MCBA History 1987-2017
In April 1987 the NWCBA split into three separate counties, Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside & Cheshire. The main purpose of this was to provide the top players with more opportunities to play for their county in events such as the Tollemache, Pachabo and Corwen.
This has been successful in that many players have played in these events who otherwise would not have competed. Over the thirty years Manchester has won the Pachabo once, whereas in the previous thirty years the North West won the Pachabo once, but that was with a team of Manchester players. In the Tollemache, the sole North West win in the last thirty years was by Merseyside, whereas the North West won it three times in the thirty years previous to that. The Corwen Trophy has only been running since 1980 and was won by Manchester pairs in 1980 and 1991.
The Northern Counties League was established in 2006, which has provided a great opportunity for many players to represent their counties at three different levels ever since. Manchester have dominated the A Division, but honours have been spread more evenly among the counties in the B and C divisions.
County events have been run by all three counties, giving players more opportunities to compete in events, with many players travelling to other counties to compete.
Since 1987 Michelle Brunner, John Holland, Rhona Goldenfield, Gary Hyett and Alan Mould have represented England or Great Britian in world or European Open or Womens events.
John Holland, Boris Ewart, Steve Eginton, Michelle Brunner, Alan Mould, Howard Melbourne, Gary Hyett, Tracy Capal, Mike Bell, Michael Byrne and Kath Nelson have all represented England in Camrose or Lady Milne matches.
Highlights have been wins in the Womens European for Rhona Goldenfield and Michelle Brunner and in the World Seniors (twice) and European Seniors for John Holland.
Many juniors have played in international events notably Michael Byrne and Mike Bell.
John Holland, John Hassett, Jeff Morris and Bill Hirst have also played for Senior teams.
Britain’s premier event, the Gold Cup, has been won by Jeff Morris, John Hassett, Alan Mould (2), Gary Hyett (2) and John Holland. England’s main team event, Crockford’s, has been won once, in 2000, by John Holland, Michelle Brunner, John Hassett, Bill Hirst and Howard Melbourne. The Hubert Phillips Bowl has been a very successful event for Manchester where John Holland and Michelle Brunner won it three times since 1987 and Rhona and Bernard Goldenfield, John Hassett and Bill Hirst twice.
Many other national events, too numerous to list, have been won by Manchester players, with John Holland, Michelle Brunner and Michael Byrne featuring a lot on the National Honours page of the web site.
The great success story of the last thirty years was the introduction of the congress, held in the city centre annually in January since 2000, attracting players from all over the country. Numbers of entrants have held up well for county events since then (apart from the league and Higson Cup which have dwindled somewhat). The league was dominated by Michelle Brunner’s Isolated Menaces team with twelve wins until her death in 2011. Recently Michael Byrne’s St Titus team have been the most consistent winners. The Higson Cup was also won twelve times by Michelle Brunner and team mates.