This numbers on the tables indicate where you should sit when you have tea or drinks during or after bowling. The numbers and letters refer to the rink where you played your last game. In the image here you can see that there are four greens, namely A,B,C,D. The numbers are rink numbers. So if you played on B green, Rink 4 your number is B4 in this sample.
Why are numbers on the table necessary?
The idea is for the opposing teams to sit together and socialise when they drink tea. If all the players on the rink sit at the same table then this will happen.
The idea of numbers on the tables goes back to the essential and traditional etiquette of bowls, which is that the game should be played in a good spirit with good sportsmanship at the fore. And strangers sitting at the same table is a great way to make new bowling friends. I
n addition, once you have your cup of tea and a sandwich in your hand, sitting according to the table numbers saves the trouble of looking around for an place to sit.
Why do table numbers differ at the various clubs?
The difference in the way that the greens are named at the various clubs leads to differing numbers on the tables. Here are some ways that greens are named:
- Greens can simply be indicated by a letter of the alphabet, as per the example
- Some greens have the names of people who sponsored their creation, such as Jones, Smith, Brown, etc. This can be a bit confusing as the table numbers will be something like J1, S3, B4, etc.
- Often greens are named according to their location e.g. Top, Bottom, Middle, Lower, Upper, Garden, etc.
- Some greens have quite esoteric names such as Founders, Bob’s, Mrs Levy, etc.
Fortunately most bowling clubs have name boards next to the greens so you can figure out how the club members refer to the greens. And remember, you can always ask a member at the club what the numbers on the tables refer to!