Article author • Rick Tucker
Thanks to the following winkers who contributed information used in this article via email correspondence:
- Richard Ackland
- Sarah Knight
- Stew Sage
H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, was instrumental in establishing the popularity of tiddlywinks in the UK and promulgating its ongoing success. He sponsored several royal matches: in 1958 (the Goons vs. the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club (CUTwC), by far the best known and the most pivotal and incredibly impactful match), 1959 (the Empress Club vs. CUTwC), and yet another in 2008 (the Savage Club vs. CUTwC) that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first royal tiddlywinks match in 1958.
A digitized image of a printed scorecard (with signatures but no scores) has come to light that suggests that a 1960 royal tiddlywinks match was planned and may have occurred. The scorecard (below) states that the match was to have taken place during the evening of Friday, 1 April 1960 (yes, April Fool’s Day). Per the scorecard, Prince Philip asked the Lord’s Taverners to serve as his royal champions to compete against CUTwC. At the time, Prince Philip was the titular President of the Lord’s Taverners organization during 1960–1961.
The Lord’s Taverners was founded at the Tavern at the esteemed Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. The organization promotes youth participation in the game of cricket.
Unfortunately, little is known about this royal match, including whether the event actually took place and winks games were played.
Here’s what we know so far!
The following two people who signed this scorecard program were not listed as winkers on the program:
- Ben Warriss, a comedian who played the “straight man” as part of the comedy duo “Jewel & Warriss”
- Joe Davis, billiards/snooker player
Winkers in This Match
Here’s the list of the winkers representing the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club:
- F. Geoffrey Kershaw (of Christ’s College)
- A. P. Rigby (of Christ’s College)
- James Norman Bardsley (Norman) (of Christ’s College)
- became the first Secretary-General of the International Federation of Tiddlywinks Associations from 1963–1965
- became a lighting and display technologies engineer
- note that the scorecard mistakenly lists him as “J. M. Bardsley”
- Leslie G. Woodhead (of Selwyn College),
- became a documentary film maker
- A. MacBarnet (of Trinity College)
- D. Wallage (of Downing College)
- R. Hand (of Downing College)
- D. Scholar (of Selwyn College)
And here’s the list of winkers on the Lord’s Taverners royal tiddlywinks team, winking on behalf of sponsor Prince Phillip:
- Peter Haigh, BBC television announcer
- Jack Payne, bandleader
- Freddie Mills, boxer
- Cardew Robinson, comic
- Jerry Desmonde, actor
- McDonald Hobley, BBC television announcer
- Dick Bentley, comedian and actor
- Michael Parker, previously Private Secretary to the Duke of Edinburgh, 1948–1957, and a retired Australian and Royal Navy Commander
The umpires at this match also umpired the 1 March 1958 CUTwC vs. Goons match, two years before:
- John Snagge, BBC announcer
- Chris Brasher, track and field athlete and sports journalist