Ask Ray O'Connor… week two

After a great response to last week’s ‘Ask Ray O’Connor’ piece, Ray is back, this time to deal with shots raised at goal:

The Query
“There was a powerfully struck shot on the penalty spot which went over the logged [I assume this means, a GK lying on the ground] keeper and was clearly goalward bound when it hit a defender, who was slightly over a foot off the goal line, in the chest.

“A free out was given for dangerous play. Now, I was of the impression that if a shot is clearly goalward bound it doesn’t matter how high/hard/where it hits an opposing player, it’s always a penalty stroke?”

Ray’s response

An interesting question and never an easy one to deal with. First, I need to point out some very important points that an umpire must think about:

– The rules are written for all levels of capability (good and bad).
– When a ball leaves the ground the first thing an umpire must think off is danger.
– The next thing to think of is skill… never penalise skill!
– Players go into the goal by choice.
– The goals are 2.14 metres in height.
– The defending players are allowed to lift their stick to any height to defend a shot at goal.

What do I do to help me through all the above and be fair to all?

I use the guidance in Rule 13.3 (i): “if a defender is within five metres of the first shot at goal during the taking of a penalty corner and is struck by the ball below the knee, another penalty corner must be awarded or is struck above the knee in a normal stance, the shot is judged to be dangerous and a free hit must be awarded to the defending team.”

I hope this is of some help to players and umpires alike, to help all to deal with danger and shots at goal.

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