TALES OF DAYS GONE BY ! [BACK]
Whilst playing the White Hart last night the topic came up in discussion as to who might be the longest-serving member in the League (in Horsham circles this is believed to be Dick Cable).
John Thayre reckons this honour might go to his teammate of long standing Peter Barnett.
Barney confirms that he started playing in 1963 for the Crown, Alfold - prior to the Billingshurst League being formed as a breakaway faction. Two of his teammates being Norman Padfield (father of Ricky) and Percy Thayre (uncle of John and Peter). He then became a founder member of Billingshurst, from the Fox & Hounds (Newpound Common) -pictured here for those who may remember it:
Barney also played for the Six Bells (replacing Gordon Albury who had been poached by Sam for the Five Oaks) before forming a powerhouse at the Three Compasses with Brian Picking and the Thayre brothers.
It will be interesting to find out, in Billingshurst's Golden Jubilee Year, if there are any others who have been playing the game for 50 years ! - Clive T 03/12/2015
Seeing as we are now in our Golden Jubilee year, I thought that I would publish some of the early minutes recorded by Percy Barnett, who was Honorary Secretary from when the league was formed in 1964 to 1991 when Peter Gibbs took on the task.
Before 1964, I understand that Percy was the Secretary of the Horsham League, can anyone shed any light as to why he left that league to form the Billingshurst League?. (*Light has been shed by Clive Thompson, see below.*)
Percy was well liked and respected by virtually everybody in the league, and I suppose you could also sum him up in one word “Stubborn”. In the early days he must have done everything, and before computers and electronic calculators, I suppose all he had was a typewriter and carbon paper. Thank God for Computers, Software and E-Mail !
So now to the first General Meeting of the Billingshurst Bar Billiards League, Apologies if some of the names are incorrect, but Percy’s handwriting let’s just say can be difficult to decipher. (My comments and questions are added in brackets.)
Obviously any controversy, participants etc. will be nameless, but does anybody remember any of the names who attended this first meeting ?
MINUTES OF THE FIRST BILLINGSHURST GENERAL MEETING
General Meeting held at the Railway Hotel, Billingshurst on Wednesday 14th October 1964 at 8.30pm
The following Clubs were represented at this meeting:
Arun Hotel Pulborough, Rising Sun Nutborne, Blacksmiths Arms A & B Shipley, Railway Hotel Billingshurst, Kings Arms A & B Billingshurst, Six Bells Billingshurst..
Apologies were received from the following venues who were unable to attend but were interested in the formation of the new league. Station Hotel Partridge Green, Partridge Green Ramblers, The George Henfield, The Forresters Kirdford,and The Crown Alfold.
Mr Hooper of the Railway opened the meeting by saying why the meeting had to be called.
Mr Barnett proposed and Mr Cheesman seconded that Mr Hooper be elected Chairman for the forthcoming meeting and this was agreed. (*Clive thinks that Mr Hooper was the landlord of the Railway at the time?*)
The Meeting was declared open and the Chairman asked for nominations for League Secretary. It was proposed by Mr Vickers and seconded by Mr Rogers that Mr Barnett be asked to do this. As there were no other nominations this was put to the meeting and passed.
After discussion it was decided that no Treasurer was required for this year, but one would have to be found when the league was in operation for league matches.
It was proposed by Mr Mansfield, seconded by Mr Vickers that a Committee of five members be formed to draw up rules etc for the season 1965-66. This was accepted and the following members were Proposed and Elected:
Mr J Faires Proposed by Mr Vickers Seconded by Mr Pescod
Mr A Cheesman Proposed by Mr Rayner Seconded by Mr Jones
Mr S Rayner Proposed by Mr Jones Seconded by Mr Cheesman
Mr R Hooper Proposed by Mr Randall Seconded by Mr Rayner
Mr D Mansfield Proposed by Mr James Seconded by Mr Faires
(*Question: Is this the Dick Mansfield who was the landlord of the Blue Ship, and was he a landlord in 1964?)
Funding of the league was discussed at great length, and it was proposed by Mr Rayner, seconded by Mr Randall that subscription to the league would be £1 1s 0d, (= £1.05p today).
Each home player would in addition pay a shilling, (=5p) per home game, and that the match fee of a shilling per home player to be collected by the Home Captain at each home match, this was carried by the meeting. (How complicated - cheques and cash all over the place ! – JT)
It was proposed by Mr Cheesman, seconded by Mr Hooper that Major General Renton to be asked to become President for the 1965-66 season, and this was carried. (Today the Team Cup is named after Major General Renton – JT)
After a general discussion it was left to the Committee to ask people for cups for the league for next season. The Secretary stated that several people had already offered to give them to the league. The meeting then closed.
(Unfortunately no time was given, so we do not know as to whether meetings were as short then as I like them to be now. The structure of the meeting was similar to current AGM’s, but a lot more formal, not a Christian name in sight -JT).
