Brief History of the Eynsham League
The Eynsham & District Invitation Bar Billiard League was started in the 1983 - 1984 winter season.
The first league officers and committee were as follows .......
Chairman: Ernie Soanes
Secretary/Treasurer: Max Dick
Assistant Secretary: Brian Taylor
Committee: Jon Bamsey; Colin Money; Dave Passmore; Roy Wain
Initially, I believe, from an idea put forward by Max Dick and Brian Taylor, supported by landlord Ernie Soanes.
It appears that some of the very good players were playing twice a week in the Oxford and Wallingford leagues, whilst us country folk at the Bell Hampton Poyle were only playing in the Oxford on Thursdays, and could not join the closest, Witney league as this was on a Thursday too. So Max & Brian put forward a suggestion of running another league on a Tuesday to give more players a better chance of becoming competitive.
It was thought that a team of three playing members, would make travelling easier as all could be transported in one car and by having a format where players have two games per match, allows each player at least one attempt at the break. Also it was considered that where Thursday teams usually had 5 players plus reserves, then the venue may be able to produce two teams thus providing landlords with the chance of having a game in their premises every week.
Also Tuesday would be the playing evening for all league, knockout and competition games, thus negating any alternative arrangements being necessary, and all competition games being arranged by the secretary on neutral (as near as possible) tables.
Max & Brian had lots of discussions with the Witney league players and landlords, especially Jon Bamsey, Roy Wain, Tony Willis and Pete Collett who were all keen to form a new league. The idea was harder to sell than imagined and country teams were at first reluctant to travel into Oxford, hence the idea of an Invitation League, thus limiting travel to the Witney, Eynsham, Kirtlington, Weston, Cassington, Kidlington, Bletchington and Islip areas.
Eynsham was the largest village between Oxford and Witney, had several venues with tables and was central to the area involved, hence the league was named "Eynsham & District Invitation League".
Starting with eight teams in the first season, this increased over the years to 12 teams playing in two divisions but all playing each other. The next landmark was entering an area representative team of players who had never or hardly ever played for Witney or Oxford representative teams. This progressed to 3 area teams, which gave young relatively inexperienced players the chance to gain confidence of playing "big name" players at county level competition.
Although the league has become smaller in recent years, it remains very competitive and keenly supported.