A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WEST SUSSEX BOWLS TOURING CLUB
In early 1955 a group of thirty 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 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’. At a committee meeting held in October that year the Hon.Secretary reported that the Worthing Pavilion BC had agreed that our members could affiliate to their club and use their facilities. During 2001 ‘Pavilion’ offered the tourists the use of their greens should we wish to host other clubs. We took advantage of this kind offer by hosting matches in 2005 against both Sussex County BA and the English BA and in 2015 our 60th Anniversary Year we again played Sussex County (Men) at Worthing Pavilion.
The club have toured every year since and a total of 336 members have enjoyed bowling with the club on their annual jaunts. This remarkable touring record has in 2020 come to and end due to this awful Corona-virus, let us all hope that nothing gets in the way of our 2021 tour in Paignton. 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) 20.07.23
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, one Sussex County Indoor President, 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.
PRESIDENTS RAMBLINGS (updated on 10th October 2020)
My dear friends of WSBTC, what unprecedented times we are all living through. It makes you long for what was once normal, a fact which I for one took for granted. It is with great sadness that I mention first our dear departed companions David, Joe and Ray They were all great characters and lovely human beings who I am sure will be sadly missed by us all.
It is difficult to find something positive to write about at this time so again I will try to remember some happy days on tour and look forward to when we can all be together again.
One of my early tours took us to stay at an hotel outside Ipswich which must be about 11 years ago. There was a bowling green not far from the hotel and it was a lovely sunny Saturday. We played against a mixed team and I still remember what fun it was playing there. The ladies were really good sports and a lot of banter went on between them and the West Sussex lads. Another game that sticks in my mind was the one at Topsham on our Exmouth tour when I was lead for Big Pat. When you got on the mat and saw Pat at the other end it either frightened the ‘sh.t’ out of you or you played the game of your life. In reality though he was a gentle giant who is now sadly in poor health. I was looking at some old photographs recently and there before my eyes was ‘THE GLOVE’. This glove became famous amongst the ‘Bognor Mafia’ because it belonged to the one and only ‘Lovely to see you dear boy’ Norman. I remember Norman telling me he was getting a glove to wear when bowling because he was having difficulty holding his woods. I knew he would get a lot of stick and he did from almost everyone, Del Boy being relentless. After much piss taking before the game Norman wore the glove for the first 10 ends. During tea I took many photo’s of the glove on Norman’s hand. The laughter never stopped and the glove disappeared there and then. Over time a sheet with a picture of the glove went up on the Bognor Bowls Club notice board asking if anyone had seen the infamous glove and the laughter would start up all over again.
Over the summer six of the Bognor lads have been meeting up on a Friday morning for a couple of hours and what lovely summer weather we have had. Keeping within the Covid guidelines of six meeting outside, we met for a coffee and a brandy or two and reminisced about the tours and the world in general. Our Captain Roger has been invited a few times but only made a couple of appearances because of his gardening and beating. These little get togethers have been of great help to us all during these difficult times and we intend to continue with them during the winter months. Lots of stories about the WSBTC are talked about and we all look forward to the time when we can tour together again.
Winter well and please God the tour in 2021 will go ahead, the venue being Paignton in a great hotel called The Queens. I look forward to seeing you all then. God bless you all
CAPTAINS CHATTER (updated on 5th May 2020)
Gentlemen our cancelled tour just days away and I’ve been reminiscing about some of the fun times we’ve had on past tours. I hope some of you remember them as fondly as I do.
The time we visited Topsham on a gloriously sunny and warm day with everyone watching sitting under those large umbrellas that poke through the middle of the tables. Suddenly a mini tornado arrived sending chairs and tables everywhere and one umbrella sailed over the perimeter wall never to be seen again. I can confirm though that the table Joe Gilpin was sitting at did get blown away but not before Joe saved every last drop of his Light & Bitter.
Big Pat Graysmark coming down to dinner dressed as a Viking at The Manor in Exmouth.
We arrived to play at Exmouth Madeira and there was hardly anyone there from the home club. Anyway this one chap sitting in the bar with his wife pointed to the indoor green and said you change in there guys. Whilst changing everyone was talking about this chap who directed them looking like Brian Butler of Chichester and saying maybe he has relations down this way etc. It took a while but eventually everyone realised it was Brian Butler. So funny at the time.
Sheepy, suffering with terrible toothache and Barry Fitch feeding him strong painkillers and getting him as high as a kite.
Playing with the Armstrong twins, throwing wet tissues out of the bedroom at them across the road.
But the highlight for me must be again back at Exmouth on Harrison’s first tour when Ray Roberts was meant to be looking after him. He sneaked off to town one morning with me, C Thru and Sheepy and we got him to sit on a bench in the middle of the shops and ring Ray almost in tears saying he was lost and frightened. Ray left his morning coffee in the hotel lounge and came running round the town centre to find him. The rest of us hid in a shop and waited for a Ray to arrive. When he got to Harrison we came rushed out of the shop laughing our heads off. The air was blue from Ray. The best bit is we were videoing it and can be seen on the West Sussex Bowls Facebook page (have a look). You’ve been framed would have been proud of the stunt.
Another favourite of mine was when one evening I chatted up the hotel receptionist and got hold of the keys to Uncle Cecil and Roger Lucking’s room. I turned all their furniture around to face the wall. I also took all bedding off the beds and re-made them the wrong way round. I can visualise them now coming back to their rooms to go to bed after an evening of Grouse and Gin & Tonics and trying to sort things out.
If anyone else has any good memories to share, please let Chris know. I trust you enjoyed my little look back at some of our tour funnies.
Remember those of you who were due to tour this coming Saturday at about 10:00 we should have been in The Hinton Arms at Hinton Apner enjoying a few early morning drinks and a Bacon Roll. I suggest maybe at home you have a late breakfast (Bacon Sandwich) and wash it down in the clubs time honoured tradition when away on the first day of a tour.
Stay safe everyone.
CLUB CALENDAR 2020/21 (updated on 4th November 2020)
To view the club calendar of events for 2020/21 please click this link: WSBTC – calendar 2020.21 as at 20.11.04
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).