English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : March 1996

The Amateur Billiard Player : March 1996

Chairman’s Message

Gentlemen, Welcome to 1996 and the year that Amateur
Billiards must move forward with vigour and enthusiasm.
The last couple of decades has seen our game trundle
along much as it always has done but with some notable
high spots like the welcome resurgence of the professional
game after years of decay, the establishment and continuing
success of the Teesside conveyor belt, the setting up of
ABC circuit, the formation of county leagues and record
entries in recent years for the English Amateur
Championship, all of which have taken place despite a
prevailing backdrop of turmoil and uncertainty created
by the recent power struggles and political in-fighting by
the various groups, interested parties and associations
competing for control of the game, each with their own
motives. We now have a strong representative committee
who are respected not only for their expertise at the
game but equally for their enthusiasm for organisation.

So far so good you might say but there is one single
inescapable fact that we all have to address if the game
is not to drift into terminal decline and that is we must
create initiatives which will encourage youngsters to
take up the game across all the country not just in
Middlesbrough. Important though this phenomenon has been,
the fact that a regular and predictable supply of youngsters
from that part of the country continues to dominate the
game at both amateur and professional level ( Indian
players and Roxton Chapman excepted) means very little if
anything to the vast majority of grass roots players
throughout the country, most of whom carry out their sport
in semi moribund local leagues where the average age of
players rises each year. Replicating the achievements on
Teesside in other areas would not be an overnight affair
and may not even be possible but even if a fraction of
their success in encouraging the game at youth level could
be achieved then that would represent a significant step
forward. I don’t know how many local leagues there are
throughout the country ( please let us know), but if each
took active steps to encourage youngsters to play then who
knows what might be possible. I’ve already heard that
Rex Williams and Mark Wildman have offered their services
in the Midlands to give coaching to youngsters if a
reasonable number of attendees can be guaranteed so why
not look into this potential in other regions of the
country?

The centre piece of present day billiards if of course
the ABC tournaments which have been run so ably by
Derick and Peg Townend(not to mention various international
matches). These tournaments really do keep most of the
billiards fraternity in touch with one another.

If as the new chairman I can leave you with one message
it would be this, the game is as healthy if not healthier
than it has been for many years but with known exceptions
it has become a sport that is normally associated with
middle age and beyond a fact which makes it unattractive
to the younger element unless we can educate them. We
know that this process works otherwise there would not be
nearly 300 entries for this year’s Teesside boy’s championships
so our prime collective objective must be to drive
forward any initiative that changes the age profile of our
game.

Peter Shelley (Chairman)

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