Can you name the Greatest EVER UK bowlers?

Who are the greatest ever UK bowlers?

That was always going to be a tough question to answer when no records had been saved by anyone in UK bowling since it’s inception in the early 60’s.

That is not totally true of course as there WAS information saved and lost and some scattered in old magazines, newspapers and a fantastic records collection at the European Tenpin Bowling Federation website.

A few years of finding and collecting the print and web history leads us now to finally delivering an accurate history of bowling in the UK. We know who won the biggest events and also those who won medals for home nation countries.

We have devised a ranking system and can soon reveal… Who is at the top?


Performance Ranking Criteria

In order to add a reasonable weighting to each of the events included in the UK Tenpin Hall of Fame Records the following considerations have been used. Each player in the records database will get one entry for every event he or she has won or being placed in therefore a 5 person team will get 5 entries one for each player in the team.

  • PBA, World, European, International, Commonwealth and Domestic. PBA and World events would attract more points than European or International which in turn attract more points than Commonwealth with Domestic the least.
  • Singles (including Masters and OOM), Doubles, Trios, Team. You will get more points for winning a Singles than a Doubles with Team events the least.
  • Winner (Gold), Runner up (Silver), 3rd (Bronze). Getting a Win or a Gold attracts most points.
  • Open events, invitational events. Some events are by invitation and these tend to get less than Open events.
  • Quality of field, Size of Field, Prize Fund.
    A small good quality field would attract more points than a large poorer quality field, Prize fund only really applies in a Small Good Quality field.
  • Adult, Senior and Youth will be treated the same. A World Gold at any level: Adult, Senior or Youth will attract the same points and so on.
  • The maximum points that can be awarded is 22 with 1 being the lowest. A World Championship Gold Masters would attract 22 points, a Domestic Team win 1 point and everything in between.
  • The larger events would attract points for Winner, Runner up and Third whereas smaller events would just be the winner.
    World, European and Commonwealth events tend to be 3 places whilst Single events are just the winners, much of this is dependent on the records available.

Everyone will have a different view but if we stick to the above criteria the differences should only be small and will not affect the overall result. The categories need to be fairly broad otherwise the allocation of points becomes too complicated. It is already quite extensive.
A Performance Ranking will then be produced for each player based on the above Criteria for each qualifying entry.

These records can then be sorted in many ways, the following are some examples

  • Male or Female.
  • Adult, Senior or Youth
  • Nationality.
  • PBA, World, European, International or Domestic events.
  • Particular Events or Tours, eg World Championships or PTBC
  • Date Range (Year only)
  • Individual Player Record.


Who is in the Hall of Fame Database?

The above searches are not presently available as further technical input is required before this stage can be reached. However simple search facilities are available for player records.

The Performance Ranking in itself, is only one of the aspects considered in nominating bowlers for the Hall of Fame. Achieving a Major First or continually performing at a high level over an extended period of time are also considerations.

Bowlers have taken many paths throughout there bowling careers. Some have been fortunate to have been in a good position to play for their country, some have ventured into Europe and a small number have made it a Professional Career in the USA. Others have consistently performed well at the county and domestic level and become bowling legends through this route.

At the end of the day it is a nomination and vote by the 10 person committee who decide each year who to induct into the Hall of Fame. Each will have their own view but the with this information now easily available hopefully it will make things much easier.

UK Bowling Records

Research has been undertaken by the UK Tenpin Bowling Hall of Fame using all bowling media and information at our disposal to produce the UK Bowling records.

Only top Scratch events will be included, no handicap or age bonus events.
We do include ladies’ bonus events when playing against the men.
All home Nations will be included on the same basis

This has been a three stage process:

Stage 1

  • Collection of Information. This primarily includes printed information contained in old bowling magazines, Tenpin Pictorial, Tenpin Sport, World of Tenpin and Go Tenpin plus numerous ad hoc magazines, programmes and entry forms.
  • On-line bowling information from Talktenpin, Badassbowling, ETBF, PBA, BTBA, STBA,
    TBAW, NITBA, Facebook posts etc
  • Personal information provided by a number of individuals

This has been a mammoth task and a frustrating one where records are not available. It is an ongoing process and the records will be added to as and when we can collate them.

Stage 2

  • Building database and inputting records.
  • A prototype database has been produced in MicroSoft Access primarily to act as a mechanism for inputting records and to test relationships.
  • Player records and Ranking lists will be made available on the UK Tenpin Hall of Fame Website with simple search facilities.
  • We want bowlers to add to and correct any information as this is the way we will complete the records to the best of our knowledge.

Stage 3

  • Research is being undertaken into the best platform to use for the database and as an interface with the UK Tenpin Hall of Fame Website.
  • Making records available on line for query by bowlers or any interested party including the media.
  • The full online query facility needs further technical input and possible funding to give us the full interactive database we want so is a while off yet.

The following is the status of our records at 9th January 2019..

