The Ballarat District Bowls Division has been forced to back down on its attempt to tighten drinking rules ahead of the upcoming pennant season.
Under Bowls Victoria legislation bowlers are not allowed to drink while on the green, however they are able to drink off the green during play. The rules cover all grades of pennant bowling, including the premier division.
At the annual general meeting in June the BDBD introduced its own rules for season 2016/17 which stated bowlers were not able to drink at all during matches after a majority of the division’s 24 clubs voted for change.
However a fortnight ago Bowls Victoria ordered the BDBD to remove the rule which was in contrast to its rules.
Bowls Victoria spokesperson Guy Hand said while there was a blanket ban on drinking on the field of play, neither Bowls Victoria or individual divisions had the authority to stop players from drinking completely.
“Individual clubs are responsible for alcohol licensing including the serving of alcohol under State Government Responsible Service laws and the control of the zones where consumption is approved under their licence provisions,” Mr Hand said. “Divisions, and Bowls Victoria, are not.”
While the division will not be able to enforce a ban on bowlers drinking during play, individual clubs will be able to do so.
BDBD chair Sandra Chapman said while the division had attempted to enforce a higher standard throughout the region, they were not able to go against Bowls Victoria’s rules of competition.