Abandoning play in lawn bowls during heavy weather

As with any sport, competitive lawn bowls has its share of rules and regulations. Bowls Victoria has a specific of rules on abandoning play during disruptive weather, like heat, wind, rain and lightning.

When a match is abandoned, points for the ladder are typically divided evenly between the two sides. However, if most of the game has been completed (at least 60 of the 84 ends in weekend pennant), points will be given out based on the current results.

For matches suspended as the result of heavy rain, procedure points to section 50.3.2, for “Inclement weather other than heat” once “Play has commenced”.

50.3.2.1. If after 1 hour of play being suspended the match cannot commence, the match will be abandoned.

50.3.2.2. Every effort must be made to complete any ends in progress prior to leaving the green.

50.3.2.3. Midweek and Weekend Pennant matches that are interrupted, will be abandoned after five (5) hours from the scheduled start time.

The interesting part of this rule is how it specifies that a suspended match can only be abandoned if play cannot resume after an hour. If play does resume however, only to be later suspended again, both sides must wait a further hour after the latest suspension before abandoning the match.

So long as there is never a continuous hour of suspended play, the match can be interrupted repeatedly throughout the day. This technicality has been critical in several games I’ve played over the last few years.

In the past, our side narrowly won a game to avoid relegation to a lower division by waiting out a long storm. While the storm lasted 90 minutes, we were saved by a brief 10 minute lapse in weather.

Our opposition last weekend faced a similar situation. They needed a confident win to get them the necessary points to avoid relegation, as a tie wouldn’t cut it. The downpour became too much and we had to pause play. After the allotted hour, we abandoned the match halfway through and split our points with the opposition.

Even if it might have been obvious that the rain was never going to leave, it was a matter of respect and sportmanship to wait inside for those 60 minutes with the opposition. Sharing a couple of drinks to pass the time isn’t so bad either though.