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About Worthing SMB League

League History

Founded on 15th March 1993, the League originally consisted of eight clubs from the Worthing area.   The founder members were:-  The Aquarena, Durrington, East Worthing, Goring, Heene, Old Barn, West Worthing and Worthing. 

In the Autumn of that year they formally started the Worthing & District League and were members of the West Sussex County Short Mat Bowls Association (W.S.C.S.M.B.A). The aim of the Clubs was to promote the game of short mat bowling in the area and provide friendly competition in the winter months.


They set about forming an eight-team league, playing on a home and away basis for the right to be Champions at the end of the season, which ended with three teams having the same number of points (The Aquarena, East Worthing and Old Barn).  This resulted in a three-cornered play-off won by East Worthing who earned the honour of being the first winners of the new League.

In 1992, before the League was officially formed, the Worthing League had entered a Short Mat team in the Inter-Town Festival of  Sport (competed for in 25 different sports) which was held at Southwater, winning the short mat event.  The next year, when it was held in Worthing, against teams from Chichester, Eastbourne, Hastings, Horsham and Worthing, they only managed 5th in the short mat section, but Worthing won the overall competition with a better total score over all 25 disciplines.

It was at the end of 1994 that the W.C.S.M.B.A. decided to affiliate to the English Short Mat Bowls Association (E.S.M.B.A.) and around this time relationships between Worthing League and the W.S.C.S.M.B.A. began to deteriorate.  Things came to a head after the then Secretary, Colin Hemingway, had arranged a friendly in Worthing between the England squad and the West Sussex League.  Despite keeping them fully informed and thinking he had their approval, they decided to use this as an excuse to formally censure him and the Chairman Larry Stone for 'continuously undermining the Association' and suspended them for two and three years respectively.  It was at this point that the Worthing & District League decided to go their own way and divorce themselves from the other organisations.  This they did, setting up various competitions in addition to the League matches and these have become annual tournaments and are still being played today.  There was an attempt to reconcile the situation about three years later but this was rejected by the member clubs and up to this day there is no contact between the E.S.M.B.A. and the Worthing League. 

This has not affected the League in any way and it has continued to grow at a pace.  The membership since then has grown to over 400 bowlers and now consists of 12 clubs based in Worthing and District and the surrounding areas, playing in two very competitive Divisions.