Bring on the clowns
A few years ago we were playing in the semi-final of a team
cup match with games of 150 up. We had lost the first of
the four games, so it was crucial to win the second. The scores
stood at 146 all, our player at the table and all the balls behind
the baulk line. He miscues and sends his cue ball into the
pocket. The referee (one of our team) calls”foultwo away”
and marks the board (I thought”we have lost it”) The opponent
then takes our players ball from the pocket, and thinking he is
playing a double baulk, places it in the”D”and is addressing
it across the baulk line. (I thought”we’ve won!”) At mis
point the referee reaches over and picks up the ball. I said
“What is going on?”He replied, “his game is ail about good
sportsmanship, I couldn’t stand by and watch him play with
the wrong ball”. The opponent then plays with the correct
ball, leaving a double baulk for our man, who misses and so
loses the game. I said to the ref”Who’s on next, the trapeze
artist?””What do you mean?”he asked. I said”Don’t they
usually follow the clowns?”We went on to lose the match.
In 1951,1 first played on”our”table for the Stothort & Pitt
Club. (Stothort & Pitt were an engineering company whose
cranes may still be seen in ports all over the world). The table
was situated in the basement of the works office block, the
floor of which was two foot lower than the road.
Before the flood protection scheme was completed, two or
three times every year, there was a foot of water in the road
consequently there would be three feet of water in the Billiards
Room. The police always gave the company a warning of
flooding, and, using special jacks, the table would be lifted
before the water came up.
On one occasion, the water was four feet deep in the road, so
it was over six feet in the Billiard Room. The table was jacked
up so the cushion rails were touching the ceiling. This was the
only time the legs got wet.
In 1957, we moved to a specially built room annexing the
canteen. Everything was”rosy” for 30 years, until in 1987
along came a certain Mr. Robert Maxwell into the company.
[He of the Daily Mirror fame]. I was given three days in which
to dismantle the table as he needed the room for a computer.
We were at the time, half-way through a season, with six
snooker and two billiard teams playing in the Bath League.
Fortunatelywith the help of other clubs in the League, all
eight teams were able to complete their fixtures. Eleven years
on and the table is still in pieces, unable to find premises.
I can forgive Maxwell for the 400 million pound pensions fiasco,
but I can’t forgive him for destroying our billiards section.