How to Practise the “Gray Stroke.”
1.-Make a mark two feet up the table from the D on the central
line, and two other marks twelve inches from each middle pocket
in a direction pointing laterally towards the other mark.
2.-Remember that anywhere on these imaginary lines there is a
half-ball position shot into a middle pocket and that to make all
these shots in succession and bring the red back to the same
point or thereabouts, the cue ball his to be gradually advanced
from one end of the D to the other.
3.-If the cue ball comes to rest below the lines the position is
regained by a run-through shot or by a fine slow shot.
4.-If the red ball comes to rest above the lines the position is
regained by a quick quarter-ball cutting stroke into the middle
pocket or by a losing hazard into a top pocket, and never by a
forcer or screw shot into the middle pocket.
5.-In deciding upon the class of stroke to be made always try to
bring the object ball back to the central chalk mark, but do not
try to do this in one stroke, if it can be better done in two or
6.-The first glance when the red ball comes to rest should be at
a point half-an-inch inside its edge on the most playable side,
and if contact at this point would drive the red into good
position and an in-off can be scored at the same time, nothing
remains to be done except to regulate the strength of the stroke
according to the distance the red ball has to run and the number
of cushions (if more than one) that it has to come into contact
7.-The different strengths may be roughly taken as corresponding
with so many table length runs, the very gentle fine position
stroke into the middle pocket being one that would just carry the
cue ball to the top cushion and a top pocket forcing stroke being
one that would take it five lengths of a match table.
8.-The half-ball stroke that brings the red ball back down the
table to its starting point is approximately a three-table-length
one; the run-through is a two-table-length one, and the quarter-
ball cutting stroke is a four-table-length one.
9.-The reason why the run-throughs must be played with less
strength and the quarter-balls with more is, of course, that the
thicker the contact the greater is the run that is communicated
to the object ball and the thinner the contact the less.
10.-When top pockets have to be used the way back to the
principal scoring lines may be via either one, two, or three
cushions, and the strengths are the two, three, and four table
lengths or the same as for the run-through, the half-ball, and
the quick quarter ball cutting strokes into the middle pockets.
11.-When top pocket strokes have been badly played forcers or
jennies may be left and the strengths for these are five-table-
lengths and two-table-lengths respectively.
12.-But everything depends upon the cueing, which must be
central, light, and free, with the cue working parallel with the
slate and sweeping the ball away with an even, natural swing, in
the course of which it travels just as many inches on one side of
the ball as it does on the other.
An amateur who has not a table is distinctly at a disadvantage
with an antagonist who has. Those shots that always defeat one in
play would soon become simple if systematically practised