Misunderstood Rules 7: Finding the ball after 3 minutes have elapsed

This would perhaps be better titled as a frequently ignored rule. I can also report a strange bit of human nature – the search time was reduced from 5 to 3 minutes at the start of 2019 with the aim of speeding up play. When refereeing we will start a stopwatch at the start of a search and can say categorically that very few “5 minute” searches went beyond 3 minutes before the player gave up. Now however, many players seem to want to use the full 3 minutes, so the average time spent searching has possibly gone up!

It is actually very difficult to tell a playing partner that they have had their 3 minutes so we need to move on. (Although it is often well applied to the group in front of you as they search – how many times have you heard “they must have had the 3 minutes by now”?) And in the scenario in the video even more difficult to tell someone who has continued searching after the 3 minutes that they can’t play the ball they have just found because it is lost.

How would you deal with a playing partner who wishes to carry on with a ball found after the 3 minute search time is over? Let me have your suggestions below.

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