Yorkshire Meds Marbles Team 

2004-08: Beginners to winners

We talk about  our first experiences in playing  marbles participating to the world championships.

On a year by year basis, below are simple accounts for the first five years; from simple curiosity and understanding how marbles are played in the ring game to building a ring in Leeds to better play & participate. This was also quite a unique excuse to get friends & families around for marbles and BBQs or afternoon tea/coffees. 

2007 2006 2005 2004


2008 First win, champions and multiple trophies

 After the 2007 ditch in the first round, we practiced before the tournament and trying to improve. We also finalised the logo for the team and got personalised jackets (with the Yorkshire Meds logo) for the event.

On the day (21/03/08), we seemed to have progressed one game after the other, and (to everybody's surprise) gone all the way to the final and defeated the reigning champion, 1st MC Erzgebirge from Germany. So we were the new champions. 

Yorkshire Meds won two other trophies adding to the main championship trophy; the best lady player trophy (Leila Kara) and the best individual player trophy (Halim Tata). All Trophies are staying in the British Isles this year and for the first time in the history of the tournament (since 1932) the main trophy is coming to Yorkshire.

Captains nose drop (2008)
Captains nose drop (2008)
Aziz lifting the trophy (2008)
Aziz lifting the trophy (2008)

It featured in a number of newspapers, TV programmes, radio programmes and live radio shows, including:

  1. "Top Stories" on the BBC News Web site on 22/03/08
  2. Yorkshire Evening Post (26/03/2008)
  3. The Leeds University Alumni Magazine Spring 2008 Edition
  4. The Yorkshire Ridings Magazine in the September 2008 issue
  5. SKY News (download) on 24 March 2008
  6. ITN News (download) on 25 March 2008
  7. Asia Brief News (download) on 26 March 2008
  8. HUTC (Hot Under The Colar) News (download) on 25 March 2008

Other interesting things to mention in 2008: The mayor of Crawley unveiled a new plaque to mark the historical significance of the Greyhounds and Tinsley Green for the British & World marbles tournaments. There was also participation of the BBC Sportsround in the first round and they got knocked out by the Australian champions (The Bevers). The weather forecast was not promising at all, but it turned out much better than anticipated.Some additional photos here  for the 2008 event.

2007 A reality check

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day like all previous tournaments but we suffered a dent in our confidence. We got a "bye" in the first round (the other team did not turn up) and in the second round we met with the team that beat us the previous year and reigning champion (1st MC Erzgebirge). We lost in our first game played and although we practiced before coming, it was not enough and lost 25-17. The 2007 tournament saw an all German final.

Team in side ring (2007)
Mourad in main ring (2007)

During the tournament, Sam McCarthy-Fox received a well-deserved present for his long-standing contributions to the marbles game and this tournament. Other long standing contributors worth mentioning are Julia McCarthy-Fox and Mol the main referee. Some additional photos here  for the 2007 event. 

2006 Getting better

Like in 2005, we made it to the quarter-final by beating the "Principality of Sealand" and "Simply Marbellous" but we lost to the German team who went on to win it (1st MC Erzgebirge). During the 2006 tournament it started to rain. Fortunately, it did not last long and the organisers were equipped to cover the main ring. Another great day. Some additional photos here  for the 2006 event.

Aziz in main ring (2006)
Leila in main ring (2006)

2005 Learning the ropes

The 2005 tournament was our second participation and by now we had a better understanding of the game and what to expect. We built the ring in 2004 and practiced a bit in Leeds prior to turning up to the big day. Surprisingly, we went to the quarter-finals beating Royal Oak and Handcross Rebels but losing to the "Turners Hill Tollymen". Some additional photos here for the 2005 event.

Bob in main ring (2005)
Halim in main ring (2005)

2004 Route to discovery

The 2004 tournament was our first participation. We lost in the first round against a German team (Saxonia II) but thoroughly enjoyed the day. When we arrived, we were not sure what to expect. Although we read a lot about the tournament, the way the game is played, we had never seen a marble ring before. We were used to the Mediterranean games (single hole). We enjoyed meeting people there (players, spectators organisers etc..). We could see multi-generation of players (sometime forming different teams). We got talking to a few players who have been coming for decades.

Team & fans (2004)
Team & fans (2004)
Building Leeds ring (2004)
Building Leeds ring (2004)

We were fascinated by the skilled marble players; the backspin technique, how to get the shooter to remain inside the ring. Our way of playing was a powerful shot and may be knock a marble; and we had not appreciated (yet) the notion of gearing the power and spin of the shot to remain within the ring

Since understanding the rules a bit better, we thought that the way to be able to participate at the right level in these competitions starts with having an official ring in our back garden in Yorkshire (Leeds). Some additional photos here for the 2004 event