Categories

Billiard Monthly September 1912

The Billiard Monthly : September, 1912
logo
A Journal of Interest and Value to Amateur Billiard Players
No. 23, September, 1912 Price 1/6 per annum to any part of the world. Single Copies 1d

THE BILLIARD MONTHLY PORTRAIT GALLERY

XXIII.—J. W. COLLENS

jwCollens

J. W. COLLENS: Liverpool.
The Billiard Monthly : September, 1912

English Professionals Abroad

The earlier advices indicated that neither the champion (Inman) nor the ex-champion (Stevenson) had been at the top of their form in Australia and South Africa respectively, Inman having failed to hold Williams in their first encounter and Stevenson having been heavily back-marked by Gray. Williams (receiving 1,500) beat Inman by 2,352 in 9,000 up. Reece has been playing well, although defeated by Lindrum, but perhaps the most notable success has been achieved by Harverson, who in his matches with Diggle, whose play has been unsatisfactory, has shone conspicuously. On July 22 Inman and Reece commenced a match which was witnessed by the Governor-General, Lord Denman. At the half-way Inman was 839 behind, but both had been playing well, with such breaks as Inman 584 and Reece 513. Williams has challenged Reece, but Reece said that, owing to his engagements, it would be impossible for him to meet Williams in Australia. He would be willing, however, to play a match in England next season for £100 or £200 a-side, and he would concede Williams a start of 3,000 in 18,000 up. The international tournament arranged between the visiting English professionals and Australian professionals commenced with a match between Harverson and Williams (subsequently replaced—owing to a conflicting agreement— by F. Smith, Jun.), on July 22, Harverson winning easily. Gray, although beaten by Stevenson at Durban by 9,000 to 7,112, seems to have risen in South Africa with bonzoline balls to something like his old form with crystalates. From Johannesburg Stevenson and Gray were to move up to Pretoria, and then to Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town, in order named.

The Billiard Monthly : September, 1912

Billiards Seventy Years Ago

The Billiard Monthly is giving from month to month a series of diagrams illustrating what was considered “the game” at billiards in the time of Mr. E. R. Mardon, one of the earliest writers on the subject, and to this old book “B. D.” referred in a recent issue of Country Life. Carr was (writes “B. D.”) the best player in England before the advent of the great Edwin Kentfield, better known as Jonathan, who was “the god of Mr. Mardon’s idolatry.” Kentfield was a great player, more especially on the old tables with list cushions and big pockets, and for a long while was without a peer; but at length a new star appeared in the North, and some under-bred persons who dwelt in Manchester, far from the genteel repose of the subscription rooms at Brighton, began to say that a greater than Kentfield was there. This was John Roberts, the elder. Mr. Mardon had never seen Roberts play, but this made no difference to him, since he argued the question on a priori grounds. The powers of his favourite, he declared, “had gone beyond what even the imagination could embrace,” and “although luminaries may shine forth in other spheres, Mr. Kentfield, the electric light of mine, must, I think, dim their lustre and keep them in the shade.” It is pathetic to find after this spirited outburst that Mr. Mardon, in a later edition, had to change his mind. The tactless Roberts refused to be kept down by the powers of imagination; he came to Brighton and openly demanded a match. “A nobleness of conduct similar to this was not unfortunately in unison with the feelings of Mr. Kentfield.” He took Roberts into a private room, locked the door and began a game for love. It seems doubtful whether either party revealed his real game, but at the end Roberts declared that he could give Kentfield 20 in 100, and reiterated his challenge. The elder man wisely realized that the younger would be too strong for him, and preferred to rest on his laurels. Mr. Mardon has to admit that Roberts is the stronger, and he does so with a sorrowful generosity. Possibly he was the less unwilling because Roberts was stated to have declared that his game had ” benefited and improved by the perusal of Mr. Mardon’s treatise.” What amateur could survive so sweet a piece of flattery from a professional champion? The feats of other great players are to be found in Mr. Mardon’s pages, but the reader searches in vain for any further mention of the defeated Porker. He may have been finally extinguished by that great break, or possibly the conqueror wisely guided his conduct by the doggerel rhyme adorning the wall of Hughes’ billiard-rooms: William Hughes hopes him you’ll excuse For making this observation. When you’ve the best of the game, keep the same; To mention more there can be no occasion. B. D.

