SPECIAL EVENTS OF THE PAST - by which we mean either closed season competitions, or events outside of the normal running of the League or County, but in which Horsham players featured prominently..................(click on link)
The very first League Averages (1976/77 - how it all started !)
How did the publication of a full season’s averages first come about ? Personal Computers didn’t arrive until 1983 and those were primitive compared with today’s, with Floppy Disks and limited memory space. And you weren’t born with computer knowledge, you had to learn it……..
Well as a build-up to our famous 72-hour-Marathon, four of us, armed with a full season’s worth of 548 match scorecards gently prized/kindly loaned from Hon.Secretary Mrs Mercer, stayed up all night in Bob Mobsby’s Insurance Brokers Office in West Street to attempt the mammoth task. We were armed with coffee, crisps, forms, pens, pre-prepared slips of paper and calculators.
By the time the milkman was heard doing his rounds, we had just completed our analysis of 5,480 scores for 240 players from 42 teams who had played 548 matches, sorted the slips into descending order with one pile for each division, and transposed the results onto a master sheet.
This developed into an annual routine for Bob, myself and the other two (John Slee and Colin Parsons).
Here are the Horsham Top 10 players from their averages each year from 1976/77 to 1993/94
So, how good was Tony Franks (All England, Southern Counties and Sussex Champion in 1983 and still playing but now just for fun) in his heyday ? Well, he registered fifteen consecutive top five finishes in fifteen attempts, and was placed at number one for six out of the last nine attempts.
The only player to come even close during that period was John Slee, who also managed fifteen top five finishes but out of a possible seventeen attempts. He also had five number 1 finishes, but within a nine year span.
Now let's have a look at Horsham Singles Champions 1964-onwards...........
The Hall of Fame shows that John Slee and Gareth Lloyd have five wins each to their name, Peter Gibbs just one behind with four. Terry and Tony won it twice each.
However, hard cold statistics don't always show the true nature of a situation. So, some further observations and comments would appear to be necessary in the circumstances.
a) Peter Gibbs was a multiple champion of the Crawley League before its remaining teams were admitted into the Horsham League.
b) John Thayre, John Slee, Gibbs and possibly Lloyd too have also won the Billingshurst title.
c) Franks was top player in Mid Sussex before joining Horsham. He has of course also won the County, Southern Counties and All-England titles.
d) Race's Singles record is second to none, he has won Brighton, the County, and been World champion twice.
e) Gerry McCarthy's three wins were achieved at the most competitive time, he had to play Gibbs in the first Final and Franks in the second. He also had success at County level, and I can remember an occasion when he played in all three Sussex finals, gaining a clean sweep of singles and doubles. His honours only dried up as a result of emigration back to the Republic of Ireland.
f) Whilst the complete absence of any singles titles for Slee during the 1980's remains a mystery, the future looks bright for any Dicks in the new Millennium !
A new era…………
1994 seemed to herald a new era for bar billiards, when a crop of new youngsters came through, not only in the Horsham League. The Interleague rules had been changed to grant incentives to high-scoring players, we now had both competitions in the same year instead of a choice between systems, and tables became better maintained (some had 20-minute bars).
Gareth Lloyd had moved his home venue from the difficult Dog & Bacon to the high-scoring Rising Sun and embarked on his record breaking career which saw him become a regular choice for the England International team. Gareth has broken the 200,000 points for the season barrier on several occasions, the only other player to have managed this being the equally prolific Micky Fairs.
Here are the Horsham Top 10 players from their averages each year for modern times 1994/95 to the present season………
2000/01-this year’s records are missing…………
So, Gareth Lloyd (pictured below) is undisputed king with 13 Number one finishes, but Peter Gibbs and Micky Fairs have taken over the mantle recently with three and four respectively. Peter Gibbs appears in the list fourteen times. Relative newcomer Ricky Dewdney has ten top five finishes to his name, and like Gibbs has won both the Sussex Singles and Sussex Masters. Jim Greensted has been ever-present in the top five since 2010 - Clive Thompson, April 2016.
AND FINALLY, SOME MORE PHOTOS FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Send your photos in and we will publish them ! If you can't think of a caption we'll invent one for you !
Here is a random selection of some key people associated with the Horsham League: (Top, l to r, Ron Child, John Davie, James Childs and Mick and Ding Johnson from the Blue Ship; Tony Franks, Nobby Wheeler)
(Bottom, l to r, Ron Moulding, Doris Cordery, John Slee; Temple & Rendell winning the Pairs; and 'Super Dick' Cable.)