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 teams from Algeria, France, Germany, Netherlands, Estonia, Japan, USA and Australia [2] [3] have participated alongside the British teams.

History[edit]

The Greyhound Inn Tinsley Green, West Sussex, venue for the Annual World Marbles Championships.

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.[4] 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.[5]

Rules of the game[edit]

The championships are organised by the British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC)[6] 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", also known as a "taw" or "tolley".[7] 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.[8]

A Brief Historical Time-Line[edit]

  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]
  • 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. The British and World Marbles Championship faced 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[12]
  • 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[13]
  • 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.[14]

Championship results (1932 to 2014)[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 - Sunny
1940 (A) 25 March 10 Copthorne Sharpshooters Old Comrades Fred Rowe
1940 (B) 22 March 2 Crawley Busmen The Army F.S.'Champ'Harding
1941 11 April 7 Copthorne Spitfires Crawley Busmen Jack Carmen
1942 3 April no games
1943 23 April no games
1944 7 April no games
1945 30 March no games
1946 19 April 7 Copthorne Sharpshooters Copthorne Spitfires Harry Langridge
1946 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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - Toucon Terribles Johnson Jets Alan Smith - Cold/Snow
1976 16 April - Pernod Rams Toucon Terribles - - -
1977 8 April 9 Handcross Rebels Wessex Wottsits Jim Lay - Fine
1978 24 March 12 Brewery Shades Ifield Musketeers Bob Watts - Fine
1979 13 April 9 Handcross Rebels Talbots Tolleys Barry Ray - 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 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 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 Alison Reimer 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 Sunny and warm
2008 21 March 21 Yorkshire Meds England 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Halim Tata Leila Kara Sunny but cold, rain later
2009 10 April 16 Yorkshire Meds England Handcross 49ers England Halim Tata 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 Leila Kara Sunny
2015 3 April 19 1st MC Erzgebirge Germany Johnson Jets England Colin Gardener Alison Reimer Cold/Rainy [3]
2016 25 March

Video History (Championships from 2008 to 2015)[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]