Who has won what in the UK?
Who have been the best ever bowlers?
Who won the biggest prizes in the sport?
In the early 2010’s, you could ask these questions but never find a true answer. The reason being, there was nowhere to source this information. You could contact the National association maybe but they had no historical records.
An urban myth told it as there had been a flood or fire or maybe both and what records were saved were lost. OK so then what? Maybe finding all the old bowling magazines like World of Tenpin and Go Tenpin would cover at least the 1980’s to 2000’s? or finding the earlier magazines like Tenpin Pictorial from the 1960’s.
Needle in a haystack comes to mind when looking back at the challenge. The challenge was accepted though and thanks to a great many people like Industry legends Jock Caie, Keith Hale and John Ashbridge and others, magazines and media were found. Results, photos, stories and more all re-found and ready to collate to find the very best.
This is not the full story of the UK Tenpin Hall of Fame being created, it is just a small part of why is was created.
There are a few reasons. What is the point of playing in a sport in the UK if you won’t be remembered for the greatest achievements? How would you know if you were pushing any boundries in the sport if there was no way to see what had come before you?
Reason 1 is to know where you are going, you need to know where you have been. You need role models, heroes, people to look up to and try to emulate. People need to be remembered and honoured for what they did. It is the same in all sports so bowling deserved the same.
Reason 2, One day, maybe just maybe, Tenpin bowling becomes an Olympic sport and suddenly we need a history to give to the wider sporting media. In 2012, if anyone asked for it all they would get is a “We will get back to you” or a quick call round a few people to see who says who was the best ever and what things we have maybe won. As a sport, we need to be ready for possible Olympics but at the very least we need to have media available to educate the wider media when needed. We need a history to be proud of and we knew we had one, it just needed finding.
Reason 3 Having a full history of results means you can find out who won the most or the most Gold medals, or who won the most at junior, adult or senior. A good database so anyone can type in a name or event and find who won what in their career. If you win an event that qualifies for the Hall of Fame then you join the history of bowlers in our sport. It’s that simple, the more you win, the higher in the rankings you go. So the third reason is one of the most important in that it shows UK bowlers there is something to achieve in a career. From Junior through to senior, your records will be kept and your career there to see. Can you be the greatest of all time?
2013 it all finally got going thanks to help from the whole UK sport and industry and sponsors Storm Bowling who sponsor the player awards and The Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association who sponsor the Distinguished service award.
From the Proprietors Association to National Association, Media and Distributors, a group was formed to select and vote on Inductions and at the Weber Cup that year, we presented our first awards. Ten years later, we have inducted the finest bowlers ever to play the sport in the UK. Stage one was up and running and stage two was then to find and build the history.
Lists were made, results collated and presented on the website but it needed so much more work than just finding the results. We would need a way to present it and eventually make it fully searchable. Distinguished Service Awardee David Grainger stepped in to take on the role and build a database from the ground up. As we closed in on the final results being added we now had proof for all bowlers and a source the selectors themselves could fully analyse to make fully informed choices. This was launched and updated for four years but it was still not what we envisaged.
The final database version is almost ready and has been built by Paul Loberman and David Grainger. We searched for someone to build and it took three years to find anyone capable and who understood exactly what we needed.
It’s coming soon and is well worth a visit to see if your name is in there.
As we envisaged, it is fully searchable from name, event or medal to english, Scottish, Welsh, NI etc and also left, right and two handed.
Over ten years the UK Tenpin Hall of Fame has grown to live up to it’s potential and now has a large source of historical information already online with much more to come in the future. The website is worth visiting to learn about our past and one long running series worth reading is the History of bowling centres from the very first centre that opened. Over 100 centres logged with a history of each centre.
It is hoped now that the Hall of Fame will be loved and looked after in the coming years and information continue to be added so that a history will remain online and maybe create immortality for those mentioned in the database and history.
Please visit the UK Tenpin Hall of Fame here