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Thread: Straight or slim line bowls - fair or not?

  1. #71
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    Sorry to disagree Ump but the Laws of the Sport never changed, they have always required that all bowls must have at least the bias of the Working Reference Bowl. When it was first proposed to delete both greens testing and the 7deg cant test from indoor table testing both Henselite UK and Drakes Pride warned the Board at a meeting in July 1998 NOT to go ahead with these changes as illegally biased models would result, and it has. If you ask WB for minutes of this meeting you'll find there aren't any! Not exactly the actions of a bona fide organisation. The IBB has been a revolving door committee and always relied on the collective wisdom and technical knowledge of the manufacturers to make sure all bowls sold have min bias. They were all fired in 2002 and suddenly the newly formed WB Ltd uses a report from 1 individual to make the changes to testing proceedure he never actually proved out on a green.

    The bowl model Impact started this thread some time back and this is the bowl seen in the last part of the video I posted on youtube in 2012, clearly takes less bias than the WRB. When I wrote to this WB 'accredited advisor' asking for his comment on why a bowl that passed on a table under his test but failed both the deleted 7 deg cant test, backed up by the greens test his reply was that it was caused by the extra distance the bowl travelled on the green v's the 9m of table run. The fact it was the same for both bowls seems to have escaped him along with the whole point of the Laws, minimum bias allowed and the fact bias testing is not some hypothetical laboratory exercise but meant for the green where the game is played. For WB to make out that they have decided on indoor table testing using only the bowls grouping test is not a position any responsible sporting body would live with given ample evidence that it's a total fake.

    Players don't even know whether the set of bowls they own or are about to buy are balanced or VRG sole shape let alone a clandestine change to bias testing proceedure known only to the people at the 1998 meeting. To say players don't understand the changes to testing proceedure when the Rule book says nothing at all about them, is a bit tough on them. Nobody knew! Umpires didn't know and still don't and anyone trying to fix the gigantic mess these actions have created have been dismissed and shut down i.e. a recent Australian WB President who set up a testers committee to fix the problem.

    And now we have WB wanting inclusion to the Olympic Games. I wonder whether the guy charged with measuring the 100 meter track has a standard international tape measure or one issued to him by World Bowls.
    Last edited by Deltadawn; 05-01-2018 at 04:42 AM. Reason: spelling, additions

  2. #72
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    I have three sets of Taylor: Ace ('16), Vector VS ('24) and Redline SRV ('24).

    I can say with confidence that SRV is a disadvantage in two important circumstances: 1) Skipping, where the inability to enter the head from the side can be disastrous and leaves only the chop and lie as a viable shot, 2) on uneven or tracky greens, and on many end rinks, the SRV/Dreamline/Advantage/Edge/TurboPro/Dynamic/fill in any name very narrow bowl do not have enough bias to break out of the irregularity and essentially reduce the bowler to one hand. There is a reason top bowlers gravitate toward mid bias bowls (in my case the Ace, or on very fast surfaces the Vector VS)... the narrow bias bowls limit what a bowler is able to accomplish on the green.

    I do find that on true greens, and when playing front end or singles, the narrow bias bowl can be an advantage.
    Last edited by DunninLA; 22-01-2018 at 01:49 AM.

  3. #73
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    True that most of the less-than-legal bias models are almost impossible to play well with, but should not be used as an excuse to why they got made and sold in the first instance. On their day are impossible to beat, it just doesn't happen very often and in outdoor conditions play much better in the morning than afternoon, well that's certainly the case here.

    The illegaly narrow biased models was a sales strategy aimed at the Australian market, the only things standing in the way was the pre-2002 bias test or get WB to change the Rules of minimum bias. As the manufacturer concerned knew that IBB didn't understand the significance of the part B wobble test and that it was absolutely critical in table testing to differentiate the 2 types of bowl sole shape as to their actual green bias, the easiest way forward was to make changes to testing rather than an open discussion to min bias amount.

    So testing of bowls consisted of using a green in countries without test tables and part A-upright and part B-cant or wobble test for testing over 9m on a table, the fact that no country was actively involved in doing 10 year testing helped.
    The question was just what representations were the best to get the changes wanted, afterall greens testing on a high quality surface in nil wind is an accurate assessment of bias. But testing outdoors in wind would give unreliable results and this reason was put forward to delete green testing altogether....it worked, IBB swallowed it, it sounded reasonable and was.

    The part B wobble test on a table was now the only thing in the way, manufacturers knew that only the cant test at 7deg would verify the actual green bias. So the argument was put to the Board that the reliability of the cant test was open to abuse by any tester wanting to deliberately cause to fail a variable radius geometry model by leaning the bowl over in the chute by more than 7 deg or simply getting the angle wrong...both true! So a report was written recommending both green testing and part B table test be abandoned for these reasons. Ureka! It worked the IBB swallowed it.

