Friday, 27 March 2009
The Bristol Tournament
The Bristol Tournament was the most popular tounament in the UK during the late '70s and through the '80s. The tournament named 'Inter' was usually held on the Saturday and Sunday of the May Spring Bank Holiday and brought together clubs from across Britain along with teams (usually four) from Europe. The six scans here are of programmes from four of the tournaments showing the high profile sponsorship that the weekend attracted. The event was the mastermind of Whitchurch Handball Club's Tim Rowbottom and the rise and fall of the tournament very much followed the fortunes of the club.
During the first few years the tournament was a ten-club male tournament and was won three years running (1978-1980) by Fortuna Geleen from the Netherlands. The tounament reached its peak in the mid-80s; the scan of the line up for 1984 shows a 6-team female tournament with three teams from Europe (Lugi fielded two teams) and 15 men's teams playing in a 10-team indoor tournament and the remaining 5 playing in a 5-team outdoor tournament. This reflects the fact that the event was so popular that there was a waiting list for participation in the main event. The popularity of the event is further supported by the fact that the tournament had been moved to the first weekend in June which made it easier to attract European participants since this was a holiday weekend in a number of countries.
By 1988 Bristol no longer had a club and the tournament was in danger of not taking place but such was the popularity of the event that officials from other clubs, particularly Keith Clark from Liverpool, helped Tim organise the event in the absence of local support.
The final scan shows the tournament winners from 1977 to 1987.