Anthony (Tony) Eric Horobin
Tony Horobin was born in November 1942 in Cornwall. At some stage Tony and his family moved up to Harrogate in North Yorkshire. I believe, in his youth, that Tony was a more than decent club cricketer. His parents took up bowls playing at Harrogate Bowling Club, at the top of Valley Gardens. When his cricket career came to an end Tony joined his parents playing bowls. If you visit Harrogate B.C. and browse the Honours Boards you will find both the names of his Dad, Eric, and Tony. Maybe, that was when I first came across him. During the school holidays I would often go and watch my mother at the likes of Redcar, York and Harrogate.
Tony, his wife Anne and daughter Claire settled in Birstall , near Batley, West Yorkshire. The nearest Indoor facility was at Huddersfield Sports Centre where, I believe, he met Fred Curtis (LCBA President 1972), Peter Huddlestone and, of course, Gordon Niven. Both Fred and Peter lived around Huddersfield but played outdoors at Heaton Hall B.C. Tony was encouraged to join them and thus played outdoors for Lancashire for nearly 40 years.
Tony’s first Middleton Cup match for Lancashire was the second game of the 1976 season away to Durham at Darlington R.A. Not a great start we lost by 100 shots ! Things improved in the next match when we played Northumberland on the ‘B’ green at Stanley Park, Blackpool and WON ! Only Lancashire’s 4th victory in nearly 80 Middleton Cup games.
Tony represented Lancashire in well over 100 Middleton Cup matches including the victory against Warwickshire in 1998 when we lifted the Trophy for the first time. He was County Captain between 1991 & ’96 and L.C.B.A. President in 2002. In 2004 he was made an Honorary Life Member of the County.
He first represented Lancashire in the National Championships at Worthing in 1978, both Triples and Fours. In 1980 Tony along with Charlie Pilkington and Gordon Niven won the National Triples, only Lancashire’s second Championship victory. The following year, the trio, added the British Isles title at Worthing. This was followed in 1983 by winning the National Fours (Duncan, Tony, myself & Gordon), yet again the British Isles title was added the following year, this time at Larne in Northern Ireland.
Tony’s record in the County Championships is as follows:
Pairs 1980, 2011, 2013
Triples 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2014
Fours 1978, 1981, 1984, 1986,2011,2014
A total of 23 County Championships !
In the Northern County Championships Tony’s achievements are as follows:
Up to now I have quite rightly concentrated on his achievements with Lancashire but it would be remiss of me not to mention his other contributions to the sport of Bowls !
Before winning the Outdoor Triples in 1980, Tony together with Gordon, myself and Ian Pratt from York were one of the 6 rinks to form Yorkshire Indoors Liberty Trophy team that beat Somerset in the Final at Swindon. Gordon skipped against David Bryant !
In 1983 before winning the outdoor Fours, Duncan, Tony & myself had won the National Indoor Triples at Hartlepool, unfortunately this time we didn’t follow it up with the British Isles title. Triples must have been Tony’s favourite format ! In 2004/5 he also won the National Indoor Over 60s Singles.
Tony has done much more than play bowls, he has always been involved in its administration. He was Hon Secretary of Yorkshire County Indoor Bowls Association for over 40 years. He was elected to the Executive Committee of the English Indoor Bowling Association in 1987 and continued serving at Board level until he resigned as Men’s International Team Manager, due to ill health in early 2021. He also represented the EIBA on both the British Isles Indoor Bowls Council and World Indoor Bowls Council.
In the late 1990’s it was my great pleasure to propose Tony for the position of Junior Vice President of the English Indoor Bowling Association. This was followed by Senior Vice and then Tony became President for the 2000/01 season.
TRULY A MAN OF BOWLS
Compiled by Alec Atkinson March 2022