So that is it, how the Billingshurst Bar Billiards League was formed, next I will publish the AGM of the following year 1965, and our first season 1965-66
Best wishes, John Tidy 16/05/2014
A study of engraving of the league's perpetual trophies - plus some putting 2 and 2 together to make +/-4 - leads me to the following theory: Founder members for 1965/66 (one division only): Railway; Kings Arms A; Kings Arms B; Cricketers A; Cricketers B; Blacksmiths (Shipley); Fox & Hounds (Newpound); Five Oaks A; Five Oaks B; Half Moon (Kirdford) A & B; Foresters (Kirdford)
In 1967/68 a Second Division was added with the following:
Arun (Pulborough) A & B; Southwater CC A & B; Six Bells A & B; Cherry Tree A & B; Hornbrook and The Brook; Three Compasses; Red Lion (Cowfold); Windmill (Littleworth) and Bull (Shermanbury).
Now to answer some of the points raised.........
Q) Can anyone shed any light as to why he left that league to form the Billingshurst League ?
A) Percy had the dirty done on him and was ousted as Horsham Secretary following a witch hunt. Both successive Secretaries proved to be disasters in the job, and eventually some stability was found in the form of Gwyneth and Arthur Mercer, both non-players, who held the Secretary and Treasurer posts for the next 17 years - until another well-revered husband-and-wife took over from 1982 to 1992 !
Q) Assume Kings Arms is Billingshurst; Assume “PG” is Partridge Green
A) Yes and yes. I started playing for the Six Bells B in 1970 as I had got married (for 1st time) and it was just up the road from where I lived. A 19-y-o Sniffer was manager in the local supermarket at the time ! I marvelled at the expertise of Doug Covey who scored an effortless 5k each time he played, and John Martin who taught me how to play 50 shots !
But by this time the table had already vanished from the Kings Arms, and I would query the Blacksmiths Arms being the Adversane one, as I remember the Blacksmiths team (which included John Raynor and Henry Laker) being from Shipley (the 'Countryman' was formerly the Blacksmiths Arms).
Q) Was Mr Hooper the landlord of the Railway at the time?
A) I would imagine that to be correct. Ian King is/was landlord there a long time, but the first landlord I remember was Joe Wilson who hadn't long moved down from Wigan. In between the two was a guy called Pat O'Connor. The first year that Joe made it to the Landlords Final he faced Yorkshireman Roy Ulliott from the White Horse in a 'War of the Roses' battle ! We (their teams) were handed either red or white roses to wear to state our allegiance !
Q) Is this the Dick Mansfield who was the landlord of the Blue Ship, and was he a landlord in 1964?
A) Yes and no ! A pic of Dick and his wife can be seen below under "Pics/Archives" in the clipping "farewell at much-loved pub" Dick did indeed have the Blue Ship before John Davie, but that was his first go at being a landlord. Before that he was one of the lads and played with us at the Six Bells B. He was renowned for "willing the balls to go in" (twisting his cue in the air after the shot) and was usually accompanied by a little Jack Russell bitch (who he had named "Jane Russell")
Q) We do not know as to whether meetings were as short then as I like them to be now.
A) No! no! no! In those days meetings used to go on for ever with loads of arguments, not the polite and amicable affairs they are now - over by 9.30pm. I would imagine this one would have dragged on until at least 11pm !
Other memories of those days were the formal dress worn by most players rather than the casual of nowadays, and the terrible road infrastructure....no Horsham northern bypass, it took ages to drive through the town,and the Horsham-Crawley road was just a single carriageway ! On the plus side, a pint of light and bitter or brown and mild was 2/6d (half-a-crown), draught lager not having been invented yet ! If you wanted lager you had to ask for a Tuborg or a Harp or Skol or Holsten Pils which was served in a tall glass out of a bottle !
Q) Today the Team Cup is named after Major General Renton.
A).....and here is Maj-Gen Renton's magnificent cup in all its glory: - Clive T
Former League Secretary Percy Barnett (who founded the Billingshurst League as a breakaway from Horsham), and his Third Division winning team from 1976/77, the Waters Edge:
.......and Percy retires in 1989/90 after 26 years as Hon.Secretary and Treasurer. His successor is Peter Gibbs, 2nd from right in the photo.
Taken at random at past Billingshurst Finals Nights.......................L to r., James Childs, Ding Johnson & Jan Merritt (Blue Ship); Dave Simmonds, Judy Munnoch (Foresters); Micky Wright (Green Dragon). Bottom: oft-time Champion John Slee; the Southwater CC team, first-ever winners of Division Two (1967/68); former landlord Dick Mansfield's farewell from the Blue Ship.
Send your photos in and we will publish them ! If you can't think of a caption we'll invent one for you !
Very many thanks to Lin Lennon for providing snaps of past Finals Night presentations - of which the following is a selection...............
Quite a rogue's gallery ! How many can you name ?