    The IBB didn't know the significance of these proposals because adhering to the Rules of the sport is not a priority in the game of bowls, specifically, technical knowledge of this nature is best seen to be understood and anyway who wants to put impediments in the way which require bowlers to actually pay money for re-testing their set to verify continued bias compliance. Much better to just gloss over the compliance of equipment in favour of endless discussion on foot faulting etc.

    So in 2002 IBB evolved to WB Ltd, testing method was written up by WB who were now telling manufacturers how to test bowls. Quite farcical really, the guys who knew nothing about the interaction of balanced and vrg sole shapes on smooth test tables were now telling manufacturers and test table owners that only part A...the grouping test would henceforth be the required test and that manufacturers who at the time paid GBP1500 pa suddenly found their manufacturers licence fee increased to GBP5000, now GBP6000 per year. It would seem that WB wanted a whole lot more money knowing the manufacturers were now granted the right to make non-complying models...so do you recon someone knew exactly what was going down? You bet! So the makers now have WB permission or the right to make bowls and put an official WB stamp on their product and sell it to bowlers with the knowledge that their duty to WB had been performed, who were they to argue?

    The fact that all on the inside knew the forerunner of the fake VW diesel emissions test recently exposed was being used to make legitimate, bowl sets that simply carried an egraving indicating the set had been tested according to the method set down by WB. The fact the reduced test proceedure is a fake bias test is a moot point, its WB's prescribed test, they run the game and are entitled to construct any fake test they like. You recon?

    So the subtle change was integrated into the Sport, pre 2002 bowls test stamp guaranteed min green bias was met. Post-2002 WB stamp simply makes a bowl legal for play, not actual min bias met. Many local players know they are using a set that has less than the bias of the WRB out on a green, but who cares? As long as the set carries a stamp of legitimacy then their moral obligations are met. The fact that these players have been turned into defacto cheats is not their fault, if you want to compete in the sport just become a cheater like the others....it works just fine, no-one's looking, certainly not the officials or umpires, here they've been told specifically not to engage in discussions with players over min bias. Anyway none of them officially know, if the matter is not in the minutes of WB then it never took place.
    Last edited by Deltadawn; 24-01-2018 at 01:56 AM. Reason: addition

  4. #74
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    deltadawn -- always enjoy your posts.

  5. #75
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    thanks...just trying to educate bowlers on just what sort of people run their favourite game. There are so many new players post-2002 that have no idea about what min bias actually is, in fact if you ask the average player or umpire they don't know either, here we haven't seen a test bowl run down a green since 1983. My testing failue rate was 63%...nobody cares!

    So the question:
    Is bias important to the game of bowls? I think it is. Should there be a minimum? I think yes. Should players, officials, umpires know what it is? I say again yes, even more so at Olympic and Comm Games.

    Can you imagine Ian Poulter at Medinah in 2012, the greatest sporting moment in my lifetime, he's just come off the 18th for his 4th win, Europe has come back from the dead to win and an official checks his bag and finds he was carrying 15 clubs for the entire round! Nah...never mind, not a big deal, who really cares? Just let it go!....NO WAY! Just as well it never happened....but if the sport had been bowls they would've just turned a blind eye....they have been doing it for nearly 16 years....and almost no-one cares? Well this writer does and I make no apology.

    For those new to this forum I am a certified bowls tester, trained at DP Liverpool 2002....I asked WB to fix the fake bias test and they said I would not hear from them anytime soon. So after writing a 5 page report in 2011 I let my table registration lapse in order to go public and not be bound by their gagging clause in their contract.
    You gotta know you've hit the mark when the CEO of WB phones Liverpool and asks to have me fired the very next day! As a sportsman I simply object to the falsification of bias on bowls, whatever the reason. I refused to be complicit in the corruption by continuing to have my test table registered with WB.

    I could be the only tester to ever actually break the contract rules and take an official WRB test bowl and run it down the green...the evidence has been on youtube since 2012 and at www.bowlsdirect.co.nz
    Last edited by Deltadawn; 24-01-2018 at 05:10 AM.

  6. #76
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    Hi Delta,

    Your posts are indeed very interesting to someone who is relatively new to the sport. I've tried playing indoors and out with what most consider 'tight' bowls but have ended up using mid-bias. To the uninitiated, what bowls wouldn't pass the old test?

    I have used Aero Profiles indoors, i assume they wouldn't pass but what about Revolutions (my current indoor choice) and Grooves (my outdoor)? I'm just trying to get a sense of the 'old' bias test and understand what would and wouldn't pass the cant test.

    With regard to 'narrow' bowls and ruining the game, having used them, I found it irritating to not be able to draw around anything so have gone to wider bowls. I do find myself annoyed by those bowling with tighter woods but i always put that down to me winning or losing. They annoy me when I lose to them but feel sorry for them when I win against them so have just put it down to personal preference and my attitude. I don't know whether its 'easier' with them or not, in my experience of using tighter woods, you still have to hit the right line and length if playing front end and I didn't feel any advantage with them despite hoping i would!