A Few Cue Tips

  • In making the gentle cannon off the spotted red at the top of the table, which sends the red to the corner pocket an excellent plan is first to get the aim for the pot and then play a little fuller or finer so as to strike the top or side cushion as required for the next stroke. In this way the red can always be left quite near to the pocket without going in, and the only thing to remember is so to guide the cue ball in making the pot that a cannon or another pot is left on.
  • In playing middle pocket in-offs always take a preliminary glance from centre of top cushion or from top pocket on same side as object ball through the latter. This will at once reveal whether the intended contact would lose ball in top pocket or leave it in an undesirable position. This treating of every in-off as a pot is one of the most remunerative things in billiards.
  • One of the first things to learn in billiards is the exact potentiality of the unhindered and unaccelerated cue. The gentlest of swings at the bottom of the table sends the ball two lengths and when this is realized the forcing of a stroke is at once seen to be an altogether exceptional requirement, so far, at any rate, as the object ball is concerned.
  • One of the common mistakes in billiard playing is always to play half-ball simply because the half-ball stroke is on. Where there is nothing else to consider this is a good principle, but when playing from baulk it is frequently much better to alter the placing of the cue ball for a thicker or finer contact even though it may seem a little more difficult.
  • In the same way a wider than half-ball placing and a forcing or screw shot is often essential to position, although the ordinary half-ball shot is clearly there also.
  • There are many placings of the balls in which the right stroke for position is in every way as easy as the wrong. Take the case of either a fine in-off or a gentle follow-through into a baulk pocket with the cue ball near a side cushion. The thicker stroke leaves perfect middle pocket or drop cannon position, whereas a fine cut would leave the object ball in baulk.
  • The art of securing the drop cannon, which leads to the top of the table from baulk, is worth any amount of practice, and when the red is on the spot, the white a little below a top pocket, and a fine in-off practicable, the drop cannon can nearly always be set up by cutting the white to its necessary position by way of the side cushion.
  • In close cushion cannons, when one object ball is against the cushion and the other situated diagonally a little below with the cue ball a little lower still and in line with the red, care should be taken to get almost full on the first object ball, otherwise an annoying cover will ensue. Similarly when the cue ball is on one side of the other two a fullish contact prevents it from coming to rest between the object balls.
  • Accept a wrong decision at the table rather than let it ruffle you. Equability is a strong billiard asset.

English Professionals Abroad

The earlier advices indicated that neither the champion (Inman) nor the ex-champion (Stevenson) had been at the top of their form in Australia and South Africa respectively, Inman having failed to hold Williams in their first encounter and Stevenson having been heavily back-marked by Gray. Williams (receiving 1,500) beat Inman by 2,352 in 9,000 up. Reece has been playing well, although defeated by Lindrum, but perhaps the most notable success has been achieved by Harverson, who in his matches with Diggle, whose play has been unsatisfactory, has shone conspicuously. On July 22 Inman and Reece commenced a match which was witnessed by the Governor-General, Lord Denman. At the half-way Inman was 839 behind, but both had been playing well, with such breaks as Inman 584 and Reece 513. Williams has challenged Reece, but Reece said that, owing to his engagements, it would be impossible for him to meet Williams in Australia. He would be willing, however, to play a match in England next season for £100 or £200 a-side, and he would concede Williams a start of 3,000 in 18,000 up. The international tournament arranged between the visiting English professionals and Australian professionals commenced with a match between Harverson and Williams (subsequently replaced—owing to a conflicting agreement— by F. Smith, Jun.), on July 22, Harverson winning easily. Gray, although beaten by Stevenson at Durban by 9,000 to 7,112, seems to have risen in South Africa with bonzoline balls to something like his old form with crystalates. From Johannesburg Stevenson and Gray were to move up to Pretoria, and then to Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town, in order named.

