The story of the Independent Cribbage League
The League was formed at a Meeting on Sunday, 4th November, 1984 at The Phoenix, Dartford and there were 16 teams represented, 3 teams have remained as constant members of the League ever since and they are North Heath Social Club, The Plough Wilmington and The Ship Dartford. Players from three other teams have remained with the League, but have moved venue, Duke of Wellington, became the Bear & Ragged Staff, then Crayford Social Club and are now split between three teams, Newtown Tavern 'B' Dartford became The Brewers Arms 'A' and moved now to the Duchess of Kent; and the Phoenix 'B' team became the Malt Shovel. There are also a number of players who have played continuously in the League since its formation but for different teams. The original Chairman being Dennis Wells. Unfortunately after 26 years with the League The Ship, Dartford (Pam Bingham) have had to withdraw.
Two new teams joined the League in October 1985 and Ken Cross joined the Committee. One more team in 1987 and a larger influx of teams in 1988 took the League to 26 teams which meant the addition of a third division.
By 1990 we had 30 teams in the three divisions and late applications from another seven teams caused the formation of a fourth division for the later part of the season with the seven teams playing each other once only. In 1993 Bob Williams joined the Committee as Minute Secretary.
1994 saw the introduction of a fifth division and the league reaching a peak of 50 teams. The fifth division lasted for three seasons wheron a steady decline in the number of teams meant the League being reduced to four divisions. Further reductions eventually led to the discontinuation of the fourth division for season 2004/5 with only 30 teams applying for membership. For season 2006/7 a further decline has led to the League only having 26 teams and for 2007/8 we were down to 21 teams. The decline continued for 2008/09 losing one team, but this meant we were able to return to divisions of 10, enabling all teams to have a full season of games
In the early days of the League a presentation dance was held each year and after two years at Temple Hill Community Centre we outgrew the size of the hall (180 tickets for 18 teams), and moved to Crayford Town Hall where, despite having only 26 teams, we had a waiting list for tickets (over the 300 limit).
Once again a gradual decline in the following of these evenings led to the Dance becoming a Disco in Crayford Social Club and finally these were discontinued when ticket sales dropped to 30's.
During the life of the League there have only been four recorded occasions of a player holding the Maximum hand of 29. The first occasion was Dave Suter (New Town Tavern 'A') on Tuesday, 21st February, 1995, again in 1995 Bill Honeyman (Moorings Club) and Cliff Sparks (White Hart) on the same night, Cliff getting his 29 in a singles box. In the following year, 1996, Wally Taylor (Plough) became the most recent winner. After a lapse of 21 years Ryan Woodrow of Falconwood Club became the first reported occasion in the Leagues (the first one in the S.E.O.C.L.) in 2017.
In March 1920 the League had to discontinue before playing the Singles and Pairs competitions because of the Covid Epedemic, restarting in November 2021 with a reduced total of 13 teams.
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