What is Tabs In in Lawn Bowls?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 22, 2023

When lawn bowlers refer to “tabs in” they are talking about the fixed social members-only bowling sessions at the club, usually on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.

It’s called “tabs in” because each member who wants to play arrives half an hour before the session begins and hands in his tab to a designated person who then lays out the tabs on a board to work out the games that will be played.

When you join the club, you will be issued with a temporary tab until your properly made tab arrives.

Where are lawn bowls tabs kept?

The tabs are kept on a numbered board so members can easily find their tabs. For instance, a player’s number might be 19, making it easy to find the tab on the board. These numbers don’t signify anything else. They are there simply to make it easier for players to find their tabs.

In the photo you can see tabs hanging on a board. Some of them have already been removed for “putting tabs in”. This particular board is sparsely populated. That’s because the number of members at this particular club is way below the capacity of the club facilities.

What do lawn bowls tabs look like?

The tab colours are generally different for the ladies and the gentlemen players. This is so the person who is organised the games can arrane all-men or all-ladies games, or can balance the games between men and women players if so desired, and so on.

The tab number appears on the tab sometimes, as in this photo. Also the person’s ranking position may appear on the tab, such as “L” for lead, “S” for skip, “3” for third and “2” for second. It is important for the person handling the tabs to put players in suitable positions in a game.

Is it compulsory to put in a tab at the club?

Showing up for tabs-in is entirely voluntary, but for most players it is main reason they belong to the club. During tabs-in you will hone your skills, get exercise, enjoy the sunshine, chat to the other players and have a lot of laughs too. And you can adjourn for tea at teatime and for a drink afterwards.

In fact, socially-played lawn bowls is the backbone of the sport. Social play is what clubs are all about. And without the clubs there would not be lawn bowling zones and districts and counties and provinces across the bowling world. The World Bowls federation would not exist. There would not be district or pennant competitions. There would be no International Competitions, there would be no lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games, nor would there be the World Indoor Bowls Tour.

Remember this every time you are sending a bowl down the green during tabs-in: you are the very foundation of this wonderful sport.