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North Yorkshire Short Mat Bowling Association

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                1984     First clubs formed

                1985     Ampleforth BC inaugurates its annual Pairs


                1987     Selby league formed



                1990     Ryedale league formed

                1991     NYSMBA launched



                1994     Scarborough and  Kyle Valley Leagues formed

                1995     Yorkshire (North) League formed


                1997     Vale of York league formed



                2000     Dales Dales League formed (renamed Nidderdale in 2004)


                2002     Cameo Shield started (discontinued in 2006). NYSMBA Web site launched

                2003     County Junior Championships started

                              Inter-League Cup adopted (from Kyle Valley league)

                              White Rose (summer) League formed

                2004     County Championships started (Singles,Pairs,Triples & Fours)


                2006     National Heats merged with County Championships

                2007     County Mixed Fours Championships started

                             Inter-league Cup renamed Little Cup

                             Second County team entered in NESMBA league

                             Little Cup reformatted as an open competition for teams of four

                2008    Gareth Townend selected into England squad

                2009    David Newsome wind the National U18 Singles

                2010    David Newsome selected for BI Championships (IOM)

                             A team win NESMBA Division 1

                2011    A team win NESMBA Division 1 for 2nd time - County Shield won at Northern Championships

                2012    David Newsome and Ben Render win World Pairs title

                             Gareth Townend and Bronagh Malone selected for BI Championships (Scotland)                            

                            Team entered into ESMBA ICC (Premier)

                2013    Ben Render, Jayne Rudd, Gareth & Jacinta Townend win the National Mixed Fours title

                             Sean Conroy and Joseph Newsome are runners up in National Pairs

                             Danny Langdon is runner up in National U18 Singles and is selected for the England squad at age 16

                             County 'C' team is launched

                2016    Ben Render, Jayne Rudd, Danny Langdon and Joyce Perry win the National Mixed Fours title

                             Ben Render and Danny Langdon win the National Pairs title

                             Dales league is launched

                2017    Danny Langdon wins the NESMBA Singles title

THE EARLY YEARS (pre 1993) - There is precious little documentation from the early years of Short Mat Bowling in our county and one has to rely on  the recollections of several of the original “short-matters”. They seem to be in accord that sometime in the mid 1980’s there was an initiative to promote the game as an ideal one for village halls across our predominantly rural county. Initially this involved Jim Rose of mat makers Regalgrene and the local Parish Council Associations who organised several demonstrations of the game in various locations across a wide area of the county.

As a result of this initiative several clubs came into being. Ampleforth in the north (on the edge of the North York Moors), Darley in the west (the lower Dales) and Escrick in the flat lands to the south are among several clubs that can all trace their origins to around this time. Each of these clubs subsequently generated further interest in the game in their own vicinity and the formation of more clubs soon followed. These early clubs soon felt the need for regular competition and in 1987 the Selby League (fours) was formed to the south of York. Three  years later in 1990 the Ryedale League (triples) took off with four of the clubs to the north of York.

These were also the early years of the English Short Mat Bowling Association and the idea of dividing the country into regions or zones was being tried. In the north this resulted in the setting up of the Northern Zone (renamed the Northern England Short Mat Bowling Association - NESMBA in 2004) which held its inaugural meeting in 1990. This Northern Zone immediately started organising a local inter-county league for its member Associations and it was probably a desire to enter this league that led to a meeting of several keen Ryedale League bowlers early in 1991 at the Feathers Hotel in Helmsley. At this meeting it was decided to launch our own county Association under the Chairmanship of John Colley (Ampleforth) with Jill Leckenby (Helmsley) as Secretary and John Ward (Ampleforth) as the counties representative at the Northern Zone. In that first year there were just 6  clubs with 161 registered members. For the first couple of years the affairs of the Association continued to be managed alongside those of the Ryedale League by a single committee.

1993 to the present - Expansion continued steadily with 16 clubs and nearly 400 members by 1993. Due to our physical size (the largest county in the country) it was soon necessary for two new leagues to be formed so that these newer clubs could enjoy regular competitive bowling without excessive travelling. These were the Scarborough League in the east and the Kyle Valley League in the west, both founded in 1993 and both of which continued the popular triples format. 1993 also sadly saw the premature death of John Colley and in 1994 a new hierarchy was elected with Fred Wood (Easingwold) as Chairman, Gordon Hanson (Easingwold) as Secretary and Ivan Topping (Easingwold) taking over from John Ward as our Northern Zone representative. In 1995 a county wide league was introduced that grouped all clubs into six regions. This Yorkshire (North) League thus enabled competition between all members in the county (now up to 600 from 24 clubs). In 1997, several clubs, already playing in the existing triples leagues but eager for even more competition, got together to form a pairs league – the Vale of York League. In 2000, a small league initially involving just four of our western most clubs started up playing a mixture of pairs and singles – the Dales League (renamed as Nidderdale League in 2004/05) However this league ceased to exist shortly thereafter. In 2003 the White Rose League - a summer only league which plays between April and September got going. Our most recent league, the Dales League was set up in 2016 as an offshoot of the Scarborough league.  

As we go into our 27th year (2017/18) we now find ourselves with 43 clubs, 834 members and 8 leagues. Most of these clubs are based in village halls allowing 2 or 3 mats whilst a few of the larger clubs meet in leisure centres that allow 4 -6 mats. Individual club membership varies from 6 to 46.   

SUMMARY - Politically, our Association has not been without its problems. There were disagreements in the mid 90’s during the formation of the Yorkshire League relating to competition involving non registered members and in 1998/99 there was some serious and potentially divisive debate as we became embroiled in the ESMBA versus EFSMB (Federation) debate. This, directly or indirectly let to the resignation of several key officers at the 1999 AGM and the need to find a new team to run the Associations affairs – a difficult task that took some years to fully resolve. However all this is now history and maybe in retrospect these problems can best be viewed as healthy signs that many of our bowlers were seriously considering some basic issues in approach and attitude in what after all is still a growing and evolving sport.

Realistically, we are probably no different from other county Associations. Most members are relatively content as long as they can look forward to a season of good league games. Some do not even want this and are content to go along to their club for a roll-up and a chat. Others hope for greater involvement and success in open and external competitions.

We are not without our ambitious and successful bowlers either with several youngsters playing in the England Junior squad. In 2008, Gareth Townend made it into the senior England squad at the age of 18.  In the Nationals our players have produced champions in the U18s, Mixed Fours and Pairs. In 2010, Gareth Townend made the England squad for the 3rd successive year and was joined by his sister, Jacinta together with Ben Render and David Newsome. In 2011 they were joined by Bronagh Malone whilst Bronagh, Jacinta, Rose Haynes and Pat Beardsley were selected into the newly formed England Ladies squad.

2012 proved to be our most successful year to date with David Newsome and Bronagh Malone making the National Singles semi-finals. Although David then lost, Bronagh went on into the Final to lose to Essex's Craig Burgess. All of our 5 England players were selected for the World Team and David Newsome and Ben Render took the Pairs title. In 2013, Danny Langdon became the 2nd youngest player to make the England squad at 16 and in 2016 he claimed both the National Mixed Fours (with Ben Render, Jayne Rudd and Joyce Perry)  and the National Pairs, again with Ben Render.

It is the view of the current county Management Committee, that as long as the interests of the majority of members as well as the wider interest of the sport itself are kept to the fore, things should continue to move forward for the good of all. It is recognised that it is just not possible to please all of the members all of the time but as long as communication is kept open and opportunities are provided for those that wish to, to have their say, then our objectives of encouraging and fostering this great little sport will continue to be met within our county.