Footfaults and possession

PUBLISHED: 14:30 29 June 2010 | UPDATED: 15:37 29 June 2010

Week 5 of Tony Broughton's series

Before you deliver a bowl you should stand with one foot fully on the mat. No toes hanging over the front or side edges, no heels over the back edge.

Then, at the moment you release the bowl, one foot or part of it should still be on or over the mat. If you don’t do this you have ‘foot faulted’ and the Umpire should warn you.

Players not in the act of bowling should be one metre behind the back edge of the mat. I bet you didn’t know that. So, it’s not bad etiquette for a player to be stood along side you or moving about as you play, they are breaking the Laws.

I think the ‘mat at two metres’ Law is silly because, with the mat at that distance, players only have 400mm to stand in. That’s not enough, so they had better stand on the bank and that’s not safe. It would be better if that distance was three metres.

Players at the Head should be behind the Jack and well away from the head. They should not distract the player on the Mat. Again, if they break this Law, the umpire should warn them.

As soon as the bowl played comes to rest and, if it has touched the Jack, it is marked, then your team’s turn has finished. (Note: one should mark a toucher immediately, don’t concern yourself about another player getting onto the mat, they should not be there until you mark the bowl.) The positions of players listed is compulsory so, when a bowl comes to rest, if any player is in any other than these, they have broken the ‘Possession of the Rink’ Law and should be subject to a warning and then a penalty.

You should never step off the rink to compensate for being out of position. This could be the most serious offence you can commit in Bowls. Look at Laws 36, 51.1 and 51.8, try to work it out. Remember compulsory.

If the person controlling the game warns a player regarding any of these infringements, then every time they re-offend they or their team should have a penalty against them - see my week one column - I hope you kept it!

Told you it would be fun.

Possession of the Rink is the Law that carries the penalty clause and is currently Law 35.

Next week: Touchers, live and dead bowls.

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