Events included and Progress

Event Progress Collected Collated
International Complete 100% 100%
PBA Complete 100% 100%
Adult World Championships Complete 100% 100%
Adult European Championships Complete 100% 100%
Adult Commonwealth Championships Complete 100% 100%
Senior World Championships Complete 100% 100%
European Senior Championships Complete 100% 100%
World Youth Championships Complete 100% 100%
European Youth Championships Complete 100% 100%
European Tenpin Team Cup Complete 100% 100%
European Champions Cup Complete 100% 100%
Triple Crown All Events and Masters Only 60% 60%
QAMF Bowling World Cup Complete 100% 100%
QAMF Bowling Promotion Cup Not Required
AMF Gold Cup Not Required
World Bowler of the year Not Required
European Bowler of the year Not Required
Weber Cup Appearances Not Required
World Ranking Masters Complete 100% 100%
World Tenpin Masters Complete 100% 100%
World Tenpin Team Cup Complete 100% 100%
World Games Complete 100% 100%
World Youth Games Complete 100% 100%
European Cup Complete 100% 100%
European Youth Cup Complete 100% 100%
European Intermediate Cup Complete 100% 100%
Commonwealth Games Complete 100% 100%
Commonwealth Youth Games Complete 100% 100%
Asian Tour Part done 70% 70%
EBT stop winners Complete 100% 100%
EBT End of year rankings Complete 100% 100%
EBT Masters Complete 100% 100%
Major Domestic
British Open Complete 100% 100%
British Matchplay/London International Complete 100% 100%
Irish Open Complete 100% 100%
Welsh Open Almost Complete 90% 90%
Scottish Open Almost Complete
English Open Complete
BTBA Nationals  All Events and Singles Part Complete 90% 90%
NAYBC All Events and Singles Graduate only Part Complete 60% 60%
BTBA Masters Part Complete 60% 60%
SBC,NST,PTBC,ESBT Complete 95% 95%
Team England Ranking Part Complete 80% 80%
Jim Brewer Part Complete 70% 70%
AMF Scratch Tour Part Complete 50% 50%
Miscellaneous Scratch Events Part Complete 50% 50%
Domestic Team
Scott Banks Part Complete 80% 80%
Coca Cola Fives Part Complete 70% 70%
European Fives Part Complete 80% 80%
BTBA Nationals Team event Not Included at this stage
BTBA Inter County Championships For consideration in the future
Scotland Domestic results Almost Complete 80% 80%
Welsh Domestic Results Incomplete 20% 20%
Northern Irish Domestic Results Almost Complete 80% 80%

Player records: 817

Event Records: 3787

Performance Ranking points total :12063

We estimate that of the total event records available we are 85% complete but for performance ranking events points 95% complete. This is because the higher value events are already included. As we get more and more records this will obviously make the records more and more accurate.

Records for each decade vary, the older players will have less entries than the later players.

1960s – The start of Tenpin Bowling in the UK with rapid expansion and heavy promotion from the proprietors. TV coverage in the early days. Most tournaments were team events and records are very scarce. Not easy to tell if events were scratch or handicap. The BTBA National Championships started and International Matchplay became a fixture on the calendar. A number of printed bowling magazines were around such as Tenpin Pictorial, The Bowler and Tenpin Monthly. First medals at World Championships in 1967.

1970s – Closure of centres had started but still a strong base of league and tournament players. National teams playing more events and start of Scratch Bowling Tours with the PTBC and the NST. Records became more available with the publication of World of Tenpin.

1980s – Great period of Scratch singles bowling with the PTBC and NST developing. Continued coverage through World of Tenpin and Go Tenpin. Again, lots of information available. British Open started and attracted bowlers from all over the World along with the British Matchplay.  The introduction of automatic scoring lead to a resurgence of bowling in the UK in the early to mid 80’s

1990s – World of Tenpin changed to Go Tenpin and lots of information available. Still strong singles circuits and a new National ranking systems were used to select England Teams. A boom starts in new bowling centre installations nationally.

2000s – Big expansion in the number of International Events especially at Youth level, most of our World and European medals were won during this period. Bowlers started playing the EBT which was now more structured and the ETBF site has proved invaluable in getting information. Talktenpin started and was another great source of information along with badassbowling. Go Tenpin magazine finished in 2009.

2010s – Some English bowlers migrated from the European tour and tried their hand on the PBA with some great success. Still plenty of medals at World and European events. ESBT started by the PTBC (Yes still going) for the top players to play on Sport patterns The Internet provided a rich source of information however a gap in some information has occurred as archived information from the internet is not currently available.

1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Records 139 273 489 908 1107 868
Points 473 881 1265 2408 3851 3180
Ave points per entry 3.4 3.3 2.6 2.7 3.5 3.7

So now we come to the big reveal and who are the Greatest ever bowlers?

Win a special Mystery Prize by naming the top four male and top four female bowlers of all time in order from the following 20 names. All these names are in the top 2o in alphabetical order.


Donna Adams, Fiona Banks, Pauline Buck (Smith), Jenny Carter (Billingham), Verity Crawley, Jo Cundy (Harries), Zara Giles (Glover), Nikki Hamilton (Harvey), Gemma Harding (Burden), Judy Howlett (Robins), Lisa John, Shelagh Leonard, Kim Oakley (Coote), Kirsten Penny, Keira Reay, Hayley Russell (White), Meg Shaw (Jordache), Anne Smith, Holly Towersley, Gina Wardle.


Dominic Barrett, Chris Buck, Geoff Buck, Bernie Caterer, Darren Cundy, Paul Delany, Lol Ellis, Alan Fawcett, Nick Froggatt, Wayne Greenall, Richard Hood, Kevin Horton (NI), Brian Michael, Paul Moor, Ron Oldfield, David Pond, Mike Quarry, Phil Scammell, Richard Teece, Steve Thornton, Stuart Williams.

Entries must be in by Facebook message to UK Tenpin Hall of Fame FB page or email to by Friday 18th January at midnight and competition winner, top four men and women and the mystery prize revealed LIVE on stream at the Storm Irish  Open on Sunday 20th January.

This competition is open to UK and Ireland entries only but for fun, International viewers can guess also but will not be included in the prize competition.