Jottings of the Month

  • The amateur championship of New South Wales has been
    won by A. G. Fay, who, by the way, equalled Major Fleming’s
    153 red ball break.
  • As W. Smith, of Darlington, will be one of the players
    in the Soho Square £1,000 tournament during the coming
    season, reference to his recent doings becomes of current
    interest. A three days’ billiard match between Smith and
    W. Melrose, of Middlesbrough, concluded at the Castle
    Hotel, Scarborough, on August 24. Smith conceded 1,000
    in a game of 4,000 up, and the final figures were:—Smith
    4.000, Melrose 3,630.
  • The Otley Bench were invited on August 9 to give their
    definition as to what constituted a club. It was during the
    hearing of a case in which Arthur Lewis Burnley was summoned
    for allowing public billiards at Otley without licence.
  • Burnley, it was said, had opened in Otley a billiard saloon
    with four tables. Being informed that he could not get a
    licence until the Brewster Sessions in February, he formed
    what he styled a club, to which persons were admitted to
    full membership on payment of a penny. In fining Burnley
    10s. and costs, the chairman said it must be understood
    that the place must not be used in that way again. It was
    stated that the Club would now be properly formed.
  • Quite an interesting billiard match took place at the West
    Ward Club, Hull, on August 13. The contestants were
    Captain G. Barker and Mr. F. Bellard. Both are old and
    clever exponents of the game, and the large number present
    thoroughly enjoyed the game, which was cleverly won on
    the post by Captain G. Barker. The cup was afterwards
    presented to the winner.
  • On August 14, at the Railway Hotel, Hornsey Rise, Alec
    Brown defeated E. Hoskins in a level return match by 1,000
    to 760. In the previous match at the Tufnell Park Hotel
    Hoskins, who was winner of the Boy Championship in 1906
    and winner of J. P. Mannock’s Second Class Professional
    American Tournament in 1912) won somewhat easily.
  • T. Aiken, Scottish champion, and W. Smith, of Darlington,
    visited Newcastle to play a match on the occasion of
    the opening of a new saloon at the Collingwood Restaurant.
  • A match of 1500 points up, Smith receiving 200 start, was
    played. Aiken scored breaks of 126, 111, 268, and 156, and
    the final scores were: Aiken, 1,500; Smith (200), 1,173.
  • harryTaylor
  • Harry Taylor

    A young Leeds player, named
    Harry Taylor, who has only just
    reached his fifteenth birthday, is
    said by the Yorkshire professional,
    George Nelson, to have already
    made breaks of 453 and 441 with
    ivory balls on a standard table.
    He also ran out with a 300 break
    recently when playing against the
    amateur champion, Mr. Virr.
    Like Gray, his strong feature is
    red-ball play. He was born at
    Bradford, but is now resident at
    Leeds.

A Qualifying Billiard Tournament

A project that is likely to be attended by the happiest
results has been matured by Messrs. Burroughes and Watts
in connection with their forthcoming annual £1,000 Professional
Tournament. The famous players already selected
for this tournament, which will commence in October, are
Inman, Diggle, Reece, Aiken, and W. Smith—the last named
being the young Darlington player who “made by
force his merit known” last season by beating George Gray
four times and by making against T. Newman a break of
736, the season’s record for any player with ivory balls.

But there are other “junior” players, so far as either
years or place in the profession is concerned, besides
Smith, and it is in order to encourage these and to give
them an opportunity of displaying their genius or gifts
with the best that the promoters of the Soho Square Tournament
have decided to have a series of qualifying heats,
the winner of which (and possibly the runner-up also) will
enter the classic circle by right of victory.

The draw for this preliminary tournament (which will be
conducted mainly on the “knock-out” principle) is:—

  • Osborne v. Hoskins, September 16 and 17.
  • Breed v. Tothill, September 18 and 19.
  • Raynor v. Harris, September 20 and 21.
  • Peall v. Taylor, September 23 and 24.
  • Sparrow v. Falkiner, September 25 and 26.
  • Chapman v. Collens, September 27 and 28.

Each heat will consist of 2,000 up (500 at each of four
sessions) and play will proceed over a period of five weeks.

To avoid byes the three survivors of the two preliminary
heats will play each other a game of 4,000 points, and to
this extent the American, rather than” the knock-out principle,
will be adopted.

The heats will be contested under B.C.C. rules and ivory
balls will be used.

Questions and Answers

Ivory and Composition Contacts

173.—”Can you please state the relative standard weight of
each set of balls, namely, bonzoline, ivory, and crystalate, and the
difference in contact required in playing the same stroke by each
kind of ball?”

There is no standard as to weight, except that
each ball of a set must weigh the same and be between 2 1/16 in. and
2 3/32 in. in diameter. Crystalate requires a slightly thicker or finer
contact than ivory, and bonzoline a slightly thicker or finer contact
than crystalate, according to the required direction of the object
ball. If it is desired that the object ball shall take the same
direction as an ivory ball would the stroke with compositions
must be played with check side or a great deal of “top,” and with
rather more of it with bonzoline than with crystalate.

