of the rink” as not being a dead bowl. Further, law 16.1.3 allows for a non-toucher to come to rest in contact with live bowls and the jack in the ditch, as long a part of that non-toucher remains in contact with the rink.”
Therefore to put the discussion to rest:
The orange bowl in the picture at the top of this article is LIVE.
This article was prepared by Andrew Lynn, Sports Coordinator for Bowls NSW.
Andrew has been a National umpire for 35 years, is currently accredited as an ITO and is a member of the National Officiating Advisory Group.
Image Sourced from Facebook