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Your Questions

Thank you for submitting your questions to Ask Umpy.

Below are a selection of the most frequently asked questions and my replies.


Please note: Any answers provided are my opinion only and not necessarily the views of any governing body


Foot is not an Object

I have just returned from Spain where I played for 13 years and an old chestnut has just popped up now we are back in England. I asked my wife to foot the jack for me as it had been moved and was hidden from the mat. There was an objection by my opposing skip and I pointed out the relevant law all to no avail.  The argument then became one about objects on the green.  Would you please explain the relevant laws so I may show this to my opponent? 


Thank you for your question and I will be happy to help.

Firstly the definition of a neutral object is covered as follows from the Crystal Mark 2nd Edition:     Neutral object: a jack, bowl or other object not belonging to any player on the rink of play;


Clearly a persons foot is not neutral as it belongs to the player on the rink of play and this carries through the whole of the laws especially when dealing with displacements for example.


Just to clarify the issue of any object that may appear on the green the following law covers that:


52 Objects on the green

Under no circumstances, other than those described in laws 5, 15.5, 24, 29 and 38, should any object be placed on the bank, the green, in the ditch, on the jack, on a bowl or anywhere else to help a player


So now to the position of the player directing play i.e. your wife. This is all covered by the following:


36.1.2     Players at the head-end of the rink and who are not controlling play should stand:  behind the jack if they are members of the team which is in possession of the rink;  behind the jack and away from the head if they are members of the team which is not in possession of the rink;  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.
36.1.3     As soon as a bowl is delivered, a player who is controlling play from a position that is either level with or in front of the jack, should take their position as 
described in law 36.1.2


The part highlighted in bold is the law that is specifically relevant to your question.


So to summarise

It is perfectly acceptable for a player on the rink to indicate the position of the jack using their foot as long as they retire behind the jack after the bowl has been delivered.



Visiting the head in Singles

Just played a 4 bowl singles game. Both players delivered 3 bowls. My opponent had the mat and chose to visit the head.

I was told by the marker 'I could not visit the head with him and would have to wait until I had the mat'.

I have looked in the Crystal Mark rules...cant find anything (and no local rule)


The marker was wrong unfortunately
Unless the competition rules state otherwise there are absolutely no restrictions to players visiting the head and it makes no difference which player is in possession at the time. You can both visit the head at the same time.



Stickers on Bowls

Are you allowed the same coloured stickers as your opponents on your bowls?


Yes you can use the same colour stickers as your opponents although this would generally only be applicable to domestic games such as club leagues. In any major competition the requirement would be to have different stickers to enable the teams bowls to be identified. The key thing is to be able to identify your opponents bowls so you would use another method.If there were no stickers on any bowls then you would be in the same situation.


Bowls colliding on neighbouring

Hi Allan. Great website!

I was skipping a rink when one of my team's bowls was on a collision course with a bowl in the adjacent rink. I stopped the running bowl and sent it back to my team member to play again. Was I right to do that? The opposition were not too happy but if the bowl had carried on it's original course it would have re-entered our rink.


Technically you should not have stopped a bowl from your own team.

According to the law it should have been a member of the adjacent rink that stopped it. There is a subtle difference in the displacement laws.

Law 32G (Indoor) allows a player on your adjoining rink to stop one of your bowl from disturbing their head. This bowl can then be replayed. If they are not in a position to do so, and the bowls collide then the one at rest simply gets replaced and your bowl would be replayed.

Now if you stop a bowl from your own team, even though it was on a neighbouring rink, Law 32B(i) (a) states that the bowl would be declared dead. This is because you have displaced one of your own bowls.

In future, best to leave well alone, but you did the natural thing to prevent a collision in this instance. 

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