Thursday, 8 December 2016

World Bowls 2016 - Thursday 8th December

The Southern Alps
Into week two of the World Championships here in Christchurch. On Monday there was no play and so 4 of us had booked an escorted tour of the Southern Alps in and around Arthurs Pass. We traveled by train through the Canterbury plains before climbing into the stunning alpine terrain. We were then taken on short hikes in the mountains before returning by car to Christchurch. It was an incredible day and we witnessed some amazing scenery.

Christchurch Cathedral destroyed
in the 2011 Earthquake
Vic Perry and I had the chance to wander around Christchurch at the weekend and we were both astounded at the level of destruction caused by the 2011 earthquake. However, the city is rebuilding and there are many new and restored buildings being completed. There is still a lot that has been flattened and converted to car parking. It does seem that spirits are high in the city and there is a commitment to rebuild.

Aussie colleague Mark Cowen. The smug look
was soon wiped off his place in the Trashers Match
Also at the weekend, we played the Trashers Match; Australia ITOs versus English ITOs. Just a bit of fun on the championship rinks which started way back in 2006 in Melbourne. I am pleased to say that the 4 English ITO's beat the Aussies at their own game on their own speed greens, a great achievement which has earned them a good deal of stick from their fellow country folk!

The competition restarted on Tuesday with the sectional play for Men’s Fours and Singles and Women’s pairs and Triples. Back to early alarm calls we are again working 3 sessions of 3 hours per day. Unfortunately it seems whenever we are on the rink the weather takes a turn for the worse and the temperature drops. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were grey overcast and windy with intermittent drizzle – I thought it was supposed to be summertime in the southern hemisphere!

I have had a fair share of umpiring, marking and time keeping duties the past three days. The time keeping job is a bit like a session off but keeping an eye on progress at the same time. It is also a session where we look after our colleagues with Tea and Coffee about half time. In the conditions of play for this tournament there is a Slow Play regulation which basically controls the movement of players to avoid undue delays during the game. We monitor the progress of the game to ensure that they reach the half way point after 90 minutes. Any that are falling behind because they are playing a little slower are reminded gently to pick up the pace. The time keeper is available should a team opt to complain about their opponents should they be playing so slowly that they will not finish the game in the allotted 3 hour period. The regulations are quite complex in this regard and it is our job as time keepers to keep a close eye on the players and penalise should they be taking far too long.

As we approach this weekend, we are coming to the Semi-Finals and finals of the Men’s and Women’s disciplines mentioned earlier. Officials have now been allocated duties for the remaining 3 days. I am truly honoured to have been chosen to Mark the Men’s Singles final on Sunday afternoon; an occasion that will be up there with Marking the Commonwealth Games Final in 2002.

On Monday it will all be over and I start making the long trek back home to my lovely family, who I have missed but have managed to keep in contact with via FaceTime and Phone. My last blog from the games will be Monday 12th as I recap on the finals weekend and prepare for the journey home.

As always if you have any questions please get in touch and I will endeavor to answer them.

4 of the 6 members of the World Bowls Laws Committee

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