The first UK rankings were produced by the National Scratch Tour (NST) and the Premier Tenpin Bowling Club (PTBC) in 1981 when the combined results of both Tours were used to produce the rankings. Although these rankings were unofficial most of the top bowlers played in one or both tours. The ranking reflected very well the state of play in the UK at the time and were designed to give a guide to who was doing well in a number of different centres under different conditions. They provided valuable information for consideration in selection of National teams and could be used for any media related interest.
The rankings were very well supported by World of Tenpin and WOT did go on to develop the British Rankings bringing in a number of other events on a grading system depending on the level of the tournament. Initially the British Rankings were primarily NST and PTBC events but quickly included such events as the British Open, London Matchplay, Brunswick World Open Qualifier, AMF World Cup Qualifier, BTBA Nationals All Events and a number of other events.
In 1995 the Team England squads under the guidance of Martin Webster and Mike Pike were picked from the top 12 in the 1994 British Rankings and the Rankings were renamed Team England Rankings as The British Tenpin Bowling Association adopted the rankings for the selection for Team England.
This was a great move and encouraged more players to play the Team England events as they followed their dream of playing for their country. This increased participation in the events and in 1995 players had to play a minimum of 8 from 19 events with the best 10 counting giving everyone a great chance.
Events sprung up all over the place and events such as the Welsh Open, Euro Fives, AMF Fives, Bushbury Singles, Newbury Singles, Chester Singles, Sheffield Singles, Portsmouth Singles and the Wellingborough Doubles were added.
Many of these events were on the AMF Scratch Bowlers Tour which operated at that time. The PTBC was still part of the ranking but by this time the NST was no longer operating.
The National Association of Youth Clubs also used a Rankings system for the BTBA Youth Tour, The Junior Team England Tour and the Youth Team England Tour also have ranking systems which are used to help select players at all Youth Levels for Team England.
The Adult Rankings ran for many years and was the basis for selection of the players to join the Team England squads. This changed of late as the game developed and selection over three qualifying weekends was brought in to select the players. This also applied at Senior level.
The latest Team England selection process now incorporates performance in qualifying events as part of the selection process for the Team England with points awarded and a ranking produced. Hopefully this will encourage players to play these events and have a shot at playing for their country.