Alma 2002

December 2019; More terrible news in that John Mitchell was found dead at his home after being taken ill. News of this has only just reached me and the funeral has just taken place. In the picture John (right and without jacket!) was a part of the all conquering Alma team who were national champs in 2002. You will find John's name many times in the Hall of Fame including his Open Singles title in 1978. John will always be fondly remembered as 'John the Jacket' for his smart casual attire which always included a navy blue blazer. John was a part of the four friends expeditions (with Mike Callanan, Chris Saville & Bill Pilkington) that went all over Europe for several years in a Reliant Robin towing a trailer!


Ricky Cowdrey

December 2019; Sadly I have to report the passing of Ricky Cowdrey of the Alma 'B'. Ricky was an ever popular figure and keen supporter in our league and a past seniors individual champion. Ever present in the league for most of its almost fifty years he will be sadly missed. Ricky was the epitome of the original 'Elvis' lookalike! Ricky was a successful amateur boxer in his younger days and became a much travelled boxing judge.


  Brian Wiseman

November 13th 2018 Sadly  I have to report the passing of Brian Wiseman, seen here with his daughter Ruth. A former player, and landlord of our league. Brian was President of the league for many years and elected a Life Vice President when he retired as President of the league in recognition of his tireless enthusiasm for our game.

A gentle giant and a humble soul, finally reunited with his wife Jan.

  Ted Bachelor

Aug 08th 2014: Sadly I have heard that Ted Batchelor has lost his long fight with illness. Ted won the Open Singles four times as well as the Over 50's and Pairs titles. In 2002 Ted was a national champion as a member of the Alma team that won the National Pub Team Championship. Ted played in the league for very many years starting at the Whitehall in Shepherdswell. Ted also played in the Canterbury league. He will be remembered as one of the finest craftsmen playing balls around the fifty hole, but most of all Ted was a cultured quiet man whom many had the privilege of calling him a friend.

  Ted Hogben

Aug 8th 2013; Very sad news, Ted Hogben, partner of Fran and long term supporter and player in our league, died this morning. He will be sorely missed as a friend and as a player.

Stan Brocklebank

April 1st 2012; Sadly I have heard that Stan Brocklebank has passed away. Stan had played in our league since the folding of the Canterbury League and was a credit to, and supporter of, the friendly nature of the league we play in. To show the esteem in which he was held I have, by kind permission of the Kentish Gazette, been allowed to publish his full obituary, Click here to see it.


May 31st 2011; It is my sad duty to inform you of the passing of Harry Pearson. Harry played in our league for over thirty years, starting at the Whitehall in Shepherdswell. As far as I can see Harry never won an individuals trophy but was one of the foundation stones of the league. His smile and chuckle will be sorely missed. Harry's funeral was 13th June at Barham. R.I.P. Harry.

Harry on the right pictured here with Billy Edwards, sadly also no longer with us enjoying life at the Alma


Oct 23rd 2010; Sad news.

I've just heard that Roger Oldfield, a long term player and supporter of our league, was taken ill whilst playing golf and has died.

We all knew  Roger as one of the keenest supporters of our league and always a pleasure to share a pint and a game with.


Richard Shepherdson, September 2009.

September 22nd; I have had a call from Brian Wiseman to say that Richard has been found dead, sadly it would seem he took his own life. Richard, Ruth and the rest of the Wiseman family played in the league for many years and we were expecting to see Richard playing again this season. Richard's funeral will be at Barham on Thursday 8th at 1240hrs. No flowers please, donations to Dilnot-Smith for the RNLI or Mountain Rescue.


Another Champion Passes, August 2009.

Sadly I have to report the passing of another former champion of the league, Bob Baker.

Bob was a Royal Marine Bandsman and spent his latter years of service in Deal. Bob started playing as a part of the then mighty Alma team. Surprisingly for a player of Bob's calibre he never won the open singles but was runner-up in 1981. With his wife Rose he won the mixed pairs twice in 1978 & 81. A quiet and unassuming man, Bob was always pleasant and rarely had a bad word for anyone. I knew him through bar billiards, work at P&O and through other interests since.

Rest in Peace Bob.


A Great Champion Passes, March 2008

Few on here will remember her, but I had to note the passing of Sheila Howell (nee Hill). I have only just heard that Sheila lost a long battle against that awful disease cancer a few months ago. Winner of three Ladies Singles titles, seven Mixed Pairs titles and four Ladies Pairs (that we have records for), Sheila was as good as any lady player in the league at that time. Sheila and her husband David were part of the all conquering Rose and Crown in the old Deal League and subsequently, the early days at the Alma in the current league. Have a look at the Hall of Fame and spend a few seconds remembering her, a thoroughly nice person and a great player..            Rest in Peace Sheila

Feb 11th 2007. Jack (Paddy) Maher passed on. He had played bar billiards for half a century in this league and the Canterbury league before.

Jim Hornibrook 1944 - 2003.

A tribute from Chris Saville.

I first new Jim Hornibrook in the late sixties. I was a sprog bar billiards player going through my early seasons in the old Deal league. Mike Callanan and I used to go over to the Nags Head in Canterbury to watch the 'Gods' of the green baize ply their trade in the then mighty Canterbury League. There were none better and none more welcoming than Jim Hornibrook, that sums him up!! Jim won the Canterbury Open Singles on more than one occasion and was a part of the all conquering Canterbury Interleague side that lifted the trophy on three successive years. He was also a top class footballer and cricketer representing his local area in both sports. One thing you knew if you were up against Jim was that you were in for a battle, but a battle fought to the fairest of standards and a hand shake after.

It was a cruel twist of fate that saw Jim develop Emphysema in the early seventies, and a gradual deterioration in his health until 1987 - 88 when I saw a man that I thought was at death's door sitting with an oxygen cylinder at the Canterbury presentation night. That showed how determined he was to overcome his illness. Medical science came to his aid with a lung transplant in 1989. This brought a radical improvement in his health, but saw the start of a long battle to keep it. During the following years Jim met the challenge where many would have given up. He raised thousands of pounds for Harefield and The Kent And Canterbury Hospitals and threw his efforts into local community life.

Jim wrote columns for Bar Billiards and other sports in the Kent Gazette, and he continued to play bar billiards until the demise of the Canterbury League in 1997. He was a good golfer winning the Sunshine Masters National Title in Portugal in 1995, and forced to do it without the aid of a buggy in the last round. He also became heavily involved in local village life in Chartham, where he was born, as a Parish Councillor and Chairman of the local sports club.. He was tireless and thoroughly committed in everything he did.

Latterly he made the odd guest appearance in our league for Stan Brocklebank's team and was a regular visitor to our Presentation evenings. So when you start your matches next week spare a thought for a remarkably gifted man who fought and won a frustrating battle over ill health for nearly thirty years. He was a fine a player and as nice a gentleman as I have had the privilege and pleasure to meet.

God Bless you Jim!