ABOUT THE WEST SOMERSET BOWLS LEAGUE
Originally researched & written by League Sec Alan Wood Dec 2016
Updated following changes recorded at subsequent AGMs
When the league began is not known but from the records available it seems that the league comprised most of the clubs competing now together with one or two that have since closed or withdrawn from the league.
Thanks to Don Bridges and the late Charles Furzeman (sadly Dec 2018) for providing a list of winners that show the league was up and running in 1983 when Wellington were the winners that year.
However, it may be that the league was established before then?
The format of play was 4 rinks of 4 and a single division until 1995 when the running of the league was taken over by Tony Whitehead of Hinkley Point Bowls Club.
From 1995 the format of play remained the same but the teams were split into two divisions and a set start time of 6.30pm on Thursday summer evenings during June and July was established with a promotion and relegation procedure put in place.
Prior to this, there was no set programme of fixtures and teams could play at any time on any day. In consequence, the running of the league was haphazard and unsatisfactory.
The 4 rink format and two divisions continued until 2004 when due to bereavements and a general drop in membership in some clubs it became difficult to field 4 rinks of 4 and there was just one division in 2005.
A proposal at the 2005 AGM to have a 3 x 3 triples format was carried with good support and clubs could enter two teams if they wished.
In the event, 7 clubs entered B teams which meant there were 2 divisions of 9 teams.
Div 1 the 9 existing clubs and Div 2 7 B teams plus Chard and British Cellophane.
Currently (2018) there are 11 member clubs providing 24 teams, 12 in each division. This is most ever and fixtures for more than 12 teams would be impractical because of daylight limitations towards the end of July. The WSBL teams are situated between the M5 and the coast of Bridgwater Bay to the West with the furthest apart being Minehead, Wellington & Burnham -on- Sea.
The individual clubs past and present in the West Somerset League ( WSBL ) are as follows:
Current members **
British Cellophane original member Withdrew when the club closed in 2012
Bridgwater ** Joined in 2010 B Team 2013 C Team 2020
Burnham – on – Sea ** original member B team 2006
Chard original member withdrew 2009
Donyatt original member left in 2014
Eastover ** original member left 2005 re-joined 2014 entered B team 2017 but withdrew in 2018.
A team withdrew in 2019 re-joined in2020
Hinkley Point original member left when the club closed 2005
Minehead ** original member B team 2006
North Petherton ** Joined when the club opened in 2006 and entered 2 teams A & B.
C team 2010
Taunton ** original member B team 2006 C team 2015 D team 2019
Taunton Deane ** original member B team 2006 C Team 2019
Victoria ** original member B team 2006 B withdrew 2014
Watchet ** original Member left 1987 Re-Joined 2014
Wellington ** original Member B team 2006 C team 2017
Williton ** original member
Annual Membership is £30 per team and has been this amount for the past 10 years and more.
The league has been grateful in the past for generous sponsorship from time to time by Whitehead Bowls of Bridgwater and Brian Holmes of Williton BC Stockleigh Farm Meeth.
The League is indebted to the late Richard Milton formerly of Hinkley Point and then North Petherton for his services as Chairman for 11 years from 2002 until he stood down at 2012 AGM when the current Chairman Roland Bath took Office. Sadly, Richard died suddenly the following year. A fine bowler and much missed.
Also to Leon Bass League Secretary for 16 years from 1995 until standing down at 2011 AGM when Alan Wood was elected. Alan remained in post until 2018 when he was replaced by Mark Reeve from Taunton Deane BC. Alan and Leon both graciously accepted the offer of the non-executive role of Honorary Vice-President, which was conferred on them unanimously during the 2018 AGM in recognition of their tremendous service to the league. If it wasn't for their drive, enthusiasm and knowledge I doubt the WSBL would exist today.
Robert (Bob) Toller, League Treasurer who took Office in 2003 when Steve Matthews passed away, remained in post until his passing in December 2017.
The current Treasurer is Bill Warnett, a member of Wellington Bowling Club, with Jay Merrell, also Wellington filling the Assistant Secretary role.
Updated November 2019