British and World Marbles Championship

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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,[1] 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 players from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Wales and United States have participated alongside the English teams.[2][3][4]

History[edit]

The Greyhound Inn Tinsley Green, West Sussex, venue for the British and World Marbles Championships - This scene from the 2016 tournament

The tournament dates back over four century's to 1588 [5] 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 named Joan.[6] Every popular sport of the day were contested, in an Olympic style contest lasting one week. Hodge had been victorious at singlestick, backsword, 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. With the score level at 6 - 6, Good Friday was the date chosen for the final event, and marbles was chosen by the girl to be the deciding game, and Giles defeated Hodge.[7]

Rules and marble "jargon"[edit]

The championships are organised by the British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC)[8] 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 6 foot diameter (1.8 metre)[9] raised concrete ring covered with sand. Each of the target marbles is a glass or ceramic sphere having a diameter of approximately 12mm (half an inch). Two teams of six players take turns to drive marbles off the ring by aiming a larger "shooter", also known as a "taw" or "tolley".[10] which is a glass or ceramic sphere of 18mm diameter (three-quarters of an inch). A player's knuckle must be touching the ground when shooting, known as "knuckling down". Moving the tolley closer to the target marbles "cabbaging" is forbidden, as is any forward or other advantageous movement of a players shooting hand during shooting, which constitutes a foul known as "fudging". Any intentional or persistent contact between a player's clothing and a marble or tolley while it is motion, commits a foul called "blocking". No score results from a foul shot, which automatically ends the turn of the offending player, though the score achieved in that turn stands. Any player who makes three foul shots during a game is eliminated from that game.[11] The first team to knock out 25 marbles from the ring is the winner.[12]

A Brief Historical Time-Line[edit]

  • 1588 - Giles defeated Hodge at marbles to claim his prize of the hand of a local young maiden of Tinsley Green.
  • 1888 - Sam Spooner wins the title on the 300th year of the event (according to British Pathé video 1938)[13]
  • 1932 – The Black Horse from Hookwood, were the first winners of the modern event.[14]
  • 1935 – 6 foot concrete ring used for the first time [15]
  • 1942 to 1945 – No tournaments took place due to the war.
  • March 1951 – The coldest recorded conditions for tournament when the Tinsley Green Tigers beat the Arundel Mullets in the final.
  • April 1962 - Glass marbles were used for the first time in place of older clay marbles.
  • March 1970 – Controversially the BMBC banned women from the main tournament because of the wearing of mini-skirts.[16]
  • April 1973 - Len Smith of the Toucon Terribles wins a record (and still unbeaten) 12th individual title [3]
  • March 1975 - Snow had to swept from the ring in temperatures of -2deg C.[17] The "Terribles" win a record 19th title.[3]
  • April 1977 - The tournament was moved to the Crawley Leisure Centre for one single time.
  • April 1987 – A Trophy was introduced for "the women's best individual player" and won by Jackie Hodge.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • 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.
  • September 2008 the Greyhound Pub, in Tinsley Green closed, only re-opening shortly before the next tournament.
  • April 2010 – Jen McGowan (formerly Jen LeBon) sets the standard for the ladies with a twelfth individual title.[18]
  • March 2013 – Crawley-based Black Dog Boozers win the tournament for a 13th time,[20] just 6 off the record of 19 set in 1975.[3]
  • April 2016 – The Johnson Jets set the record for being runners up in 10 finals, having won the tournament on just once.[9]

Championship results (1932 onwards)[edit]

