English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : February, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : February, 1911

Questions and Answers

Balls Touching at Snooker

17.—”In the rules of Pool it is laid down that if the striker’s
ball is touching the object ball he cannot miss. Thus, in a
game of Snooker Pool if the white and a red ball are in contact,
the player can play away from the red and, although he
does not move the red ball, he incurs no penalty. Suppose that
the last player leaves the white ball in contact with the black,
the next player being easily able to strike a red ball (as he must
first do) without moving the black, does it count 7 against him
that the white was touching the black when he played? To
make the rule apply consistently it would seem that it must.”

When a red or coloured ball lies touching the cue ball it is
unplayable and, if moved in striking, must be replaced together
with any other ball or balls that may have been struck. Any
score made by the stroke is not counted and the stroke must be
repeated. Otherwise play takes the normal course.

Aiming With Side

18.—”When side is applied to a ball does it not follow that
the aim must be deflected to an equal extent?”

Aim must
never be deflected. The cue must always be parallel with the
line that the cue ball should pursue. Save for the influence of
the nap of the cloth on a slowly-moving cue ball, the ball always
goes towards where the cue is pointing whether centrally struck
or not. If aim be taken along the cue any removal of the cue
from the central vertical line must, of course, be allowed for
in the aim, but if aim be always taken—as it should be—over
the centre of the cue ball it does not matter where the cue ball
is struck so long as the cue is working parallel with the central
line. Try this along the baulk line. First aim dead centre,
looking along the cue, and the ball will return to the cue. Then
aim with side, looking over the centre of the ball to the end of
the line, and the ball will go perfectly straight along the line,
but will return at an angle.

Curving the Cue After Stroke

19.—”I find that when applying side to the cue ball there is a
tendency on the part of the cue to make a curving movement
after the stroke to the left or right, as the case may be. Is it possible
to keep the cue direction perfectly straight after a stroke
with side?”

It is both possible and extremely important. In
fact, a curving finish is only permissible in forcing strokes and
for the purpose of avoiding the push in close run-through cannons,
and in both these cases the curve is an upward one. The
through it to another of the spots, aiming as much above and
below the end of the baulk line as your cue is removed from the
centre of the ball, but on the opposite side of the line. Your cue
should then come to rest on the second spot.

Stroke-Marring Tactics by Opponents

20.—”What would The Billiard Monthly advise in the following
circumstances? I am playing in an amateur handicap and
place the ball on one of the baulk spots and drive the cue
best way to get over the bad habit—for such it really is—is to
have thus far held my own, but I am a nervous and sensitive
player, which my ‘friends’ know, and one or two of them, when
opponents, have tried to put me off my game in various subtle
ways, which, whilst being obvious, were not such as I could take
actual exception to. Ought I to protest or simply ignore it?”

So much depends upon the nature of what is done that it is
difficult to say. Anything done in the line of aim ought not, of
course, to be tolerated, but indirect actions, noises, and remarks,
are frequently as annoying. It is really much better to set your
teeth and determine to win, as any protest and its results would
probably upset you still more. Or you might, in a particularly
bad case, try a pleasant and cheerful: “I know you don’t mean
it, but would you mind not doing, etc., etc., as it rather puts
me off my game.” After this your opponent, if a gentleman,
will give you no further trouble.

Double Baulk A.B.C

21.—”I like your way of endeavouring to simplify the various
strokes obtainable on the billiard table and bring them under a
few general principles. But I think you will agree that double baulk
strokes stand a little by themselves in this respect.”

By no means. A double stroke is neither more nor less, wherever
occurring, than an ordinary potting stroke, including doubling.

Elaborate diagrams—or any diagrams—are unnecessary in this
connection, and the stroke is certainly not so difficult as a
cushion cannon stroke leaving desired position. The only two
questions arising are: (1) where to strike the object ball and the
cue ball, and (2) what strength to employ. Say, for instance,
that the red is lying a little out of baulk slightly away from a
side cushion and the cue ball somewhere up the centre of the
table. A line is taken with the eye from the baulk corner pocket
farthest from the red, and it is at once seen that a fine contact
behind the red will carry it to the pocket. Nothing now remains
to be done but to aim for this contact with the necessary side
and strength to cause the cue ball to gently follow the red off
the cushion, leaving the corner pocket pot or in-off for next
stroke if not disturbed by opponent. The same principle applies
to every part of the table, a baulk pocket being always the
objective for the red ball.

Preventing Loss of Second Ball

22.—”You would confer a favour by answering the following
question. In practising what is termed the Gray stroke I soon
find myself going for the top corner pockets and am frequently
pulled up by finding both balls disappear into those pockets.
What is the best way to avoid this?”

When the red ball is a
few inches above the centre spot the six score is always on, and it is
best avoided by playing an eighth fuller than half-ball. The
loss of the white is similarly avoided. The play is into the less
open pocket, when the object ball is a little off the central line
and with half-ball play, this side of the table is also preferable
for position purposes, as it brings the object ball more to the
centre. But all this sort of thing may be made to regulate itself
with half-ball strokes by the simple plan of glancing at a point
half an inch inside the edge of the object ball, whose course
must always be along a line drawn through it from this point
on its surface.

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