New Laws Introduced Nationwide

New Laws Introduced Nationwide

March 31, 2023


For the first time since 2015, a comprehensive review of the Laws of the Sport have been carried out, with some subtle changes set to be introduced in April.

In conjunction with the World Bowls Laws Committee, Bowls New Zealand and other Member National Authorities (MNAs) have been busy looking at the rules, and since meeting in August 2022, World Bowls have given their seal of approval.

That means, the Crystal Mark Fourth Edition is now circulating and can be viewed by clicking here along with a quick overview of the changes.

In summary, the Laws also allow for MNAs to make regulations - called Domestic Regulations, as a result of this review, Bowls New Zealand Umpires Committee Chairperson Michael Johnson and his team have agreed to tweak some high profile areas.

Commenting on the forthcoming changes, Johnson wants to reassure the bowling community not to lose any sleep over any of the new rulings - pointing out things are unlikely to feel any different.

“Sometimes when people think of new laws and regulations, they tend to think the game will change dramatically - but really, these new rules will have minimal impact on their everyday bowling experience and that’s something we want people to know,” Johnson said.

While there has been almost 70 revisions made, some of the key additions/changes are;

13.3 - a player must not deliver a bowl before the previous bowl has come to rest.

26.3 - there must be no further play in a knockout competition if it is impossible to win the game, given the number of ends left (mathematically impossible to win) - a set of bowls may be changed when a game is moved between a vegetation surface and a synthetic or indoor surface on the same day

37.1.3 - introduced penalty for deliberately displacing or stopping a bowl in its original course - New law to introduce penalty for deliberately lifting a bowl at rest to allow their own team’s bowl in original course to pass

“By and large, a lot of it relates to tweaking words and spelling out any possible misinterpretation,” Johnson confirmed.

“In the coming months, we’ll have law books printed and available to purchase, as well as distributing them to our umpires network and clubs throughout the country. But overall, we can certainly reassure everyone that they won’t all of a sudden be caught out by a whole new suite of laws and find themselves having to relearn the game.”

Closer to home, Johnson and the BNZUC have also chosen to use the review as an opportunity to revisit the Bowls New Zealand Domestic Regulations. As part of that, a specific focus has been placed on substitutes.

From 1 April, the regulation will be superseded by the new wording - meaning if someone can’t play in the team, they will essentially require a substitute.

“We have taken out all reference to replacement players, alternative mentions and other terms, and have tried to simplify it. Basically, it’s now irrelevant to know if a player was in the original team, or otherwise. As long as the club or centre can field a team, and it's within the limits of the maximum number of substitutes, there is nothing more to get caught up on,” Johnson said.

“Of course, any changes still need to be approved by the controlling body. . . we’re relying on good sportsmanship for this to work.”

The maximum number of substitutes permitted in fours is two, and one for the triples and pairs. No substitutes are allowed for singles, meaning if the original player is unable to play, the game will be forfeited.

All World Bowls Laws and domestic regulations will officially take effect in New Zealand on 1 April 2023.

- Sam Morton


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