British and World Marbles Championship
This ancient event takes place each year on Good Friday and has been played annually in its current format, since 1932 at the Greyhound public house in Tinsley Green, West Sussex, is a team event, where teams of six players participate in a knock-out tournament to win the title and a silver trophy. The event is open to anyone of any age or nationality and over the years teams from France, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, USA and Australia  have participated alongside the British teams.
The tournament dates back over four century's to 1588 during the reign of Elizabeth I, when marbles was chosen to be the deciding game of a legendary sporting encounter between two young suitors, Giles and Hodge, over the hand of a Tinsley Green milk maiden. Every popular sport of the day were contested, in an Olympic style contest lasting one week. Hodge had been victorious at single-stick, back-sword, quarter-staff, cudgel-play wrestling and cock throwing, while Giles was successful in winning the archery, cricket-a-wicket, tilting at quintain (jousting targets), Turk’s head, stoolball and tipcat. Good Friday was the date chosen for the final and marbles chosen by the girl to be the deciding game, and Giles defeated Hodge.
Rules of the game
The championships are organised by the British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC) and the version of marbles played is "Ring Taw", known in USA as "Ringer" and in Germany as "Englisches Ringspiel". Forty-nine target marbles are grouped closely together on raised concrete ring measuring 6 ft (2 m) in diameter. The playing surface of the ring is approximately 3 inches above the level of the ground and is covered in sharp sand at the start each game. Each of the target marbles is a glass or ceramic sphere having a diameter of approximately half an inch. Two teams of six players take turns to drive marbles off the ring by aiming a larger "shooter" marble called the "tolley" at. A Tolley is a glass or ceramic sphere having a diameter no more than three-quarters of an inch. A player's knuckle has to be in touch with the ground when he or she shoots, which is called "knuckling down". Only the thumb can be used to direct the tolley. Moving the tolley closer to the target marbles is banned and known as "cabbaging" which is cheating. Any forward or other advantageous movement of a players shooting hand during shooting constitutes a foul known as "fudging". Any intentional or persistent contact between a player or his or her clothing and a marble, another player's tolley or his own tolley while it is motion constitutes a foul known as "blocking". No score results from a foul shot, which automatically terminates the turn of the offending player, but he or she retains any score achieved in that turn, prior to the foul shot. Any player who makes three foul shots during a game is automatically eliminated and takes no further part in that game. The first team to knock out 25 marbles from the ring is the winner.
A Brief Historical Time-Line
- 1588 - Giles defeated Hodge to win the deciding event "marbles", to claim his prize of the hand of a local young maiden of Tinsley Green.
- 1932 – The Black Horse from Hookwood, were the first winners of the modern event in which five teams competed for the trophy.
- 1942 to 1945 – No tournaments took place due to the war.
- March 1951 – The coldest recorded conditions for tournament which was won by the Tinsley Green Tigers beating Arundel Mullets in the final.
- April 1962 - Glass marbles were used for the first time in place of older clay ones.
- March 1970 – Controversially the British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC), banned women from the main tournament because of the wearing of mini-skirts. A separate event was held for women and children. This was later to be retracted and indeed ladies and children do now take part.
- March 1972 – Of the nine teams to enter, two were all-female, the Prima Donnas from Crawley and the Kernockers, who were the wives of the Blue Beats, policemen from London. It was said that the ladies took too long to take their shots, even the referee had to apply the time limit to the games they played.
- April 1973 - Len Smith sets the standard by winning his 12th individual title.
- March 1975 - The weather was so cold, the snow had to swept from the ring before play commenced.
- April 1977 - One faction attempted to revolutionize the sport, by introducing Astroturf and electronic scoreboards, and moving the tournament to Crawley Leisure Centre. The BMBC refused to move the event from the Greyhound and held a rival event with two teams of Morris Men. The Greyhound as a venue proved to be more popular venue and carried on the tradition from then on.
- April 1987 – A Trophy was introduced for "the women's best individual player" and won by Jackie Hodge.
- 1989 and 1991 – Highest number of teams ever entered, 28 teams of six totalling 168 players competing.
- March 1992 – The TennKy Sharpshooters from Tennessee and Kentucky, USA are the first overseas team to win the trophy.
- April 2000 – Team USA won the title with a team made up almost entirely of shooters under the age of 18.
- April 2002 – Saxonia Globe Snippers become the first German team to win the tournament.
- March 2008 the Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Sally Blake, unveiled a blue heritage plaque from Crawley Arts Council, commemorating the continuing importance of the Greyhound and the Marbles tournament to local history.
- September 2008 the Greyhound Pub, in Tinsley Green closed. With the British and World Marbles Championship facing an uncertain future, but the pub was soon open again in time for the next tournament.
- October 2010 – The tournament has its own article in Wikipedia.
- July 2011 - Greyhound Marbles website launched by Sam McCarthy-Fox of the BMBC
- March 2013 – Crawley-based Black Dog Boozers win the tournament for a record 13th time, passing the record of 12 set by Toucon Terribles between 1964 and 1975
- April 2014 – The Handcross 49ers equal the Johnson Jets record of both being eight times runners up. Both teams have won the tournament on just a single occasion.
Championship results (1932 to 2014)
Video History (Championships from 2008 to 2014)
- British and World Marbles championship video 2008 by YouTube
- British and World Marbles championship video 2010 Sky News Intro
- British and World Marbles championship video 2011 by ITN
- British and World Marbles championship video 2011 by YouTube
- British and World Marbles championship video 2013 by YouTube
- British and World Marbles championship video 2013 by 3news NZ
- British and World Marbles championship video 2014 by YouTube
- "World Marbles Championship". International Business.
- Ronay, Barney (26 March 2008). "Have we lost our marbles? Australian champions 'Beavers On Fire And Marbles Are Burning' who took the Australian title at the Coonanbarabran Open take part". London: The Guardian , March 2008.
- "Medieval Marble Tournament". Zen Marbles.
- "Tinsley Green Marble Tournament is born". Greyhoundmarbles.com.
- "British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC)". Land of Marbles.com.
- "Rules". greyhoundmarbles.com.
- "Player takes a shot at the 2012 Championship". tv.yahoo.com.
- "Marble Massacre". tonsleyevents.co.uk.
- "Mini Skirts banned from Marble Championships 30th March 1970". news.google.com.
- "Tinsley Green Championships (Snow 1975)". West Virginia Museum of American Glass Ltd Sept 2008.
-  http://www.greyhoundmarbles.com
- "Black Dog Boozers win a record 13th Title". Thisissussex,April 2013.
- "Germans victorious as a marble-ous time was had by all". Crawley Observer. 23 April 2014.