Hall of Fame - Players

George ‘Pop’ Maynard

A figure synonymous with Tinsley Green and the marbles championships was George ‘Pop’ Maynard, captain of the Copthorne Spitfires. ‘Pop’ was born in Smallfields just over the Surry border but it was not long after that his family moved to Copthorne, where he remained for the rest of his long life. He first gained national recognition in 1948 when the Copthorne Spitfires won the team event and ‘Pop’ appeared on TV. He was also a well-known folk-singer and was recorded by the BBC. Some of his songs can be heard on a Topic record.

‘Pop’ was 82 years old when he first flew and it was with George Burbridge and the Tinsley Tigers to Le Touquet, France. They were guest of the Mayor and Corporation of the town and gave exhibitions of marbles in the town and on the beach. A year later in 1955 he opened a marbles ring at Jordans, in the London Road; he did it by dropping a marble into the ring from a three seater Bell helicopter.
In his latter years ‘Pop’ suffered with arthritis in his hand but he could still knock the last marble from the ring right up to the end. He died in 1962 at the age of 90.


Sam Spooner

Sam was a local cowman who lived nearly all of his life at Tinsley Green, the exception being a short spell with the British Army in India. When marbles were revived in the 1930’s Sam used the same tolley that he had used when he was champion in the 1880’s, some 45 years before.

In 1935 Sam along with Ted Mobsby who organized the championships from 1935 until 1946, was asked to appear on the popular radio program ‘In Town Tonight". At the rehearsal all went well, with Ted running his finger along the lines of the script for old Sam’s eyes to focus on. When the show went on the air, Ted continued to do the same until Sam remonstrated, ‘Move your bloody finger, Ted I’ve read that bit before". After the producer commented that it was one of the most natural interviews he had ever heard!

Sam died in 1946 at the age of 85 and a plaque to his memory is now displayed outside the Greyhound overlooking his beloved marbles ring.

The-Nose-Drop Sam Spooner 1938

Arthur Chamberlain

Arthur who was individual champion in 1954 trained the Slaugham scout team who won the junior championships from 1952 until 1957.

His son Tom with Barry Ray, Richard Haylar and David Knape were all one time members of the scout team and some still played at Tinsley Green (2011).

But are now known as the Handcross Rebels, team winners in 1977 and 1979.


Wee Willie Wright


Wee Willie was a 5’ 2" Welshman, small in size but big in stature as a marble player. The diminutive Welshman was renowned for his ‘secret weapon’ a hot water bottle sewn inside his coat, to keep his thumb warm and the circulation going. Wille was thought to be one of the best players ‘inside the ring’. As one of his team mates told me, ‘If Wille got inside the ring the game was ours’. He was Individuals champion five times, and finally lost his individual title in 1960 to Len Smith of the Telcon Terribles. Willie, who lived at Southwater nr Horsham, died in 1976 just weeks before his 71st birthday.