English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : March 1996

The Amateur Billiard Player : March 1996

News from the editor’s chair

Photo of The Editor (27k)

Welcome to this first edition of the new Amateur Billiard
Player, the official magazine of the English Amateur
Billiards Association, it’s not by coincidence that we’ve
chosen a name for this publication very similar to that
of the magazine once edited so ably by Richard Holt and
renewed for its comprehensive and in-depth coverage of
the three ball game.

You will all be no doubt aware of Tom Terry’s decision to
discontinue the Billiards Quarterly Review, a publication
that became the de facto mouthpiece and forum for all
billiards related topics, both amateur and professional,
With coverage ranging from world championship reports to
the more parochial world of local, league achievements the
BQR occupied a unique niche in the billiards world and
was instrumental in keeping enthusiasts worldwide in touch
with what was going in the game and, more importantly,
ensured that dedicated players and casual observers alike
were aware that their game was indeed alive and
occasionally kicking! Billiards in general and the amateur
game in particular owes a debt to Tom and the Amateur
Billiard Player will aim to continue and hopefully build
upon the excellent coverage provided by the BQR.

In the wake of the void created by Tom’s withdrawal when
the possibility of a new publication was already being
discussed by the committee of the EABA I offered to
contribute the odd article and ended up being asked to edit
the magazine! For those of you that don’t know me I’ve
been knocking around the amateur billiards world for the
last 25 years or so apart from a brief 5 year sabbatical
when I gave up the game in favour of lawn bowls and returned
to find the game overrun by teenagers from Teesside who
had turned accepted billiards theory on its head. In my
youth older players had always told me that billiards was
just not like snooker and that it was simply impossible,
without serving a lengthy apprenticeship into early middle
age, to acquire the skills needed to challenge for major
amateur honours, a fact that seemed to be reinforced by the
Dagley/Close stranglehold on the amateur game. Trying telling
that one to Messrs Russell, Gilchrist, Chapman,
Causier et al!! So surprised and heartened by the game’s
renaissance at youth level, in Middlesbrough at least, I
have returned to the fold and will do my bit to keep the
wheels of information turning because without a mouthpiece
to keep people informed and allow an exchange of ideas the
continuing, albeit small, resurgence in the amateur game
would be at risk.

All of which leads me and probably you to the inevitable
question why bother?? Even the most ardent enthusiasts
among you must be aware that billiards is about as minority
a sport as one can get these days and yet for all its
images of a bygone age it continues to hold a strong, in
some cases fanatical, attraction for its devotees that goes
way beyond what any neutral observer would expect to find.

How many sports in a world dominated by the media and money
could hope to run a national championship with competitors
travelling the length and breadth of the country at their
own expense for a title that carries no prize money? And
yet that is exactly what is happening in this year’s
national amateur championship. Anyone who cannot understand
such a phenomenon has fundamentally missed the point about
what billiards at grass roots level is all about. For let’s
be honest, even the most successful professional billiards
player in terms of total potential prize money would be ill
advised to give up the day job. No, there must be something
else that keeps the vast majority going, amateur and
professional alike, and money it most certainly isn’t! The
Amateur Billiard Player will try to nurture this elusive
attraction and welcomes your views on what makes the die-hard
enthusiast tick; my own personal view is that it is deeply
rooted in that particularly British yet enduring capacity
for eccentricity on a grand scale but that’s probably
verging on heresy!

With this consideration in mind, the objectives of the
Amateur Billiard Player will be to continue providing
comprehensive coverage of the amateur game at both national
and regional level and will endeavour to maintain a supply
line of articles relating to those more idiosyncratic
aspects of the game in which true enthusiasts tend to take
such delight, students of Riso Levi’s books will know
what I mean! We will also try to maintain a focus on the
professional game given that it will always retain the
spotlight in terms of headline making breaks and averages,
but the amateur game will be our main consideration unless
you tell us otherwise.

The decision to launch a new journal and this was
unanimously and quickly endorsed by the committee of the
EABA and, as already mentioned, yours truly was invited to
fill the editorial chair. Our primary objective at this stage
is to get something kicked off in order not to lose the
momentum created by the BQR so please be patient! If you
find the layout, style or production not quite up to scratch
then give us time and we’ll crack it, what’s important is
that we keep people in touch.

I’m aware that this has been a very wordy introduction but
from now on the success or failure of this venture depends
on the readers and contributors. Our intention is that this
first edition will be free of charge to gain your reaction
and that thereafter we will operate on a similar basis to
the BQR. Please give us feedback on what you would like to
see covered and we will try to incorporate it. I’d like to
thank Albert Hanson, Phil Davis, Jack Karnehm, Mark Wildman,
John Smith, Phil Welham and Derick Townend all of whom have
provided contributions to this initial edition and have
promised their support in the future.

Latest on the political front

Many of you will no doubt be surprised that it has taken
several paragraphs before politics is mentioned and yet
rear its ugly head it must because without the establishment
of a forward thinking controlling body with the future of
the amateur game at heart and prepared to promote, fund
and more importantly encourage the game at youth level the
game has at best a very dubious future. The Amateur Billiard
Player has been informed that the current state of affairs
as we go to press is that the EABA will run this year’s
English Amateur championships and, in the absence of any
new billiards driven initiatives from the WPBSA, will
continue in this role for the foreseeable future, having as
a short term objective the re-establishment and/or
continuation of other amateur events such as the Grand Masters,
the Inter-County and the British Boys and Juniors. This is
not to say that future reconciliation of the two bodies
is out of the question but the basis of any such agreement
would have to be in the interests of the amateur game and
not some quasi professional/amateur alignment. The Amateur
Billiard Player has no problems with open tournaments for
amateurs and pros but the English championship with its
long tradition should remain sacrosanct unless and until it
becomes a totally unviable proposition due to lack of
interest and support, a situation that patently does not
exist today, in fact quite the opposite.

See Albert Hanson’s secretary’s report for further details
on the situation.

David Burgess

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