News from the editor’s chair
Well, it doesn’t seem like long ago that I was agreeing with some reluctance at an
ABC event to launch the new magazine and already we are on our third edition. Given an
absolutely cold start without the advantages of an existing mailing list of potential subscribers
we have made steady progress and are well into three figures with new subscriptions coming
in regularly, several encouragingly from abroad. Our first objective, which was to keep the
lines of communication open post BQR, has therefore been well and truly met and our aim,
with your help, is now to spread the word to as wide an audience as possible to ensure the
long term viability of the magazine. Although we are not in the same universe as snooker in
terms of active participants, there must be several thousand active billiard players and
enthusiasts in the UK and I’d be surprised if more than a couple of hundred of them were
even aware of the existence of a publication dedicated to the three ball game. Coverage is
our challenge and if I could ask each of you to encourage fellow players to subscribe we
could ramp the numbers up much more quickly and a higher quality product would ensue.
OK, I’ll get off the soapbox now and get back to this month’s edition. Speaking
personally, mid-summer is a time to swap billiard cue for fishing rods, golf clubs, bowls or
whatever outdoor pursuit takes your fancy and I guess that this applies to all but the absolute
die-hards among us. In recognition of this inevitable lull, although I gather that the pros are
toiling away in the humidity of the sub-continent, this edition has a strong focus on local
matters and, thanks to the efforts of Phil Welham who has been co-ordinating contributions,
we have compiled a comprehensive round-up of league news and results from around the
country. If your particular league has not been represented then all you have to do is send
me the details.
In the last edition we had extensive coverage of the final stages of the English
Amateur and CIU championships and I’d just like to add my own personal congratulations to
Chris Shutt on his magnificent double. Chris had to endure a fairly heavy burden of
expectation with the temporary (we hope) departure of Martin Goodwill to Saudi and David
Causier to the pro ranks and most pundits assumed that he would sweep up the main
trophies with ease. In the event, that’s exactly what he did, but with several blips in form,
noticeably in Ireland and in the odd ABC event, Chris had to overcome a few personal
demons and dig deep before coming up with the goods, as he did in no uncertain terms in
the Amateur final with his magnificent 500+ break. He is a very personable and modest chap,
without the slightest trace of arrogance or cockiness that such a prodigious talent in one so
young might engender and I wish him every success in the pro ranks.
However, competitions aren’t only about the winners and in this edition we have
included a profile of Yorkshireman Terry Ward whom Chris defeated in the final. Terry had
made the semis on no less than 11 previous occasions, had participated in the world
amateur and this was the first time he had got through to the final hurdle. Despite such an
impressive record I wouldn’t be doing him a disservice by describing him as one of the
sport’s unsung heroes and so it’s a pleasant task to be able to profile this tough and
consistent competitor, so representative of the backbone of top amateur billiards.
I am also very pleased to report that Jack Karnehm has agreed to produce a series
of articles on top of the table play in which he will attempt to unravel, in some great depth,
the intricacies of this important phase of the game. Jack is convinced that many of the
lessons to be learnt from spot end play apply equally to other phases of billiards and would
certainly be of great assistance to aspiring snooker players looking to improve their control
around the black spot.
Finally, I’m pleased to report that Strachan have indicated that they would be
interested in sponsoring the magazine and discussions are being held to move this forward.
This would obviously represent a significant step forward for us and, with their involvement in
sponsoring professional billiards events, would also underline Strachan’s commitment to
supporting billiards at all levels.