following extract was printed in The City of Hereford Guide
for 1969. It was in circulation with some teams about two
years ago and I thought it deserved to be more widely read.
We hope to add to it in the near future with a summary of
the last forty years. Of course I am too young(!) to be
able to write it myself so we have asked a “volunteer”!
is the interest in ‘pub games’ in Hereford that
a full programme of inter-pub and club competitions continues
each year in the traditional games of darts, dominoes, quoits,
cards ( Phat and Cribbage) etc. One of the most popular
games to be played is skittles – the nine-pin variety
and as it is not nationally popular as say darts, it deserves
a section to itself.
skittles as an indoor sport has been played continuously
since 1902 when the Hereford Times presented a trophy for
competition to the Hereford Skittle League. Prior to that
there is plenty of evidence that skittles, then known as
‘bowls’ was well patronised. An old notice board
found in 1955 exhorted patrons to pay for games before leaving
the saloon – the winner to pay the marker one halfpenny
per game. Bowlers had to give way after three games if others
were waiting or to add to their numbers. If ten or more
persons were waiting only singles were allowed to be played,
and a single game consisted of three bowls, ties being decided
by one bowl each. Tossing was not allowed neither was betting,
and participants were requested not to use foul language,
but to conduct themselves in a gentlemanly manner.
42 alleys in 39 pubs and clubs provide the venues for games
in which 96 men’s teams and 26 ladies’ teams
– a total of some 1,500 players – compete in
their respective leagues. Indeed Wednesday, Thursday and
Friday evenings throughout the winter will witness games
being played, Friday being the principle night when all
alleys are engaged.
the League competitions there are front-pin and league knock-out
cup competitions as well as singles and pairs championships.
Representative games are played by the Men’s League
with Worcester and Gloucester forming the Three Cities Association,
and further games are played against Stroud, Cheltenham
and Nailsworth in the West Midlands Front Pin League.
During the summer interest continues in a league involving
some 80 teams of reduced strength.
1962 the Hereford Times again showed keen interest in the
Men’s League by donating a Charity Challenge Cup to
mark the Diamond Jubilee of the League, since when nearly
£1,000 has been raised for local charities.“