  7. #77
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    Hello - as a new bowler (started last June), I don't really know enough about all the technicalities talked of here, but I do know that the narrow bowls can be frustrating. I use an old set of Vitalites, that have a wide draw, but have played in triples with a skip who played with an expensive set of very tight bowls - he just couldn't draw around bowls already 'there' and we invariably lost to teams with a skip who could.

    Interestingly, when we played away at one club, he told me that the green was terrible and not to bring decent bowls - he turned up with an old set of knocked-about Henselites, bowled nicely, and we won! Then he put that set away, and reverted to his other narrow set on all other greens. So - it seems to me that it is a case of 'horses for courses' with benefits and disadvantages.

    Incidentally, as regards the reference to 15 golf clubs in the bag - it did happen, in the same year, to Ian Woosnam at the Open when he was in contention and playing well. His caddie noticed it early on in the (I think, final) round, informed Woosie who immediately told the referee and was immediately penalised two strokes: it ruined his mindset and possibly the rest of his round, costing him a lot of prize money and, thus a place in the Ryder Cup. In golf, much is down to self-policing, but rules are rules - and rarely any leeway allowed.

  8. #78
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    Welcome to the worst run sport on the planet...hope you get enjoyment from it. Yes I remember the Ian Woosnam incident, in golf the Rules are revered even tho most of us golfers never get to know all of them, the governing body has high standards, not so in bowls where the governing body deliberately corrupted its own testing regime to allow manufacturers to make narrower than legal models. Unfortunately here in NZ we have the fastest greens in the world, some often run at 22 secs and 30secs has been recorded and on these surfaces narrow bowls do have an unfair advantage...they will actually run down your own rink.

    As regards which models are non-complying for bias...I don't get a chance to see the UK models, but the later version Drakes Professional is a good indication of approx min. There would be approx 15 models sold here made post-2002 that wouldn't comply with a true bias test. Players simply have no way of ever knowing that on the current grouping table test the narrowest and not so narrow show the exact same bias! They sure don't do that on the green...the shape change done to achieve the arbitrary minimum bias on the table plays havoc on the green for most players, but they had to buy the set to find this out unless they come to see us early in the piece.

  9. #79
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    I'd just like to point out that we shouldn't confuse slim-line bowls (as per the thread title) with straighter running or narrow bias bowls. Slim-line bowls refer to the physical profile and are slimmer to fit in smaller hands, e.g. the Taylor Legacy Slim-line model is a wide-ish drawing bowl but it has a slimmer profile. From anecdotal evidence on grass, it takes more land than a DP Professional, which is the bowl regarded as being the closest in draw line to the WRB.

    If you happen to see a bowl taking less land than a DP Pro on grass, there is a good chance it would have failed the pre-2002 canted test.
    Last edited by Batman Jazz; 08-02-2018 at 12:13 PM.

  10. #80
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    Hi everyone. This is my first post on this forum, and probably my last.

    I took up bowls when I retired about 5 years ago. A few weekends ago I played in two matches, both triples, where the results were heavily skewed by the use of narrow bias bowls by the opposition. In one game the skip used them; in the other it was both the number 1 and skip. There had been recent thunderstorms, the greens were heavy and slow. The narrow bias bowls were deviating by no more than two or three inches from the centre line the whole way up the green, where my bowls were taking a yard or so of green. I played 2 in both games. All the opposing skip had to do, if we were holding shot when the skips came to the mat, was take out the shot wood and leave his own in its place. Any reasonably direct hit would do the job. Line was irrelevant, he didn't even need to be particularly accurate about weight, and he had three tries in which to do it.

    I wrote to Bowls England about this experience. At the time I didn't know about this thread, I have only discovered it afterwards. I received a reply from Alistair Hollis which is almost word for word the same as that posted here by coreservers back in 2014 (it omits the reference to the 2009 letter). So BE and Alisitair Hollis are still sending out the same standard response repeating the same pathetic mantra that they were 4 years ago on this question, and presumably in the intervening time they have done absolutely nothing.

    I am encountering this issue more and more frequently now, as more players adopt an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach. The game is not the same as it was even 5 years ago when I started playing, and it is no longer a game of skill that I wish to play. It is clear beyond doubt that BE will do nothing, at least not on any timescales that will be relevant for me. Even if Deltadawn's compromise suggestion of a sunset date were adopted tomorrow, it would not have any noticeable effect in my lifetime. So I have decided to quit bowls, and take up some other, more satisfying activity while I'm still young enough to do that. My bowls are now up for sale on EBay.

    Previously on this thread gs1 worried about the possiblity that banning narrow bias bowls would cause people to leave the game. But if nothing is done the game is going to lose people who think like me anyway. The issue is rather whether you want to try to preserve the skilled game that has been played for centuries, or watch it turn into skittles instead.

    The club I played for now has fewer than 30 playing members, and struggles to raise teams almost every weekend. I'm not God's gift to bowling by any means, but my club cannot afford to lose people like me and remain viable. Even less can it afford to lose my wife, who is one of the very few female playing members they have left.

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