Year Date Teams Team Winner Runners Up Individual Winner Best Lady Weather
1932 24 March 5 Black Horse - - - -
1933 14 April - - - - - -
1934 29 March 7 - - Jack Arnold - -
1935 19 April 4 Tinsley Green - Big Bert Botting - -
1936 10 April 4 Crawley Busmen Southern Railways F.S.'Champ'Harding - -
1937 26 April 6 Tinsley Green Rustington Rambles George Burberry - -
1938 15 April 5 Copthorne Crawley Busmen Tom Weekes - -
1939 21 April 8 Old Comrades Crawley Busmen Fred Rowe (C-ShShtrs) [7] - Sunny
1940 (A) 25 March 10 Copthorne Sharpshooters Old Comrades Fred Rowe (C-ShShtrs) - -
1940 (B) 22 March 2 Crawley Busmen The Army F.S.'Champ'Harding - -
1941 11 April 7 Copthorne Spitfires Crawley Busmen Jack Carman - -
1942 - 1945 no games
1946 19 April 7 Copthorne Sharpshooters Copthorne Spitfires Harry Langridge - -
1947 4 April 4 Copthorne Sharpshooters Crawley Tools Harry Langridge - Rain
1948 26 March 5 Copthorne Spitfires Copthorne Sharpshooters Harry Langridge - Fine
1949 15 April 6 Tinsley Green Tigers Arundel Mullets Harry Langridge - Sunny
1950 7 April 8 Arundel Mullets Tinsley Green Tigers Wee Willie Wright (TG Tigers) - Sunny
1951 23 March 4 Tinsley Green Tigers Arundel Mullets Big Bernard Wilcock - Very Cold
1952 11 April 6 Tinsley Green Tigers Handcross Bulldogs Cyril Wilcock - Best weather for years
1953 3 April 6 Tinsley Green Tigers Copthorne Spitfires Cyril Wilcock - -
1954 16 April 5 Tinsley Green Tigers Arundel Mullets Aurthur Chamberlain - Sunny and Cold
1955 8 April 8 Tinsley Green Tigers Rebels Wee Willie Wright - Fine
1956 30 March 6 The Casuals Tinsley Green Tigers Wee Willie Wright - Cold and Dry
1957 19 April 7 Telcon Terribles Rebels Wee Willie Wright - Dry
1958 4 April 6 Telcon Terribles Tinsley Tigers Len Smith (T-Terribles) [3] - Sunny and cold
1959 27 March 5 Telcon Terribles Tinsley Tigers Wee Willie Wright - Drizzley
1960 15 April 9 Telcon Terribles Tinsley Tigers Len Smith - -
1961 31 March 5 Telcon Terribles Tinsley Tigers Len Smith - -
1962 20 April 6 Telcon Terribles Rulslip Rat Pack Len Smith - Cold and windy
1963 12 April 7 Telcon Terribles Tolley Flickers Alan Smith( T-Terribles)[3] - Dull and Cold
1964 27 March 6 Toucon Terribles Tolley Flickers Len Smith - -
1965 16 April 4 Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Len Smith - -
1966 8 April 8 Toucon Terribles Us Alan Smith - -
1967 24 March 8 Toucon Terribles Boys of County Armagh Alan Smith - -
1968 12 April 6 Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Len Smith - -
1969 4 April 8 Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Len Smith - -
1970 27 March 10 Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Len Smith - -
1971 9 April 7 Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Len Smith - -
1972 31 March 9 Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Len Smith - -
1973 20 April 12 Toucon Terribles Pernod Rams Len Smith - -
1974 12 April 12 Toucon Terribles Pernod Rams Alan Smith - Rained Off
1975 28 March 16+ Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Alan Smith - Cold/Snow [17]
1976 16 April - Pernod Rams Toucon Terribles - - -
1977 8 April 9 Handcross Rebels Wessex Wottsits Jim Lay (W-Wottsits)[3] - Fine
1978 24 March 12 Brewery Shades Ifield Musketeers Bob Watts - Fine
1979 13 April 9 Handcross Rebels Talbots Tolleys Barry Ray (H-Rebels)[21] - Fine
1980 4 April 12 Black Dog Boozers Bow Street Fudgers Barry Ray - Sunny
1981 17 April 16 Black Dog Boozers Bow Street Fudgers Paddy Graham - Fine
1982 9 April 13 Bow Street Fudgers Addington Alcos Barry Ray - Sunny
1983 9 April 13 Bow Street Fudgers Handcross Rebels Barry Ray - Cold/Wet
1984 17 April 19 Bow Street Fudgers Black Dog Boozers Paddy Graham - Fine
1985 5 April 17 Black Dog Boozers Bow Street Fudgers Terry Gant - Wet
1986 28 March 22 Black Dog Boozers Bow Street Fudgers Ian Gardner - Fine
1987 17 April 25 Black Dog Boozers Punters Paddy Graham Jackie Hodge Sunny
1988 1 April 26 Black Dog Boozers Bow Street Fudgers Colin Gardner(BD-Boozers)[4] Jen LeBon Fine
1989 24 March 28 Black Dog Boozers Handcross Rebels Paddy Graham Eve Vine Fine
1990 13 April 22 Black Dog Boozers Moonshiners Tony Jones Jackie Staples Wet
1991 29 March 28 Moonshiners Black Dog Boozers Darren Ray Jen LeBon Fine
1992 17 April 22 TennKy Sharpshooters United States Lions De Lyon France Darren Ray Eve Vine Wet
1993 9 April 17 Moonshiners Handcross Rebels Darren Ray Jen LeBon Wet
1994 1 April 20 Black Dog Boozers Handcross Rebels Paddy Graham Alison Ray Wet
1995 14 April 15 Barrel Scrapers Black Dog Boozers Paul Smith Jen LeBon Sunny
1996 5 April 20 Black Dog Boozers Moonshiners Darren Ray Alison Ray Dry
1997 28 March 21 Handcross 49ers Black Dog Boozers Colin Gardner(BD-Boozers)[4] Jen LeBon Sunny but windy
1998 10 April 17 Black Dog Boozers Barrel Scrapers Simon Monahan Jen LeBon Wet
1999 2 April 21 Black Dog Boozers Handcross Rebels Simon Monahan Jen LeBon Fine/Sunny
2000 21 April 20 Team USA United States Barrel Scrapers England Simon Monahan Jen LeBon Fine/Sunny
2001 13 April 19 Johnson Jets England Handcross 49ers England Mark Parsons (J Jets)[22] Alison Reimer (H-49ers)[22] Fine/Sunny
2002 29 March 22 Saxonia Globe Snippers Germany Black Dog Boozers England Benny Mehnert Jen McGowan Fine/Sunny
2003 18 April 20 Saxonia Globe Snippers Germany 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Chris Pampel Jen McGowan Fine/Sunny
2004 9 April 27 Saxonia Globe Snippers Germany 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Chris Pampel Jen McGowan Fine/Sunny
2005 25 March 23 Barrel Scrapers England Handcross 49ers England Simon Monahan Susi Joswich Fine/Sunny
2006 14 April 23 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Handcross 49ers England Darren Ray Gabi Mühlisch Rain then fine/sunny
2007 6 April 23 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany 1st MC Erzgebirge II Germany Darren Ray Alison Reimer Warm and sunny
2008 21 March 21 Yorkshire Meds England 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Halim Tata (Y-Meds) [23] Leila Kara Sunny but cold, rain later
2009 10 April 16 Yorkshire Meds England Handcross 49ers England Halim Tata (Y-Meds)[23] Alison Reimer Wet
2010 2 April 19 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Handcross 49ers England Ian Gardner Jen McGowan Wet
2011 22 April 19 Yorkshire Meds England Handcross 49ers England Chris Pampel Leila Kara Sunny
2012 6 April 16 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Handcross 49ers England Chris Pampel Alison Reimer Cold
2013 29 March 13 Black Dog Boozers England Johnson Jets England Chris Pampel Alison Reimer Very cold
2014 18 April 14 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Handcross 49ers England Paul Smith [24] Leila Kara Sunny
2015 3 April 19 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Johnson Jets England Colin Gardner(BD-Boozers)[4] Alison Reimer Cold/Rainy
2016 25 March 18 Yorkshire Meds England[9] Johnson Jets England Paul Smith Leila Kara Warm and sunny

