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Your Chance to Lay Down the Law

JULY 2013 edition

It was back in 2010 that World Bowls revised the Laws of the Sport of Bowls to create the Crystal Mark Second Edition. This is for the flat, outdoor code of the game. Doesnโ€™t time fly when you are having fun?

At the time, the Board of World Bowls agreed that there would not be another full review until at least 2020. So it came as a bit of a surprise that an announcement was made recently that the world governing body for our sport is having another look at suggestions for amendments. Any changes will be ratified at the Commonwealth Games next July and will be presented as an addendum to the existing version.

So, the call is out for all you budding law makers to have your say. You have until early July to get your missives to your national governing body by writing to your county association in time for submission to the good and the great at World Bowls HQ โ€“ so get thinking!


In the three years since the second edition has been in force there has been much debate in this magazine, on website blogs and forums, on umpire training courses and over pints at the club bar about the interpretations of various tricky laws. Some say they simply donโ€™t make any sense; they are not written in English, despite the little Crystal Mark logo from the Plain English Campaign.

But is there really anything wrong with them? In my view, they are pretty clear for those that are minded enough to apply them practically. I admit there are a few little anomalies that could do with some clarification. There are some penalties that could be added to clarify what happens when things go wrong or players misbehave.


There is of course one law that has bugged many people since its introduction and that is the debate about keeping the scorecard. To me, it makes a lot a sense for the skip to do it โ€“ what else have they to do? After all, it was because of the skipsโ€™ insistence to breach the original law in triples that it was changed in the first place. Perhaps making it a mandatory duty which could not be delegated was a little too strong; what are your thoughts? Personally, I would like to see the laws on keeping scorecards a lot more comprehensive. It appears to me that scant regard is paid to the all important record of the game. In my role I see far too many incorrect scorecards which can often lead to dispute. For those of you that play golf, maybe you can appreciate how lax the laws are in bowls?


Much debate continues on foot-faulting and the apparent apathy amongst umpires to deal with such a heinous crime. I have to ask, how hard is it to put all of your foot on a mat that is two feet long by little over one foot wide? Is it due to lack of coaching, lack of understanding of the law or trying to gain that little advantage on delivery line? Whatever it is we have to deal with it and many debaters would prefer to see the warning aspect of these penalties removed and go straight for the red card.


Food for thought! Get your ideas on paper, make them sensible with strong arguments for the proposal and submit them to your county association before the deadline.

FACT: For the outdoor code, at least one whole foot MUST be placed on the mat during the stance, whereas indoors it is only PART of the foot that needs to be on the mat during the stance.