A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WEST SUSSEX BOWLS TOURING CLUB
In early 1955 a group of 30 bowlers got together and arranged a bowls tour. Under the directorship of Chairman / Captain A. G. Smart of the Tithe Green BC and Secretary C. J. Uncles from Worthing Pavilion BC, they left Worthing Central Railway Station on 15th May 1955 by coach and headed for the Royal Hotel, Weymouth. The next day Greenhill BC in Weymouth played host to the clubs first
tour match – against Weymouth and District.
On this first tour they travelled under the name of ‘The West Sussex Tourists’ and so successful was the week that it was decided to put the tour on an official footing and accordingly a meeting was called for 21st July 1955.
Mr. Artlett of the Maltravers club was elected President and a name of the Sussex Martlets Bowls Touring Club was agreed. By November 1955 the club name had been changed to it’s current title of the West Sussex Bowls Touring Club, Sussex County BA having objected to any club prefixing it’s name with the word Sussex.
On the odd occasion the club has wanted to host matches and the Worthing Pavilion Club have generously allowed us to stage these on their wonderful greens. In 2005 we hosted a 50th Anniversary match against the English Bowling Association and we played Sussex County in both 2005 and 2015.
Since formation the club have toured every year and a total of 336 members have enjoyed. bowling with the club on their annual jaunts. This remarkable touring record came to an end in 2020 due to the awful Coronavirus Pandemic. A remarkable 18 members have each toured on 20 or more occasions. Our 2019 tour saw our club secretary Chris Rolph create a new touring record having
travelled 36 times. The previous record holder Ken Armstrong went on 35 tours before he passed away in May 2014. Steve Hawkes and Cecil Wadey have each toured on 32 occasions. Graham Allen, Alan Catterson and Harry Gosnell have been on 25. Geoff Armstrong, Roger Ayling, Ron Hyam, Cecil Salisbury and Charles Walkden 23, Wally Edwards and Ted Lane 22. Bill Bryder, David Dallyn, Joe Gilpin and Kevin Mitchell having achieved 21.
WE MUST SURELY BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!
To view a spreadsheet of the results of all games played on tour since 1955 (up to and including our 2019 tour) please click WSBTC – results etc
To view a spreadsheet of all the members who have toured with the club and the years they travelled (1955-2019) please click WSBTC – tours travelled 1955 to date
To view a spreadsheet of all members the club have had since formation in 1955 please click WSBTC – record of membership (1955 to date) 21.05.25
To view a spreadsheet of all members of the club management committee please click WSBTC – officers and committee – 1955 to 2021
ARE WE THE CLUB FOR YOU?
You are interested in becoming a member?
Some information about the club that may help you make your mind up as to whether joining us is for you.
The club was formed in 1955 by a group of bowlers from in and around Littlehampton and Worthing. The sole purpose of the club was to provide social recreation and a bowling holiday for male bowlers. Nothing has changed since these early days except that the club has developed a regular ‘non tour’ fixture list in both the Outdoor and Indoor seasons.
We have been lucky enough to have had in our membership no less than four Sussex County Bowling Association Presidents, three Sussex County Indoor Presidents, at least three Sussex County selectors, our members have won numerous County Competitions and three National Titles.
Although competitive on the green we pride ourselves on being a club for all standards literally from beginners to National Champion. We believe our club has a tremendous reputation for camaraderie both on and off the green and this is paramount in the thoughts of the committee when reviewing applications from new members. Potential members must at the time of their application be a member of a Bowling Club within the County boundary of West Sussex or be a member of a club from outside West Sussex but be resident within West Sussex.
Applicants should be aware that the club is run for members who wish to: a) travel on our annual tour(we usually leave Sussex on the second Saturday in May). b) partake in our ‘non tour friendly’ matches and invited ‘opens’ both indoor and outdoor. c) have an interest in attending our annual dinner (usually the first Friday in May). d) enjoy themselves in the company of likeminded bowlers. The club wear Burgundy coloured shirts (and Burgundy coloured jumpers if one is worn) for all their matches and upon acceptance to the club details will be given re purchase of the garments.
If after reading all the above information you feel the club is right for you please click WSBTC – application form and info page to download an application form. Alternatively please contact the Honorary Secretary on 07876/538583.
THE THOUGHTS OF PRESIDENTS NED (updated on 24th September 2021)
Hello my fellow tourists, what a long time ago the 21st March 2020 seems now. In case you have forgotten that was the date lockdown started, doesn’t it seem a lifetime ago? Two tours cancelled and many dear friends no longer with us. This summer saw the return to some sort of normality with the WSBTC being able to play triples against most of the clubs in our area, the last being today (Friday the 24th September) against the Grasshoppers.
Next year we will tour again, please God. Chris has arranged for us to visit clubs in and around the Ipswich area and stay at the Best Western Copdock Hotel. I remember staying at this hotel (when known as The Elizabethan) on my first tour many moons ago. I enjoyed that tour and have continued to enjoy the tours ever since. What great characters I have had the pleasure of meeting over the intervening years, some gone but never forgotten. I am sure the thought of setting out next May will help us all through the dark winter months which are just around the corner.
It’s sad to see so many clubs struggling with their membership numbers. Even we are below our normal numbers but thankfully we have recently recruited three ‘newbies’ and have applications in from a few more. Long may the interest of West Sussex bowlers continue with our wonderful club.
I am sitting here having just finished my breakfast looking out at another beautiful late summer’s day and trying to think of something else to say. All that comes to mind is the hard work Chris and Roger put in to make sure we all enjoy our great club. I know you will all want to join me in saying a big thank you to them.
I look forward to seeing you all at the indoor games and enjoying a glass and some banter as we always do.
God Bless you all
CAPTAIN ROGER’S RAMBLINGS (updated on 20th August 2021)
Gentleman, it has been great to be back out on the green, and to see the lads having a laugh, with lots of banter. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves after such a torrid time.
We won our first 4 matches with a total score of 397-312, which was very pleasing. Then came the Pavilion game and as most of you know, I picked the original team and by the time the match took place I had a total of 14 changes. Thanks very much to all the lads who rallied around to help me and the club out. We did eventually end up with 19 on the day. We lost 86-121, but once again, a good time was had by all. I have to say, the cream tea was very good and I think was enjoyed by all.
The next match is against Storrington, then Worthing and a meal match against Grasshoppers. I hope as many as possible can attend these matches. Please let me know your availability for the last few games so that I don’t have the problem I had with the Pavilion game.
I hope you are all well, best wishes and keep safe.
P.S. Don’t forget your availability forms for the indoor season in starting in October, it will soon be upon us!! Thankyou
CLUB CALENDAR 2021/22/23 (updated on 25th May 2021)
To view the club calendar of events for 2020/21 please click this link: WSBTC – calendar 2021.22.23 as at 21.05.25
2019 TOUR CHAMPION – Steve Hawkes
Tour champion (for the 4th time) with his trophy is Steve Hawkes.
OUR RECORD BREAKING TOURIST – Chris Rolph
Chris Rolph being presented with his engraved trophy to commemorate his attaining a club record of 36 consecutive tours. Paul Armstrong the son of the previous record holder Ken Armstrong travelled to Tenby to present the award.
The club is pleased to announce that Roger Parsons has been elected an Honorary Life Vice President. Roger has been a member since October 2000 and has toured with us on 11 occasions. Roger would normally have received his certificate at the AGM – usually held in November. The club, due to Covid, have cancelled the AGM and Roger will formally receive his certificate at the first major club event (annual dinner, tour or AGM).