Celebrity involvement[edit]

Video History from 1938 to 2016[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "World Marbles Championship". International Business. 
  2. ^ "Have we lost our marbles? Australian champions 'Beavers On Fire And Marbles Are Burning' take part". The Guardian. 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1970s". Greyhound Marbles. 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d "World Marbles Championships held in Crawley". Crawley News. 2015. 
  5. ^ "Traditional Pub Games". Telegraph.co.uk. 
  6. ^ "Medieval Marble Tournament". Zen Marbles. 
  7. ^ a b c "1940s". Greyhound Marbles. 2016. 
  8. ^ "British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC)". Land of Marbles.com. 
  9. ^ a b c "British team defeats Germans to win World Marble Championship". Reuters. 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c "Greyhound Marbles". Greyhound Marbles. 2016. 
  11. ^ "Marble Rules as Played at Tinsley Green Championship". Museum of American Glass in West Virginia. 
  12. ^ "Player takes a shot at the 2012 Championship". tv.yahoo.com. 
  13. ^ "Marbles As Usual 1941". British Pathé. 1941. 
  14. ^ "Marble Massacre". tonsleyevents.co.uk. 
  15. ^ "1930s". Greyhound Marbles. 2016. 
  16. ^ "Mini Skirts banned from Marble Championships 30th March 1970". news.google.com. 
  17. ^ a b "Easter Holiday Weather Summaries: 1958 - 1989". Martin Rowley for booty.org.uk. 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c "All the winners". Greyhound Marbles. 2016. 
  19. ^ "The Marble Super-dome of Monroe county, Kentucky". GoNOMAD. 
  20. ^ "Black Dog Boozers win a record 13th Title". This is Sussex. April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Meet the beer-swilling competitors at the world marbles championship". Vice.com. 8 April 2015. 
  22. ^ a b "Tinsley Green Championships 2001". Museum of American Glass. 2008. 
  23. ^ a b "VIDEO: Leeds family on a roll...world marbles champs again". Yorkshire Evening Post. 2009. 
  24. ^ "Germans victorious as a marble-ous time was had by all". Crawley Observer. 23 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "1960s". Greyhound Marbles. 2016.