Object Ball on Baulk Line and Object Balls Touching

174.—”When playing out of hand and the object white is on
the baulk line, but playable, and the red in baulk, can play be
made at the inside of the object white to effect a cannon. Also,
when cue ball and object ball are touching the balls are spotted.
Does this apply if two object balls are touching, or can they
be played at?”

They can be played at. The answer to the
first question is also in the affirmative.

Concerning Cue Tips

175.—”I should be obliged if you will tell me what shape the
cue tip should be, and should it be kept rough by using glasspaper
or be somewhat hard and smooth?”

Tips become rather
flatter and a little harder in use and are then at their best. Sand
paper should never be used, but a little tapping with a file
roughens the surface a trifle and removes chalk and grease. The
great thing in the care of the tip is to chalk very little, but at
regular and frequent intervals. Just one turn of the cue is
enough. The art of scientific cue tip chalking and attention is
one that professionals regard as vital, but that ordinary amateurs
rarely trouble about. Hence many irritating miscues in the course
of promising breaks. The new self-sticking cue tips, combined
with file and clamp, cannot be too highly spoken of.

Next Ball to Play on in Snooker

176.—”A player potted the last red ball left on the table at
snooker and in the same stroke he potted the green. Has the
next player his choice, or must he play on the yellow ball?”

He must play on the yellow. The choice only belongs to the
player who has previously put down the last red, and in this case
the opportunity had been sacrificed by the foul stroke.

Getting All the “Leaves.”

177.—”Is there any accounting for the fact that, when I am
playing with certain players, I get wretched leaves and have the
further mortification of always leaving something easy—especially
half-ball in-offs—for my opponent?”

It is all a question of
confident play or the reverse. The good leaves always go to the
player who is having a good time, and you may be sure that
the players who beat you in this way are your superiors either in
play or temperament. We gather that, as a matter of fact, you
also get good leaves and leave bad ones when playing with certain
opponents, and the cure for all is to play confidently. If you feel
the” dry rot “creeping in at any time, bang the balls, or resort
to safety, or do anything rather than become discouraged and
demoralized, as this can only result in making a bad case worse.

Potting Ball Into Middle Pocket

178.—”The straight pot from the end spot in baulk into the
middle pocket on the same side of the table nearly always baffles
me. Can you give me any hint in this direction?”

It baffles
even the best of players at times and the reason is not far to
seek. Make a chalk line from the baulk spot to the pocket and
place the red ball on the end of this line. Now look over the
centre of the cue ball to the object ball and note the exceedingly
small error for margin that there is, and it will at once be apparent
to you that unless the cue and the two balls are in
absolute alignment when the stroke is made failure can only
result. The stroke is both easier and better for position when the
red is a shade out of the straight line towards the centre of the
table, as the cue ball need not now follow in, even with a plain
stroke, and the succeeding in-off from the spot is duly provided
for.

How to Play for Position

179.—”I have read a great deal in The Billiard Monthly and
other papers about always playing for position, getting on the
right side of both balls in making cannons, leaving an easy stroke
to follow, etc., but when I am actually playing and trying to
arrange everything to a nicety I seem to play worse than ever.
Is not there some simple position rule that even a comparative
beginner like myself can profit by?”

There is no general rule.

Your game must be gradually built up as that of other players
has been. At the same time, you will do well to remember the
prime importance of guiding the red ball near to a pocket in
making a stroke and especially to a top pocket. The value of
this is obvious: Either a pot or in-off will most likely be left with
the red ball, and with something else to follow unless the pot or
in-off is very badly played. There is, for example, one position
from which nine points at least should be scored, even by a very
moderate player, every time it turns up. The red is almost close
to a top pocket and the white a little lower down across the table.

If the red is now potted with a shade of side the cue ball is left
by the upper shoulder of the pocket, whence it finds its way off
the spotted red into the opposite corner pocket and then off the
red into the middle pocket. This is, of course, A.B.C. to most
players, and yet so obvious an opportunity is constantly missed or
muddled.

Outdoor Billiards

180.—”I see that the question of open-air billiards has been
mooted as a holiday question, and it has been suggested that
if a table cannot be advantageously put up in a garden on account
of weather conditions, it might at least be placed beneath a well sheltered
balcony. But how about the cloth?”

