British and World Marbles Championship
Marbles being played at the 2016 British and World Marbles Championship
|Highest governing body||the British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC)|
|Type||Pub games, Precision sports|
|Equipment||49 marbles 12mm dia, tolley 18mm dia, concrete ring 6ft dia covered with sand|
The British and World Marbles Championship is a marbles knock-out tournament that takes place annually on Good Friday and dates back to 1588. It is held at the Greyhound public house in Tinsley Green, West Sussex. Teams of six players participate to win the title and a silver trophy. The event is open to anyone of any age or nationality. Over the years, players from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Wales and the United States have participated alongside English teams.
The tournament dates back to 1588 during the reign of Elizabeth I, when marbles was chosen as 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. Every popular sport of the day was played 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 had won at 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. Marbles was chosen by the girl to be the deciding game, and Giles defeated Hodge.
Rules, marble "jargon" and tactics
The championships are organized by the British Marbles Board of Control (BMBC) and the version of marbles played is "Ring Taw", known in the United States as "Ringer" and in Germany as "Englisches Ringspiel". Forty-nine target marbles are grouped closely together in 6-foot diameter (1.8-metre) raised concrete ring covered with sand, each of the target marbles being a coloured glass or ceramic sphere having a diameter of approximately 12mm (half an inch).
Two teams of six players of any age, gender or skill level, take turns using the tip of the finger to aim and project the "tolley", a larger marble (commonly referred to as the "shooter" or "taw"), which is a glass or ceramic sphere of 18mm diameter (three-quarters of an inch), deploying top spin, back spin and side spin, to drive other marbles out of the ring.
A player's knuckle must be touching the ground when shooting, known as "knuckling down". Moving the tolley closer to the target marbles, known as "cabbaging", is forbidden - as is any other advantageous movement of a players shooting hand during shooting. These would constitute a foul known as "fudging". Any intentional or persistent contact between a player's clothing and a marble or tolley while it is motion would be a foul called "blocking". No score results from a foul shot. A foul shot 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. The first team to knock out 25 marbles from the ring is the winner.
- 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)
- 1932 – The Black Horse from Hookwood, were the first winners of the modern event.
- 1935 – 6-foot concrete ring used for the first time
- 1942–1945 – No tournaments took place due to World War II.
- 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.
- April 1973 – Len Smith of the Toucon Terribles wins a record (and still unbeaten) 12th individual title
- March 1975 – Snow had to swept from the ring in temperatures of −2 °C. The "Terribles" win a record 19th title.
- 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.
- 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 are the first overseas team to win the trophy.
- April 2000 – Team USA won the international Fen Cup 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.
- March 2013 – Crawley-based Black Dog Boozers win the tournament for a 13th time, just 6 off the record of 19 set in 1975.
- March 2018 – The Johnson Jets set the record for being runners up 11 times, having won the tournament just twice.
- April 2019 – 1st MC Erzgebirge's victory means German teams have won the tournament on eleven occasions.
- April 2019 – Black Dog Boozers reach the final a 20th time, equalling the achievement by Telcon/Toucon Terribles.
- 2020 – The event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Championship results (1932 onwards)
|Year||Date||Teams||Team winner||Runners up||Individual winner||Best Lady||Weather|
|1932||24 March||5||Black Horse||–||–||–||–|
|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)||–||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 (WW II)||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|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)||–||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)||–||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|
|1976||16 April||–||Pernod Rams||Toucon Terribles||–||–||–|
|1977||8 April||9||Handcross Rebels||Wessex Wottsits||Jim Lay (W-Wottsits)||–||Fine|
|1978||24 March||12||Brewery Shades||Ifield Musketeers||Bob Watts||–||Fine|
|1979||13 April||9||Handcross Rebels||Talbots Tolleys||Barry Ray (H-Rebels)||–||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 and 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)||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||Lions De Lyon||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)||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||Black Dog Boozers||Barrel Scrapers||Simon Monahan||Jen LeBon||Fine/sunny|
|2001||13 April||19||Johnson Jets||Handcross 49ers||Mark Parsons (J Jets)||Alison Reimer (H-49ers)||Fine/sunny|
