COVID-19 Incident leaves bowlers in a quandry


In the matches at Milnsbridge this week there was a COVID-19 related incident which taxed the knowledge of the Laws of the Game for those present. The problem came about due to a pairing playing with individual mats and jacks in line with the action being taken by many, and advised by the League, to reduce the risk of infection.


The lead bowler set a mark with the jack and followed with his first wood. His opponent then followed but unfortunately bowled from the wrong mat sat on the green. There was some confusion as to what should happen next. Should the second bowler get his wood returned or is it forfeited. The decision on the green was that it should be forfeited.


So I have subsequently referred it to County Referee, Allan Dobson, who advises accordingly .....


I’m thinking law 5 covers this situation. I’m assuming that the leader played the jack and his/her wood from a correctly placed mat, then the follower played from their own mat by mistake.

If I’ve got that right then 5.3 is relevant. The follower does not bowl from THE footer, he/she bowls from a mat which happens to be on the green. Law 5.5 then becomes relevant.

Below are Laws 5.3 to 5.5 which indicate that the wrongly bowled wood should have been returned and bowled again but if they do the same thing again later then that wood should then be forfeited.


Laws of the Game


5.3          A player's foot must be placed on the footer when delivering either the jack or a bowl.  A player placing the right foot on the footer must play the jack and bowls with the right hand, and a player placing the left foot on the footer must play jack and bowls with the left hand. Nothing in this Law shall apply to any player who suffers a permanent disability of a limb.

5.4          A player must bowl with the same hand throughout the game.  Where disability or infirmity prevent a player from delivering jacks or bowls directly from hand than a mechanical aid, of a type approved by the Association, may be used to provide assistance.

5.5          Any bowl not played in accordance with Laws 5.3 and 5.4 may be stopped by the Referee and returned to be played again.  If a player offends again during the course of the game, the bowl wrongly played shall be forfeited.


A complete copy of the Laws of the Game is on our website and can be found here

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