Two teams are playing triples at a daily draw game at their home Club.
Skip A trails the jack into the ditch.
Skip B delivers his bowl and as it’s coming to rest, no one can tell if it will stop on the rink or fall into the ditch. It hangs on the edge and starts to fall over into the ditch and onto Skip A’s toucher bowl there.
Lead A, who is a six-month novice, catches Skip B’s bowl as it rolls over the plinth but before it comes in contact with Skip A’s toucher. Then he places it on the bank.
Skip B protests that Lead A displaced a bowl in course because the bowl could have rested on the toucher and not fallen into the ditch.
What is your ruling?
And secondly, does your ruling change if Skip A has delivered his next bowl before the protest is made by Skip B?
4/1/2017 Ump Stumper -- answer as written by Conrad Melton: Contrary to common behavior, there is no justification for any player to stop a bowl from going into the ditch. Once a bowl in original course or in motion passes over the plinth, it is a dead bowl (touchers being an exception). If the dead bowl displaces a live bowl in the ditch, the live bowl is put back to its former position by the opponent.
While Skip B’s protest is theoretically valid, the chances of the delivered bowl resting on the toucher are astronomical. Perhaps Lead A was showing off his ability to snatch a bowl out of mid air, perhaps he decided to catch it in order to prevent the displacement of the toucher at rest in the ditch. Perhaps he didn’t think about it at all; he just did it. You’d have to be the ultimate conspiracy theorist to think that a six-month novice was trying to prevent that bowl from landing on and sticking to the top of the toucher in the ditch. Tell Skip B his protest is NOT sustained. And, no, a bowl delivered by Skip A which results in a delay of Skip B’s protest would make no difference in this case.
As your current National-Umpire-in-Chief, I agree with the above answer, but only because the question states “at a daily draw game at their home club.” If I was officiating at an event where prize money is involved or medals are being awarded (think US Open, any Division Open, National Championships, and local tournaments), I would defer to Bowl and Jack Displacement, Law 37, to make a ruling, if asked to do so.
Please feel free to answer in comments below for more discussion or contact Melanie Vizenor/ Head Umpire of Bowls USA at firstname.lastname@example.org