This volume of ask an umpire covers having your second at the head, foot positioning, and possession of the rink

Q: Is the second in Triples allowed to be at the head until they play their bowls? Or do they start and stay at the mat end until they have played their bowls? Would the team have the choice of either?

A: Unless the conditions of play for an event state otherwise, the second may stand at the head with the skip until it is time to deliver their first bowl. Each team has the choice to position their second at either end of the rink at the start of each end.


Q: A player walks up, puts one foot on the mat and then proceeds to roll his bowl in a continuous motion without stopping. Must you stand with both feet on the mat and then step and deliver the bowl with one foot on or above the mat?

A: Law 7 of the Laws of the Sport of Bowls deals with a player’s position on the mat. There are two parts to the process of delivery – “before” delivery and “the moment of” delivery of the jack or a bowl. Before delivery, a player must be standing on the mat with all or part of at least one foot on the mat. At the moment of delivery, the player must have all or part of one foot on or above the mat. To answer part of your question, a player does not need to have both feet on the mat before delivery – any part of one foot on the mat is sufficient. Similarly, any part of one foot must be on or above the mat at the moment of delivery.

The situation for a player in a wheelchair is similar. Before delivery, one wheel must be on the mat. At the moment of delivery, all or part of one wheel must be on or above the mat.


Q: When exactly does the possession of the rink change? I was playing a game and found that the opposing skip spent time examining their bowls after they had been delivered. Is this allowed?

A: When two players are standing at the head, the team that is delivering a bowl has possession of the rink. The player who is directing the head may stand where they choose, while the opposing player must stand behind the jack and away from the head. As soon as a delivered bowl comes to rest, possession transfers to the opposing team, after allowing time to chalk a toucher. The player who had possession must immediately step back and away from the head, and cannot linger in the head to see who has the shot. They must wait until they regain possession of the rink. This helps to speed up the game and avoids distracting the other team.

From past editions of Extra Ends, as well as questions bowlers had for umpires that have never been published. All questions were answered by the National Officiating Committee