|2002||29 March||22||Saxonia Globe Snippers||Black Dog Boozers||Benny Mehnert||Jen McGowan||Fine/sunny|
|2003||18 April||20||Saxonia Globe Snippers||1st MC Erzgebirge||Chris Pampel||Jen McGowan||Fine/sunny|
|2004||9 April||27||Saxonia Globe Snippers||1st MC Erzgebirge||Chris Pampel||Jen McGowan||Fine/sunny|
|2005||25 March||23||Barrel Scrapers||Handcross 49ers||Simon Monahan||Susi Joswich||Fine/sunny|
|2006||14 April||23||1st MC Erzgebirge||Handcross 49ers||Darren Ray||Gabi Mühlisch||Rain then fine/sunny|
|2007||6 April||23||1st MC Erzgebirge||1st MC Erzgebirge II||Darren Ray||Alison Reimer||Warm and sunny|
|2008||21 March||21||Yorkshire Meds||1st MC Erzgebirge||Halim Tata (Y-Meds)||Leila Kara||Sunny but cold, rain later|
|2009||10 April||16||Yorkshire Meds||Handcross 49ers||Halim Tata (Y-Meds)||Alison Reimer||Wet|
|2010||2 April||19||1st MC Erzgebirge||Handcross 49ers||Ian Gardner||Jen McGowan||Wet|
|2011||22 April||19||Yorkshire Meds||Handcross 49ers||Chris Pampel||Leila Kara||Sunny|
|2012||6 April||16||1st MC Erzgebirge ||Handcross 49ers ||Chris Pampel||Alison Reimer||Cold|
|2013||29 March||13||Black Dog Boozers||Johnson Jets||Chris Pampel||Alison Reimer||Very cold|
|2014||18 April||14||1st MC Erzgebirge||Handcross 49ers||Paul Smith||Leila Kara||Sunny|
|2015||3 April||19||1st MC Erzgebirge||Johnson Jets||Colin Gardner(BD-Boozers)||Alison Reimer||Cold and rainy|
|2016||25 March||18||Yorkshire Meds ||Johnson Jets||Paul Smith||Leila Kara||Warm and sunny|
|2017||14 April||15||Johnson Jets ||Yorkshire Meds ||Chris Pampel||Alison Reimer||Dry but cold at times|
|2018||30 March||18||Saxonia Globe Snippers ||Johnson Jets||Chris Pampel||Alison Reimer||Heavy rain all day|
|2019||19 April||–||1st MC Erzgebirge ||Black Dog Boozers||–||–||Hot and sunny|
|2020||Event cancelled (COVID-19)||–||–||–||–||–||–|
Roll of honour
|Multiple Winners : Telcon/Toucon Terribles 19, Black Dog Boozers 13, Tinsley Green/ Tigers 8, 1st MC Erzgebirge 7, Yorkshire Meds 4, Saxonia Globe Snippers 4, Copthorne Sharpshooters 3, Bow Street Fudgers 3, Crawley Busmen 2, Copthorne Spitfires 2, Handcross Rebels 2, Moonshiners 2, Johnson Jets 2.|
|Multiple Finalists : Telcon/Toucon Terribles 20, Black Dog Boozers 20, Tinsley Green/ Tigers 14, Johnson Jets 13, 1st MC Erzgebirge 10, Handcross 49ers 9, Bow Street Fudgers 8, Handcross Rebels 7, Crawley Busmen 5, Yorkshire Meds 5, Arundel Mullets 4, Barrel Scrapers 4, Copthorne Sharpshooters 4, Copthorne Spitfires 4, Moonshiners 4, Saxonia Globe Snippers 4, Pernod Rams 3, Old Comrades 2.|
|Individual multiple Champions : Len Smith 12, Chris Pampel 7, Darren Ray 6, Wee Willie Wright 5, Alan Smith 5, Paddy Graham 5, Harry Langridge 4, Barry Ray 4, Simon Monahan 4, Colin Gardner 3, Paul Smith 3, Ian Gardner 2, Halim Tata 2, Cyril Wilcock 2, F.S.'Champ' Harding 2, Fred Rowe 2.|
|Individual Lady Champions : Jen McGowan(LeBon) 12, Alison Reimer(Ray) 10, Leila Kara 4, Eve Vine 2, Jackie Staples(Hodge) 2, Susi Joswich 1, Gabi Mühlisch 1.|
- 1947 – Laurel and Hardy – Comedy double act
- 1948 – Jack Warner (actor) – English film and television actor (Dixon of Dock Green)
- 1964 – Jackie Rae – Television presenter (The Golden Shot host)
- 1974 – Tricia Ingrams – TV news presenter (Capital Radio/ITN/Thames News)
- 1976 – Dave Allen – Irish comedian
- 1980–2000s ?? – Chris Tarrant – TV & Radio presenter (Tiswas, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Capital Radio Host)
- 1980–2000s ?? – Tom Watt – Actor (Lofty from EastEnders) and Radio sports journalist
- 2009 – Rory McGrath – Comedian and writer and captain on They Think It's All Over (TV series)
- 2009 – Paddy McGuinness – Comedian and TV presenter of Take Me Out (UK game show)
- 2015 – Henning Wehn – German comedian on Germany winning the World Marbles Championship (at 2 mins 40 seconds)
Other marbles championships
Many countries host national marbles championships, one of note however is the Australian Indoor Marbles Championships, hosted in the town of Parkes, New South Wales. The current 2017 Australian Champions are a team by the name of "Balls Deeper", including legendary players Mike Wood, Brad Mill, Andrew Wotton and Matt Allan.
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- "The full results from The 2018 British and World Marbles Championship". Facebook. 2 April 2018.
- "The 2019 British and World Marbles Championship". Britclip. 19 April 2019.
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- 1938 British and World Marbles championship video preview by British Pathé
- 1941 British and World Marbles championship video preview by British Pathé
- 1962 British and World Marbles championship video preview by British Pathé
- 2008 British and World Marbles championship video by YouTube
- 2011 British and World Marbles championship video by YouTube
- 2013 British and World Marbles championship video by YouTube
- 2015 British and World Marbles championship video by BYN TV News on YouTube
- 2015 British and World Marbles championship video by World Wide weird on YouTube
- 2016 British and World Marbles championship video by Britclip on YouTube
- 2017 British and World Marbles championship video by Trans World Sport on YouTube
- 2018 British and World Marbles championship video by Britclip on YouTube
- 2019 British and World Marbles championship video by Britclip on YouTube