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Sunday, April 24, 2011

World Marble Championships 2011 Tinsley Green, Crawley!

According to local legend marbles have been played in this small village just outside Crawley since the late 16th Century when a local Sussex male challenged a guy from Surrey (proto-Brighton vs proto-P*lace clash?) to win the heart of a local maid! The real modern tournament however dates back to 1932, and has been held every year since then (with the exception of World War II) at the Greyhound pub which happens to be my main local these days!

I briefly attended last year but was not about for long due to the heavy rain that blighted championships. This years event however with the hot sunny weather was a different story and proved to be a great suscessful day for the event! The teams are mostly English, but there has been teams down the years that have hailed from America, France, Netherlands and Germany. Indeed the main suscessful side of recent years is the German 1st MC Erzgebirge. However this year Erzgebirge lost to Yorkshire Meds who went on to defeat local Sussex hopefuls Handcross 49ers in the final.

Due to popular request here are the basic rules! :)
Forty-nine target marbles are grouped closely together on raised concrete ring measuring 6 ft (2 m) in diameter. The playing surface of the ring is approximately 3 inches above the level of the ground and is covered in sharp sand at the start each game. Each of the target marbles is a glass or ceramic sphere having a diameter of approximately half an inch. Two teams of six players take turns to drive marbles off the ring by aiming a larger "shooter" marble called the "tolley" at them. A Tolley is a glass or ceramic sphere having a diameter no more than three-quarters of an inch. A player's knuckle has to be in touch with the ground when he or she shoots, which is called "knuckling down". Only the thumb can be used to direct the tolley. Moving the tolley closer to the target marbles is banned and known as "cabbaging" which is cheating. Any forward or other advantageous movement of a players shooting hand during shooting constitutes a foul known as "fudging". Any intentional or persistent contact between a player or his or her clothing and a marble, another player's tolley or his own tolley while it is motion constitutes a foul known as "blocking". No score results from a foul shot, which automatically terminates the turn of the offending player, but he or she retains any score achieved in that turn, prior to the foul shot. Any player who makes three foul shots during a game is automatically eliminated and takes no further part in that game. The first team to knock out 25 marbles from the ring is the winner. A players turn ends when they fail to hit a marble with their tolley or a 'foul shot'!
Certainly an event that ranks up there with other popular local events like Goodwood or Lewes bonfire night! I plan to hopefully take part next year or enter a team in some form! :)

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