Jul 262019

Here is a summary for ACT Leagues of changes in the TBA General and League playing rules since version 11.9. The current version of the Rules is Version 12.2 (http://www.tenpin.org.au/events-listing/rules/) issued 18 July 2019 – and a full list of changes can be seen at the end of the document.

As a general point: “Licenced Association” has become “Local Association”. This is a terminology change and does not impact on the intent of the rules that have been change.


Rule 122 originally defined averages. The two latest changes mean that this rule now defines averages and handicaps. Rule 329 now mirrors rule 122 and doesn’t add any new context.

I want to highlight two points about the changes.

  • “The handicap allowance shall be selected from 80, 90 or 100 percent (TBA recommend 100%)”. Only three choices. Not 85%, not 70%, not 116% (refer to USBC studies to understand why I chose this figure!)
  • “The base figure chosen must always be higher than the highest average in that competition. TBA recommends at least 10 pins, but as long as every bowler has a positive handicap (never zero) it is acceptable.”.
    • This means that should your star bowlers start to ‘average out’, the League’s base figure must be adjusted.
    • Anyone eligible for a ‘negative handicap’ cannot be set to 0 – this is setting a limit on handicaps and contradicts part (1) of this particular rule.
    • Setting a ‘0’ instead of an earned negative handicap is unfair to other members of the League anyway.
    • Adjusting the base figure for those systems that use 80% or 90% have the potential to affect standings. No such impact for changing when 100% is used.


Rule 129 has been added:

A bowler participating in any accredited competition shall not do any of the following simultaneously:

  • 1. Register a score for more than one accredited competition.
  • 2. Pre bowl for a future match on any other lanes.
  • 3. Participate more than once in the line-up of a team.
  • 4. Compete in more than one accredited competition.

Contravening this rule will result in the bowler’s loss of pinfall for all games used illegally.

The key word here is simultaneously – for example, a bowler cannot participate in two leagues that occur at the same time, nor can a bowler be pre-bowling for future matches at the same time they are participating in League play. Of note, the previous Rule 318 (Participation limited), which this rule replaces, was only valid in the League context – this now also applies to other types of competition.


Rule 318 was originally about participation limited, which has now been moved to Rule 129. This rule number has been re-purposed to provide some clarity on what leagues can do when their centre closes mid-season.

Rule 328.2 (PRIZES – (Unless covered by a Leagues own Rules))

Rule 328.2 has had a minor tweak to refer to the new Rule 408.

Rule 329 (HANDICAP – (Leagues can select the percentage figure they will use))

Rule 329 now refers to Rule 122, the example in there mirrors the text in Rule 122.


An award for 800 series (4-game series) has been added. In addition, two caveats have been added:

  • A bowler is not permitted to apply for a game or series award if it is below their current league average. e.g. – if your average is 175 average you are ineligible to apply for a 150 game award or 500 series award.
  • Over Average awards are based on a single game only, not series.


This rule has been added to formalise conditions for the award in Leagues. What was originally suggested in the “Suggested League Rules” has now become a formal requirement.

A key impact for Leagues is the requirement to have the games records to be able to calculate a bowlers “final average of at least twenty one (21) games for the preceding competition in the same League.” For those Leagues that rely on the centres to manage scores and averages, this is now an additional consideration as to how to get that information.


Rule 603 has been revised to define the current balance rules, the final rules that will apply after 1st August 2020.

Importantly, from August 1st – No balance holes; all holes in the balls must be used by fingers/thumbs. I expect another revision of the rules to come out soon enough that rationalises Rule 603 to remove historic/legacy information and examples.

Chapter 9.21 ()

The suggested League Rules now refer to Rule 408.

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