Greg Kelly
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April 20, 2017
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May 12, 2017

Chalk talk: To Chalk or not to Chalk?


Letter to the Editor: The approved/preferred method of marking a bowl is either with a canister of spray chalk or a piece/stick of chalk proper.

Stick chalk can be used however it is imperative that the bowls are not displaced. (Let’s chalk about it – The Bowler, Bowls SA – September 30, 2016)

Liquid chalk pens (texta style) are not to be used.

It just doesn’t make sense.

If it’s imperative the bowl(s) are not displaced, doesn’t that statement infer that by using the stick, there is the possibility the bowl might be displaced?

Th game requires an accurate measurement (and often down to millimeters) to determine a result. How can touching/holding a bowl still to mark with a piece of chalk be preferred over a pen?

We all know that there is soft chalk and hard sticks that not only scratch but might need a couple of attempts to leave its mark.  The second is usually done with a little more gusto!

I use a liquid chalk pen. The pencil has the thickness of a pen with a fine nib and it’s certainly not one of the monster size textas. I can apply a small cross or dot without touching the bowl with my other hand.  When I touch the bowl lightly with the fine pen tip,  the bowl does not move.

Canisters vs pens

Pure economics – value for money determined my choice.  It costs about $8 on average for a canister of chalk spray from which you may be get anywhere between one and the advertised 250 sprays. One can understand why canister spray is not a bowler’s first choice and why the liquid pens made an appearance.

I am sure the quality has improved over the years. However, each week I still see vigorous shaking, some vigorous words muttered, three squirts for a tiny amount of dust before the $8 can is retired to the bin.

It’s then back to the piece of chalk; a lick of the tongue, a hand (hopefully a steady one!) on the bowl and the mark is done.

Is it a texta?

Yes, it can be argued a liquid pen will fall into the category of a texta.  However, the soft felt tip doesn’t damage the bowl. The bright fluro mark stands out on the ever-increasing coloured bowls. It can be left without the bowl being moved and it takes less ‘spit’ to remove.  Further, if you run its use pass your teammates and they have no issue, why the ban?

So for the integrity of the game, I will use my chalk pen knowing I haven’t touched the bowl and inadvertently brought those millimeters in to play.

Tim Dodds, Henley Bowling Club

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