I applaud those who get out on the bowling green using a mechanical bowling arm. It’s a wonderful innovation that allows many people with disabilities to commence or continue in an outdoor sport, where, if the arm didn’t exist, they could be confined to being a sporting spectator, instead of a participant, for the remainder of their lives.
However, the bowling arm is unquestionably, “performance enhancing”. Their use is a definite advantage over the majority of able bodied bowlers, in always being able to find and deliver on the correct line required more frequently.
The arm provides the user with an almost certain ‘line’ delivery, particularly when the bowler uses the narrowest biased bowls available.
I’ve been watching mechanical-arm bowlers with great interest for years now, and in my view, nothing has happened to change my mind on this issue.
Ridiculous as it may sound, over a period of around 5 years, I have witnessed ‘arm’ bowlers deliver almost a 98% success rate on their line accuracy (of those experienced in their use) compared to the able-bodied line accuracy in the same matches, rating perhaps around 65%-70%. That’s a huge difference, and too big a gap just to be a coincidence over such a sustained period of time. It can no longer just be ignored.
So, it’s now time to introduce a regulation to bring the mechanical arm bowler back to an even playing field and take away this huge performance-enhancing advantage. It simply means their line delivery will need to be slightly wider to even up the contest which at present is around 20% biased in favour of the ‘arm’ user.
The fair way to deal with this, without unduly penalising the ‘arm’ bowler, is to increase the bias on the bowl that the mechanical-arm user chooses, which is currently mostly of the skinniest variety. Make it a regulation that if a mechanical-arm is being used, then the bowler cannot use a bowl with a bias narrower than say the old ‘Classic-2’ or ‘Maestro.
Certainly, they should no longer be allowed to use any narrow-bias-bowl they choose, which gives them this distinct advantage.
A limitation on the permitted (wider) bias needs to be introduced, in Australia and around the bowling world, ASAP.
For the administrators to do nothing would be negligent.
MCC-Kew Sports Club Inc.
Editor: What do you think? The use of bowling arms has become more popular over the last few years, with many bowlers and clubs embracing their use. However, many bowlers think that arm bowlers have an advantage over others not using a bowling arm. Let me know what your thoughts are by contacting us through the contact page, or commenting below.