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R.I.P. Peter Muff

Rest in Peace

One of the most popular and best-known names in Huddersfield crown green bowling over the years has been Peter Muff and so it is with much regret that we have to record his passing this week at the age of 92.

Peter was a journalist on The Examiner for many years which allowed him to fraternise among those involved in his two major sporting compassions - crown green bowling and horse racing. His Saturday evening column on crown green bowling being the staple diet of all local bowlers for over 25 years with his insight as a bowler throwing light on to every piece he wrote. He was a regular speaker at many local bowling clubs and he and his wife, Judith, were a very popular addition to any bowling gathering. Judith passed away a couple of years ago which had a dramatic effect on Peter's well-being meaning that he eventually had to go into a care home in Lepton where he passed away last week. They didn't marry until into their 50's and had no family.

Being a come-inner I only met Peter on a few occasions after he phoned me to offer some sponsorship to support the 50th Anniversary of the Veterans League in 2020. I went to see him at his home in Almondbury. It was he who suggested to me that starting a Patron scheme would allow supporters to contribute to this milestone. He was right, with over £600 being donated by like-minded individuals which all went into helping fund the celebrations of the Anniversary from which all the League's clubs benefitted in various ways.

I invited Peter to join us at the 50th Anniversary celebrations at Meltham in February 2020 which he accepted but by the time the date came around Judith had been taken ill and he said that neither of them was in the frame of mind for celebrations of any kind. He knew that I was compiling a book to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Veterans League that was scheduled to be released during the Anniversary Season. I asked him if he would write a foreword to it that I could include and he readily accepted and delivered. It is my one regret that my fall-out with the Veterans League resulted in the shelving of that project and the subsequent hiding of the foreword written by Peter. I am pleased to rectify that today.

FOREWORD by Peter Muff

Fifty years old! It’s hard to believe but that’s how old the Huddersfield & District Veterans Bowling Association is this year’ So it’s golden congratulations to those who had the foresight to start it all, to those who continued to take it forward and to those who administer the complexities of it today.

For those who like a touch of nostalgia, 1970 was the time when Fred Whitehead (Cowcliffe Liberal) won the Huddersfield Merit, Philip Carter (Newsome WMC) won the Champion of Champions, Bernard Sigsworth (Greenhead Park) won the Colne Valley Merit and Harry Haigh (Crosland Moor Liberal) won the old Yorkshire Charity Handicap.

And Derek Ripley (then of Horsforth Cons but later of Crosland Moor Liberal and the Griffin) was bringing a blush to the White Rose of Yorkshire by winning the county Merit and taking the silverware back to Berkshire where he then lived.

There was no Rose Bowl – by far the oldest individual tournament in the Veterans League – in 1970. But it was quickly into its stride a year later when the first winner was Hector Hamilton (Paddock I&C). The Association, of course, has snowballed considerably since those early days and last season there were 96 teams in the League and 1,500 bowler registrations.

So many bowlers now look forward to their Monday and Tuesday afternoons and the fixtures are, quite naturally, keenly competitive. But I think there’s an extra element to it all and that’s the social aspect. Old lads do like to talk and reminisce!

In addition to the divisional clashes, there are other competitions, including handicaps for the Over-70s and the Over-80s. What do you think about the possibility of an Over-90s handicap? Don’t laugh! With people living longer and healthier lives, I don’t think it’s beyond the bounds of possibility.

Whatever the future, however, I wish the Huddersfield & District Veterans Bowling Association the very best. I know it’s in very good hands.

PETER MUFF: Former Chief Sportswriter of the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Peter covered more Huddersfield Merit finals than he cares to remember. He reported on forty consecutive Yorkshire Merit finals, Yorkshire county matches and wrote a Saturday night column for over twenty-five years. He also described many of the major tournaments at the Waterloo Hotel in Blackpool as well as the All-England finals up and down the country. And he retired from full-time journalism three-months early so that he would have a full season with the ‘Vets’ at Slaithwaite Cricket & Bowling Club.

If you would like to say a few words about Peter then please use the Comments facility below or alternatively send us something for us to add to the tributes.

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Thank you Jeff, a really lovely report, Peter would have liked and appreciated it.

Who could forget Peters marvellous columns and often full pages of bowling news in the Examiner.

What a promoter of bowling he was and I guess that many will have been encouraged to start bowling because of the impact of Peters journalism.

We have many vivid and happy memories of Peters and Judith's company and Peters brilliant story telling. Stories about bowling and many interesting aspects of life too.

A sad day, but remembered with much fondness.

Hazel and Paul Rangeley

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