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. The close links with the Worthing Pavilion club still exist today with our club holding Committee and Annual General Meetings in their clubhouse. 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 326 members have enjoyed bowling with the club on their annual jaunts. Our 2014 tour saw Ken Armstrong extend his club record when he travelled for the 35th time. Sadly Ken passed away just a week after returning from Tenby. Close behind Ken having toured on 34 occasions is our Hon. Secretary Chris Rolph of Adur IBC. Cecil Wadey from Petworth BC has toured on 32 occasions. Remarkably with the 2017 tour being our 63rd Ken, Chris and Cecil have now each travelled on more than 50% of our club tours. This years tour (Bournemouth) saw Chris administer his 30th tour as Hon. Secretary! Besides the three gentlemen named above the club can boast another twelve who have been on twenty or more tours. Steve Hawkes 30, Harry Gosnell 25, Graham Allen, Geof Armstrong, Alan Catterson, Ron Hyam, Cecil Salisbury and Charles Walkden 23, Wally Edwards, and Ted Lane 22, Roger Ayling and Dave Dallyn 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 2017 tour) please click WSBTC – results etc
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, 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 bowlers who wish to:
a) Travel on our annual tour (usually leave Sussex on the 2nd Saturday in May).
b) Partake in our ‘non tour’ matches and invited ‘opens’ both indoor and outdoor.
c) Have an interest in attending our annual dinner (usually 1st Friday in May).
d) Enjoy themselves in the company of like minded 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 to members 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 via the email link on the Officers page.
PRESIDENTS RAMBLINGS (updated on 18th January 2018)
Hello and a very happy new year to you all, my fellow West Sussex Tourist members. 2018, yet another year in the history of our wonderful club. I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think that it is just 10 years since I joined the tourists and I have been lucky enough to rise to the top of the pile now as your President. At this time I thought it appropriate to give you all a short update on how it came to pass that I joined the club.
I made application to join towards the back end of 2007 and was elected in March 2008 (I am indeed indebted to Ron Friday and Barry Horsley who proposed and seconded me and set me on this wonderful journey).
My first tour was in 2009 when the club travelled for the first time to Ipswich in Suffolk. We were based at a very good hotel in Copdock a couple of miles outside the town. I was a little apprehensive being the only member to come from the Bognor Regis club (yes, how things have changed over these 10 years). There were two players from Hotham who I knew well (Dinger and Del boy) but the ‘Bognor Mafia’ didn’t exist back then!
I was very lucky to be allocated to a table that included ‘the very nice man’ (I’m sure most of you know who I mean). He introduced me into the ways of the West Sussex Tourists for which I will always be grateful.
Our first game on that tour was at Copdock BC (a small village club almost opposite the hotel). They were a mixed team but the ladies were up for a ‘bit of banter’ The club had no bar but brought all the drink in special and when they ran out (by halftime) they went out and bought some more and restocked.
I also remember fondly the game at Felixstowe BC, the green was surrounded by beach huts. I’m sure you all remember the wind that day it was the worst I’ve ever known to play bowls in coming right off the seafront. I was bar runner that day for Dinger, Del Boy and Barry (H) and was handed a small plastic bag with the kitty money it. On the way to the bar on one visit the damn bag split and the money went everywhere. I recovered what I could and duly delivered their beers. I watched the game for a while and decided to walk into Felixstowe. The first charity shop I passed had a purse in the window for sale at only 50p. It was a lovely shade of pink and I bought it for Del thinking it would create a laugh when I handed him back the kitty that evening. Del loved it and so ‘the Pink Purse Club’ was formed. To think it has so quickly become part of the club ‘legend’.
I have enjoyed all the 9 tours I have made so far and can recall so many magic moments – Big Pat’s ‘titanic’ stunt springs to mind but there have been so many (and I hope more to come). There have been many enjoyable days bowling and probably even more enjoyable nights when the beer flowed well and the mickey taking was at its best. I was elected to the clubs management committee in 2010 and became Captain for two years from November 2013.
I thank you all for making this club what it is today (the finest in the land) and I trust that under my time as your President we will be able to create many more happy memories.
I look forward to seeing many of you on 24th (January) at the Gary Jacobs Memorial match at Arun.
CAPTAINS CHATTER (updated on 27th August 2017)
Hello gents with the outdoor season nearing completion there are only two games left for us on grass this year. As usual it’s been a very mixed season having won three games and lost four. Our shots for total 579 whilst against is 652. Two big wins and we can turn that around. A last big effort needed lads at Worthing (Beach House Park) and Grasshoppers. Whilst mentioning the game at Grasshoppers please note that the start time has been changed to 14:00 (not the 14:30 as on our tour card). A nice hot meal will follow the game in that fixture.
Once again I must thank all of you for the magnificent response to my requests for names for the summer games. To those of you who didn’t send back your availability sheet you missed out on some good fun afternoons with your club mates. I trust I will get the same sort of response to the Indoor games (you should all have your forms for this by now).
It was pleasing to see so many West Sussex Tourists represented at the two funerals this summer (Barry Horsley and John Edwards). We had about 20 at each which represents about a third of our membership. A great show of respect to our friends who have left us.
All the best lads, Captain Roger.
CLUB CALENDAR 2018/19 (updated on 18th March February 2018)
2017 TOUR CHAMPION
President Derek Brockhurst presents tour champion Alan Catterson with the Ken Armstrong Champions Trophy.
OUR RECORD BREAKING TOURIST (Ken Armstrong)
Ken joined the club in 1980 served as Hon.Secretary from 1982 -1987 and President in 1989 and 1990.
Although unwell Ken travelled to Tenby in May 2014 on his 35th consecutive tour.
Sadly Ken passed away on 27th May 2014.
NEW PRESIDENT ELECTED
Outgoing President Derek Brockhurst passes the ‘chain of office’ to his successor Ned Waddock at the clubs Annual General Meeting in November 2017. Good luck Ned.
President Derek Brockhurst performs the last duty of his two year tenure at the clubs recent AGM. Awarding Peter Chiffins Honorary Life Vice Presidency of the club. Peter has been a member for 20 years and toured with us on 13 occasions.