Ask an Umpire: Touchers, Dead Bowls, and Chalking

This volume of ask an umpire covers Touchers, deadbowls and chalk on the bowls

Touchers and Dead Bowls

Q: There is a toucher in the ditch. The ditch is shallow and the toucher is close to the plinth. A delivered bowl (not a toucher) draws to the edge of the green on the plinth.
Should the delivered bowl (which is not a toucher) be declared live or dead in the following 2 situations:
1) it contacts the toucher, but does not enter the ditch and finishes on the green about 8 inches away.
2) it stops on the green, at the edge of the ditch, leaning against the toucher in the ditch. 

A: In both situations, the delivered bowl is NOT a dead bowl, as it has come to rest on the green, without entering the ditch. It is considered to be a live bowl.

Law 16.1.3 states that the position of a toucher in the ditch can be validly altered if it 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 remains on the rink when it comes to rest. The fact that it is “validly” altered means that it has been moved by a live bowl, and the delivered bowl will remain live, so long as it comes to rest on the rink, regardless of whether it stops on top of the toucher in the ditch, or somewhere else within the boundaries of the rink.

Law 17.2.2 states that a bowl in its original course is not a dead bowl if it comes to rest within the boundaries of the rink.

In situation 1, the delivered bowl contacting the toucher in the ditch, and then remaining on the green, should not be considered any differently that a delivered bowl contacting a stationary bowl on the green, located near the edge of the ditch. Both delivered bowls are live, so long as they come to rest on the green, within the boundaries of the rink.

Q: A few members of my club had a discussion about a particular situation concerning whether a bowl is, or is not, a dead bowl. There was one situation that we were not able definitively to agree upon based on reading the text of the laws. In our imaginations it is the situation of a miracle non-toucher that comes to rest precariously hanging over the edge of the ditch, but is prevented from falling into the ditch by the jack or a toucher in the ditch. Taken out of our imaginations and translated as best I can into the terminology used in the Laws: “a non-toucher which remains in contact with the green and also comes to rest on top of the jack in the ditch or a toucher in the ditch.” There was confusion because on a superficial reading one might believe that either 17.1.2 or 17.2.5 is the relevant part of the Laws to use in this case.

A: The National Officiating Committee was asked to respond to a similar question in 2017. We consulted with the World Bowls Laws Committee before arriving at the following conclusion. In the situation that you have described, the delivered bowl is NOT a dead bowl, as it has come to rest on the green, without entering the ditch. It is therefore considered to be a live bowl.

The relevant rules are as follows:
Law 16.1.3 states that the position of a toucher in the ditch can be validly altered if it 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 remains on the rink when it comes to rest. The fact that it is “validly” altered means that it has been moved by a live bowl, and the non-toucher will remain live, so long as it comes to rest on the rink, regardless of whether it stops on top of the toucher in the ditch, or somewhere else within the boundaries of the rink.
Law 17.2.2 states that a bowl in its original course is not a dead bowl if it comes to rest within the boundaries of the rink. The laws that you have suggested are only relevant in the following circumstances:

Law 17.1.2 – this is relevant only if the non-toucher has clearly left the surface of the green prior to rebounding off the face of the bank, or a toucher or the jack in the ditch, and then returned to the green.

Law 17.2.5 – this is not relevant as it refers to resting on top of any bowls or the jack when they are on the green.

Q: Who is responsible for removing the chalk from a bowl once an end has finished? One player advised me that it is the job of the Vice to remove / wipe the chalk off that bowl even if it wasn’t their bowl. It was my understanding that each player is responsible for removing the chalk from their own bowls. For example, if I did not wipe the chalk from my own bowl before delivering it, my bowl could be disqualified.

A: When an end is completed, each individual bowler should remove any chalk from their bowl before they deliver it in the next end. This is not a rule – it is just common sense. However, if a bowler delivers a bowl that has chalk on it, and it does not become a toucher, a member of the opposing team – or the marker – must remove that mark as soon as the bowl comes to rest. This is specified in Law 15 Marking a toucher. However, if the action of removing the chalk mark is likely to move the bowl or alter the head, the chalked bowl can be nominated or declared as a non-toucher, and the chalk mark could be removed later in the end if it is safe to do so. There is nothing stated in the laws that would disqualify a bowl that was wrongly marked with chalk.

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

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