The idea is,
of course, impracticable from the point of view of the expert
player, but there might be occasions on which a decent game
might be obtainable—during such a summer as last, for example,
but certainly not during a season like the present one. Atmospheric
conditions have an enormous influence on the cloth of a
billiard table, and even inside a house may make the play as
different in damp weather, where sufficient ironing has not been
resorted to, as croquet is on the lawn after heavy rain as compared
with hard ground. Speaking of croquet, we may say that,
in our opinion, this pastime is at present the best outdoor substitute
for billiards, and it is possible that some compromise between
billiards and croquet to be played on a hard ground surface might
yet be devised.

Records at Snooker Pool

The remarkable performance is mentioned by The Sheffield
Telegraph of August 19, of Jesse James, aged 16, who
is employed at the Howard Billiard Saloon, Chapel Walk, Sheffield, and who made a break of 70 at snooker in a
game with a local player. The Sheffield Telegraph adds:
As the world record stands at 72, the performance is a
very remarkable one, especially as being made by a boy on
a full-size table.”

The professional Snooker break record is 73, and this
figure stands to the credit both of John Roberts and James
Harris. But the head marker at the Grand Hotel, Bristol,
made 83 in October 1909 and the Manager of the Clarendon Hotel, Nottingham, 87 at about the same time.

Roberts and Newman in Canada

Advices received by the Billiard Monthly on August 31
just as we are going to press state that John Roberts, Mrs.

Roberts, and T. Newman are all well and were departing
from Vancouver for China and subsequently India, on September 3rd.

Amongst recent match results between Roberts and
Newman have been the following: At Port Arthur; Newman
(rec. 75) 750. v. Roberts 539; at Winnipeg, Newman
won two out of three matches of 3,000 up, and in another
match, of 750, receiving 75, won by 19; at Saskatoon, in two
matches, with the same handicap, the figures were: Roberts
750, v. N e w m a n 739, and Newman 750, v Roberts 353; at
Regina Newman 750, and 750 v. Roberts 710 and 526; at
Edmonton, Newman 750 v. Roberts 582.

Temperance Billiard Halls

Writing in The Yorkshire Evening Post, George Nelson,
the Yorkshire billiard professional, says:—

“In the last ten years there has come a greater change
in the game even than in the conditions of play. Despite
the bad name it got there were men wise enough to see
that it was not so much the game that was at fault as its
surroundings. A few of the churches and chapels had
ministers bold enough to put billiard tables in their institutes.

They had much opposition to face, but they proved
a success.

I remember one minister, who boldly told his church wardens
that the game was of such high character that
though it could not be withheld from the wicked it deserved
a place in the home of the good. To-day there are over
100 billiard tables in church and chapel institutes in Leeds
alone.

An even greater advancement has been made by the
temperance billiard hall movement. Twelve years ago there
was but one small establishment of this kind in Leeds, but
to-day there is one with 45 full-size tables, whilst there are
many others with from 4 to 14 tables. Yet Leeds is much
behind such towns as Glasgow, Manchester, etc., in this
matter. Wakefield is shortly to have a room with 25 to
30 tables. Another with 20 tables is to be opened next
month in Halifax. Batley also is to have a billiard hall
within the next three months. Everywhere there is greater
addition to billiards.

The merits of these halls are that you can generally
get a good table at a very cheap rate, and that no gambling
is allowed. The man who used to play billiards 20 years
ago, and has not been inside one of these establishments
can hardly realize what they are like. I once heard the
remark that a lot of markers must be needed for 45 tables.

But markers are not expected, or required, in such establishments,
and one man looks after from 8 to 12 tables.

That these rooms really fill a social need for the young
men of the day seems without question.

I have instances of certain districts where gangs of
young fellows perambulated the streets, and got into all
kinds of mischief, and boys developed into out-and-out
hooligans for want of something better to do. Then came
the temperance billiard hall, in which on most winter nights
you would find a hundred or more of youths sitting round
whilst those who could afford it played.

A certain amount of discipline had to be enforced,
and the youths were taught to behave themselves. Surely
that is much better than the streets. Anyhow, the police
in these districts say that their work is much lighter and
easier since the billiard halls opened.

I hear it said that youths are tempted into spending
too much money on the game. Well, it might be better for
some of them if they spent it, say, on warmer clothing,
but, on the other hand, there are many worse ways in which
they can spend their cash. One of the duties of the manager
of such establishments is to see that no youth spends too
much on billiards. It is a duty, too, fairly well carried out,
for it is very much to the interest of the proprietors to
guard against abuse. Otherwise, he is asking for trouble
with the police, who have power to shut his place up
without appeal to any authority.”