A strange and wonderful new sentence has appeared in the yet-to-be-published Fourth Edition of the ‘The Laws of World Bowls’, law 23.3.
In case you haven’t got the Third Edition about your person as you read this (and if not, why not?), law 23.3 bans measuring in the head before the last bowl of an end has come to rest
But the Fourth Edition will clarify that using ‘devices comprising concentric circles within a transparent frame which are held approximately waist high’ during an end will not be deemed to be in breach of Law 23.3
This update is surely most odd. So what could have persuaded World Bowls to introduce this most closely described of exceptions the laws?
Well, it’s not What, but Who? Australian bowler Dave Goode has invented a device which exactly matches the Fourth Edition description. Called the Bowls Eye, it is a piece of clear perspex engraved with concentric circles, and when held above the jack at approximately waist height allows someone at the head to more easily distinguish which bowls are closer to the jack. It looks like this:
and here’s a video of it being used.
I can think of one particular circumstance in which this could be very useful. At a recent singles match a bowler with one bowl left to bowl asked the marker ‘What’s the situation?’
The marker, of course, is not allowed to measure. He had several choices, including, but not exhaustively – “It’s a measure” or “You’re holding”, or “You’re one down.”
“You’re holding”, he shouted back down the green. The bowler indicated that he would not bowl has last bowl. But on arriving at the head, his opponent asked for a measure, and won the match.
If the marker had had a Bowls Eye in his pocket, perhaps the outcome would have been different. But there is another Law, 42.2.7, which the Fourth Edition does not clarify. The marker, when asked, must “tell or show the player in possession of the rink which bowl or bowls the marker considers to be shot.”
But can a marker use a Bowls Eye? That is the question!
If you want to try Bowls Eye for yourself, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to place a back order. The ‘No measuring’ regulation imposed by Bowls England during the COVID-19 pandemic means we are sold out and waiting for the next shipment.